ON A WALK: Crestview in Austin

While getting my hair done last week, I got into a conversation with the salon receptionist.  When I told her where I lived, she said: “Have you ever been to that little 1950’s shopping center there in your neighborhood?”  No.  No I had not.

Actually, that is a lie.  I’ve driven by Crestview Shopping Center before, always intrigued, but never hopping out to explore.  The shops face inward into a small parking lot, so if you were just zipping by, you might not notice anything except a brick wall enclosure.  But step inside, and my receptionist is right: It’s totally a little time warp into 1950’s Austin, complete with barber shop, deli, pharmacy,  beauty parlor.  I was a little enchanted.  And suddenly seized with the urge to get a manicure.

There’s also a tile mural that wraps around the shopping center, one that illustrates the changes of the neighborhood.  People have written messages on the tiles recording their memories.  Some of them are quite startling, but some of them are funny too, like a message from someone who said he “always wanted to go to the Poodle Dog as a kid to see the puppies.”  The Poodle Dog is a bar on Burnet Road that has existed since the dawn of time, with pictures of Marilyn Monroe taped all around the ceiling.  It has a giant poodle painted on the outside, and I giggled because that’s the kind of assumption I would have made as a little kid.

Speaking of which, there were all these kids and families eating at the deli that day, and I really wanted to take pictures of them because they were so darn adorable. But when I raised my camera to my face, I saw a mother looking suspiciously back at me through my lens, and that’s when I realized that perhaps it’s creepy to snap photos of other people’s children.  So you’ll just have to imagine them.