I'm a little freaked out here, but I just noticed that I can't seem to remember almost anything from my childhood. Just random snippets, none of them really relevant to the topic.
Well, this might fit. Most of what I do remember is from when I was around ten to twelve years old. For some reason my father wouldn't trust me to stay in the house alone, so he would pick me up from school and dump me in the Auburn Mall for hours a day. The excuse he always gave was that he didn't want me to burn the house down. I don't know where that notion came from. I would probably have sat in my room, reading.
Most of my memories consist of wandering the corridors of the mall -- it was a single-story, narrow, dimly lit place -- soaking in the atmosphere. I would go to the arcade and watch people play, because I didn't have any money, or I would go sit in the Papa Gino's and absorb the '80s top-40 radio and red bricks and even moodier lighting, and the smell of mozzarella and oregano. I would go to the Kay-Bee and -- this being before mainstream game magazines, even -- ask to see one NES or Master System game after another, to pore at the boxes. I would wander into the Spencer's Gifts and gape at the neon and chrome and flashing lights.
The mall was always fairly empty; just a few people here and there. No one ever bothered me, or even, to my recollection, talked to me.
Those were pretty good times.