My mother loved shopping. In fact, you might even have called it her hobby. And it was one I willingly shared with her.
During the years I lived with her, after my father died, our Saturday ritual was going to the mall. We had two malls in our town, and we’d go to one or the other or sometimes both. Our day started leisurely; we were never morning people. We’d leave the house around 1:00 or so. We could spend hours wandering throughout different stores, just looking, seeing what was new or on sale that week. I’ve never known anyone else I could shop with the way my mother and I shopped together. It was more a social thing than a desire or need to buy something. We enjoyed the activity of the mall, the sensory stimulation, the colors, watching other people.
My mother would look for the best bargains. If she found something that was marked down from the marked-down price, she’d say, “For that price I can’t leave it here.” Sometimes she’d try the clothes on, sometimes she wouldn’t feel like it, but either way, there was bound to be something she’d change her mind about and decide to bring back a week or two weeks later. “I don’t really like it/it doesn’t fit right/I don’t have anything to go with it”—whatever the reason was, back it would go. I used to joke with her that the stores were going to put up her picture on the cash register with the warning, “Don’t sell anything to this woman.”