Archive for the ‘memories’ Category

Could This Be Why I Don’t Shop at Macy’s?   5 comments

I know Macy’s has great sales, not only because my friends rave about the bargains they find there, but because I used to partake of them over the years. What stopped me was a problem with my Macy’s card. The problem was not my credit, but for some reason I was unable to activate my new card over the phone. That alone tells you how long ago that glitch occurred since if it were today, I’d have activated it online. Eventually they stopped sending me their sale fliers and coupons, and we parted amicably. I never looked back because for some reason I was never crazy about shopping there. Maybe it was the waiting in line at the cash registers scattered around the various departments. Or maybe it was the necessity of having to go to the mall. I am not a fan of malls.

Well I was recently on 34th street passing THE Macy’s yes, the one from the classic movie, Miracle on Main Street; the one that hosts the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, floats, and balloons; the original Macy’s famed for being the largest department store in the world. Needless to say it can not fit in a mall since it takes up an entire square block.


Upon seeing the entrance, I had a flashback that revealed to me the root of my Macy “problem”. This store was the bane of my early childhood existence! Back in the early days when I was still an only child, which meant younger than five, my mother would regularly drag me down to 34th Street to “go shopping.” We’d have to walk nine blocks to the subway, (but that wasn’t the part I hated) then ride 129 blocks underground. That’s eight stops if you’re counting. I wasn’t, but I was asking “Are we almost there yet.” (Nope, that’s not what I hated either.)

Finally we’d emerge into the daylight of Thirty-fourth Street and make our way into the store. It seems like it was always crowded, even though it was usually a weekday morning. (Nope the crowds didn’t bother me either). It was the fashion faux pas, my mother visited on me.

As soon as we emerged from the revolving door, she’d take my coat off, but leave my leggings on. Leggings back then referred to the heavy wool pants that were part and parcel of  the matched set that also included a matching hat. That’s what I  hated –  I wanted to keep my coat on like all the grownups, but there I was walking around with my dress stuffed into a suspendered overall type pants. But my mother had a theory. If I kept the coat on, my body would get used to it and when we went out into the cold once again, I’d feel cold. But I noticed she didn’t mind “getting used” to her coat.

This looks like a Sunday coat, and since stores didn’t open on Sundays back then, it couldn’t have been a shopping coat, and I’m probably younger here than the days I’m talking about – but look at the leggings. Get the picture?


If walking around unfashionably clad  was the beginning of my, as she liked to put it, crankiness, (a word often applied to me, especially at nap time and bedtime), it was reinforced by having to wait until she’d bought everything else before going up to the fourth floor or the fifth floor. One held the children’s shoe department and the other, the toy department. I regarded them both as sources of joy, and perhaps enjoyed buying shoes even more than a toy. (Some things never change!)

But n-o-o-o-o. I had to  wait until last. Another one of my mother’s theories was I’d be less of a pest if I had to wait. Pest was another word often applied to moi.  The reasoning behind this was, once I had what I came for, I’d suggest “Let’s go have lunch”. Well, maybe it was more like whine, so if she saved my shopping until last, she’d be able to shop in peace.

Once her mission was accomplished, we’d either have a hot dog and orangeade at Nedicks, an indoor stool and counter. If I recall, that’s all they sold; at any rate it was a New York icon in the Fifties and Sixties.

No more Nedicks! Today, it’s a


Sometimes we’d go across the street to the 5 & 10, as we called Woolworth’s, where we’d also have a hot dog, but a coke instead of an orange drink.

No  more 5 & 10. Today, it’s a


Although  lunch was fun, it remains overshadowed by the shopping. But you know how they say  misery loves company ? Well, about thirty years later I discovered I was not alone. The man to whom I was once married, upon hearing my tale of woe, assured me that he was there too and he was very surprised I hadn’t seen him.”I was the one tagging after my mother,” he told me crying.” the one crying.”

I wish I’d asked him if he had to take off his coat!



Housewarming Deja Vu   2 comments


Summer has come and gone but it’s left a treasure trove of memories. Remember the MacDonald’s parking lot I showed you where they hold a weekly classic cars show?



Well, it’s just a McDonald’s parking lot again.




And now, my deck is quiet except for the chairs who vie for my attention, each Saturday and Sunday morning, whispering, “sit here sit here ” as I set down my coffee and paper.


You may see an empty deck but if I linger long enough I see the gossamer memories of friends and loved ones sitting, talking, and enjoying each other’s company at my barbecues.

Yes, barbecues, as in four. You see, The House of Mars, being what it is, strains at the seams if I have more than eight people for a sit-down dinner. So rather than repeat the weeks of stress I went through the summer I had  gala BBQ of twenty people, the daily visits to for long term forecasts, all the obsessing over what I’d do if it rained, I broke it up into several small gatherings that can fit around the dining room table of Mother Nature wants it that way. Yes, it can be hectic for a lone hostess but it’s worth it.

perfect hostess

This all reminds me of the meaning of a housewarming party. When I was in the process of getting divorced I dreaded the prospect of moving into the apartment I’d found.  Although I loved the apartment, and looked forward to starting a new life, the idea of entering an empty space where not even the heartbeat of a cat would be there to warm it was a chilling thought. But then I had  a dinner party,  and friends began dropping in, and before  I knew it, the apartment felt as comfy as a robe and bedroom slippers.

So now, while I do not look forward to a long cold winter, at least I won’t be quite so cold as I shovel the snow off the deck. I’ll be warmed by the memories of fifteen years of BBQs and all those who made them possible – human, feline, and canine.


Posted September 16, 2014 by virginiafair in memories

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