Our visit to Sawgrass Mills shopping mall yesterday had me thinking about the frailty of our world. Sawgrass Mills was a state of the art shopping mall when it was built in 1990, and actually has been one of the top five Florida tourist destinations for years. Yet it has already been surpassed by another mall south of it in Miami.
When I was a teenager we hung out at Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, Illinois. It was the state of the art mall of it’s time, the first totally enclosed mall that I had ever seen. It opened in 1966, coinciding with me getting my drivers license, a perfect storm. That was where I bought all my records (old fashioned recording devices before I-Pods and CD’s), did all my Christmas shopping and picked up the fashionable clothes of the time.
In high school all the boys were wearing skin tight pants that left nothing to the imagination, and Beatle boots that had pointy toes with inch and a half heels. After one trip to the mall I came home looking and feeling really ‘groovy’ in my new Beatle boots. My dad had a different opinion, and told me that I looked like a ‘broad’, and made me return the cool shoes and go back to get some respectable ones.
Dixie Square lasted only twelve years before it went belly up, mostly because the town it was in had turned almost all black and the mall became known as a place whites didn’t go to. It will live on forever in film however, because it was used in the movie ‘The Blues Brother’s for the scene where they drive through it, destroying it. The problem is, they really did destroy it. The last I heard it was a derelict wreck still sitting on Dixie Highway, because the town of Harvey can’t afford to tear it down.
One of the things I don’t like about South Florida is that they have no respect for the past. One day you drive by a cute little house that’s been there for sixty or seventy years, the next time you drive by it’s gone and a new cookie-cutter townhouse is sitting there. Sometimes I sit in my yard and look at all the trees I planted and wonder what will happen after I’m gone. Will a bulldozer turn it into a flat vacant lot, perfect to build another townhouse? Or will it will find its way into the arms of another tree hugger like me. I'd like to think that the oak tree I planted will be here a hundred years from now.