This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It's the same, but different

The year is 1982. I walk into the Salem Mall in Dayton, Ohio with my mom. It's a banner day for my 12-year-old-self because Mom and I are going to check out the new specialty clothing store that has just opened: The Limited.
Ahhh, the Limited. I loved this store. The Limited came to our town about the same time the hormone fairies upped my interest in my appearance to an all-time-high and I was ready, babysitting money in hand, to be transformed.

Prior to the opening of the Limited my mom and I had shopped in department stores. There weren't a lot of specialty clothing stores around in the early '80s and department store shopping was pretty common. My mom's store of choice was JCPenney. She loved the catalog, the lower prices, the towels, and the "modest" style they promoted for girls my age. My store of choice was Elder-Beerman, a slightly more upscale department store that wasn't at the mall thus making it feel more special because it looked so large in its surrounding landscape. I bought my first pair of "Lee pin-striped-baggies" at Elder-Beerman. My first mini-skirt. My first pair of chinos to be paired with, what else?, a pastel Izod shirt and sweater. My first pair of too-tight Gloria Vanderbilt jeans (also paired with a pastel Izod, of course), and my first pair of Calvin Klein jeans, worn exclusively with my brown leather lace up Eastland "deck" shoes and striped socks that matched my (wait for it...) Esprit striped T shirt. Oh I was a dish, my friends, a dish I say.

But all that changed on that glorious fall day when The Limited opened up at the mall. The Limited was a store catering just to me. No longer did I have to shop where my mother shopped. No fear of my finery being rung up at the same time as one of my mother's industrial strength 18 hour bras. No fraternizing with old ladies with a blue rinse in the purse department. There were deep V Forenza sweaters in jewel tones as far as the eye could see. Matching socks in a decadently thick knit. Belts. Earrings. Everything my little 12-year-old heart could want with a premium price that buckled my knees, boggled my mind, and had me babysitting 20 hours just to afford a Forenza T shirt. I didn't care. It was worth it.

I wrote on my Christmas lists for the next 5 years: Anything from The Limited. Birthdays. Confirmation. 8th Grade Graduation. School clothes shopping for high school. "Any particular color?" my mom would ask. "No mom, just as long as it comes from The Limited." I would answer with just enough contempt in my voice to make it clear that the buyers for The Limited would never make a color error. Forenza. Outback Red (OBR to those in the know). Limited Express. I was in heaven.

Time went by. I aged. I graduated from high school. I went to college. Stores like the Gap, American Eagle, and Banana Republic began battling with The Limited for my spending dollar. I got married. I graduated from college. I got a full time job. Professional wardrobe needs began to push aside denim and I found myself frequenting Dress Barn, Casual Corner, and TJ Maxx. I never really knew when The Limited closed at the Salem Mall. I hadn't been to that mall regularly in years and hadn't been in the store itself for a decade when I noticed one day, home for the holidays and running to the mall for a last minute item, that the store was no longer there. "Oh, The Limited is gone!" I thought for a moment as I whisked by on my way to Lazarus. I had a momentary feeling of loss, quickly crowded out by a shopping agenda and my eye catching a new colorful display at Victoria's Secret. I certainly didn't notice that a key component of what shaped my adolescent sense of style and self was gone.

I didn't notice, that is, until last weekend when, on a routine jaunt to a mall in Massachusetts I saw it, big bold banner proclaiming: The Limited, Now Open! "The Limited!" I exclaimed to Steve and our bored-and-bewildered daughter, "they brought back The Limited!" My reaction was visceral, immediate, and strong: I was instantly yanked back in time 27 years to the first time I had seen the store. The banners proclaiming "Forenza!" were swaying gaily in the air-handler-breeze, the chrome racks were filled with all manner of shirts, sweaters, and jackets. I felt inexplicably happy as I walked by. As I walked by. I didn't go in. It's not my time anymore. I have a not-too-far-from-12 year old myself who was pulling me into Aeropastale. Hollister. Abercrombie. I see her face as we approach these frequently too-dark-and-too-loud specialty stores with premium prices. I know what her Christmas list will say this year: "Anything from Aeropastale!" "Any particular color?" I'll ask. "No Mom, " she'll say with slight contempt and disgust, "just as long as it's from Aeropastale! Or Abercrombie."

Maybe I'll make up my own Christmas list this year: "Anything as long it comes from Coldwater Creek!" "Any particular color?" my husband will ask.

You know how I'll respond.

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