15 December 2008

Christmas Eulogy


My son and I were trimming our Christmas tree yesterday when, at some point during the ornament hanging, I looked down at the collection of odd boxes in which the ornaments were stored and saw: Marshall Field's.

My God, I thought. That's closed. It was open for so much of my life. And now it's closed. I once bought Christmas trimmings there. I've outlived it.

I am so old, I thought. I have shopped in department stores that have ceased to exist. I have passed through the aisles of Marshall Field's, Carson Pirie Scott, B. Altman, Stern's. I don't know if I ever went to Gimbel's before it went kaput. Probably, maybe, as a teenager. I remind myself of my Wisconsin aunts, who used to regale me with tales of their long-ago visits to Milwaukee-based, one-time-powerhouse stores like Schuster's and T.A. Chapman's.

5 comments:

Francis said...

As a native Chicagoan I still can't quite believe that there is no Marshall Field's anymore. I also can't believe that when Macy's took it over they could not have, at the very least, retained the Marshall Field's name. Same with Abraham & Straus in Brooklyn. Maybe it was a legal thing. But I still have trouble believing Macy's couldn't have made some arrangement to keep the old names.

Ken Mac said...

where was Wannamakers? Philly?

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Wanamaker's was closed by the time I got to NYC.

Francis said...

Wanamaker was both Philly and NYC. The NYC one was in two connected buildings, one of which still stands and has K-Mart in part of it. The Philly Wanamaker, which was a glorious store, was, last time I saw it, converted into an office building with a portion of it serving as Lord & Taylor. The other great NYC loss was B. Altman & Co. where CUNY Graduate Center now is.

Stephanie said...

I remember shopping at A&S, Bamberger's, and Ohrbach's. My mother held onto her charge plates from those stores for years after they'd closed.