Growing up, it arrived at the same time every Christmas season. It was more anticipated and more important than Santa Claus could ever be to me. In fact, to this day, I get goosebumps just thinking about it.
The Service Merchandise catalog. Yes, that was it. You might be saying, “But Joe, it is just a catalog.” That is correct but inside was our Fort Knox. Full of gold for a pre-teen boy with endless possibilities.
My mother had a connection with, if I remember, the Pargh corporation, who somehow owned Service Merchandise or maybe ran the company. Either way, as long as I got that catalog, all was good.
You would thumb through it and it was as if Best Buy was at your fingertips. VHS machines, boom boxes, Hi-Fi stereos and anything else you could possibly imagine. I would pick this out and that out and then this other thing, and change my mind about a million times.
Fort Knox. That simple. Right in front of us.
As I look back, I feel sad somewhat that my kids will never know that thrill of grabbing the catalog and looking through it immediately. Knowing what I do now, my mother couldn’t afford 99% of the things that were in there but she always made me feel as if I could have anything I wanted.
As I sit and write this, I go right back in my mind to waiting for my mom to come home with that catalog. The unbridled anticipation, the excitement, and most of all, the joy of looking through every single page and marking things I wanted left and right.
For some reason, I had forgotten all about this magazine until I saw a picture recently on Facebook of the front of the catalog. As you can imagine, that set off a blizzard of amazing and wonderful memories of time spent with my mom.
Thank you, Service Merchandise catalog, for making this old man feel like a kid again.