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Christmas Mood in our stores ! 

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D.P. Rosenberger & Co. New fall goods at D.P. Rosenberger & Co’s., Athens, Va. : grand opening! … dry goods, groceries, queensware, tinware, boots and shoes, hardware, hats, notions, drugs … dress goods … Athens, Virginia : D.P. Rosenberger & Co., 1880s?

Broadside 1880 .D16 FF

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L'ombre de mon ombre by Delphine

Mall interiors from the 1970s/1980s.

My mother hated them, but to me, a kid, malls were exciting. They looked like small sci-fi colonies mixed with ocean liners, with their blood-red carpets, gilded railings, jungle plants, and crooked floor patterns. The mall, that’s where you found your precious toys. It’s where humans lived, and promises were fulfilled. Take an 1980s teen flick, and there’s a scene in a mall.

George A. Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD shows one in all its kitschy glory.

I was about 12, when I saw her again: she was hanging out with her friends near the fountain. A blonde elf-like girl, the sun around which the other kids orbited, she laughed a lot. Whenever her friends laughed though, she seemed quiet, troubled even, biting her thumb; that’s when her eyes caught me. In a dark corner, two 16-year-olds, who seemed like real adults to me, were playing an arcade game and eating french fries; I wondered how they could play with greasy fingers. One burped loudly, but they didn’t laugh. Eyes on the game.

Suddenly these two kids rush past you on their bikes. You know one of them, he is an enemy. He gave you the finger once, the first time you saw anyone making that gesture. “Asshole,” he says. Someone tells them they can’t ride their bikes here, they shout something back.

Gino is this thin, moustached hothead with tight stonewash jeans and big white sneakers, and a permed mullet. He doesn’t walk, he bounces, like a Muppet; he moves fast, like someone who’s on his way to punch someone. He smokes and has a gold-colored necklace with his name, but better not joke about it, because Gino is the kind of guy who doesn’t get jokes. Your brother referred to him once as “Evil Freddie Mercury”. He always seems to be everywhere: when you go ice skating, you run into him there; when you go swimming, he’s at the pool; when you’re playing football in the field behind your school you know he’s going to show up. He looks at you—whenever you look at him, his eyes always immediately shoot back—but he leaves you alone and trots out of sight. You’re vaguely relieved to see him go.

The wall with flickering TVs plays an MTV video, you kind of watch as you wait for your mother to return, but not really. The two 16-year-olds have finished their game, they mumble some curses, one smacks the arcade machine, and they leave. You see Sebastian’s mother—Sebastian, the kid who stole money once. She passes you and you feel her eyes, but you pretend not to see her.

The lady in her mobility scooter, her bags of groceries tied to the handlebars. She is rotund and can hardly walk, and always takes the elevator. Sometimes people help her get in, more often they don’t. You cracked cruel jokes about her once when you were here with your brother, but really you just felt sadness.

You realize every kid is there with friends except you, and just when you’re about to discover some great truth about yourself and the world around you, your mother returns and you go home, your toys in the plastic toy store bag that you tried to hide from the blue eyes of the elegant blonde elf, who’s still laughing with her friends, and who, though nobody would have guessed it, would go on to play such a major part in your life years later.

These are just some memories I have of the mall. Stories of my childhood unfolded there, and I remember everything.