There is a stone marker at the end of our new block, right in front of a small commercial area with a restaurant and a few stores. It looks like the remnant of the kind of markers that used to be used for platting or showing the distance to nearby towns. It seems like an apt symbol for us as we move from the suburbs to a more urban setting. We wanted to be within walking distance of restaurants and grocery stores and shops, just as we were when we lived on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. back in the ’80s, and now we’re here.
Richard spent Black Friday at a Jacksonville, Florida Toys ‘R’ Us and wrote a good story about how Black Friday is changing for the Florida Times-Union. On his Twitter account he reported that he was amazed at how little the store layout had changed from the last time he went to Toys ‘R’ Us as a kid.
The mention of Toys ‘R’ Us made my skin crawl and brought back some memories — all of them unpleasant. I absolutely hated going to that store — in our case, the outlet near the intersection of Sawmill Road and 161 in northwest Columbus — and ‘m not sure exactly why. Maybe it was the greedy, screaming kids who always seemed to be found there in terrible abundance. Maybe it was the fact that all of the products for sale seemed cheaply made and grossly overpriced. Maybe it was our bad luck in always getting a shopping cart with a broken wheel that stopped rotating when we were on aisle 3.
When you are a parent, you go through a number of rites of passage with your kids — some good, some bad. When Richard and Russell were past the age when they wanted toys, and we were blissfully relieved of the need to every again go to a Toys ‘R’ Us, it was a milestone worth celebrating.