Memories of Filene’s Basement as they relate to Happiness for Women and The Enchanted Self

Last week my husband, Russell and I atteneded the American Psychological Meetings in Boston, Massachusetts. I had gone to graduate school in Boston, so for me, it was my old haunting ground. Also, my mother’s family lived there and I was back and forth to Boston from earliest childhood.

So of course, every time I’m in Boston I wander and savour the delights of memory. Yes, I teach about the delights of positive memories in The Enchanted Self, and yes, I actually do it myself. Milk St. way downtown Boston is where my Uncle Cy had his insurance office. Quincy Market is where my boyfriend, who then dropped me, took me for a delicious meal when to my horror, my one and only cap fell out as I ate. A trip to an emergency ward to have the cap put back, finished that evening off. The North End brings back memories of taking a television course at Boston University and walking around with one of the other students as we figured out our television show that we would create. The list goes on and on.

But one of my most important memories is of Filene’s Basement. Filene’s Department Store was one of my favorite places. I couldn’t afford mostof the stuff upstairs, but the basement was another matter. All was possible down in the two sub-basements. Incredible sales were just waiting to be had. I would enter a wooden floor paradise of tables overflowing with $2.95 sweaters and raincoats. And if I had more money to spend I could find a coat for $12.95 and look great in it. Need a wallet? Here they are. Ties for my husband? Couldn’t beat the quality and the price.

And the wonderful atmosphere-it was a throwback to the 1800’s with the original wood floors and old plain wallls. A fire hazard? Maybe, but who cared. (I’ll tell you another adventure about the basement and a fire in another entry).

The basement meant so much to me. It was a kind of safe cave of personal adventuring. It was a way to feel excited and pleased at the same time. And when I was done shopping I could go to Bailey’s a few blocks away and have a coffee sundae with hot fudge sauce. Oh, life was sweet.

Last week my husband and I had wandered for hours. Suddenly we came upon the place where Filene’s should have been. Can you imagine my horror to see that it was no more? There was excavating going on all around it and the basement obviously was closed to the public and not functioning. I felt horrible. This was not possible. How could this place for me to dream and indulge myself just cease to exist? I needed it! It was part of my world!

My husband was indifferent. This was definately a female response going on.

A few days later I discovered that Filene’s Basement is now a shiny building on a very expensive street near Copley Square. And it is not a basement! I didn’t even bother to go in!….(more to come)

Posted in Fond Memories that Enhance Happy Feelings, Positive Psychology for Women, Positive use of Memory, Women's Happiness and tagged , , .