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My Memories of the Mall

It's no secret that malls are a dying breed. While malls thrived in the '80s and '90s, they have dwindled in numbers in more recent years. Of the ones that were nearest me when I was growing up, one was shut down years ago and replaced by a Wal-Mart, and the other is a shell of it's former self, with many of the stores I remember from my youth being long since closed. There is one about 45 minutes from my house that still stands and seems to be doing just fine, but it seems to be the exception to the rule.

The main reason I've heard as to why malls are struggling is that online shopping is both cheaper and more convenient, and I must admit that it makes some sense to me. I myself buy a lot of the things that I once bought at the mall online these days, though I do also sometimes still visit the mall. Still, though, looking back at my childhood, the memories I made shopping with my mom at the malls in my neighborhood remain some of my fondest memories.

The place I most enjoyed at the mall was most definitely K·B Toys, the toy store that was in the mall I recall visiting the most often. It seems that every visit my mother and I made to the mall involved a trip to the toy store. I didn't always end up getting a toy to take home with me, but more often than not I was fortunate enough to acquire a toy when we visited the mall. I can't recall any one toy standing out as being more important to me than the others, but K·B Toys definitely helped me to obtain many of the toys that ended up in my collection.

The Disney Store was another store I recall enjoying as a child, though I didn't end up getting nearly as many items from that store as I did from K·B Toys due to the expensive price of some of the products. I recall getting a few of the cheaper toys from there, though. There's still a Disney Store in the mall that's 45 minutes from me that I decided to visit recently just to see what it's like today. There weren't as many cool things as I remember seeing at the Disney Store of my childhood. I left the store somewhat disappointed.

As I grew older, other stores began to appeal to me more than K·B Toys and the Disney Store. One such store was the one that sold movies and music. I can't recall what the name of this store was when I was younger, but the mall I most often went to has a movie and music store called f.y.e. currently. It may or may not be the same store I recall visiting as a child.

I also became quite interested in Waldenbooks, the book store at my local mall. Like many book stores these days, Waldenbooks has gone out of business, which saddens me because I have always been a big reader, even as a child. One of my fondest memories involving this store was one time when my mom bought me a collection of Dr. Seuss books to help me occupy my time while she visited the hair salon. A couple of women that worked at the hair salon were nice enough to spend their break reading through one of the stories with me. I would read a page out loud, and then, each of them would read a page out loud. It was a very nice gesture on their part.

The movie theater located in the mall was at one time the movie theater that I recall visiting the most as a child. I can't remember all of the movies I saw there, but the one that I remember having the most fond memories of seeing was George of the Jungle. I remember that a cartoon short starring Mickey Mouse played before the movie started, which I thought was pretty cool at the time.

Since my mom and I often spent a great deal of the day at the mall whenever we visited it, we often had lunch there. The mall that we most often visited featured a food court and a McDonald's that was separate from the food court. Most often, I believe we ended up eating at McDonald's, which was just fine with me since McDonald's was my favorite place to eat as a child. When we ate at the food court, though, I recall usually ordering a slice of pizza.

As I struggle now to think of any other relevant memories I have of the mall, my memories of visiting Santa Claus at the mall near Christmas come to mind. For some reason, I always had trouble deciding on what I wanted to ask him for as a Christmas present, probably because I always had a long list and knew that it would be more polite to narrow my list down to just two or three items so that I didn't take up too much of Santa's time.

That about sums up my most fond memories of the mall. Do you have any special memories about visiting the mall? Any favorite stores? Let me know in the comments section!
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Superman Posted on Feb 13, 2017 at 04:09 AM

@Lazlo - I miss Waldenbooks, but I was happy to discover a newer bookstore in one of my local malls. I need to explore that place more thoroughly on my next trip. Coincidentally, I recently had my first Orange Julius in years, too.

Lazlo Posted on Feb 13, 2017 at 02:38 AM

I've always loved malls, and still do. I remember enjoying spending time there as a young kid in the late '70s, and a teen in the '80s. Waldenbooks and B Dalton Books were a typical hangout for me. They are both gone now and are greatly missed. I remember going to Spencer gifts and getting Orange Julius drinks. As a young adult in the '90s, new stores began to appear: FYE, and coffee places like Starbucks and Barnies. I still love malls, and would hate to see them go. . . but as long as theyre around, I'll be a frequent visitor.

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