Wednesday, June 02, 2004

parts of childhood fading away department

One of my regular childhood vacation haunts appears to be on its last legs. As mentioned in past entries, my family vacationed in Toledo at least once a year to play around at the Holidome, stock up on glassware at the Libbey factory store and shop at Southwyck Mall. The centre of the mall was a huge sunken pit that Amy and I ran up and down while the parent not watching us went into the Lion department store. We ate kiddie meals at Friendly's or stopped at the only McDonalds mall location I'd ever seen. Samples galore at Hickory Farms, in the days before they set up holiday kiosks everywhere. Stops down the road at Centre supermarket or a meal at Bill Knapp's. Losing a shoe at another Holiday Inn nearby (don't remember, but Mom will never let me forget).

Over time, trips to Toledo grew less frequent (replaced by trips to Ann Arbor). I doubt I've been in Southwyck over the past decade, content to read about its decline rather than witness it. One anchor went belly-up (Montgomery Ward), while the Lion department and home stores were swallowed up by the Dillards chain. Mom and Dad made the odd trip there, but stopped aftet they found the place too depressing (and Dillards a comedown from Lion). Over the past couple of years, read about the other stores trickling out, other proposed shopping centres, the closure of the old home store and general disinterest from the current owner. The final nail appears to be the total pullout of Dillards, leading the Toledo Blade to treat its doomed condition as a police case.

The family's heading down to Toledo next month for a stock-up trip at Libbey's. If there's any time (and security isn't too observant), it's tempting to bring the digital camera along to snap some shots before it joins the annals of dead malls.

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