Tales from a Gathering Place 4: Three Generations Shopping Together

Today at the Gather there was a steady flow of shoppers — mostly women on their own. Then at around 3 pm an older woman, her adult daughter, and her young daughter came in together. The grandmother and grandaughter were wearing matching dresses and delighted with each other’s company. The granddaughter was about six years old and her grandmother was near sixty. They tried on hats, looked at sparkly shoes, and giggled around the store while the mother happily capitalized on the space and took some time to shop for herself. 

While they were browsing the store another three-generation family game into the store — a grandmother (age 76, because she told me), her daughter in her forties, and her incoming 9th-grade teenage daughter. They were shopping for clothes for the teen — a dress for an upcoming wedding and some school clothes. The grandmother sat in the waiting chair while her daughter and granddaughter shopped. This family stayed for over an hour while the teenager tried on dress after dress, multiple pairs of shoes, and countless pants and tops. 

I remember as a kid shopping with my mother and grandmother. It was one of my favorite things to do. I loved the dedicated time to the cause of shopping; the shared experience of everyone being special. We’d go downtown to Michigan Avenue and shop the racks of Lord and Taylor, I Magnin and Marshall Fields for hours and then go out to lunch, sometimes returning to she shops for more after we’d eaten. For me it was heaven. There was something for everyone. 

I loved it when my grandmother or mother would hold something up for me to try. Often I said no, but behind my pre-teen rejection I was happy for the attention, the feeling that they were thinking about me, styling me.

Watching those two families of three generations wandering the racks of Gather yesterday brought me back to those days with my mother and grandmother. And it made me appreciate the times shopping I have with my own daughter and mother now. 

In the end the mother of the six-year-old bought a blouse for herself and the teenager from the other family left with not one, but three dresses to choose from for the upcoming wedding as well as three pairs of pants and two new tops. Everyone left the store smiling and happy. Two sets of three generations content with their afternoon of shopping. I loved every minute of it.