Monday, December 07, 2015

Laying Waste to my Teenage Hangout

I went to half of high school in Michigan and half of high school in Titusville, Florida.  In Michigan we lived in the middle of nowhere, a mile-and-a-half from the nearest paved road.  The nearest shopping mall was 40 miles away.  In Florida we lived in town.  I rode my bike past two shopping malls on my way to school each day. After living in  the middle of nowhere for most of my life, being able to swing by the Mall on the way home from school was a real treat. The Miracle City Mall, so named because Titusville is home to the Kennedy Space Center and the miracle of manned space flight,  had two anchor department stores (JC Penny and Belk Lindsey) and up to 40 shops in between.  For several years it had a great bakery and for a critical period in my life a nice camera shop (I bought my first 35mm SLR there.) There was also a coin shop, Angus Coins, the couple who owned and operated it were Ann and Gus.  I still have coins that I bought there.

Over the years the Miracle City Mall fell into decline.  First Belk Lindsey closed, to be followed by a series of clearance outlets and discount stores, then the stores in the mall started leaving as their leases expired.  The last time I was in the Mall, 3-4 years ago, there were only about 5 open businesses.  Really sad.  When JC Penneys 50 year lease expired the store closed, and with it the Mall.  Plans were announced to replace the Mall, with a "Big Box Town Center" with retail on the ground floor and residential above.

Hence when I was in Titusville over Thanksgiving, (my parents still live there,) I went by and Mall is gone, a pile of rubble and dust on the wind is all that is left of my teenage hangout.

Sad yet exciting.  I look forward to improved shopping options for family and friends who still live in the area, and yet sad, I had some good times in that place.  Only once did I ride a bike down through the middle of the Mall, I got out before the Mall-Cop could catch up with me.  I have never told anyone about that.  It was long before the era of video security cameras (the only video surveillance was on the Flagship Bank ATM on the side entrance.)  I did and got away with it.

I was a "good kid."  Good kids can get away with things, because no one suspects that we might color outside the lines once in a while.  There was the Donkey in the high school, I will have to tell you  about that story someday.  


  1. It's funny how we can be nostalgic about certain places or things. For me, I was so disappointed when I went to my mom's "family" town where I spent a few years growing up and saw they had torn down the old Dairy Freeze. It was family owned and had been there for years. Best burger and shake around. Well, the town to it down to make way for a new dr's office and parking lot. Go figure....(sigh).