EDITOR JULIE IMEL DISHES THE NEWS YOU NEED TO KNOW
I have to admit, I got a little carried away with our ’80s issue.
I knew I was in trouble when I started signing my emails “Dee Imel to the Max” last week. (Incidentally, that was a nickname I had in fourth grade coined by my friend, Josh, who was seriously into dancing like Michael Jackson. Boy, could he Moonwalk).
Anyway, as we planned this special edition in honor of SummerFest, a totally rad event at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs this weekend featuring an amazing lineup of ’80s bands, we couldn’t help but reminisce about the Decade of Excess — and it was a lot of fun.
On my trip down memory lane, several local places came to mind:
The Globe Store. In a streak of brilliant marketing, the Globe Store hosted “Surprise Saturday” several times a year. Here’s how it worked: all charge card customers (i.e. my mom, grandma and Aunt Debbie) would receive a secret number in the mail with an announcement of the date of the event. On Surprise Saturday, huge poster boards filled with numbers were hung from the ceiling throughout the store. You had to check each board to see if your number was posted. If it was, you won a prize in that department. Sometimes the prizes were fairly small — a Barbie doll or a book — and other times, they were huge — a new set of Farberware or a couch.
As soon as that notice came in the mail, I immediately called Grandma to coordinate plans for the day. We never missed a Surprise Saturday. We hit each floor and every department, and we shopped all day long, breaking only for lunch at the Charl-Mont. This was so much fun, and we won a lot of cool stuff. There was nothing else like it back then, and I haven’t seen anything like it since.
Santa’s World. I can’t leave the Globe without mentioning Santa’s World. This was something I looked forward to every Christmas. The Junior League of Scranton transformed a section of the fifth floor into a holiday wonderland for kids. We loved going from room to room and seeing the animated elves and reindeer and Santa’s workshop. The last one I went to had a Smurfs theme and it was adorable. Santa’s World also had a gift shop just for kids. This was an adult-free zone, so you could shop for mom without her seeing what you were buying, and everything cost less than $1. Of course, they saved the best for last, and at the end of the tour, you had a chance to visit Santa. It was wonderful.
The Scranton Dry Goods (Oppenheim’s). Another downtown retail giant, “the Dry” closed in 1980, but not before I would have a few memorable lunches there. I will never forget eating a banana split with my brother and mom in the restaurant on the second floor, and being completely fixated by the fabulous chandelier that hung in the lobby.
Nay Aug Park. Although it made my violently ill, the Tilt-A-Whirl at Nay Aug sang a siren’s song to me every time we went there. We spent many a hot, summer day at the park and at the Everhart Museum. This place had it all, from glowing rocks and owls behind glass inside the museum to Tilly the Elephant at the zoo, big swings, and pizza stands to boot. What more could a kid ask for?
Skateaway. If my parents had given me the option to live in Skateaway, I may have seriously considered it (that is, if my poodle, Saki, was allowed to come with me, of course). I’d have curled up in a ball and slept on those awesome mushroom chairs and sipped Cokes in between limbo contests and skating the day away to my favorites: Janet Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, the Bangles and Bowie. I loved roller skating, and it was one of the few physical activities I was coordinated enough to do. It’s such a strong memory that sometimes I dream I’m skating to this day.
Looking back, being a Scranton kid circa 1980s was pretty cool. I suppose maybe everybody looks back fondly on the trends and places that were prominent when they were young, but if I had to choose when I grew up, I’d still pick the era that gave us big hair, Back to the Future, Say Anything, Sixteen Candles, Family Ties, The Cosby Show, Raglan sleeves and jellies.
That’s like the scoop! Like, thanks for reading, and I’ll like meet you here again like next week.
What are your favorite ’80s memories?
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