Lunch was always the same for me: a chicken salad sandwich and a glass of gingerale. I have no idea what my mother and grandmother had, except for the tea. My grandmother used to read tea leaves, but I don't recall her doing so in MRA's at lunch - ladies probably didn't do that sort of thing in public.
Ladies did, however, smoke in public, at least I think more women than just my grandmother did. Her cigarette was always part of her outfit somehow and definitely connected to having tea. My she was stylish, most dramatically so. She would inhale, tilt her head back, and blow a long stream of smoke towards the ceiling. - later I found out that they did this in the movies, and it wasn't really her "move," so to speak. I would always break the straw from my gingerale to the same length as a cigarette and pretend to smoke because that's what grown-up stylish ladies did. I felt very important with that straw cigarette, with my gingerale, in the tea room.
I loved those lunches. My grandmother has been gone now for many years, as has that department store. But my mom and I share the memories of those lunches out at MRA.
This has been a great week for memory and for synchronicity as well - lunches, department stores, and, grandmothers. Santa, too.
A recent post in ART and ARCHITECTURE, mainly brought me right back to those lunches at the MRA. Yesterday, I found a story about the 13 indigenous grandmothers. Today, searching for a picture of the MRA, I found a story dated December 13/09 about department store Santas, and guess what? The Manchester Robertson Allison Department Store was the first department store in Canada to have a Santa.
My visit with that MRA Santa might just be my only claim to fame: