My cousin MaryAnne was finally getting married which meant my mother, sister Elisa and I had to go shopping for new dresses and shoes. When shopping day finally arrived we all climbed into Mom’s car – even Dad who followed us everywhere. 

So off we went to Macy’s, happily chatting about what kind of dresses we wanted to get – grown up ones this time. Dad said maybe he’d look for a new suit but Mom reminded him he had a perfectly good one reserved for weddings and funerals. Maybe a new shirt and tie but that’s it. We weren’t the Rockefeller’s after all. Dad grumbled something and Mom informed him that she would happily turn the car around and take him home. She was in charge and we knew today was going to go her way. The rest of the ride to the store was quiet and sullen. 

Finally Mom pulled into the parking lot and we excitedly jumped out, running for the entrance. “No running!” Mom screamed after us. “This is a fine department store and you are to act like young ladies at all times. And we stay together. No wandering off. Is that understood?”  And we hung our heads and mumbled “Yes, Mom.” 

Once inside, Mom told Dad to meet us back there in exactly one hour and off he went to the men’s department. Mom, Elisa and I went to the elevator to get to the 2nd Floor. The elevator was being serviced so we had to take the escalator, but the up escalator was also being serviced. 

Well, isn’t this dandy?!” my mother huffed. “How are we supposed to get upstairs?” 

The repair man replied “Up the down escalator.  Just walk up and jump off. See – everyone’s doing it.” 

“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. I’m not doing that. We’ll just have to come back another day.” 

“No, please!” we pleaded. “We’re here already. Come on – we’ll help you.” 

Reluctantly Mom agreed. We stepped onto the down escalator and started climbing up. It was actually quite easy – until we got to the top. Elisa and I jumped off but Mom couldn’t do it. This stoic, practical, fearless woman suddenly looked like a hamster on a wheel, all the while screeching “Help me! Help me!”  

No matter how many times we told her to just stand still and ride the escalator down, she just didn’t get it. People kept jumping by her like gazelles on the Serengeti while she huffed and puffed, treading water. Elisa and I got on the escalator, held Mom’s arms to keep her steady and rode down to safety on the 1st Floor. Mom was mortified. 

Smoothing out her dress, Mom walked to where Dad was dutifully waiting for us. “Perfect timing! Did you girls have fun?” 

Mom gave Dad the most withering look . “This store has definitely gone downhill. We will not be coming back here any time soon. We’re going home. Everyone to the car. Now!” 

NAR © 2019

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