We all have places, foods, or activities that remind us of our childhood. These nostalgic feelings hit in waves as we enjoy our throwbacks and we feel good- safe, loved, comforted. I know this may sound silly, but a grocery store fulfills all three of the above categories for me.
As a child, my mother would take my brother and me to Wegman’s in Pittsford, NY every weekend to go grocery shopping. If you’ve been reading, it wasn’t often like the Trader Joe’s experience I recently had, though I’m sure one or both of us threw a tantrum at some point over a sugary cereal we were told to put back. When we were little, my mom would get us each a cookie and we would chatter along through produce and dairy items. When we got older, she would give us each an item from her list to go get. We would race off, running back to the cart with the item in hand, ready for the next challenge.
The place, the food, the atmosphere; it all became a part of my childhood. I looked forward to visiting Wegman’s when I was home from college. I told people about the store when they visited us in Rochester: “you have to visit!” When my (then) fiancé and I were looking for a less expensive alternative to the crazy wedding cakes, I called upon Wegman’s to provide 200 cupcakes for our guests. They also created a “wedding cake” out of a cupcake that we cut- everyone raved about our cake. And when our babies were born, we made special pilgrimages to Wegman’s to introduce the next generation to the “real” happiest place on earth.
So, it should come as no surprise that when we were planning our son’s first birthday and a cake was needed, I called upon the Wegman’s near us. Now, when I say “near,” I mean 45 minutes away…but I was happy to drive it. The thing is, when I walk into Wegman’s, I have a feeling of being home. We all crave that feeling from time to time. Some of us grow up, grow a family and live in the same place; some of us move far away, but no matter where we are, we want to feel the comfort and love of being home every now and then. Say what you will, but I love the place. It is a little piece of home even when I’m far away.