The news that Daffyâ€™s would close on September 30th hit me hard. It feels like something bigger than the closing of a department store; it feels like I will have to find a new way to live.
Daffyâ€™s has been a part of my life since it opened, a place of refuge, a place for magic, a place of bargains, sure, but so much more. So many moments, both large and small, are marked for me in some way by a trip to Daffyâ€™s.
I truly remember my first visit. When I realized the store was multiple floors, that half of one floor was dedicated to shoes, I began to shake. I had been out for hours already and had only popped in to see what the place was like. Two hours later, I crawled out, exhausted, bleary-eyed, and heavily packaged.
Over the past 20 years,Â Daffyâ€™s magic never failed me. To allow Daffyâ€™s mojo to work, you have to give it time and space. Generally, I would envision what I wanted: a butter yellow, buttery soft cross-body bag, letâ€™s say, and then go to Daffyâ€™s. This thinking into being would work, and the purse (or gray riding boots or a blue trench coat or a black crochet sweater) would be waiting when I got thereâ€”not that I didnâ€™t have to slowly, slowly look for them, which is part of the Daffyâ€™s ritual.
When my husband passed away, friends and acquaintances all had strong suggestions of therapists I should see. I considered taking the recommendation from my most well-adjusted friend. I ended up choosing based on which therapist was closest to Daffyâ€™s, thinking if the therapy didnâ€™t help, the shopping might. Getting lost in the racks at Daffyâ€™s did help; I could be anonymous and all that mattered, for half an hour or so, was whether the French off-the-shoulder silk knit top would work with the blue gabardine skirt.
A friend and I who donâ€™t get to see each other enough developed a tradition: Get liquored up on cheap drinks and atmosphere at Oscarâ€™s and then go buy boots at Daffyâ€™s. Even these inebriated purchases caused no regrets. I donâ€™t know what weâ€™ll do now, and I hope we can keep up our relationship.
Daffyâ€™s holds so many memories: My oldest daughter bought her prom dress there. We knew it was the right one when I cried when she put on. I was (and am) so happy to have a daughter who had no qualms about wearing a $29.99 gorgeous dress, while her friends wore $299 ones. I overheard her telling people how much we paid at the pre-promÂ photo-op, and I was so proud.
When I first started teaching at Drexel, I chose a sofa for my office from the warehouse of used furniture on campus. The couch is pinks and purples, with a ’90s kind of marbelization and swirl of colors; itâ€™s ugly. I sat at my desk one day looking at that couch, grateful to have it, but still wishing it blended better with my bright blue walls (â€śtranscendent blue,â€ť to be exactâ€”I chose it for the name as much as the color). Then it struck me: Daffyâ€™s. I took the trolley straight down, went directly to housewares, visualizing throw pillows the whole way. There they were: gray faux silk, burgundy with tassels, muted pink, a navy blue velour, $10 a piece and perfect.
Through the years, I have turned on hundreds of new-to-Philadelphia students to Daffyâ€™s as almost every compliment I received on boots, bags, dresses and coats, was answered with my saying, â€śI got it at Daffyâ€™s.â€ť That was the best thingâ€”shopping at Daffyâ€™s is almost like thrift shopping. You have to spend a lot of time in the racks, sifting and sorting and looking for what best says â€śI should be yours!â€ť but like all good finds, once you make the discovery, the hunt is so worth it.
Iâ€™m hearing good things about the Burlington Coat Factory in Cherry Hill. I havenâ€™t been; Iâ€™m too despondent, and â€śI got it at Burlington Coat Factoryâ€ť just doesnâ€™t have the same ring.