Tuesday, March 29, 2011

goodbye old oak hollow

i remember when it was first built. signs that read "this is my mall" hung proudly on the newly painted walls. fresh carpet and shined linoleum were underfoot. the immediate addition of a movie theater, and it was like high point had been reborn. the oak hollow mall. with its giant acorn entrance and just the right number of stores, it breathed life into our asthmatic mill town. 

only two stories high and a light tan color, it's really not much to look at. each of the triad cities has its own mall, and oak hollow is certainly the smallest and least assuming. but it had everything a high school teen could want, especially in its glory days of 2000-2005. two days before my first date, on a warm august night, mama and i spent hours below the fluorescent lights, scouring the department store racks and stacks of folded sweaters at the gap for the perfect ensemble, settling on white capris and a teal tank top with "ciao" written in glitter across the front. i don't have either anymore, and can't tell you where they are.

then, about a year later, on another august night, i had another first date. one that would turn into a thousand subsequent dates. robert and i ate at one of the mall's restaurants. one of those typical ones where waitresses write on the table and talk about cheese fries and rib specials. a friend from school waited on us, and afterward we left the mall to play putt-putt. the restaurant closed down a few years later. nothing took its spot.

and now, a major university has bought the mall. for the time being, it's leaving it as is. however, for the past year or so, the stores have been shutting down. slowly but surely in a sad defeat. now, the only stores left are ones with names like "pastor steve's leather" or "global village." the gap was the first to leave, followed by express, dillards and other snapshot memories of my past.

because a mall is a social experience. and all the movies i watched in the dingy theater, all the half off bins i squirreled my hands through, and all the red plastic benches i ate hot pretzels on are ingrained in me, just like the people i shared those moments with. 

a lot of my friends have left our little town. but i stayed. and i pass the mall on my way home sometimes and remember. and this will always be, no matter what happens to it, my mall.


Brandi {not your average ordinary} said...

It's so strange how everything changes. I was in a mall in Virginia this past October, one that has been slowly shutting down like this one. It's such a strange sight to see, and such an eerie feeling. At least the memories are always yours. I remind myself of that when it comes time to leave places or when they disappear.

becca said...

the mall i use to go to as a teenager is now been torn down and turned into a Lowe's

Jennifer Rod said...

hold on tight to your memories... they stay with us when seasons change and even when special places are rebuilt.

ps: thank you for stopping by today. you made my day. GBU :)

Diana Smith said...

Its great to see places that hold so many memories!!

Ana* said...

The hardest part of growing up for me was adjusting to changes, friends moving, etc. I'm glad God gave us the gift of memory to hold on to those special moments.

Amanda Moury said...

Times are a changing and it's crazy to see landmarks we grew up with shutting down. It's a sad sad day.

everyone calls me bon bon said...

What beautiful memories. I can remember spending almost every weekend with my friends at the mall when I was younger. Now, when I go, it's less of a social experience and more of a shopping experience:-) xoxo

The Many Colours of Happiness said...

It's always sad when places that hold wonderful memories close down. But at least you'll always have those memories, no matter what :) xoxo

Shalyn said...

I hate seeing places that hold memories leave. I really just hate change- beautifully put!

Kelly said...

Courtney -

I love this post! I remember when going to Oak Hollow with a friend was the highlight of my adolescent life. I was so sad to see that it's closing. By the way - I know exactly which restaurant you're talking about! I was more a fan of the Mexican food place across the hall.

Love your posts!
~Kelly B.

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