Saturday, February 7, 2015

Saturday Morning Chatter - The Mall

When Jimmy Fallon held a Saved by the Bell reunion this past week, it had me running down memory lane! The teens years. Some of them pretty. Some of them not so much. I was never the Kelly. I was more of the Violet. Actually, I was more the Amelia from The Princess Diaries before the makeover! But I had friends, my phone, and the mall! Ah, the mall. What were your teens years without the mall.

Last night my husband, son, and I were at the mall. McKinley really wanted to go walk around so we made an evening of it. We ate junk food from the food court, had cookies from Mrs. Fields, window shopped, birthday shopped, stopped in the toy store where McKinley got some construction trucks, rode the carousel, browsed in Build-a-Bear, and made our way back to the car. We honestly had such a great time. McKinley even committed at the end of the night how much fun he had. And while we walked, talked, ate, and shopped, I couldn't help look around at all the teenagers that were littering the place! I forgot that a Friday evening could be a teenagers dream evening. It was for me. Actually, any time at the mall was a dream.

I spent my teen years at the now defunct Metcalf South Mall. I spent all my time, and my money, at the mall. It was the "It" mall of Johnson County and now it's just a thing of the past. My teen years were a time where you could walk to the mall, yes I lived within walking distance, and you didn't have to worry about a thing. My friend Michelle and I would walk together, shop Claire's for the latest in trendy jewels, buy lipbalm and gum at Osco Drug, spend quarter after quarter at the Arcade while watching out for boys, and attend the weekly Saturday matinee of Dirty Dancing when it made it's way to the dollar theater (also located in the mall.) 

Metcalf South had it all. Water fountains, bright tile floors, florescent lighting everywhere, a main stage where kids and adults performed, three levels of shopping for literally every gender and age, and it's where I learned the fine are of layaway. (Another post will have to be why anyone did away with layaway! The best payment concept EVER!) When I discovered clothing and true fashion, thanks to my early subscription to Seventeen Magazine, I found all kinds of ways to make money. I babysat for everyone, cleaned my parents house, and did chores that weren't mine just so I could buy clothes that weren't on the essential clothing list provided by mom. My retailers of choice where The Closet and Ups and Downs. Both were located side by side on the second level next to The Jones
 Store. I also loved Outback Red, currently The Limited, which was located on the third floor in the upper corner above Sears. Yes, I knew this mall like the back of my hand! 

There was the record store where I bought cassettes of the latest groups, an Orange Julius where I never ate (I think the mall Orange Julius is the equivalent to a Casey's in small towns), a Cinnabon that would starve me with its aroma, the "salon" where I got my first, unexpected haircut, and the aforementioned Jones Store where I got my ears double pierced. This is also where I had a personal shopper for my seventh and eight grade wardrobes thanks to my aunt. God, I still remember the outfits and I still own a view pieces! This experience was incredible and probably why I love the world of clothing like I do. That and the mall in general. Honestly, there was nothing like the feeling of going to the mall.

Hell, my grandmother and I got locked in the mall once. A terrifying experience that I will never forgot. One we recount with fondness, now that it is behind us 30 some years later, and a memory we share exclusively. But that didn't scare me away. I just make sure to be out of the mall no later than 8:45!!

 Metcalf South. The place that shaped my retail career, fashion adoration, and teenage years. A place where I felt safe, among my people, and a home away from home for a few hours on the weekend. A building that will face demolition to make way for another shopping center or office buildings. Or at least that's what I've heard. An iconic building, in the middle of the burbs, that will be etched in the minds of every teenager that lived in Overland Park in the 80s. We will tell our kids about it. We will reminisce with our friends about it. And we will all sing together, "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot." And even though it was a parking lot to begin with, it was paradise in my mind.

1 comment:

The Brew Crew said...

Love this! I too have such found memories of Metcalf South!