Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #72

You may not know that I grew up in Omaha, and spent a lot of that time in the Westroads Mall. It was the closest and biggest mall in our area of town and it had plenty of ways to keep us occupied. In light of the shooting that happened there yesterday, I'd like to share memories of that mall:

  1. My earliest memories of Westroads was standing in line to see Santa. They had an impressive animated display, complete with a Santa's workshop, moving elves and reindeer, and everything imaginable to make a kid stand there with their mouth open for several minutes. I only stood in line to see the display, and refused to see Santa, much to the dismay of my parents.
  2. When the mall was young, it did not have a food court. But it did have Bishops Cafeteria! You grabbed a tray, and as you went down the line, you can choose whatever foods you wanted. They would total it up at the end. I remember always getting a Jetsons plate with ham, green beans, and the best macaroni and cheese ever made.
  3. There was a cheap theater in the mall. My father and I used to go on Saturday mornings and see Star Wars--for as long as it was playing in the theater. I think we did this about 12 times!
  4. When my half-sister was staying with us, she used to take me to the mall on Saturday. We used to always see a movie--no matter what was playing. I remember seeing some really bad ones: Escape from Witch Mountain, Heaven Can Wait, and Hanger 18.
  5. When the phone company was de-monopolized (aka deregulated), an Omaha Bell store was put in so that you can buy your own phone! They had a display were you can call other phones in the store, and we'd do this for as long as they'd let us.
  6. The Montgomery Wards had a candy counter where my Dad would always buy chocolate stars with the white little balls on them. They sold balloons, too, but my Mother hated balloons and he'd get in trouble if he bought me one.
  7. My Mother worked at the Montgomery Wards for many years. She worked in the back at the very old-fashioned switchboard. It was the kind with all the wires and holes and you had to put the right wire in the right hole to connect someone to the right extension. I'd sneak back and watch her and ask for more money.
  8. When I was a young teen, my Mother would take me and a friend to the mall while she worked. I guess we were considered early Mall Rats.
  9. My best friend's mother owned a t-shirt shop on the lowest floor in a corner. We'd go just to say "Hi" (she didn't live with her Mother.) But it was the kind of store where you can pick out the shirt and the transfer and they'd put it on for you with a steamer. I remember getting a baseball jersey with a rainbow. I also remember they had a shirt that on the front that said, "To entertain an idiot, see other side." It said the same thing on the back.
  10. If I had extra money, I'd always buy an Orange Julius. I almost never had extra money.
  11. My first boyfriend bought me a bracelet there and had it engraved with my name on one side and "Love, (name)" on the other. We went there on my birthday.
  12. One of the last things I did before boarding the plane to move to Ohio, was go to that t-shirt shop I mentioned earlier. I bought a shirt that said, "London, England (with a picture of Big Ben); Rome, Italy (tower of Pisa); Paris, France (Eiffel Tower)' and Omaha, Nebraska (cow)."
  13. Whenever I visit Omaha, I go to Westroads. It's very different now and looks nothing like I remember. But it has a food court that still has Orange Julius and a Runza Hut. If you've never had a Runza, you should.


Janet said...

I've never heard of Runza. Those poor people, I feel so sad for them.

Zenmomma said...

I'm with ya on the Santa thing. That guy is scary!

Head Gaggler said...

Great list. I love Orange Julius too.

Norma said...

This is a sad time for Omaha. Thanks for sharing some happier times with us; I'm sure many were unaware of this mall and it's nice to have some perspective.

Robin said...

Such a horrible thing. I'm glad you shared some happier memories of earlier times.

colleen said...

My growing up mall was called "Braintree Plaza." It was a first, meaning they didn't exist before that! I think it was a string of stores that weren't linked up inside until a bit later. I missed the news and hadn't heard about the shooting. I'm going to look into it now.

Nicholas said...

I thought Heaven Can Wait was pretty good but I agree that Escape From Witch Mountain was a bomb.