Wayback Machine – Hollywood Fashion Center


Anyone who has read my blog for a while knows I kind of have a thing about malls. My formative years were semi-shaped by going to malls, as crazy as that sounds. Not because I love to shop or anything but I enjoyed the idea of all those stores, the way malls were laid out, and the cohesiveness of the people who frequented them. We all liked the community created therein. Times have changed enough now such that people definitely do not go out as much; we “hang out” online or in texting people.

Anyway, when I was little my mom went back to work at night, working in the gift wrap/customer service area of Jordan Marsh, a large retailer that served as one of the mall’s anchors. I remember fondly these years of my life. I got home from school and mom was there. She made me a snack, I’d play outside for a while, then my dad got home. My mother would have prepared some kind of meal he could easily throw together or bake and then she’d go to work. Sometimes after dinner, he took me and my sister to the mall to walk around and see my mom. I remember going to the candy counter in the middle of Jordan Marsh, right near the escalator. Then we’d walk down to customer service and talk to mom for a minute before perusing the mall

Some stores I specifically remember are Spencer’s, Orange Julius, Merry-go-round and this one, whose name I cannot remember but it was mens’ clothing.

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I had to really scour the internet for older photos; it reminds me that I should take pics inside malls now, for they won’t be around forever.

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The mall took a turn for the worse shortly after I moved away and it became a sort of weird strip mall type place before being turned into a Super Walmart. It sat abandoned for a while and here’s a pic from that era:

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I liked this one because I always liked the cross-road areas in malls; where wings met and people sat, watching other people, wasting time, enjoying ice cream. There’s something nice about the communal aspect. I can’t really put my finger on it.

I sometimes have dreams where I’m back in the malls of my youth and I cannot quite remember them accurately. It bothers me in a way; how come I don’t remember details? Are we capable of remembering that far back, that specifically?

I still enjoy going to malls now. We have two in town; one closed and became some other kind of failing shopping center but one is still very much alive. I think that even though the idea of shopping in person, as opposed to online, is dying out, the concept of the mall could thrive if we amended how they are built and what they sell. I do think people still want to go out and that space can attract them, given the right kind of planning. I don’t want to see malls go away but they might… they might.

5 thoughts on “Wayback Machine – Hollywood Fashion Center

  1. Oh, malls. I used to love going to the Renfrew Mall when I was a kid. It was a smaller town version of the big city ones that I rarely got to. I remember the pet store, it was always really dark and kind of creepy. We’d go tap on the glass of the tanks that held the lizards and snakes. I can vividly picture the “rides” in the middle, the kind you put quarters in to let your kids go slowly up and down or round and round for a minute or so haha. They moved a Walmart in to that mall when I was a young teen, but then that Walmart got re-located to a new building at the other end of town. The mall – and that whole end of town, really – died shortly thereafter. It really is kind of sad to think of it.
    I still go to a mall in the city about once or twice a year – Carlingwood Mall – but it’s also fading badly. Lots of stores have closed or re-located to other areas. There are things about malls that you just can’t replicate anywhere else… Like that sitting area you mentioned at the cross-roads of the malls, where you can people-watch and eat ice cream. Oh and the food courts! Always my favourite part of any mall!!
    Thanks for this trip down memory lane 🙂

  2. I remember as a child wondering what the hell a mall was it was something I heard of on TV shows because we call our shopping centres by their name such a Charlestown Square or Garden City

  3. When I was traveling all the time, going to the mall at least one night was entertainment. I’d have dinner in the food court, then just hang around until the place closed, stopping into various stores. Radio Shack was always a good one, as were the bookstores.

  4. Wow. Yes. I make it to the mall so seldom now, as when I have free time it isn’t enough to drive there, wander around, etc. I find myself looking at my watch to see when I need to leave. But I too remember spending a lot of time at the mall. It’s a sad thought that so many have gone away, and there isn’t much hope left for those that remain. 😦

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