Monday, January 9, 2012

Going to the mall

When you grow up in a small town there isn't a whole lot to do.

When you grow up in a small town like mine, there's even less.

Oh sure. There was a bayou in my backyard, complete with snakes, a couple of live alligators and a pair of turtles I named Ethel and Fred. We had a boat, but it was my brother's. I never took off in it or anything. I rode my bike a lot.

There was a Kentucky Fried Chicken down the street, and my mom let me walk down sometimes to get a "suicide," -- a drink in which you would squirt a little from each of the options available at the drink fountain.

And there was a Shop-N-Bag across the street, where I would go to buy sour pickles and cokes after school (and later smokes because no one carded you back then.)

But the biggest thrill for us as pre-teens, tweens and even teenagers, was going to The Mall.

By mall standards, it's no Mall of America. Or Mall of Louisiana. It's just the mall of Houma. And it was about the only entertainment we had.

(I'm about to tell you how old I am, so get ready).


I can't even count the number of Saturdays I spent cruising the halls of the mall with my friends. Well, for a long time it was only one hall. One and a half if you count the one where the movie theater was. Now it's two. And a half. Sorta.

But we would spend hours, whole days even, walking up and down, looking for boys.  Going to the movies to watch "Jesus Christ Superstar" over and over and over again (13 times, actually).  Going to D.H. Holmes' to look at clothes (and to use their bathroom). Going to Sears to look at the record collection (and David Pere, who worked there). Going to the old K&B drug store to look at makeup and 16 Magazine, and ordering bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches at the old lunch counter. Going to the arcade to play pinball and air hockey and Space Invaders (I had high score for the longest time!). Going to the pet store to look at the cute puppies and the Nut House where my cousins worked.

And, later, going to the Lion's Share restaurant (that my mother insisted was a bar) to order cokes and hamburgers and rib eye steaks broiled in butter. I spent the night of my 17th birthday there -- with an 18th candle on my cake so I could drink (I live in Louisiana, people). And I met the boy I thought I was going to marry there on the first day of my senior year of high school. I used to visit him at the shoe store where he worked.

I still make occasional forays to this tiny Southland Mall, especially in the months after Hurricane Katrina pretty much shut down New Orleans and its suburbs. It's close enough. It's convenient. I know it. And it's, well, home.

Saturday afternoon I went back again. But this time was so, so different. This time, instead of leaving with something new, I left something.

I went to see a nice little man named Mr. Guidry, who owns this cute little shop called La.  Cajun Stuff. If you want or need anything purple-and-gold, black-and-gold, LSU or Saints related or marked with a fleur-de-lis, this is your place. He's got clothes and jewelry and accessories and home decor and CDs and DVDs and back scratchers made with alligator claws and a whole rack of books.

And now he has my book.

On his shelf.

In the mall.

In my mall. In my hometown.

How cool is that?

I can't even begin to tell you.










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22 comments:

  1. That is so cool! Congratulations! The mall I did all those same things at (my game was Centipede) is long gone and in a weird kind of way, I miss it.

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  2. That must be a pretty good feeling to see your book somewhere that means something to you. Congratulations!

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  3. That's very cool! Congratulations!

    (We made suicides too, at the pool concession stand in the summer.)

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  4. Well that deserves a big congrats! How exciting! We called suicides swamp water - aptly named I think considering they always turned out the colour of mud.

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  5. Thank you,
    Thank you,
    Thank you
    and Thank you!

    Who knew suicides were so darned popular??

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  6. Wow! Pretty darn awesome! We used to hang out at McDonald's and the mall until they banned teenagers without parental guidance. Things got out of control.

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  7. I love the vivid description of where you grew up.

    I love even more that you're an author whose book is sitting in a store, where you grew up.

    Awesome!

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    1. You mean, not everyone has an alligator in their back yard? Hmmm.

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  8. It was pretty cool. I kept saying all day. "I'm in the mall!" I even Facebooked the picture!

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  9. What a great feeling it must be to see your book on the shelf in a store. (Swoon!)

    Congrats!

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    1. I'll admit. I got a little tear. It was a special moment. I even asked him if he minded if I take the photo. He kind of laughed at me.

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  10. How awesome to have come a full circle- back in the mall!

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  11. You made it big!!! Congrats! Did he know who you were? My daughter in 6 grade wrote a poem and it was picked to be publish in a poem book which was pretty cool. I am going to check your book out....
    Congrats again!
    XOXO,
    Shirley

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  12. No! He had no idea who I was! How rude. But he was nice enough.

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  13. Congratulations! And who says "you can't go home again"?

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  14. This is a great post! My little mall was a pizza shop on the corner. We walked, and later drove, around that place. . .circling it for hours. We would get pizza every once in a while, but mainly just watch to see who was there. Congratulations on your book being published and sold in your mall. That is very very cool.

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    1. Thank you Kimberly! ... Ok. I thought our mall was small.

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  15. I LOVE that Blogger finally lets us reply to comments! Yay! I'm on a comment frenzy this morning.

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  16. So awesome! Love this and I too grew up in one of these small towns and spent hours at the mall. we didn't have snakes, turtles or alligators, but we had a mall! Congratulations on your book being on the shelf, what a lovely version of past meets present and I hope that one day I will walk around my small town in Southern Oregon and see the same thing! Maybe my book next to yours:)

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  17. Wow! That's a full circle, huh!?!

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