As was touched upon during yesterday’s podcast, I’ve been thinking about the giant holiday soldiers that once stood guard outside the North Shore Shopping Center for weeks now. If I’m being honest here, I actually think about them each December.
Having lived in Middleton, Hamilton, Gloucester, and Rockport for my entire life I have years worth of memories that somehow include hours clocked at that mall.
Now, I’m not trying to say that the mall itself holds any special place in my heart…and, in all actuality, I’m happy to report that many months go by when I don’t ever step a foot in there these days. While holiday shopping this year, I went to the mall exactly once. I hit the Apple Store, J Crew, and the Gap and was out in less than 30 minutes.
That having been said, I do have very fond memories from way back when that involve that same shopping center in one form or another. For example, I remember fondly the way my grandmother would refer to it as the shopping center rather than the mall when I was a teenager. I have fond memories of Brigham’s…but, that could have been The Liberty Tree Mall. Speaking of…remember that strange, silver Tree that once stood in the center of that mall? In speaking with my mother last night to piece together my memories, she was able to tell me that that tree was at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York before being moved to Danvers.
I did really love those big toy soldiers!
Likewise, I have such fond and vivid memories of what, in my mind, was miles and miles of Christmas decorations adorning the long corridors of the mall. I remember holiday scenes set up the length of the mall. Every 50 yards or so, would be a different mini village to gaze upon with the holiday wonder that kids eat up like crazy. I also remember giant, brightly colored artificial Christmas trees.
The problem is…. I seem to be the only one who remembers those decorations.
Help me out here, would you?! Did they really not exist? That can’t possibly be!
My mother was able to fill me in on the rides in Kiddietowne (that evidently, according to our podcast, Joey remembers. Or at least he remembers the train.)….but, it seems those rides closed in 1973…and since I was just 2 years old then, I don’t fault myself for not remembering them. My mom confirmed the old grocery store….and that I did indeed get lost there once when I was little. Sorry, Mom! She, likewise, can confirm my memories of the toy soldiers. I also managed to find a photo of those outside of Filene’s. My grandmother always said “Filene’s” with a soft i sound like Fill ene’s. Funny the things you remember.
After an hour of my life that I’ll never get back, I came up pretty empty handed in regards to the shopping center of my childhood memories.
Here’s a link to the rides at Kiddietowne that stood outside of where Macy’s is today. Who would have thought? And, for the record, for anyone with warm fuzzies about Kiddietowne, it turns out that they have reunions. I read about the last one on their website. Sadly, it took place in 2006. I’m not sure if there are more in the works.
I also found some information on this website. It details some of the growth, change, and development…but, doesn’t fill in any of the missing information I was looking for. Bummer. I barely remember it being an outdoor mall.
I think, in piecing together my memories and Joey’s memories, that maybe the decorations that I’m speaking of ultimately became part of the Enchanted Village at Jordan’s Furniture. Thoughts?
While we’re at it…check out the photo of the old movie theater. Not as waaaay back as some of my other memories, but man, did I clock some time there during Middle School and High School. Open the flood gates of memories with this photo!