Thursday, January 13, 2011

1-13-11 Almeda

Quick trip down memory lane this evening, since I'm staying committed to blogging every day. I tripped over a folder marked "Almeda" and browsed through the few images I'd saved a while back as I was trying to remember the features of the mall I grew up with. Mostly what I have is memories of things no one ever must have taken a picture of . . .

Almeda Mall is a shell of itself now, overshadowed pretty quickly even in the 80's when the flashy, grander, newer Baybrook Mall opened down the highway a few miles.

But in the 70s, it was the place to be. I even started a group on Facebook where surprisingly quite a number of people chimed in with their fond memories of the place. Reading the wall brought back even more memories.

It was built in 1968, two years before I was born and from a very early age I remember the big blue awnings covering the arches of the Foley's that always reminded my childhood imagination of giant heavy eyelids. Those blew away in 1983 when Hurricane Alicia swept through. I can't find a single picture on the internet of them, either.

I remember being so excited to get to eat at the Woolworth's in the big squishy booths (we never sat at the counter).

Alas, searching Google images doesn't turn up much that matches my memories, although this shot of the store side of Woolworth's brings back memories.

And there was Farrell's (which they're bringing back, at least in California) -- the place to be seen on your birthday.

But my earliest memories of the mall are of Foley's itself. I tripped over this picture below of the Foley's toy department from the 70s, which in my memory is directly across from the kids' shoe department, where they had a giant wooden ship with masts you could play on and climb, at least when you weren't being forced to try on shoes. No picture of that, either. And I remember sneakers that had red and white checkerboard that I adored and when I wore them out, we went back and got another pair.

Penney's (the other anchor) had a candy counter where we would get chocolate non pareils (still my favorite) and malted milk balls.

And Picadilly Cafeteria. The one thing that is still there (and hasn't been redecorated in a very long time). After Luby's went in at Baybrook, we almost never ate there, but prior to that it was a favorite -- everyone could get what they wanted. I always loved the bright jello bowls at the front.

There was the fountain in the center of the mall and oh so many stores in between the anchors of Foley's on one end and Penney's on the other. Down from Farrell's near the pet store were the big statues of animals (I remember the lion most distinctly) you could climb on. For some unknown reason, perhaps just because it was the 70s, they were painted in easter egg colors.

The whole mall was closed on Sundays and the giant parking lot was empty. Blue laws.

Just a little slice of nostalgia this time around. And since I can't find a picture of those awesome checkerboard sneakers, here's the next best thing: SNOOPY SOCKS!


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