Window Thinking. In a sudden, somewhat cruel twist of fate, I spend much of my time these days facing a solid beige wall. It’s not all cruel and twisted! but indeed it may be awhile before I untangle from the disruptive, disorienting whirlwind that all of a sudden moved our family down the North American coastline in December. David’s so happy to be back “home” in his Lake Oswego office drawing pictures (or whatever design engineers do), the boys are delighted to be reunited with their beloved Ginger, and I….have another solid installment for the Jennifer Searls’ Library of Crazy Mixed-Up Stories.
None of that is the point of this post, though it does help to explain the setting. Our family is once again living with my parents while David and I study our map and figure out where we
want to should live next. So it was an intergenerational mix at the dinner table the other night (my brother was there too) when the conversation about chicken sourcing at fast food restaurants jumped to the fact that David’s family shopped at Target in his ever idyllic childhood state of Oklahoma. Oregonians sitting all around him at the table – we scoffed! TarJay didn’t appear in our landscape until I was in high school, he could not be remembering quite right. Google!
Of course he was right.
The History of Target Wikipedia entry quickly launched our next trail of conversation. It began as Dayton’s Dry Goods Company in 1902. This is the time, setting, and topic in U.S. history that the boys and I are reading through right now. A. Montgomery Ward launched his mail-order catalog concept out of a rented small room over a stable. “Their single price-sheet listed the items for sale and told how to order. Within two years Ward was issuing a 72-page catalog with illustrations. By 1884 the catalog numbered 240 pages and listed nearly ten thousand items. Within another thirty years it was over a thousand pages and included every conceivable object for animals or men” (The Landmark History of the American People Volume 2, p. 17). Amazon!
But it was a physical Montgomery Wards store where Grandma took me shopping for a ring when I was in early/mid elementary school, so of course I reeled out my shifty memory of this Beaverton storefront. And of course this generated a lot of discussion about its exact location (it isn’t there anymore and hasn’t been for a long time) and the fact that our family never shopped there and the side story: Grandma bought me a ring, which I wore ALL THE TIME but lost when I was cleaning her car. Thankfully, I found it again.
Which I proved by a quick trip upstairs right then and there. To know me is to know I do not collect stuff and most of the stuff I do have is in a storage unit across town. But for some unexamined reason -through these past 35 years that ring continues to make the cut and even hangs out with my small pile of stuff in active circulation today.
What’s the point? There isn’t one. Our dinner time hop-skip conversation was interesting and informative. The participants added unique perspectives and memories. Some of the connections were remarkable.
It was a 30 minute block of time that cut across time and space. It was good.