back in time in a mall

Today I had reason to stop at the Tramshed Centre in the very middle of town.  Now I had not been there since I was studying in the 80's and this was then a close centre for me to frequent.  This was long before the Brooklyn Mall / Menlyn / Kolonnade era. People shopped in the middle of town ... that is where the OK Bazaars, big Edgars and Greatermans / Garlicks was.  

The shop I had to pop into has only one branch, in the Tramshed, and it was with some trepidation that I entered their covered parking.  When I had walked down the steps, doing all the ridiculous normal things .... clutching my bag, clutching my cellphone and trying to remember where I was putting my parking ticket, I did notice that I stuck out somewhat in the mall.  But I was surprised ..... there are not a lot of shops .... but there are some of the brand ones and it was really clean and neat and obviously had the "prerequisite for malls in October" Christmas decorations which just gets my hackles rising.  I soon relinquished my white knuckled grip on all my belongings and relaxed my bambi in headlights look when I realised that although the location was not ideal, the shop I needed was there, and so was I.  The salesman was accommodating and very friendly, the service was quick and the only shock came when I exited the parking to find that 0-2 hours comes at a whopping R10 .... way more than any of the upper class malls in the Eastern suburbs.  I had only been in there 15 mins after all.  The cashier at the booth told me it was high to keep people out who use the parkade as their daily parking place when they work in the area. 

When I drove out the parking I thought how sad it is that our kids never got the experience of "going to town".  I can remember as a child my mom had an account at Greatermans / Garlicks .... it was an old fashioned department store ... taking up 3 levels and having all the fancy hosiery, glove, perfume and other departments.  Naturally it came with a tea room where we always went for creamy milkshakes and lunch.  They played soft classical background music throughout the store and salesladies were extremely well groomed and polite, always in the background, never in your face ..... the face cream from the Dead Sea / Perfume people who lurk in the passages in malls and jump out accosting you with their samples could take a lesson from this.  Another outing was with my grose ouma ... she had an account at Uniewinkels ... a similar multi-level department store and I could spend forever going from department to department looking at the goodies.  Around the corner from it (in an arcade leading up from Church Str) was Polly's Tearoom, the kind you read about in novels, and this was a regular spot for ouma and I. No wonder I am so coffee mad today.  Kids don't know about the OK Bazaars and their restaurant in the basement that made the best pies and gravy you ever tasted, or riding on the bus to town and then catching it back from Church Square, about movies at the Oscar theatre in Sunnyside and bowling at Kingsley Centre ..... somehow it was so less complicated then. 



Till next time
c'est la vie xxx

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