Sunday, February 18, 2018


Ian Bogost sort of eulogizes the mall in the Atlantic article When Malls Saved the Suburbs From Despair. It touched a nerve because malls have been integral to my life. As a young child, my parents would take me to Upper Darby's 69th Street or stand-alone stores along Lancaster Pike, but I do remember the occasional foray to the Plaza at King of Prussia. In junior high, I would ride my bike to MacDade Mall, (which doesn't merit a Wikipedia entry, but has closed and re-opened.) As I entered high school, Springfield Mall opened, and I spent quite a bit of time there over the next few years. Come to think of it, Springfield Mall was a pretty regular stop for me until I moved to Florida. In addition to these, Granite Run Mall and Exton Square were frequent haunts.

When I got married and moved to Horsham, my wife was working at the Village Mall. This gave me a sense of deja vu, because the Village Mall was a duplicate of the MacDade Mall in Holmes, PA. Of course, by that time Woolco had been replaced by Bradlee's, but they were still very similar. We did grocery shopping at the Acme, got pizza from Roman Delight, filled our prescriptions at Thrift Drug, bought batteries, switches, and other electronic ephemera at Radio Shack, and went to the movies at the Village Mall Cinema. Over the next 30 years, my wife worked at Willow Grove Mall and Montgomery Mall, and visits for meal breaks eventually included children who just had to visit KayBee Toys and the pet store.

My wife still works as an on-call at Macy's in a mall here in Florida, but things are certainly not the same as 30 or 40 years ago. I certainly spend more at Amazon than I do at any mall, and the Wal-Mart just down the street is the easiest place to go for various household items required on short notice. It would be nice if the mall would morph into something that could fit into our ever-changing society and grow along with it, but that is probably too much to hope for.

BTW, this post has absolutely nothing to do with the Kevin Smith movie, Mallrats. Other than, like the physical mall, Mallrats 2 seems to have died.