Written and photographed By Ashley C Neyra
After 45 years of operation, Lakeforest mall will finally be closing its doors for the last time. Lakeforest had a variety of different stores, from clothing to electronics although as the years gained on Lakeforest slowly the stores started slipping away.
For me, the closing of Lakeforest is a bit more personal. I was born and raised in the Montgomery Village area so Lakeforest mall was always the place to go after school or on the weekends. I have memories of the mall that some people seem to have forgotten about. Although these memories were part of my childhood and I bet if you lived around the area for as long as I have (nearly 20 years) you might remember a few of the things I’m about to state below…
Do you remember the chick fil A Lakeforest had? It was located where the house of Kabob is now. I remember every Friday after school me and my mom would wait in long lines to catch a few nuggets and watch looney tunes cartoons on their little tv. Right before we would spend the rest of the afternoon looking at different ways to spend money for that day.
The morning I remember when my dad and I would grab a quick banana and strawberry smoothie from a little vendor on the top floor close to the dip and dots. I remember sitting there on Saturday mornings sitting with my dad just sipping away watching the people walk around.
How could I forget to mention the dip and dots? It was what my mom would call “El helado de puntito” which translates to “the dotted ice cream,” their cookies and creams were always my favorites.
Did you know there was a bookstore located next to JC penny! It was a small cozy little place. I remember going to the back and reading all the cool barbie books that they had which would come with the little audio that would read the story to you.
The old playground with the frog when I was younger, I remember being on a mission to make it across the frog’s tongue to the other side. Once making it past the very rigorous course it was like you were the king of the course for making it all the way without falling over… and stepping on other kids’ little fingers.
The Ice rink… without the ice? Back in 2013, I remember it popping up one day although its success was short-lived, it was an interesting addition for a second. I remember thinking it was odd, it was the first time I had seen something like it; So was the sound of people falling on the thick white plastic, a sound that could be heard throughout the whole mall. 8-year-old me giggled every time I heard a thud.
The Starbucks at Lakeforest started my addiction to the lemon pound cake and a chocolate milk box. My order stayed the same until I was 15 years old. That was until high school awakened me to a wonderful thing called coffee. Unfortunately, the Starbucks at Lakeforest was no longer there when I started getting my “adult” drinks.
I remember going to Sears with one mission and it would be to play around their treadmills and other workout machines that I could barely reach and to sit on the trackers and lawn mower.
If I ever got out of my mother’s grip there was one place, I was sure to be found and that was Brookstone. Before kinetic sand was a big thing, I remember Brookstone had a box of it at the entrance for you to play with. To my young mind, I was 110% sure this was sand from mars. Not to mention after I played with the sand, I would go get a high-quality massage in one of their chairs. Pressing the neck message button on the control remote only to get a nice head massage, was okay I liked those better anyways.
Justice was the hottest thing for a 2nd-5th grade back in 2010, we couldn’t get enough of those bright colors with use designs and cheesy phrases across the shirts. They were the “it” thing before we noticed the Aeropostale a few stores down.
These were all part of my childhood memories, and it saddens me that it has now come to an end.
“Change is the only constant in life.” – Heraclitus