Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Rise and Fall of (my childhood. I mean,) the Mall. Specifically, the Woodfield Mall.

It's completely unremarkable, really. And it's old news as soon as it's penned.

Another store closing. Another mall's irrelevancy. Another suburban casualty. Old news.

Except - this is new news. As of 9pm tonight. Today. Now. 

"They" have decided to close not just another sad, humorless, hapless, irrelevant store in a long -forgotten - un-tiktok-able, stereotypical suburban mall. 

But this was my Mall. This is my gateway shopping experience. This was my 1970s. And my 80s. This was my history. And this is one of my favorite memories with my Dad and my Mom. Separately. 

The Harder Side of Sears

Woodfield Mall, in the much-parodied big-hair (guilty, but I was 8) suburb of Schaumberg, Illinois, was my litmus test for all future shopping experiences. Dallas Galleria. Galeries Lafayette. Cherry Creek. 900 North Michigan. The Forum Shoppes at Caesars ....

You name it, I've shopped it. 

But this. This is different.

Heaven knows I haven't darkened the doors of our local mall in years. But, Woodfield. 

With its twisty wooden slide, indoor ice-skating rink, Roy Rogers, Gift Gate (read: Hello Kitty), Express, I.Magnin, and incredible waterfall. This was THE HEIGHT of 80's shopping. And of course - Marshall Field's. So many amazing memories with my Dad, my Mom, my best friend, Rhubarb and Ribbie (the White Sox Mascots), etc. (and I'm all Cubs - all the time!) And the nachos at John's Garage.

Look. I'm very clear on the Sears saga. I'm very clear on the mall saga. I'm very clear on the old-retail-guard saga. But like another infamous 80's hold-over - this time, it's personal.

It's heartbreaking that so many childhood (fond!) memories have to go away. But, more important - I understand, of course, that jobs are going away. And, really, a bit of a way of life is going away. 

As much as we may or may not love the analog life - digital life and the evolution of commerce is not only important, it's vital. It's vital to the future. It's vital to the economy. It's vital to the next generations. 

But it still makes me really sad. 

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