Ode to The Hallmark Store

It was a rainy-ish afternoon and with not many plans I decided to conquer my usual Sunday grocery shopping on a Saturday. Next door to the grocery store is a Hallmark store and I decided to run inside to grab a card for Sister K whose birthday is on Monday. But while inside I got distracted and ended up with not just a few too many cards I didn’t need, but a nostalgic memory of Mom.

Mom loves Hallmark stores. I have distinct memories of being on summer vacation home for college with Mom and she would drive us to a Hallmark store because she had a $5 off coupon that was going to expire. We didn’t need anything in particular and didn’t have a specific occasion we were shopping for but we would wander around together. Candles…nick nacks…picture frames…funny gifts…you name it and we saw it.

Fast forward to today and Mom doesn’t drive anymore. She doesn’t leave the house too much anymore either. She still gets her Hallmark coupons but life has gotten in the way and they don’t get used like they once did. Dad tries to take Mom when they can make it but that isn’t very often. It also isn’t the same for Mom as this was her place of refuge, her place to kill time, her place to wander around and be Mom.

As I wandered around the store this afternoon I couldn’t help but think what Mom would think of the things inside. How she would stop to look at all the trinkets and treasures besides cards..she would see things she didn’t really need but buy them anyways..she would pick out surprises for Sister K and me..she would wander and shop without a purpose or a plan. The Hallmark store was her place. It still is her place but it is different.

I feel a strange pull towards this store whenever I see it. I have never lived near one and this one is so convenient. But more than being convenient it is like a big hug for me. The women inside are kind. The cards are funny. The knick knacks are cute. It’s like this magical oasis I have discovered inside of the big city I now live inside- and it’s an oasis that reminds me of the way Mom was before MS. So today when the woman asked me if I would like to sign up for a Hallmark Rewards card, I proudly said “Yes. My mom would be so proud to find out I am signing up for one right now.” As I look at my wallet with that little purple rewards card inside I can’t help but smile thinking of these memories of shopping with Mom and Hallmark and that even though life is changing, I am thankful to still have those memories.

Did your family shop at certain stores that will forever remind you of them? Do you have a favorite store that brings you a break from life when you visit it? Have you ever visited a Hallmark store?

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