For this tale we venture back to 1976 and visit the mall, where I sort of grew up and talk about one of my more traumatic early experiences.
More after the jump:
I was raised in a mall.
Well, at least partially anyway. You see, my grandparents owned a shoe store in a middle class mall in our town. It wasn’t a glamorous place but it had two banks, a grocery store and the town's other government controlled liquor store, so it was a busy place.
Many a Saturday, my mom would drop my sister and myself off so my parents could go do “grown up things” (if their anything like my wife and I, my parents probably just laid around, basking in total silence) without worrying about us.
I know it sounds kind of dreary but trust me, it was an orange and yellow paradise! We had a Woolco with a toy department crammed with Mego and GI Joe dolls, a hobby shop that sold Metal Men figures, a bookstore crammed with those Whitman comic three packs and even a pet store with a display of “Creature from the Black Lagoon” aquarium thingees.
As a bonus, my grandmother was usually good for a two dollar bill, life was good.
I also wasn’t alone, besides my sister our mall playmates included the children of many of the other shop keeps including the family whose dad ran the hobby shop and the two girls whose dad had the Dutch store (which sold wooden shoes and incredibly salty liquorices)
The best part was, I pretty much had total access to anything, the vendors all knew each other so you always felt kind of …protected I guess.
Save for one particular day, it was getting late (I think it closed early on Saturdays at this point) and before my parents came and got me, I decided to visit the drug store two doors down to have a peak at his rack toy aisle (anyone else noticing a disturbing pattern with me?)
As I crouched down to stare at the Batmobiles and Monster dolls I heard “CLICK, CLICK, BOOM!” The lights were out, not a big problem as the mall lights shown into the store but the bigger problem was the fact that the store was closed!
The pharmacist had locked me in! I began to panic as a six year old might and the first person to walk by was my older sister probably out looking for me.
Her face is forever etched in my mind, it was a look of concern buoyed with one of complete and utter joy. You have to forgive a sibling for that last part, it's in the brother/sister charter.
She ran and got my grandmother, who freaked out and a few minutes later returned with the pharmacist who quickly let me out.
I’ll never forget that man, stocky with slicked back white hair, those Peter Seller’s glasses, clad in his Dr Sivana outfit with an apologetic look on his face. My family all had a good laugh about it after and no real harm was done.
However, the whole reason I bring this story up is because I was in a drug store five minutes to closing this week and when the announcement came on, I panicked and ran to the cash. It dawned on me as to why I did that...