THOSE WERE THE DAYS, MY FRIEND

And now some of us are 64?  Will you still need me, will you still feed me…

Where the hell did all the time go?  Have you listened to Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” lately?

1-grandview plaza

How appropriate that this center of our young lives was also on Route 66.  It adds to the romance.  We could, and did, walk here, but it was a long cement trek.  It was very near to our high school. The Grandview Cinema (which would materialize about where the little floating sign suspends above) did not open with the shopping center; it was built a little later.  There, we dated.  We shopped at Penney’s.  We stared into the mostly matte black windows of the Jet Lounge, and wondered what was going on in there.

The most evocative part of the picture above is what is surrounding Grandview Plaza: the pattern of houses.  They marched on for miles.  No one lived much differently than anyone else.

I begged my father’s new 1967 Le Sabre Convertible soon after I got my license for some unimportant task.  Took that car top-down to Grandview, parked it and strolled around Penney’s.  It wasn’t until looking for my keys on the way out that I realized they were left in the car.  With the top down.

dad's car

grandview plaza postcard

You can see the sign in this postcard in the lower left of the first image, across from the gas station.  Image is sure more important now.

Much more fun to take the bus, changing once at the exotic Ferguson Loop and go to Famous-Barr in the Northland Shopping Center in Ferguson.

northland

We’d save up our money, have lunch in the mezzanine between floors; there were drawings of women shoppers; angular, a mix between Audrey Hepburn and Barbie carrying hat boxes.  Later, during the British Invasion, there was a shop for juniors mimicking Carnaby  Street.  You just had to use the bus to get that kind of fashion interface!

glenns accident

Glenn had his first accident in the area just under the Kresge sign.  Years after this picture was taken, but we remember the Christmas candles on the roof.  And it was Santa in the helicopter.  This was probably the first year Northland did this.

northland 3

Northland was destroyed in 2005.

My now thirty year old son was maybe six when he realized that my youthful world was not actually black and white.  He was very perceptive.  In a way, the sixties WERE very black and white.

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5 thoughts on “THOSE WERE THE DAYS, MY FRIEND

  1. Hi Lee,
    Thanks for the walk down memory lane. All of the memories are so fresh, but so long ago. It helps to remember the wonderful area that we grew up in. Today’s news of the area breaks my heart.

    Sue McColl Cooper

  2. Hey Sue, so happy to see your name here. I think we all are feeling just horrible. To be so far away feels helpless, but those still around St. Louis can only simply watch too. A different world, my friend.

  3. Aww, this post makes me wanna shed a tear. I’m 28 years old and my I have so many memories in Northland. I remember shopping at the playless store there, going to the $1 cinema with my parents as a kid! My friends and I used to play around the neglected Northland mall a little over 10 years ago as we walked through Northland/ Ferguson to get to Aldi (now moved), Walmart or Toys R Us (now closed!) on west florrisant. Heck, I even remember visiting the Blockbuster that used to be in Northland in the mid/late 90’s as a kid with my parents then as a teenager with my friends. It’s so weird getting old and seeing these pictures. It just brings back so many bittersweet memories from my childhood. Memories that are now long gone and seem to be moving further and further away from me as I get older. As I look at these pictures the song When We Were Young by Adele plays in my head. Thank you for sharing.

    *P.S, I had no idea Northland mall had been around for so long. I remember visiting as a very small child and then the mall being closed as I got older and I only ever remember it being abandoned.

    1. Chris, interesting perspective! The stores you describe are all so contemporary to me, except for Blockbuster. We all have our sentiments, but they reside in different decades. I do not live there anymore, but was back this weekend for a funeral. I understand this area was ground zero for much of the rioting after Michael Brown. Sheesh, even more change.

      1. I live in downtown clayton now, but I past by there every now and then when I visit my grandma in Hazelwood and the memories always come rushing back. You know there’s a Schnucks and Target there now. I just wanted to remember things the way they were so I googled it and was lead to your post among others. You’re right we all have our sentiments… those ancient recollections that we transform and select every now and then.

        I don’t know much about the plaza being ground zero for the rioting; however, I do have personal memories of being on the property were he was shot and killed. My aunt used to live over there when I was a kid maybe about 10-11 years old and that used to be a shortcut for my friends and I to take to get to walmart in my teenage years. The nostalgia. LOL

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