Mall memories

During my blogging sabbatical of 2014 and 2015, when I didn’t want to draw attention to myself, my wardrobe went white, gray, and black. It was easier to be monotone, and it matched my mood.

Eventually, though, I began to take notice of the colors of the world. I inched back into blogging; my first few posts featured Malia’s colorful illustration of our Caribbean vacation and my snapshots of back-eyed Susans in Cleveland and roadside goldenrod in North Carolina. Soon enough, my closet was filled with coral chinos, red linen shirts, and for work, blue oxford shirts. I also bought an orange tie that always seems to get a compliment.

Doing the laundry one day, Erin noticed a sameness.

“Don’t buy another blue shirt,” she told me that night, confirming the nagging feeling I’d been having when I get dressed for work each morning.

So, today, after brunch with friends and then Oliver’s basketball game, I drove with Anna and Malia to the mall. We split up, and I went to my favorite store to make use of the 50% sale. (A gimmick, since what I pay for a discounted shirt today is more than what a full-priced shirt cost just a few years ago.) I walked out with a few new shirts; one is a cool blue pattern on white.

Walking to meet the girls, I had this memory of the mall my mother used to take me to in Idaho (the one with the arcade.) and the taste of those visits—we always went into the Orange Julius shop for a frothy, sweetened orange drink. I hated shopping for clothes, and I think mom made Orange Julius a regular treat because it made the mall trip bearable for us both.

The color orange followed me from Idaho to St. Croix to Illinois, where I found myself in a high school with the colors black and orange. I put orange shoe laces in my black oxford shoes last week, and in doing so, one of the eyelet tabs fell off. Until then, I had never noticed that the little ring tabs were on the underside of the vamp, and until I just looked up the definition of Oxford shoe, I didn’t know that the underside ring is the defining characteristic of that shoe.

From Orange Julius to Oxford shoes. Fascinating where a memory will take you.



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