M is for malls
Cheating a bit, as I wrote extensively about malls before but I’m tweaking as I go.
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.
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.
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:
I chose 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. We go sometimes to eat Sarku in the food court. 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. If they created more activities surrounding the mall instead of just shopping and eating, they’d really be onto something.
6 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge – Day 13”
I wonder if they could take an old mall and put some of the places we have to go run errands — grocery store, a couple of different drug stores like CVS or Walgreens, the DMV . . .I was just thinking that you are probably right. They will all go away at some point. I do almost all of my shopping online these days except for groceries and prescriptions.
Some malls have repurposed to where there are doctor’s and dentist’s offices, training centers, government offices, etc. They figure, the building is there, why not use it? Better than letting the place go to seed.
We have an old one here that became government offices but by then, it was no longer the mall at all. It’s becoming the new police station now but older people remember fondly how it used to be.
That’s exactly what they should do – that and add other entertainment, not just movie theaters. But culture is shifting such that people stay home too much.
The YouTube user Raw & Real Retail (https://www.youtube.com/c/RawRealRetail) is a great one for tours through shopping malls, living, dying and dead. Dan Bell (https://www.youtube.com/MovieDan) is more of an urban explorer, going into closed malls, hotels, institutions and the like. His videos are a little more scary…
I haven’t seen that first one but I used to watch Dan Bell, until he went all political. His Urbex ones are scary!