When my nana was still alive, I would visit her in Wilkes Barre, PA, and we would always take a trip to Boscov’s Department Store. Even in my 20s, if my travels took me anywhere near Pennsylvania, I would tack on a day or two to stay on her awful fold-out sofa and enjoy her lilting Irish brogue (this despite her 40+ years stateside) and intrepid efforts to feed me every 30 minutes or so. To this day, I still tell my husband that I love the way he pronounces “potatoes” because it sounds just the way she did (“poh-DAY-dos”).
When my brothers and I were growing up, she always sent random care packages in shoe boxes carefully wrapped in brown paper (most likely an inside-out grocery sac). There was always candy, in particular, mini Nestle Crunch Bars, which were a rarity back then, Halloween notwithstanding. Around St. Patrick’s Day, we could always count on a loaf of her Irish soda bread, which she would bake in mass quantities for the church festivities (pun intended). Nana died over a decade ago and, although she is never far from my thoughts (I am convinced that every time I break a new tray of ice cubes and one invariably flies out and hits the floor, that it is somehow attributable to her), I haven’t thought about Boscov’s in as many years…until today.
I was doing what I do for my “day job” in corporate communications and sales support, deciphering our VP of Sales’ chicken scratch notes on business cards as I enter them into our database and assign them to a specific sales rep, when I came across a card for Boscov’s. Not only was I immediately taken back to my younger years and the love I had for my nana and our excursions, but I was surprised and delighted to see that Boscov’s had moved into the 21st century with e-commerce sales from their website. Not that they shouldn’t have continued to flourish online like so many other department stores. I guess that “back then” me didn’t realize there were more Boscov’s than the one nana and I went to in Wilkes Barre, PA, and “today me” hopes there are many more grandmothers and their granddaughters carrying on the tradition of shopping there together, whether in person or virtual. After all, a care package is still a care package, whether you take it home in a bag or it arrives in your mailbox.