To TJ Maxx with Love…I made a sale… not the Store. ©2022

Coincidence follows me; it invents stories for me. Characters trickle out of the ordinary dull stupor of everyday living.

Here’s the latest folks:

My Floridan daughter, sent me a gift certificate, from TJ Maxx, for Mother's Day.

My youngest daughter who still lives home, took me there today.

The discount chain store had opened recently, on the Upper eastside of Manhattan.

Together we trotted thru the mammoth sized store of rags, on racks and racks, excuse (me), she trotted, I limped slowly on my cane, searching for hidden treasure in this mecca of so-called bargains.

It does not take long for me to require getting off my 80-year-old feet…take a load off. It is too much walking, crowds and stimulation for me…especially after Covid isolation.

Alas, to encourage the relentless scavenging and keep the frenetic crowd constantly moving, they, (management), have purposely left out a place to park one’s behind…or catch a breath.

Bussle- hustle is the tone of the space…just as the store planned.

About to collapse me, is forced to seek relief as I notice…I’m probably one of oldest humans…in the store.

Now talk about perseverance… I find the piece de resistance, one empty chair, (shh), on the 2nd floor rear. It is one of an attached pair in this sea of bargain hunters.

Pushing, grabbing, rushing even with their dogs in tow, growling…they plowed on.

With cane swinging wildly towards the only seat in the house, I plop into it…exhaling a giant sigh of relief!

A man occupies the other chair while busy playing some game on his cell.

Evidently, he’s practicing being a patient husband, while his wife tries on clothes in the dressing-room behind us.

We do not even acknowledge nor pay attention to the person in the other chair…perfect Manhattan stranger's conduct.

After about 20 minutes, my glazed over eyes spot a shoe department sign to my right.

Up I pop, ignoring my fatigue, shoes on sale, I cannot resist the pull.

Breaking the silence, I full of chutzpah, turn to the guy minding his own business, and plead to him, “Please do not let anyone to use this chair”.

He looks up from his cell and swears sarcastically, “I’ll guard with my life”!

With that I throw some garments over “my chair” to make sure.

I dash, (hobble) to the shoe section.

I pick and toss most of the size 10 shoes on display.

A Sketchers sneaker piques my interest…only problem is I cannot locate its mate…anywhere.

Defeated and disgusted, I return to my chair which unbelievably is awaiting my tush.

“Thank you thank you”, for watching this seat for this “very” young lady,” I said to its protector.

Now I feel I can lure him into conversation…I’ve broken the icy shield between us. my daughter is still weaving between the racks.

So, I ask, (which is none of my affair), “Are you from Manhattan”?

“Yes”, he responds.

“Ain’t this the only place to live? It's the best place for adults”, I offer.

He nods in agreement, again I’ve distracted him from his cell.

“Did you grow up here”?

“No, on Long Island”.

Talkative me, “We were from Long Island, too”.

“Where”, I question further.

“Lawrence” he answered.

I don’t believe it…he lived a few blocks from us when we lived in Lawrence, 40 years ago.

His family was originally from Brooklyn…like mine.

He is 58, my girls are 60 and 57.

They were in the same Lawrence school, at the same time, though they don’t know each other.

Then I told him about my friend who is 94, who was born in Lawrence, on the same farming estate, in the 1920’s, that his house’s lot was carved out of…in the 1970’s.

Coincidently she had shown me photos of that homestead, just last night, over dinner. Her family lost the estate during the Depression.

I can’t remember who brought up Brooklyn, first, but his mother was raised in Brooklyn.

Would you believe this…his mother lived on Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island, where my dad had his butcher shop same years?

Now since we became ‘comrades’ in our twin chairs, I told him I wrote a book on Old Brooklyn, “Its aptly named “First Stop Brooklyn”.

“Oh really”, he said surprised.

“Yes, it's on Amazon”.

He immediately looked it up on his cell hand, saw the cover…he recognized the picture of Coney Island’s landmark Cyclone Roller Coaster. He surfed thru the review, said his mom would love the book, as it was a part of her childhood in Brooklyn. The man in the chair…bought her a book on the spot!

We smiled goodbye and he left the store.

Ten minutes later he returned to extend his hand, introduce himself and his lovely wife to me.

What a treasure of a story I found in TJ Maxx’ calutron…but not on a rack.

Holy Mackrell!

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