Sunday, April 19, 2020

EP 004 Valley Fair Mall, and $0.50

The Valley Fair Mall was the highlight of many Saturday mornings.  My grandmother would have a hair appointment at a beauty college located in the back of the mall just past the entrance to the cinema.  In the late 70s, on a Saturday morning in West Valley City, Utah was a pretty safe place to be.  If I was lucky, there might $0.50, or 4 bits as my grandfather would tell me, for me to wander around the mall looking for a place to blow my wad.
There were only two places a kid with two bicentennial quarters might go to relieve himself of the burden of cash.  The Keyhole was as the name implies a tiny little shop cut into the side of one of the spider legs found in shopping malls.  It had space for about four customers and a window on the front with a display.  Merchandise displayed above and around the back of the shop.  None of the goods were costly, and a couple of shiny quarters returned a decent score.  If one were to have folding money, they were royalty.
The second go-to spot was the vending machines in the drugstore on the other end of the mall—plenty of quality merchandise to be had in those glass and tin miracles.  For a dime, a small rubber ball could be yours.  That would, of course, require getting change for a quarter from the clerk, which mostly went without incident, only occasionally was a purchase required.

After procuring the ball, I
was obligated to test the bounce of the ball. I recall that the brighter the color, the higher the bounce.  The cutaway between the parking lot and the mall entrance was a rectangular shape similar to a handball court, so I played a variety of rubber ball games.  When the ball was either lost to the roof, or I would become bored, a survey of the cinema posters was in order so I could learn what Hollywood had in store for the well-heeled in Granger.   The best I could hope for was the movie coupons from Pioneer Elementary, which would not include any of the feature films of the day.

Then, when my routine was complete, I would head back into the beauty college to inquire with grandma if she was close to being finished?  I do not know what the hairdressers were doing to grandma's hair, but I can tell you it took forever!  Often the children's bible would be at hand, and I would set myself to studying Scripture.  I have to say that the imagery was fascinating to me, and was fuel for my already overactive imagination.  The Noah story and the Babel story were my favorites.  The Sunday School class in the 1st ward of our church never showed us pictures as I saw in the book; these pictures came to life.
Cartoon cutouts of lions and elephants smiling on a flannel board did little to stimulate wonder.  I digress, eventually we would get into the old Ford Galaxie, and head home. Of course, getting home would only cause me to face the reality that my Skyro sat perched in the giant old cottonwood tree for all eternity.
Within a few moments, I would forget all about the Skyro, hop on my Huffy, and head for the hill to see who was around, and my Saturday adventure would continue well into the evening.  Never a wasted minute in our little Granger neighborhood.

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