Getting older has found me getting more and more nostalgic. I don’t think I would be so nostalgic – or pining for the past – if things were similar to days long ago.
When I was a kid – maybe 10 years old or so – I found the adventure of a road trip fun. We’d get in the car and drive into the unknown. I just looked out the car window and watched the world go by at 55 miles per hour. We didn’t have a lot of money; so if we went somewhere, it was by car – no plane (or train). There was always lot to see between here and the nearest relatives house.
The road trip was also an outcome of growing up in a small town. There was very little to do or see in Roswell. This included shopping. We had the SEARS and JC Penney – so anything in the catalog could be ordered or bought there. For a kid, toys were bought from the Kmart or ALCO. Yet, only 2 or 3 isles of toys was nothing like a Kay-Bee, where it was the whole store. And don’t get me started on my reaction as I saw my first Toys R Us!
So, one variant of the road trip was to journey to the Mall. This wasn’t a quick trip. See, Roswell didn’t have a mall. So, we’d drive hours – hundreds of miles – simply to go to a massive building with 100s of stores that specialized in belts, candles and sunglasses. As a kid, it was a massive world of fake trees and plants and amazing water fountains. We’d spend hours – make a day of it – inside the Mall.
I have some great memories from going to the mall. Our mall of choice was the Las Cruces Mall (Mesilla Valley Mall). It was a one-story megalopolis. Everything you needed was there. Maybe thats why everyone holds up in the mall during a zombie apocalypse? Eating in the food court – my favorite was a cafeteria named Duffy’s (I believe that was the name). I remember the aromas of roast beef and fried okra – the faint smell of cigarette smoke (see you could smoke in dining areas back then). Getting lost inside the Montgomery Wards – looking up and seeing only toasters and blenders. I just followed my nose to the toy section figuring my mother would find me sooner or later. Buying Star Wars figures from Kay-Bee – $2.99 marked out and selling for a $1.50! Perhaps I was unique, yet, I was fascinated at the water features and fountains. If I close my eyes, I can still smell the slightly chlorinated water and feel the mist that surround the brick lined planters, etc.
I would love to go to the mall again. Yet, those malls are long gone. Today’s shopping malls don’t bring the magic of shopping in them as did the 1980s. To be honest, I can’t recall the last time I was in the mall (maybe a year). But I woke up this morning just wanting to relive some of those old memories. I even pulled up mall videos on Youtube.
Oh what the heck! Let’s go to the Mall!! … today!