Bellbottom Blog

Scratching A Writing Itch From Time To Time

The Mall

Lisa, whose blog The Best Self  T-Shirt Catalog Ever!,  is recommended reading by the Bellbottom Blog, hence its appearance on the Blogroll to the right of this page, inspired this post.

She wrote a post called How To Go To The Mall: A Photo Guide.  You can click on her blog and read it.  As always, it is chock full of helpful hints to successfully navigate your way around the mall experience.

I was thinking about my own experiences at the mall.

See, the mall is a phenomenon that came to be in my lifetime.  There was a time when all the stores were outside.  Yes they were! I swear!

Somewhere along the line, a person decided to buy a large patch of land and build a structure that would house a lot of stores.  Of course, this idea came with a price.  As businesses moved to the mall, the areas they left behind were faced with empty storefronts.

Not exactly a win for all, but people liked the idea of shopping inside.

The big draw, before food courts came to be, was the popcorn stand.  Let’s face it, no one can resist the smell of fresh popped popcorn.  Especially, a 11 year old kid riding his bike where he shouldn’t be with a friend of his.  For example.

The mall closest to our house was the second mall built in Fort Wayne.  This is about 1967.

In addition to the popcorn, it also had an arcade called Aladdin’s Castle.  All pinball machines.  Google it, if you don’t know what a pinball machine is. 3 balls for a quarter.

It had a Sears, J.C. Penney, and L.S. Ayers (an Indiana department store).  ChessKing.  Musicland. A cafeteria. A six screen theater.

Busy, busy place for a number of years.  But as the years went by and the new houses were being built on the other side of town, It started to deteriorate.  Stores left . The theater went to dollar movies and then closed.  The arcade. Even the popcorn stand closed.

Years went by as the carcass of this once fine mall sat unused.  Finally, the politicians in town bought it and tore it down.  Today, there is a Wal-Mart in its place.  And a Menards.

When I drive past that piece of my youth,  I can still remember the thrill of riding my bike through that parking lot.

But that isn’t what I started to write about.


I asked this question on Twitter a while back. “Why doesn’t the men’s section have an area for the guys who wear black socks and sandals. They should be sold in a set. Help the old folks out.”

But really, my question is why do we stop  putting ages on clothing  sections with teens?  Shouldn’t there be an area for 35-50 year olds?  A senior section?

One of the complaints I read about are people who don’t dress their age.  Let’s help them out.

Until next time…






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10 thoughts on “The Mall

  1. I don’t remember any malls until the late 1970s, but this was Sweden so we were probably lagging behind.

    It’s an interesting idea having age labels on clothes for grownups as well. But perhaps the problem is that we dress the age we feel, not the age we are? Also, I think people might not be ready to go to the “middle aged” section to shop when they reach – oh, I don’t know – 50 perhaps? We have a lot of denial going on in this youth culture where aging is considered a disease.

    • In Lisa’s post she touched on the question of who wears these things. She was holding up a very colorful dress. I agree people tend to write off their elders. I wasn’t brought up that way. Now that I am heading into elderhood, I would not care for being written off just because of the calendar.

      • I think someone in their early twenties must wear all those dresses. The mannequins who had them on seemed very young. Of course, it was kind of hard to tell since they didn’t have any heads. I guess I shouldn’t be judging people without their heads.

  2. This brought back memories of Mesa Mall- a mall from my youth. There was an Alladin’s Castle but it had more than pinball machines. There was magic about the mall. You’ve inspired a blog post!

  3. I’m always worried I’m going to be going around in short-shorts when I am too old to do so and no one will tell me. That is the main reason why I don’t wear short-shorts. Also, they don’t have very good pockets. Probably a space issue, due to the shortness of the shorts.

    • I am stuck with a choice between cargo shorts, which fall way below the knee, but have plenty of pockets, or hiking shorts, which stop short of the knee, but have less functional pockets.
      I can’t wait for cooler weather. Too many decisions.

  4. Pingback: How To Go To The Mall: A Photo Guide « The Best Self-Help T-Shirt Catalog Ever!

  5. We had a mall full of fun one of a kind stores mixed with your usual JC Penney and Sears. Now all Malls look alike. You seen one, you seen them all. As for that Mall of America in Minnesota…I suspect it’s just a bunch of mini malls smashed together with a Starbucks in every section.

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