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  1. Have a Good Friday!

    Friday, March 29, 2013


    By Samantha DeRose

    Well, Easter is upon us and I'm reminded of one thing.  The Rowe-Manse Emporium.  Yes.  That's right.  Every knick-knack, fad gadget, gourmet food, lingerie, perfume, lottery ticket purchasing person in the Northeast would flock to The Rowe-Manse Emporium, the specialty department store, this time of year to find the perfect holiday-time  treat.  Jelly Belly Jelly Beans, Peeps, Cheese shaped like Ducks, Chicks, & Baby Lambs, chocolate bunnies, Kosher for Passover items, you name it.  The Rowe-Manse Emporium had it.



    I started my career at TRME when I was a wee child of, hmm, I guess four years old when my father placed me in an advertisement* for the World's Largest Chocolate Bunny sold where?  You guessed it. Only at The Rowe-Manse Emporium.  "Samantha couldn't believe her eyes.  A bunny like this doesn't happen along every day," read the ad.  I still have it somewhere, laminated but  I'm not going to fumble around my attic for it because, well, have you seen my attic?  Oh, wait.  I just went next door to my parents' house and guess who had it?  God bless 'em, my mom and dad.*



    The awesome part of the ad was that it made me famous the first year that it ran.  I was in kindergarten.  After that, the store kept running the ad year after year, and let's just say that by the time I was in Junior High and was mercilessly tortured for pretty much just breathing, the ad gave my tormentors more fodder when one kind soul found it in the paper, ripped it out, and brought it to school for Christopher Columbus Junior High's section 7-8 to view. (This person is a facebook friend of mine.  Why?  I have no idea.)  Who knew?  But that's beside the point.

    Seems that my whole family and all of my friends were employed by The RME at one point or another. *My father, a freelance graphic designer and commercial artist, provided The Emporium with advertising for 30+ years (* you'll be happy to know that, while I was at their house this morning, my parents pulled out all of the ads in which my father utilized his "free models", aka his children, throughout the years.  Seriously.  You should have seen them an hour ago.  To my horror - truly, parents have a very distorted version of what their children look like because I was downright bizarre looking - they reminisced, "Oh, Art, look at this one!" and "Sandy, weren't they just adorable?").   My Aunt Linda worked at the store before moving to Connecticut.  My sister worked the penny candy register and gourmet cheese department through high school.  My best friend, Marygrace, (you all know her very well by now) spent quality time working the register in the Men's Department.  But my brother and I had THE most glamorous jobs OF THEM ALL!  Wait for it.  Wait for it...

    Kids under 6 don't read this next part.

    My brother was the department store Easter Bunny every Easter (in addition to working as a stock boy and as a cashier amidst the holiday frenzy).  I could never understand why he would come home so PISSED after working as the jolly EB.  How AWESOME OF A JOB IS THAT, getting paid to spread love and springtime Easter joy to all, thought I, a child of 12 waiting with bated breath for a real job of my own!

    He'd come home muttering like an insane person about jelly beans, screaming kids, sweating under the enormous bunny head that, inside, rose to temperatures one might find in Arizona or on the sun.  I'd laugh and laugh and laugh at him, mocking him, making countless Big Bunny jokes...until...

    That is NOT my brother, as I could not find the photo - which does exist somewhere- but you get the idea

    I turned 16 years old and became the store's department store holiday reindeer.  Yes.  Rodney the Reindeer, a Hallmark promotional item in 1986.  And Rowe-Manse Emporium had the real, life-sized deal, waving at patrons of the store every weekend (Rodney was paid $50/weekend),  from Thanksgiving until Christmas.  Only my costume was larger, bulkier, and much, much warmer inside than my brother's Big Bunny suit.  And my brother was oh, so pleased.  Seems that I had had my comeuppance.

    Oh, how he'd relish in my stories of screaming brats kicking me in the shins because they realized that I was not a real reindeer once they spied my Sperry Top Sider shoes.  "THAT'S NOT A REAL REINDEER!  IT'S WEARING SHOES!"  BAM!  A shot to the shins. And let me tell you.  Those little f*&^ers wore some pointy shoes!

    Furthermore, Rodney wasn't allowed to speak, therefore, no one knew that it was 16-year-old girl under the brown fleece, stuffed body and GI-NORMOUS head.  Just so happens that one fine afternoon, an older, trampier female employee with adult onset acne (which I have now) approached Rodney and said in a seductive tone, "Well, hellooo theerrree, Rodneeeeey.  Wanna know a secret?  I've never made it with a reindeer."

    THAT'S IT!  I finally had to break character and replied in my 16-year old, near heat-stroke, girl voice, "Well, don't count on this reindeer to help you out, lady."  Shut that tramp right up.



    My brother had a month's worth of laughter at my expense.  And I learned a lesson:

    Be kind to the bunny at the mall.  People, you just have no idea!

    Happy Spring, everyone!

    PS, I'm involved in a creative writing project & writing a longer version of the Rodney experience.  I'll post it when it's complete.

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  2. 2 comments:

    1. Lisa Harmon said...

      Hilarious! Happy holidays! I'll be nice to those Santas & Elves this Christmas!

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