I am a very proud first generation Canadian. My parents came here from the former Yugoslavia (Now Croatia and Bosnia & Hercegovina), and are both Croatian. I was raised with Croatian folklore, Croatian school and a Catholic faith all in the Croatian language, but what lots of people don’t know is I spent a lot of my childhood and teenage years in the mall. I love the mall; it is like a second home to me. Lots of people run from this place but I run to it (sometimes a little too much). My father worked seven days a week midnight shifts, he needed his sleep but my sisters and I needed to be entertained. My parents were saving all their money for our future and so the entertainment budget was nil. Being a mother I can sympathize with my mother now, what was she going to do with us? Where could she go on the cheap that would at least get her through the time…the mall.
Devonshire Mall was around the corner from my house, it had wide hallways for my sisters and I to play, and my mother could at least see things that she liked and one day could afford without having to worry. I learned to love clothing and realized that appearance is important. No matter how hard we try to downplay it, we’ve all made snap judgments based on how people look. The funny thing is that both my sisters turned into clothes loving, shopping mall addicted women just like me. My middle sister Ana and I would pool our money together to buy boots and take turns wearing them. Rosie the baby and constant entertainer would talk to any salesperson that would listen and tell stories or jokes. The mall wasn’t about stuff (that would come later) it was about where all the Galic girls would go and hang out.
I remember my mother looking at clothes for herself but she didn’t really start treating herself until we were older. There were more important things to spend money on. When it came to clothing for her girls fit was most important then style. If it didn’t fit properly what was the point of style? She still believes that we should always put our best forward, whether that is work, school or appearance. My mother carries herself with a simple grace that can only be achieved by someone who’s had to work for everything.
We didn’t have lots of stuff growing up but neither did most people we knew. In Canada people got a second chance and my parents were not about to squander theirs. My mother took great pride in having a clean home, wonderful food to eat and a nicely dressed family. We were not rich but my mother never saw the need of looking poorly.