Where I write

Where I write

September 16, 2013

Giggling at Grant's Department Store with Gloria

My best friend Gloria and I used to go to this restaurant in Grant's Department store, and torment the waitresses. To be fair, we didn't mean to torment them. We were about 11 or 12 year's old, and we liked to giggle. A lot. We had more giggles in us than money. Let's just say we weren't the best tippers in town.

On hot and humid Illinois summer afternoons, we would walk to Grants, the biggest department store in our town of Hoffman Estates. We'd hang out for hours, enjoying the air conditioning, trying on clothes, sitting on the patio furniture, putting on lipstick.  When we needed a break, we always ended up at The Skillet.

In those days, department stores came equipped with diners. Now we have Starbucks. Gloria and I would order ice tea, ask for extra lemons and sugar, and then sit and giggle. For a long time.  If we were really splurging, we'd  order a grilled cheese sandwich with french fries which we had to share because we had spent all our money on other stuff. One year at Grants we bought matching bathing suits, white ruffles with pink bows. We looked like lamp shades. Another year we bought matching outfits for a school field trip. Gloria's outfit had  yellow flowers and mine with blue. Or maybe it was the opposite.

We usually left the waitresses our spare change. The Skillet waitresses never looked very happy to see us. Go figure. I recall a lot of scowls and grim expressions.
 Below is a photo of me and Gloria taken about the time when we would go hang out at The Skillet. She's the one posing nicely on the right. I'm the awkward girl on the left. I still don't know how to pose for photos well.

The other night at work I found myself waiting on two young giggling girls. I told myself to be patient. I told myself that Gloria and I used to act the same. Karma! Now I was the sour waitress. I found myself growing annoyed as they kept bursting into laughter. I found myself feeling as if I looked like this:

I felt like I looked the middle brunette, or maybe the second one from the right. Sour. I remember being scared of The Skillet waitresses. Not scared enough not to giggle. Anyway, the other night at work I felt as if I had become a mean, old waitress with no patience for young, happy girls. All that was missing was the white cap and starched apron.

The young girls at my restaurant didn't tip me well, but that's okay. They reminded me of a happy time in my life, and to lighten up. Gloria and I are still friends and when we get together, we make sure to giggle. A lot.

1 comment:

gloria mellinger said...

Oh my gosh, what a delight to open this link, as I always do, and walk down memory lane with you! I never knew it was called the Skillet, Susy! I do remember the waitresses scowls as if it were this morning. Do you remember why we ordered ice tea?? It was endless refills :)))))
I'm chuckling now! And your "suit" was orange and yellow; mine was green and blue, and we wore them on the 5th grade field trip to some museum in Chicago. I can still see us on the bus as we left Riverfield's parking lot. Aaaaand...the ruffled bathing suits and the school suits were from Magna Mart, when you wonderful Mom worked there. Cheers to memories and to laughter. Can't wait to giggle with you again. Love you so much! Glor