Circling Dreams

As I sat at the table and watched The Boy peruse the latest Scholastic Book offerings and circling his literary desires, I began reminiscing.

Remember this time of year when that big, glorious book would be left by the front door?

The pages that could change your life.

Make you into a perfectly matched pre-teen with all the turtlenecks, corduroy and argyle you could hope for.

Winter coats I would never need in So Cal, with matching ear muffs.

The Catalogue of Catalogues.

The goodness of JC Penny's.

People, I am telling you, when that book (that must have wiped out a small forest to be made) showed up, I grabbed a pen spent hours flipping the pages, circling the items that could make me into the stylish tween I hoped and prayed to be.

I swear, I can smell the shiny pages and feel the papercuts.

While I coveted all of it, there were a few items that I actually prayed for.  Feverishly.

First, their was a pair of ice skates.  $19.99. ( If you've been a reader of my blog, you know I had BIG Olympic figure skating dreams, all set to the theme song of Cheers.)  I can remember looking at those skates again and again, just knowing the shiny, white, pleather was the answer to my prayers.  The keys to my destiny.

I actually looked for a $20 bill in the street regularly.  Alas, this search was in vain.  For anyone who knows my family knows if a $20 bill was languishing in the street, it was my sister, Amy, who would discover it.

Fortunately, Santa came through for me and that Christmas those skates were glistening like a million diamonds in front of our tree.  

As I got older, the catalogue held the same mystique.  What offerings would I find for 1989?

Only a vanity with matching bench.  Oh Lawd.  I needed that gorgeous piece of glass and brass to complete my evolution into a chic, sophisticated young woman.   It would look perfect next to my white, lacquer dresser.  The one with the tilted mirror that had a purple light.  Perfect.


                        (Photo courtesy of Craigslist.  Yes, from 2008.)

I could just picture my Wet N Wild make up lining it's edge, with one of those French, glass parfume bottles with the fancy fringe.  

No, Santa, who must have had a sense of style beyond the brass, knew better than to mix brass and lacquer, so the vanity remained just a hope of a teenage girl.

So, what were your Penny's dreams?  Did they come true?

Comments

Casey's trio said…
Ha-Ha! Loved hearing about your JCP childhood dreams.
Anonymous said…
Wet and wild! I remember that crap!...I mean stuff.

I don't think I ever looked at the Penney's catalog.

I didn't know you liked ice skating?
Mamarazzi said…
oh Santa did NOT have better taste than my teenage desires...i HAD that vanity! i remember asking for it for a few years before it was finally delivered one fine christmas morning. mine was white not brass and the padded seat was a beautiful MAUVE/DUSTY ROSE...awesomeness!!

and yea i covered it with tons of covergirl goodness, a caboodle filled with banana clips and scrunchies. every morning i sat at the vanity, carfully applied my tri colored eyeshadow, frosted pink lipstick, blue marscara and spiral curled my long locks teasing them with a back comb and cemeting them in place with a while large can of pink Aqua Net hairspray.

yes my friends. i am responsible for the hole in the ozone and i am sure global warming toooo.

it was the 80's. i was rockin' the look...the envy of all others. seriously girls stopped me and asked me how i got my feather so radical...of course i whipped out my large can of agua net and my butane clicker curling iron and showed them...it was my duty!
Ha, that vanity is hilarious! Good luck, person, getting rid of that on Craigslist!

I remember getting a big box of Penney's clothes right before school started. I loved looking for toys in the Sears catalog. And when I was a little older and much more sophisticated, I would flip through Spiegel's furniture pages and mentally redecorate my room or my parent's living room. Dreams.

The best story my mom has on me involves a Best catalog. In the front by the jewelry section there were crowns (what in the world but whatever). I told my mom that I wanted one of those crowns. She asked me, "Are you going to marry a king someday?" I answered, "[heck]No, he is going to marry a queen."

Thanks for reminiscing with us!
Amy said…
I was a teenager in the 80's. There were a lot of Forenza sweaters and Guess jeans.
I still shudder a little everytime I pass the limited....
Anonymous said…
LOL this post is too funny!

My JcPenney dreams included a one piece cotton jumpsuit. It was turquoise with big black stars and a black shirt to go under it. It rocked!
I got it for Christmas then wore it to school on the first day back after winter break. Then never wore it again because a boy told me it looked like I was in pajamas.
Lame boys.
Shannon said…
Remember panda rings?

That is one thing I can remember circling in the catalog... and I did get one!
Kori said…
Oh I'm with Shannon I had the panda ring and the necklace.I wished and wished for it and yes I got it.
Lula! said…
Libbey came home with the Scholastic book order form last week...over half the items in it were circled. She and The Boy are so gonna be happy together.

I wanted the red dress Annie wore at the end of the movie. Apparently both Penney's and Sears sold out of it before Santa could get his hands on one for me. I thought I'd gotten over it, but dredging up this memory has now totally ruined my day. Sigh...

I'm gonna go back and look at the picture of that vanity. It will cheer me up, I just know it.
Anonymous said…
Hehe, awesome post. I too was child of JC Penney catalog. I remember many dreams of dolls and toys but mainly I remember the little art center that was nearly 1/2 the size of my bed that I would have gladly given my right arm to have. Pencils, pens, an EASEL. Wow. I was in love. I wonder if they still sell that?
Heather said…
I wanted every single baby and Barbie doll in that book. And the townhouse and the furniture and the crib and the stroller...

Um, that probably explains why my Isabel HAS all that stuff.

Living vicariously through our kids...I get to play Barbies and house anytime I want. Wanna play?
Anonymous said…
Oh that brings back memories. Both the JCP catalog and the Scholastic Book order. I think I spend more time with the book orders.I would spend hours with the book order trying to find just the right books. We did not have a much but somehow we alwasy had money for books at our house.
Jen said…
I loved that catalog to but I could only have it after my mom was finished and that is still how it is to this day.
Unknown said…
Your Penny dreams are great. Growing up I never liked Penny's. I did not want clothes from there or anything else for that matter. So I would have looked down my nose on that book. In my mind it was for bras and bedding. Little did I know - my mother was purchasing most of my clothes from there! LOL
sassy stephanie said…
My grandmother got the JCP and the Sears catalogs. I can remember doing the same thing.
Wep said…
OMG I used to love that catalog!!!
Guilty!!!
I really, more than anything wanted this jacket, I loved it, a jean jacket, Guess, Stone Washed... Oh ya.. dang I was hot back then... and all that hair spray... whoooo..

(Dear VH 1. Please no behind the music on my life)
Anonymous said…
Oh, wow. I thought I was the only dork who wanted a vanity for Christmas! I got one, but it was unfinished pine wood and my mom made a frilly skirt for it. I STILL have it in my master bedroom, and I use it. No bathroom sink for me. :)
Heather said…
A princess crown. Shocking, I know. Yes, I circled only one precious item in that catalogue and it was a rhinestone tiara. Back in 1978, JC Penny totally had those.

No. I didn't get it. We lived in a trailor on the bayou. I got shark teeth instead.
S Club Mama said…
We never got the JCP magazine. I was more along the lines of your son with the book orders. Actually I had a very organized Christmas list. Separated into books, movies, clothes, toys, tapes (music tapes, of course), etc. Then there was a rating system ***** I really want **** I want bad *** I want ** this will work * don't want but if you can't afford the rest, I'll take this (the words have changed but it's basically what I meant). Yeah, I was like that.
S Club Mama said…
But I always threw in something to ask Santa for my parents.
Unknown said…
Oh my Gawd...
Ours was the Sears Wishbook.
Toys galore and any type of polyester attire your heart desired.
We lived in an inkydink town, so without fail everyone in town recieved something from those pages.
Connie said…
Hee Hee! Good times ... good times! Today's JCP catalog has nothing on those back in the day.
Anonymous said…
I think I circled a yellow and white gingham Holly Hobby bedspread. How how I loved Holly Hobby!! ~Jill :)
Erin said…
I hate to rub this in........
but I DID get a vanity in 1989!!
It was dark wood and had a padded seat/bench.
My tinkerbell makeup looked lovely on it!
I remember the JCP catalog-my brother and I would sit for HOURS and make our santa lists!!
Jen Sue Wild said…
Oh my goodness you had me in giggles.
I so thought I needed that Vanity. In fact I did get it for my 16th birthday and I am sure ther was lots of wet and wild make up on it..
Lump said…
what?! I still use Wet N Wild chapstick. :) but I never had a vanity.
Lump said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crazy Momma said…
You totally just captured my pre-Christmas youth!

Ah, the telescope...my parents got me one for my birthday and you couldn't eevn see anything in the dark. Totally sucked!
Live.Love.Eat said…
Wow, this brings back memories. That vanity, I HAD that vanity. Wow. And I think MY Santa did place it next to some lacquer. But that's ok, I couldn't see clear through all the blue eyeshadow I had caked on back then.
black betty said…
when i was little, i remember my mom being so excited when the penny's catalog came in the mail. ah...those were the days!
Annikke said…
Before you even muttered (typed) the words I knew just what you were talking about! I remember sitting for hours looking at that catalog. Ahhh, the good ol' days!
Anonymous said…
just the SMELL of that catalog meant Christmas was coming...

Glad you were brass-deprived, though. Santa has certain taste levels to uphold ;)
Just Lisa said…
Ah, the JCP catalog! That brings back memories!

I remember looking at the stereos. Circling my dream stereo, then highlighting other, lesser stereos, in case my parents thought that the dream stereo was too expensive.

I finally got one, but it took a couple years. I won't go into how long ago that was. Before CD players. Back when the most exciting feature on a stereo was the double tape deck!
Cherie said…
Just realized I could click on your name on the SITS site. So glad to meet you and be a part of this awesome world of blog support!!!
Ash said…
Those same skates!! Alas, this Georgia Girl never got them. Not too many frozen ponds in our neck of the woods.

But I did score an awesome pair of roller skates, the same white - sigh - I can still smell the nawgahide, with purple pom poms for the laces and orange toe stoppers.

All you youngin's can keep your fancy inline skates - give me my 4 x 4s any day.

Thanks Santa!

Em
CaraBee said…
I definitely remember the Penney's catalog, but I don't remember what I dreamed of getting from within its pages. I do know that at some point, I too got the gorgy white ice skates. Sadly, my skating career lasted about one season before I realized that it wasn't the sport for me. Too bad, I could have been somebody.
nikkicrumpet said…
CRAP...I still get their catalogue and I still DREAM!!!
Michelle said…
Oh, for us it was the Sears big book. I remember we used to cut out the pictures and use them on the alphabet pages in our Kindergarten class.
Cecily R said…
Wet-n-wild was the BEST!! Did you ever wear blue mascara? Because I rocked it. Just sayin'.
Swirl Girl said…
Okay- so two things.

First of all , all I ever wanted was a vanity and stool...like a real princess.

Then- I would love to look in the toys section at the actual wooden doll houses and the million and one furniture and accessory choices available.

Now- I love getting the Ikea catalogue and the Christmas-time catalogue from Tiffany.

Times have changed....

(okay, that was 3 things)
Susie said…
I got toy ideas out of the JC Penny catalog but we went to Toys R Us to buy them:-)
My old question is this: Did you have to take your makeup out of your caboodle to line it up on the shelf?

I used to love that catalogue too! And, I love how you presented it today. :)
Rhea said…
I think they still send out that catalog here in Texas...I swear...
Lindsay said…
I just laughed out loud when you said it took a forest to make the JcPenny catalog. I remember that thing weighing a ton.
Don't you just love what you can find on craigslist!
*I'm doing my first giveaway on my blog if you want to play the game...or anyone who is interested!! ;)
Anonymous said…
Ah, the Penny's catalog.
The circles where too numerous to count. I remember my mother saying, "Pick just a few, honey".
A few? What? How in heck was I supposed to do that?
Now, I find my kids circling EVERYTHING in the catalogs that come in the mail. My boy love the Hasbro catalog. Whew.
Anonymous said…
I remember loving the catalog...but for the life of me cannot remember a thing in there I wanted!!!
CynthiaK said…
Sadly, for us Canadians, the JCPenney catalogue required a trip across the border to pick up manually. Didn't happen too often.

However, as a teen in the 80s, I did partake in endless fashion faux pas. I recall a super extra large WHAM t-shirt with bold neon writing, mounds of tremendously large and shiny earrings and other jewellery, not to mention the acid wash jeans. I guess I wasn't as upscale as I'd hoped...
Suzann said…
Ah those wonderful Christmas catalogs from JCPenney and Sears. Oh how my sisters and I would spend hours, days, weeks, dreaming and circling and then dreaming again.
I cannot recall one thing in particular - I wanted all of it. LOL.
thanks for that little bitty wonderful memory - good times!!!

BTW...I'm having a little give away...pop by my blog if you're interested.
Holly Tried It said…
I dreamed of the Limited Edition Barbies (didn't get them) and lots of clothes: pink jeans, green jeans, plaid shirts, etc. In sixth-grade, I lucked out. I got a cute suspender dress and suspender pants with a black plaid shirt (yes, I had a thing for suspenders that year).
Kelsey said…
I was 4 when I think they stopped making the book, but I vividly remember grabbing it and searching in vain for the toy section. I would circle babydolls and accessories, strollers, anything "pretend mommy" related. I remember asking for a pretend washer and dryer set (Which Santa gave me)...too bad I hate doing the washing and drying now!
KatBouska said…
We so got that same catalog...I was always looking in the toy section though...tells me something about our age difference.

Just sayin.
OMG...I promise you that my Mother In Law has that exact vanity in her guest room right now. LOLOLOL

That is funny, it is the exact vanity LOL
Dee said…
we never had catalogs like that over here, mum used to get the magnamail ones! all that cheap copied stuff that looks ok in the catalogue but in real life is rubbish ... but I still circled stuff! Any thing cat related was on my list as a kid, i usually got something , but cant remember what now.
Unknown said…
Well, get this.
I actually worked at Penney's. And if you were able to get a customer to buy a catalog you received $5 per catalog.
Let's just say, I did very well!!!
joanofalltrades said…
Just showing some SITS love.
Anonymous said…
More SITS love.
I woudl look for books for days.
Unknown said…
Wow this post brings back memories. I used to love that catalog and the Sears Wish Book!!! My parents divorced when I was six. My dad and his second wife used to get both catalogs. They would hand them to my brother and I and tell us to circle what we wanted Santa to bring us. By the time we were done our pens had no more ink.
Anonymous said…
Wow! The nastalgia! I just HAD to HAVE a vanity when I was a kid....oh the memories!
Anonymous said…
I remember that JCPenney catalog! Wow-think of all the trees wasted back then? My brother and I would go through and mark everything we wanted for Christmas! My parents probably loved when that thing came because it kept us entertained for hours!
SuZ said…
Good lord! You are taking me back! I remember drooling over all those toys like nobody's business!!
Unknown said…
Came over from SITS - the post brought me back - we fought over that catalog!!
Becky said…
Anybody who was anybody looked through and drooled over their copy of the Penny's catalog. My personal desire as a little monkey was a Strawberry Shortcake bed set, oh I wanted it, but alas it never was delivered.

Good luck tonight with the Jedi party! I'll trade you, you can watch the High School Musical 3 movie tonight.
April Kennedy said…
Hey Tiffany....you did good today...love Perched on a Whim! Thanks so much for sharing her!
Nikki said…
You have NO IDEA! I have said the SAME THING SO MANY TIMES! What happened to the catalog? Only in my house, it was the Sears catalog. It was THE HIGHLIGHT of the whole holiday season.
I was always a little confused, however, as to why Santa needed my Christmas list to include, page and catalog numbers along with complete descriptions of what I wanted? Doesn't he already know that stuff??!
Sydney said…
I wanted the Barbie Dream House. And tons of Barbie clothes. My sister and I even plotted that if we both asked Santa to bring it, he would, because we could share it. But alas... we never got the dream house. Suspiciously... our brother asked for an got the G.I. Joe Aircraft carrier. We're still a little bit bitter about that...
My mother still gets that Catalog. And the Christmas version. I loved going through and dog earing the pages. I wanted a bedazzler. Or a rock tumbler. I have no idea why. And I didn't get them. Which is probably a good thing.
John Deere Mom said…
*sigh* Wet n Wild make up. Ice skates. JCPenney catalog. Those were the good old days...
Anonymous said…
Neat post! I wanted all the matching outfits like you-and roller skates instead of ice skates-which I got from Santa too. Nice blog!
Anonymous said…
Neat post! I wanted all the matching outfits like you-and roller skates instead of ice skates-which I got from Santa too. Nice blog!
For me it was Sears-- the big 'ole Sears catalog (and NO, not the black and white version-- I'm not THAT old.) I always wanted an Easy Bake oven. Beyond that I don't remember. I have the memory of a gnat. BAHAHAHAHA I love vanities though--always have!
Soulflower said…
my penny's dream was definitely the wedding section - all things holy matrimony. I wanted the rings, the veils, the satin dyable shoes, and the dresses, my God the dresses. I just knew that once I got married in my finest Penny's ensamble, that I would live happily ever after in all of the furniture I'd picked out just 100 pages later - the huge sectional, the recliner, and I'd prepare my dreamboat the shmanciest of fancy dinners which I'd serve him at our dinette set made of glass and gold-painted metal.

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