Two nights ago, I posted this as my Facebook status update:

“I drank an Orange Julius today. It tasted like 1983.”

Without mentioning anything about where exactly I drank that Orange Julius in 1983, a slough of people tapped into exactly what I had been thinking about all day: Sunrise Mall.

Maybe you had a Sunrise Mall. Maybe your Sunrise Mall was Sunrise Mall. John’s was Magic Valley Mall, and his eyes gleam as he waxes poetic about being dropped off there on a Sunday with a pocketful of quarters. But the mall – your mall, my mall – was a special, magical place. Especially if you were lucky enough to be a patron in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. Kids weren’t looking for $300 handbags or hitting each other over the head for $200 shoes. It was big big, epically big hair and Pac Man and Orange Julius. You know… the good ol’ days.

I saw Breakin’ Two, Electric Boogaloo there for pete’s sake, with my parents on a Saturday night. Only now, writing this, do I realize what a sacrifice this was on their part. They were probably scared to death. Of the clientele? Maybe, but I’m guessing, mostly of my aspirations. Thank you Mom & Dad!

Sunrise Mall held a world of possibility. Say you’re, oh… I don’t know, 13, and it’s oh… I don’t know, 1987. You’ve got $25, and 4 hours to spend it before your mom picks you up in her giant grey Chrysler Cordoba. You have no idea who you are going to run into, or what feather-haired hottie you might meet. Maybe something’s on sale at Miller’s Outpost or Chess King (if you’re a boy in the market for Z Cavariccis)? Maybe you want to get another inflatable Palm Tree at Zanzabar? Maybe you and your giggly friends will window shop for Swatches at Macy’s or cruise the Esprit section at Weinstock’s. Will it be Sbarro or Taco Bell or McDonald’s or Orange Julius? Where do you go first? Contempo? Wet Seal? Waldenbook’s? The hook rug store? (There was a hook rug store. I’m not kidding.) The candle store? See’s candies? Sadly, we never did go in the pipe shop or the wig store, Merle Norman, which now I see as missed opportunities.

When I put the Orange Julius post up, again with nary a mention of the mall itself, Erica who I met as an elementary school girl, was the first to reply wistfully, and from England, no less, “Oh Sunrise Mall…” Staci, who I met somewhere around kindergarten, remembered the octagonal benches that were outfitted in that signature orange and burgundy tile, where she liked to people watch. Then there was Laurel – one of my middle school go-to shopping friends, with whom I even traveled to our version of Mecca – the Esprit Outlet in San Francisco – while sporting matching striped shirts, Keds and permed hair. Anyhow – she remembered the Orange Julius crinkle fries with her mom and the fountain that held center court, where people would throw their change, their wishes, and their Orange Julius cups…yes, the fountain was the crown jewel of Sunrise Mall.

I look at my own kids and wonder if they are so overwhelmed with cool stuff and places and experiences, that the mall could not possibly hold the level of fantasy and coolness that it once represented for us. I used to daydream that I lived in, and went to school in the mall. I thought the most sophisticated people lived in the apartments at the edge of the parking lot. That the people revving the engines of their Z28’s outside, were forces to be reckoned with. Could the modern mall hold the same allure for my boys? Perhaps.

As I sat sucking down the classic Orange Julius that did in fact taste like 1983, I couldn’t help but enjoy how much the boys were enjoying our mall. They loved the Silly Bandz kiosk, nay, pavilion, that was the whole reason for our visit. There was a Mini Cooper parked on display by the elevator. Johnny Rocket’s has a patio that makes it feel like you’re sitting outside, when really you’re about 15 feet from Sears 2nd floor entrance. Two stores in a row have the same display of pillow pets. And then there’s the wonderment that comes with the fact that there’s a Wetzel’s Pretzels on one level, and an Auntie Anne’s pretzel shop exactly one floor down! And I know, without him saying anything, that Zach always has one eye out looking for Paul Blart.

You know what? Sunrise Mall is still there, but I refuse to go. I like it frozen in time in my head and memories. I like that I can go right back there when I see a Camaro, or acid wash, when I smell that intoxicating scent that is a mix of new clothes, perfume, hairspray, floorwax and nacho cheese, and of course, when I run across “Here I Go Again,” by Whitesnake.

15 thoughts on “sunrise

  1. Kari Miskit says:

    Oh Colleen, how I loved the Sunrise back in the day. You just nailed it. And may I tell you…my parents once lived in those apartments. I KNOW, right?

  2. Patti Ransdell says:

    Ahh, Sunrise Mall- the mecca of my youth. I remember when it opened up in the 70s (you children probably hadn’t been born yet!). It was THE place to go shopping. Sadly, Yuba City never had anything that came close to comparing to the shopping wonder that was Sunrise Mall. It was such a treat to go there on Saturday’s with my mom. I accidently shoplifted at the JC Penney’s once (well,I took the belt back once we realized we hadn’t paid for it). I saw Anne Rudin at the very same Penney’s once- that was the closest I had come to a high falutin’ politician. And I bought my first pair of Dittos jeans there- a VERY big deal in the 7th grade (1977).
    Thanks Colleen for this nice little trip down memory lane. Of course, now I avoid Sunrise Mall because the Galleria is so close…

  3. Corrin says:

    Thank you for the wonderful trip down memory lane. My Sunrise Mall was the one and only Sunvalley Mall complete with a movie theatre and its very own ice rink. Being dropped off on a Friday night to walk the mall and then go ice skating until 10:00 – so much fun!!

  4. Kirsten says:

    You’ve nailed it again. I think it’s the Esprit Outlet I miss most. An adventure… cool clothes at a fraction of the price… the “old” one and the “new” one… the restaurant… sometimes going to the gunny sacks outlet… going with groups of friends (and their moms, in jr high) … those were the days (even with the pegged pants and big hair!!) 🙂 Especially timely because one of my jr high friends just visited me today… 🙂

    • The Fulcrum Chronicles says:

      thanks for your note! I loved, loved, loved those outlets. and I loved the Esprit cafe. I think I still have the article that Seventeen magazine did on it about a million years ago! I would love to see a photo of your big hair.

  5. Allison Curletto says:

    OMG – we OBVIOUSLY grew up in the same town….at the same time!! How come it took us so long to know each other?? Perhaps it’s better; we may have ended up fighting over the same feathered-hair guy while hanging out at the movie theater next to the ice skating rink!

  6. Megan says:

    Metro Mall in Phoenix Arizona, in a nowaday totally wrong move, our dad dropped off my sister (12ish) and I four years younger at the largest mall in the city. We would be there all day while he worked. This mall by the way is “the” mall in “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” we bought madonna fingerless gloves, music magazines, and a broken heart “best friends” necklace that we each wore a side of since for the whole summer we were the only friend the other one had…for an 8 year old to finally have her older sisters undivided attention…and be treated like a pre-teen…priceless!

      • Staci says:

        You really captured the essence of that experience! And what was that place across the street? Birdcage, ha! I didn’t like that because if I was there it meant waiting for my brother to wrap up at the batting cage place. I still have a snoopy music box from the music box store and I did a few hook rugs myself.

        I saw the Galleria fire story today on another friend’s post and someone had written “Arden Fair should consider a shuttle bus, Rosevillians will not shop Sunrise Mall…”. 😦 Well…. maybe they should to help give the old lady a new lease on life, sure made us happy.

      • The Fulcrum Chronicles says:

        I can’t believe I hadn’t replied yet! Yikes! Thanks so much for your reploy! I heard the Galleria opened some of the places. My parents went to Sunrise and they said that it was totally deserted. weird. hope you are well!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s