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In memoriam of the stores of my youth
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A part of my childhood died recently.

It wasn't a person but a place rather.

Or more accurately, a store.

Not just a store but a slew of them, too.

Macy's, Sears, Kmart, and --the one that hit me the hardest-- The Limited.

All were closing stores, with the Limited closing all of their store fronts for online only.

Long before there was the Mall of Georgia with its million plus square feet, there was Georgia Place Mall in Athens with all of these stores, minus Kmart, which was up the road a few miles.

And my formative years were spent in most of those stores.

Kmart wasn't a store I frequented, because we had TG&Y before our two screen movie theater was replaced with a small Walmart.

But I did visit the others quite often.

I remembered the Sears of my younger days - the "baby fat" years, filled with Granny getting my pants in a size called Pretty Plus or Husky. But even before that, Sears had a candy counter and popcorn so you could get snacks while you shopped.

Maybe that's why I needed britches in Pretty Plus.

Granny thought everything could be bought at Sears, but Mama was a smidge of a retail snob and preferred Macy's.

Of course, that was when it was Davison's, the precursor of Macy's.

Mama loved that store -she may have cried -- when it switched to Macy's but quickly recovered.

"They have the prettiest makeup counters," she whispered to me as we entered.

I was maybe 7, and I was in love. And this time, the shiny chrome and glass was housing lipstick and blush instead of chocolates and popcorn.

Granny stuck with Sears because she somehow liked the sensibility of being able to buy Pop a power tool and some shoes for Sunday in the same place and writing one check.

And in some rite of passage, The Limited was where I shopped as a teenager, moving from the kids racks in the department stores to the trendy offerings that seemed to be straight out of a John Hughes movie.

There were no sweaters in here with an iron-on cat or value-packs of underwear.

No, this wasn't my Mama's Macy's or my Granny's Sears.

It was mine.

And now, all of their stores - including the one at Georgia Square - will be nothing more than a memory.

"Everyone's shopping online," Mama said when I told her the sad news. "Well, except me. Old fuddy duddies like me don't get online to shop. I just don't know how that's going to work. Sometimes, you need to try something on before you buy it."

She had a point.

How could anyone try on clothes online?

How would anyone know the embarrassment of having their mother calling out to a sales clerk to bring you the next size up, or as Granny would say, "Bring the biggest one you got -with elastic in the waistband?"

I couldn't even begin to imagine ordering jeans online - I have to try on everything since I am so short-waisted.

It may save the companies money in the long run, but it was not something I would opt to do.
You can't get the thrill of looking through a clearance rack, hoping to find something in your size.

There will never be that "Pretty Woman" feeling of walking out of a mall loaded down with shopping bags.

And it's kind of hard to create memories of post-shopping pretzels or overpriced cookies when shopping online.

Maybe I am just a sentimental Generation X-er, thinking the things I enjoyed as a teen needed to stick around forever.

Maybe I just want everyone to have the same good memories I did - minus the grandmother bellowing across Sears how I needed a big girl size.

I'm sure the younger generation may not even care about going to the mall; most don't remember a pre-Amazon world with Prime delivery. And that is probably why a lot of these stores are closing their doors.

When I was a teen, I probably would have liked it myself.

Who am I kidding?

I wouldn't trade those mall memories - and the post-shopping pretzels -- for anything.

Sudie Crouch is an award winning humor columnist and author of the novel, "The Dahlman Files: A Tony Dahlman Paranormal Mystery."