Marshall Field’s Last Christmas Season 2005
This time of year I always think of my mother taking me to Marshall Field’s when I was growing up. In those days they had a large toy department with dolls on glass shelves that lined the walls. There were electric trains in cases where the children tall enough could stand nose to glass, to watch them go around. It was a time when strangers took children by the hand to help them find their lost mothers. Crowds of people walked slowly by the outside windows where a Christmas story unfolded with moving characters and falling snow. It was a magical part of celebrating Christmas. To this day I can retrace the memories of it all.
When I wrote the novel, Facing East, partially set in the Chicago area, there was no doubt that one of the scenes would include the dastardly decision by the new owners to change the name of the store to Macy’s. Chicagoans actually protested the decision. I am including a snippet from that scene. I hope you will consider reading and giving Facing East as one of your books on your Christmas shopping list. It is only available in paperback, but Greening of a Heart is for your e-book readers. Spend a moment with me now on State Street.
When the cab pulled up at Fields, over two hundred and fifty protesters were gathered under the famous Fields clock at State and Randolph. Katherine led Elizabeth into the throng. Everyone shared their stories. A woman standing next to Katherine said, “I brought my granddaughter here when she was little to buy a Rothschild coat and was told they no longer carried them. I was indignant. I told the sales woman, ‘My mother bought my Rothschild coats here, I bought my daughter’s coats here, and I am here to buy my granddaughter a coat!’” They stood for over an hour listening to one another’s remembrances, united in their deep regret that Fields’ would no longer be called by that name. When it was time to head back to the office, Katherine said, “Chicago cares about local lore, forget official titles. It will be a long time before Comiskey Field is called the U.S. Cellular Field or Marshall Field’s is called Macy’s. You can count on that.”