A few days ago my wife and I were in town, walking through our local mall. I got a bit disoriented as I was looking around; all the stores were bright, glaring and unpleasant. So I sat down.
It was at this point I realized I'm definitely getting old. Something just struck me, some sort of realization that the world in which I grew up through my teenage years has turned completely upside down. Nothing in that mall was the same as the years in which the mall felt like an important place for me to be, and I got off onto one of my nostalgia trips again. (My Constant Readers know this about myself and my nostalgia trips.)
It's somewhat amazing that such an important part of your life can be stripped away, bulldozed away so vigorously and without regard to anything. I remember reading once that someone described humans and architecture as children with dominoes; no regard to the history of the original building, just desperate to knock it down and build something back up in its place.
Anyway, there were a lot of great memories stashed around that mall and the surrounding areas, and I'm somewhat fortunate enough that I have a wife who didn't grow up in the same locale, so that we can swap stories of what used-to-be and the memories of those places.
Gone: Riverside Raceway/Putt-Putt
Those little go-kart tracks finally made its way to my hometown when I was about 15, and it was THE thing to do for young adolescents for a while. It went in next to the long-standing orange and green classic Putt-Putt course, another favorite hang out (especially for guys like me, with limited funds). At Putt-Putt you could score discount tickets for games and free games with hole-in-ones, and have the ability to take a girl on a date there for as little as a few bucks while still having a good time. Riverside Raceway was far more expensive, so I didn't get to spend as much time there.
Now: A big empty grass field with a real estate sign FOR LEASE. Both replaced by "Bogeys," located elsewhere, which sports batting cages, pizza, putt-putt and go-karts and insanely higher prices.
Gone: Galaxy and Timeout Arcade
I've lamented Galaxy's demise in the past in a blog, a throwback arcade that I've never been able to find since. It wasn't a skee-ball and ticket sort of place, just pure cabinet arcade glory in a very large dark room, which was appealing to gamers and teenagers hanging out alike. Later replaced by Timeout, which had skee-ball and other ticket prize games exchanged at a crappy rate for terrible items, like most places today.
Now: A Smoothie Hut stands where Galaxy once did in the mall, Timeout has been usurped by 4-wheelers and scooters made in China.
Gone: Pizza Hut Express
This little mall version of Pizza Hut served two things: personal pan pizzas and drinks. Despite this, it was CLEARLY the place to hang and eat at the mall. Again, a very attractive option for a cheap date, as personal pans were about $3.50 with a drink.
Now: An enormous food court as is customary with most malls. A jewelry store stands where Pizza Hut once did.
Gone: The Honey Creek Mall Theatre
Replaced by a megaplex behind the mall that sports cold popcorn, higher prices and smaller screens...
Now: A Garfield's chain restaurant.
Gone: KB's Toy Store
There will always be that special place in my heart for the little KB store with blue carpet, as I lusted at its contents with my eyes from the ages of 6-13 or so. Never actually got anything from in there during that time. And the greatest memory of having Dad ask "What do you want for your birthday?" And with tears in my eyes saying "Whateve you can afford I'll like Dad." He took me into KB and got me a Sega Genesis. Best day ever as a child. Not sure how he came up with the cash for it, but after a childhood of "did without," ... Holy s***!
Replaced by an enormous Toys R Us and Babies R Us store outside the mall.
Now: Some random store that sells clothes for kids 4-10 or so.
The interesting thing about all of these "days gone by," is not necessarily how quick they went by, but in such a short span of time in which they do. That sounds redundant. What I mean to say is, it's not the "blink of an eye," thing so much as "It's only been ten years! Why is everything gone! It should last longer!"
To the younger readers of this blog, you likely will already find that some things no longer stand from your childhood, and the twinge of sadness accompanying it.