Labor Day Shopping With Cathy at a Historical Landmark
Expected were the big retail chains in all of their shiny splendor, with inviting storefronts and end-of-summer sales. Unexpected were the cavernous store interiors, three stories high (each!!!); but expected was that they were filled with every kind of item you could possibly imagine and absolutely don’t need. Unexpected was the skinny, shirtless, teenage Abercrombie & Fitch greeter, and our hike up all three sets of their stairs, only to discover that we were too old and too big for their line of clothing. Unexpected was the guy at the outdoor hair care kiosk who wouldn’t take “no” for an answer, continued to follow us when we ran inside an adjoining furniture store just to get away from him, and who tried to accost us again several minutes later when he caught us tiptoeing past him on our way down the street.
Expected was the vintage blue wooden exterior and the sturdy handsome clock tower. Unexpected was stepping through the wonderfully restored Gilmore Gas Station into the newsstand for a moment, past the elderly man and woman seated at the front bench who must have inspired Norman Rockwell to paint his first picture. Unexpected was Kip’s Toyland and Iconic Accessories, which made me want to swap my computer for a Gumby, a Pokey, and a Slinky. Unexpected was “T” Tea Shoppe, which made me want to trade the Slinky for a cool new teapot. Unexpected was The Barbershop Club, which made me wish I was a boy named Opie who could ride my bike into town and have Floyd The Barber cut my hair while Floyd, my dad Andy and his deputy Barney tried to figure out who stole Ernie’s pig. Unexpected was Mr. Marcel Pain Vin Et Fromage and the gentleman playing very romantic French accordion music while couples sipped wine at the outdoor bar. Unexpected was my delicious scoop of Fancy Nancy ice cream from Bennett’s. And unexpected was the really nice woman working the counter at Magee’s, who allowed me to take her picture inside their vintage kitchen. — Patty