What Did Filene's Basement Mean To You?

I believe that place is so important. Our surroundings have a huge impact on us. When I read a book or watch a movie, just knowing the place where it's set, puts me in a certain mood. I've been reading books about Paris lately. So much emotion tied up with that city!

Recently I've written about local places changing and my nostalgia.Then I read this article about a program called Radical Joy for Hard Times. Here's an excerpt below.
Radical Joy for Hard Times invites people to come into relationship with a place they love, acknowledging how much it means to them. It’s looking at the place in a new way. So instead of pretending it doesn’t exist, it’s actually going to a damaged place and seeing it with new eyes. Simply being willing to look is the first step—being willing to acknowledge what this place means to you. ...
Very often people will react to places that are burned or mined or somehow damaged and it will trigger something in their own psyche that has been damaged and needs to be repaired, needs to be healed. And they’ll spend a lot of time on that. The coal mine or the tree struck by lightning issues an invitation to examine their own life in a way that’s very different from therapy or reading a book or thinking rationally. And that will be part of their journey.
When I read this, I thought about these pictures that I had taken above. This is the hole and recent construction from the remains of Filene's and Filene's Basement.

I gasped when I saw it. It's such a void.

The article talks about the idea of a wounded place. Right now, this place looks wounded. I know it's just the beginning stage of something new. A few years from now, this place will look very different. Over time, there will be less and less of us who remember what it used to look like.

For some reason, I wanted to preserve this transitional period. Acknowledge it in some way. I'm not sure why, but it felt right. I'm glad that I had taken pictures of the gas tanks when there were two. Maybe this is something similar.

I remember when I first heard that The Basement was going to close for renovation and would re-open in a few years. I never believed that it would open again. Maybe it was time. But I felt a certain sadness about it then. I still do now. I remember when shopping there was such a routine.

When I think about what it meant to me, maybe it's my youth. From being a kid shopping there with my mom. To being fresh out of college and needing to buy a bunch of suits for little money. My first real job. The beginning of my adult life.

I have a birthday coming up soon that is nearing a big transition as well. Maybe it's all part of the same thing....

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Chrystal said…
Transition freaks me out sometimes. I admit it! Me no likey change. :) But like you said, it's important not only to acknowledge the before and after, but the during. This applies to just about anything.
Lisa Johnson said…
chrystal - I'm with you! : )
Can-Can said…
Change is inevitable and difficult. Especially changes to physical spaces that were a part of your life. I blogged over a year ago about missing all the bargain hunting spots from "back-in-the-day" here in the Boston area including Filene's Basement and the late, great Quincy Bargain Center.
Recently, a young colleague at 1 of my part-time jobs surprised me by resigning to go to grad school. I'd been helping her look for another job. Anyhow...her leaving hit me hard because she'd become a friendly face and because it just showed me how quickly things change. You would think that at my age I would understand that but still changes can hit you hard in the gut and make you long for the times that used to be.
Lisa Johnson said…
can-can - Sorry to hear about your colleague leaving. Hopefully you can stay in touch and her going to school ends up being a really smart move for her. You explained change exactly right -- "changes can hit you hard in the gut." It can feel so visceral. I guess all we can do is adapt and move on.

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