How ’90s Maine Kids Went Back to School Shopping
Many '80s and '90s and early '00s kids are now raising their own and taking them school shopping. Times certainly have changed but do you remember what it was like back in the day?
Stop 1: Ames
Ah, Ames. Or "Ames-es" to some. It was like going to Walmart or K-Mart, but smaller and almost homier. This was a great first stop for those affordable staples such as t-shirts, jeans, and maybe some school supplies if they had an iconic SpaceMaker pencil case or a funky Trapper Keeper. Bonus points for the girls if you were able to snag some Lisa Frank erasers.
Stop 2: L.L. Bean
Nothing like a freshly monogrammed L.L.Bean backpack and matching lunchbox for the new school year. It was always extra exciting when you grew into a larger capacity backpack. You also had to see the fish and stuffed critters throughout the store. You saw a shirt you liked but Mom said it was too expensive.
Stop 3: Outlet stores
While you're already in Freeport this was always convenient for those "nicer" items that Mom wanted to get on sale. Maybe you hit up the Kittery Outlets. Oftentimes you got bored because Mom would get distracted with deals for herself and early Christmas purchases.
Stop 4: Lunch
By this time you were pretty grumpy. It was late by typical lunch standards thanks to your indecisiveness when picking a complementary backpack/monogram thread color combination at L.L. Bean. You needed sustenance. Preferably the kind paired with a toy like McDonald's. Bonus points if there was a Play Place. Or maybe in "treat yourself" fashion you ended up at the local Friendly's where you'd get Kraft Mac & Cheese and chicken strips followed by a FREE ice cream sundae. Everything was right in the world again at this point.
Stop 5: The Mall
Usually, the post-lunch sleepys would hit on the way here, whether it was The Maine Mall, The Auburn Mall, or The Bangor Mall. That changed when you realized there was a Toys R Us or KB Toys nearby. Mom would use these stops as an incentive to be productive as you tried on endless clothes at Sears and struggled to find a pair of shoes that fit at Payless. You begged for Jordans but you'd definitely outgrow them before the end of the year.
This is also where your eyes opened to more trendy places thanks to your older sister. You walked into Abercrombie & Fitch and wondered to yourself, or out loud if you were the annoying little sibling, "Why is it so loud in here?" or "How come I could smell this place before we even got here?"
At this point your feet were tired. You wanted to get home to catch the new Hey Arnold! or was it Angry Beavers tonight? You couldn't remember. You stopped in the food court for pizza and begged for one of Mrs. Fields cookies before being denied and heading home.
A few short weeks later it's time. Mom and Dad are excited for your new adventures in your new grade, and of course to get you out of the house. You're excited to see your friends but the thought of an entire school year ahead? Daunting. At least you look fab.