I’m sure that there’s not going to be a wake or Shiva so I can’t sends flowers or a giant tray of lasagna. But the truth is that I’m just desperate to kibitz with the other mourners. It’s so hard to lose a good friend, one that I cherished over the years, and who faithfully kept all my secrets, without some type of appropriate going away ceremony. Plus, she was not only my friend, but she was a lifelong friend to so many other women of all ages, shapes and sizes.
The friendship started for me many years ago in Brooklyn NY. My mother and her fashion savvy, and bargain hunting friends, dragged me off to meet her. This was serious business, heading off Staten Island and over the Verrazano Bridge to get there. I was petrified when I first got introduced to the old dowager. There I was, a wee bit of a girl. No I was never a wee bit of a girl. I was painfully self-conscious of being cursed with having size nine feet in a 10 year olds body. I hung quietly in the corner of the wide open communal dressing room taking it all in. Shell shocked. And believe you me it was all hanging out. There was a time when I thought all women ended up with lumpy bodies wearing white cross your heart bras and Coppelia girdles.
By now you guessed that I’m reminiscing about Loehmann’s the greatest discount department store of all times.
There I was, surrounded by the devoted, dimpled masses that made the pilgrimage to Loehman’s. These were not sample- sized women. This was where the real “girls” came to shop. Because, as I learned, you just never knew what hidden treasure you might find as you sift through racks of designer clothes, like mining for gold or searching for the elusive pearl in an oyster.
I still have some of my earliest acquisitions, stuffed in the back of my closet. Like the Yves St. Laurent lime green blazer with yellow piping and pink silk lining. I keep thinking that I can either stand in for the grand Marshall at the local St. Paddy’s Day parade, or wear it to one of those 70s parties that are all the rage.
You have no idea how thrilled I was after I moved to green acres and discovered a Loehman’s in White Plains, NY. But alas all good things must come to pass. At the close of day on Wednesday, February 26, 2014, the final curtain fell.
Like any devoted follower I made my last trip to the Shrine, two weeks before it closed, anxious to snatch up any last minute deals. At first I was a little blue sifting through the racks in the “Back Room”, that extra special section of the store where the real designer rags were to be had. But then I slipped into the dressing room and easily fell into the usual banter. I spied a woman trying on a teal colored chiffon tiered dress that looked smashing on her. She had that hesitant look on her face. Like, can I really pull this off?
“That dress looks fabulous on you!” I blurt out.
“Do you think so? My son is getting married on the beach of all places, ugh, sand, sunburn and thunderstorms. I can’t believe that it’s only $42 bucks”
“Oh but no one has to know! Just accessorize and tell them you bought it at Bergdorf’s!”
I slip out the door, for the last time, with an armful of clothes and a really gorgeous white leather bag, soft as butter, that I just saw at a hoity toity department store for three times the price.
Ahh bitter sweet. That’s life. Thanks Frieda. We’ll miss you!