I always get a little wistful upon hearing that a favorite retailer or brand is going out of business. When I learned of the shuttering of all Borders last year, I felt nothing but sympathy for the future generation of neighborhood parents. Where, if not the children's section and coffee shop of the near west side location, would they while away the pre-pre-school hours, as I so often did, on a freezing February day?
And the liquidation of Filene's Basement outlets last month marked the end of an era for this markdown maven. It was the place, after all, "Where Bargains Were Born." Perhaps the one bit of bright side to the discounter's demise was my son's ability to score a mannequin for twenty-five bucks on the store's last day of operation in downtown Chicago. His dad and I had no idea he'd always dreamed of owning a department store fixture.
But there was something about the announcement of the Kodak Company's potential bankruptcy last week that got me feeling particularly nostalgic.
It was a reminder that my parents had recorded just about every memory of my youth on Kodak paper. Those photos, chronicling every birthday, holiday and my big theatrical break playing "Sweet Besty From Pike" in the 4th grade musical are still stored in cookie tins in my mom's apartment. And while yellowing a bit, they are just waiting to be touched, organized, and sifted through whenever my kids and I go to visit her. Trust me, there is nothing more entertaining for children than seeing their mother at age 9, sporting a 70s shag and looking horribly uncomfortable in pioneer attire.
But I am clearly part of the problem that led to the film giant's demise. Because those few "Kodak" moments I do have of my kids' childhoods are stored on my computer or phone. I don't think I've actually printed a photo since 2008. I don't even own a real camera. And this makes me wonder how my middle-school son might explain, for instance, the ubiquitous "Beiber" haircut of his youth to his kids someday, if not through tactile photographic proof?
Sure, I have a few albums stored in the attic that display my baby's first smiles, steps and forays into solids, but other than that, Facebook is my historian. And yes, Facebook's timeline is a lot easier to master than the fine art of scrapbooking, not to mention clutter-friendly in a small home. But I can't help but feel that it's a bit wrong for a social media site and "cloud" somewhere to be fully taking the place of printed memories.
So if nothing else, the impending loss of the Kodak brand reminds me that it might be worth getting a few images of my children's childhood committed to paper. Because it's one thing to post on Twitter about my son's joy in walking down Michigan Avenue carrying a nude plastic torso--unquestionably his highlight of Winter Break 2011. But it's fully another to honor the moment in Filene's Basement where they first met through an actual 4 X 6 photograph.
And with that, I am off to Photo Express.
So, RIP Filene's and Kodak; you will be missed. But I thank you for the memories...and Manny, the mannequin.comments powered by Disqus
I've always been a supporter of companies that empower women and girls, and when the creator of such a company is a fellow Wisconsinite, I get even more excited. When Verona resident Melissa Wardy got fed up with stereotypes found in clothing for girls, she started her own company.
Do you have a little reader or an aspiring teenaged writer in your house? If so, you may want to venture to the Wisconsin Book Festival this weekend, to whet their appetite for wonderful words as well as your own.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband and I had two names picked out. Upon her arrival we had not yet come to a conclusion on what that name would be. Everyone told us that when we saw her we would just know. We didn't.
At age 10 months, my kids have seen the zoo a lot already. I was a zoology major in college, and I have something of a zoo addiction still, so the twins (and their dad) are more or less condemned to a future rife with zoo visits.
Home-schooling can be a lonely proposition. Even as a college professor, Juliana Hunt remembers struggling to find support to home-school her now-grown daughter. "I was always hoping to find like-minded people who were in the same position as me," she says. "I know that children learn best through a give-and-take, question-and-answer process of teaching and learning, but where do you find mentors who can make that happen?"
After sleep patterns, I think the next biggest parenting concern I have and hear about revolves around the topic of food. How can I make sure my kids are eating enough vegetables? Did I pack them a lunch that is healthy enough? What can I feed them after school that doesn't come from a box? How many gripes am I going to get about the dinner I'm about to prepare?
As far as places to embark on Baby's First Air Travel go, Dane County Regional Airport is a pretty sound choice, especially at 6 p.m. on a Saturday night. My biggest fear was that my nine-month-old son would start screaming in the airport; my second biggest fear was that my son would start screaming and some of my former Epic colleagues would be around to hear it.
The recent shift in the weather is just another sign that autumn is fast approaching. That means one of my favorite activities is just around the corner -- apple picking. My husband and I have been picking apples every fall since before our kids were born.
I have a lot of questions about what to put on my eight-month-olds' plates -- and, if I'm honest, a deep and abiding fear of putting the wrong thing there. Did I start them on solid foods at the right time? What's the deal with baby-led weaning -- how much self-feeding should they be doing? At what age should I give them potential allergens like shellfish or nut products?
Lily the potbellied pig arrived at Heartland Farm Sanctuary blind, lethargic and too overweight to walk. The children of Heartland's summer day camp program took it upon themselves to put the curl back in her tail.
Is it just me or does each summer seem to go by quicker than the last? The end of summer is upon us and for many families this means the start of a new school year.
This past week, on the way to the grocery store, my daughter asked what I believed she thought would be a innocuous question, "Mom, when are we going back-to-school shopping?"
Volunteering with the Young Writers Summer Camp this past week really helped me to remember how utterly creative kids can be when encouraged to come up with their own ideas and use their own words.
This past week I gleefully accepted an offer for new job on the UW-Madison campus. My kids are getting are older and I guess I've felt for a while now that it was time to figure out what would be next for me on the professional front.
"Kids spend so much time in and around school, it's the only place where some have a chance to develop an appreciation for a healthy lifestyle," says Katie Hensel, founder and executive director of Tri 4 Schools.
"I'm envious, mom," said my twelve-year-old daughter as she hopped in the car after theater camp last week. "All the other kids in my group seem to really like, and to be really good at, singing, dancing and acting. But I think all those things are just okay."
"People are looking to book space here all the time," says Remy Fernández-O'Brien, communications and facilities coordinator for the Lussier Community Education Center, a private, nonprofit community center on Madison's west side. "They want to throw their child's first birthday party here or hold a Girl Scout meeting. We're really busy year-round, but it's especially lively here in the summer."
Last week, in response to the county-wide Sleep Safe, Sleep Well public health campaign that encourages parents to "share the room, not the bed" with their sleeping infants, Isthmus contributor Ruth Conniff penned a lovely opinion piece in defense of bed sharing entitled "Confessions of a Co-Sleeper."
As much as I'd like to believe there is latent genius in my daughter's early finger paintings, I'm pretty sure her works are not distinguishable from those created by the pointer fingers and pinkies of thousands of other children from across the world.
Seeing Romeo and Juliet this past weekend was a definite reminder that I need to prepare for something that might resemble a (near) West Side Story around our place pretty soon.