Sunday, March 28, 2010

Blog posts that trigger memories

Over at Perfume Shrine, there's two posts that brought up memories for me. One is about the closing of the Japanese department store Takashimaya. I've never never been to their glistening new store in New York, but when I was a young girl, my mother and I would make yearly pilgrimages to their seemingly secret one, which, in my memories (that may be wildly inaccurate), was easy to miss, even though it was right on 5th Avenu. We'd go to the virtually empty store and wander around in awe at the beautiful, impossibly expensive and elegant merchandise. The salespeople were cool but friendly, and it seemed no one spoke English. But, we loved it, and we considered it our store, and our big secret. Did we ever purchase anything? Perhaps, but my memories are dim. We may have bought chopsticks, or had tea. I do not recall much except my awe, and the knowledge that being poor and loving such elegance was a frustrating combination, even as a child. My mother loved window shopping at high-end stores, but she preferred actually shopping at bargain basements where she could rummage through the merchandise. She preferred acrylic to wool, thought linen was useless because one had to iron it, and didn't give a hoot that a pair of cheap shoes might last all of two wearings. I was a little snob. From an early age, I wanted handmade shoes that would last a lifetime.

Another post at Perfume Shrine shows us some truly fun antique perfume dispensing machines. Check it out! They are fun just to look at.

I'm sure I've encountered one in my early childhood. The minute I saw the first red one (check the site!), memories of my grandmother flashed through my mind. It's plausible that I did use one, or at least saw one, when having lunch with my grandmother and mom in the City. Or maybe it just reminds me of the years when these things were still lurking in the bathrooms of places now long gone. I'm sure it wasn't in the automat, yet the automat, too, flitted through my mind's eye when I saw the picture. I'd be duplicating old posts by writing more here. Go here to read about the automat and other bits of a lost New York, and here for memories of my grandmother.

Looking over these old posts is illuminating. I was pining for New York way back in 2008. I was also a much more interesting blogger back then. At some point, I ran and out of inspiration but kept on writing. I hope that the rest of 2010 sees a return to more interesting posts!

Photo note: I believe that when I was a kid, this was the only indication that there was a store inside the building. No wonder it was nearly empty.

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