Friday, October 18, 2013

Travels to the Town Center

What better way could there be to begin a gorgeous, sunny fall morning than with a classic Halloween special? It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is the Peanuts' second-most popular special after the original Christmas story. Linus wants to spend Halloween in a "sincere" pumpkin patch to await the Great Pumpkin, who brings toys to all the good children on Halloween night. A love-struck Sally joins him. Meanwhile, Charlie Brown has his own problems with trick-or-treating and the party afterwards. Snoopy's too busy fighting World War I to pay much attention to Halloween festivities.

After a quick stop at WaWa for money and a bottle of water, I picked up the bus to the Voorhees Town Center. This is one of four local large malls, and the most changed in the past few years. Originally the Echelon Mall, somewhere around 2007, Voorhees decided the mall was too much in the middle of nowhere to compete with Cherry Hill and Deptford and converted it into a half-traditional mall, half "life center," with condos, restaurants, office buildings, and a cosmetology school.

The Voorhees branch of the Camden County Library System turned out to be on the same street as the office buildings, directly across from the mall's Food Court entrance. The two-story building was much larger than most of the fairly small libraries closer to home, including the Haddonfield and Haddon Township libraries. It was also very busy. While there was no line, the sale's popularity was reflected in the mountains of boxes stacked on either side of the main lobby as I entered.

I was there for about an hour. I never did find the kids' tables. Actually, there was less there than I'd hoped. This was a three-day sale, and I suspect many people may have come yesterday before or after work. I did manage to make a few good discoveries:

Two videos to dub, the musicals Cabin In the Sky and Kid Millions

Two records, the original Broadway cast albums for the 50s/early 60s shows Plain and Fancy and The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Four books: Another Sarah Ban Breathnach self-help book Something More: Excavating the Authentic Self, the Peanuts comics collection Thank Goodness for People, a Reader's Digest collection of fairy tales, and Christmas With Southern Living 1990

All of this cost me 8 dollars all together - they threw in the records for free. : D

I headed back over to the Voorhees Town Center after I finished at the library. It was hard to choose where to eat at their Food Court. There still wasn't a whole lot there, though there was more than there had been the last time I was there in 2008. I ultimately went with Qdoba Mexican Grill, a slightly more upscale eatery that specialized in fast and tasty southwestern fare. While I did enjoy the chicken quesadila, the tortilla soup proved to be too spicy for more than a few quick slurps.

I strolled around the mall for the next hour or so. The actual mall section of the Voorhees Town Center isn't nearly as big or as populated as some of the other local malls, but it does still have that huge Hallmark where I found the WebKinz Bat in October 2008 when Amanda was visiting. And yes, the Hallmark remains one of the few stores in the Camden County area with a huge selection of WebKinz. I chose a handsome WebKinz Rockerz Horse, a blue paisley fellow with a country-western theme. His name is Hank - he comes with a nifty "Grand Ol' Opry" barn and stage.

I next spent some time wandering around Boscov's. (There's also a Macy's, but I figured I could see that anywhere.) Boscov's is one of the few locally-owned department store chains left in the US. I absolutely adored this one. It seemed to have been spared the remodeling that updated the rest of the mall, and I loved it. All the neon signs and mirrored walls reminded me of the (now defunct) Rio Mall of my childhood in Rio Grande. And unlike Macy's or JCPenney's, who mostly just sell clothes, makeup, and linens, Boscov's sells EVERYTHING - clothes, linens, furniture, makeup, accessories, shoes, kids' stuff, toys, seasonal items, pet items. They even had a candy counter! Despite some decent sales, I didn't see anything I couldn't live without and left with nothing.

I headed home around quarter of 3. It took me a while to find the entrance where the bus picked up passengers. I forgot it's upstairs, which is mostly Voorhees Township offices and offices for other "services" like Liberty Travel. I hiked all around the mall, down the "Boulevard" where the restaurants are, and back over a hill. I made it with ten minutes to spare.

Other than some traffic on the White Horse Pike, the bus trips to and from the Town Center were quick and uneventful. When I got in, I put everything away and prepared my grocery list while running the other Peanuts special on the disc, You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown. Linus is in the running for class president, but he may blow his chances when he brings up his Great Pumpkin obsession in his final speech.

I only needed a few things at the Acme, mainly stock-up items like cream of mushroom soup and flour. The real reason I was there was to get my schedule, since I'm off tomorrow, too. It's pretty par for the course for this time of year - one 9PM night, two early days. I'm a little disappointed that one of those early days is Saturday - I could probably squeeze a farm market run in, but I won't be able to hit up any yard sales.

When I got home, I enjoyed the Crock Pot Ham and Potatoes that I started before I left for the Voorhees Library, along with steamed broccoli, for dinner while watching a spooky episode of Wonder Woman from the second season. Diana Prince is in hot water when three ambassadors from an importance peace conference disappears under her watch in "Seance of Terror." The three were lured by a little boy who can take photos of them with departed loved ones. His aunt and uncle hold a false "seance" to make them believe that their loved ones want them to call off the peace talks...but why? And is that little boy really psychic?

I went straight in the bath after dinner. That felt nice. It was just me, the warm water, and Something More. I've wanted so much more for years. I know I can be more than just a cashier. I just wish I could find authenticity and still earn the money to live on my own.

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