The last of Brookdale Mall has been knocked down, reduced to ungainly and unlovely piles of steel and cement. It would be easier to feel sad and wistful if I had actually managed to get a job there, in Brookdale’s heyday.
My main relationship with Brookdale was as a shopper, though the role became curtailed as the mall lost any shop which I had a use for — B.Dalton, The Record Shop, Donaldson’s, Schmitt Music, Woolworth’s, The Ground Round, the hobby store, the pet shop, the fabric store…
I remember the fountain in the big end of the mall — it was vaguely like a wading pool, with coins at the bottom. Near Woolworth’s there was a big planter with benches built into the sides, and a big cylinder-shaped cage in the middle, with parakeets inside.
I remember going to a Weight Watchers meeting (Brookdale had an auditorium or meeting room). I was about 14 and not chubby. I thought that Weight Watchers was like health food. I was a skinny little thing, and even worse, I was wearing hot pants. I’m sure the other attendees were appalled: “What’s that stick doing here?!”
Brookdale seemed like a magical place, that is, to a teenager who never had much to spend, or she would have had some serious shopping sprees at Schmitt Music, The Record Shop and B.Dalton.
Brookdale will be replaced by a block with shops all around. I’m curious to discover, will the new mall enhance my shopping experience, or will it foster unpalatable retail sectors which I can safely ignore? Hmm, that’s a good one.