There is no other way to say this - I am utterly disappointed in myself. No matter how hard I try, I am constantly perpetuating stereotypes. In most cases it is unfair to make a sweeping generalization about a particular segment of society; it seems even more unfair to realize that the same sweeping generalization is entirely true about oneself. The time has come for me to admit something. My name is Mr. Tiny. I am fat and I am jolly. It's not just my predilection for green vegetables (you know, like the Jolly Green Giant). It's not just that my belly shakes when I laugh like a bowl full of jelly (Jolly Old Saint Nicholas). It's that the age-old perception of the cheerfully chunky rings true...at least in my case. I have plenty of moody moments but, all things considered, I have a disposition that is generally jolly - especially when I am exploring someplace as interesting as Hi-Jolly Gift Shop on a jolly holiday in Arizona.
|See what I mean?|
Jumping for Jolly.
Opened sometime in the 1940's (according to the perhaps less-than-jolly shopkeeper), Hi-Jolly was a place that forced us into a situation of some pretty reckless driving as we followed the siren song of souvenirs. Based solely on the exterior, Hi-Jolly is one of those shops that makes you cross your fingers and hope that somehow traversing the threshold will transport you back to the glory days of the American Southwest - dreaming that all of the souvenirs would be just as they were on a warm April day in 1941. That theory and the hand-painted signs made a lot of claims that we were anxious to put to the test.
|"Souvenirs, Copper, Windbells, Indian Jewelry, Sand Paintings, Moccasins, Western Belts,|
Cactus Plants, Mexican Pottery, T-Shirts, Steer Horns, and Figurines" - I'll take plenty of each!
|They had me at matching belt & bola tie!|
The signs were enough to get me to consider taking up permanent residence, and I hadn't even opened the door yet. It was time to bite the proverbial bullet and enter.
|I want everything to look like this. Everything.|
At first glance, Hi-Jolly is just as disappointing as every other tourist-trap gift shop. Rife with tschotskes specific to nowhere, dream catchers made in Sri Lanka, neo-Southwest decorations, and Red Hat Society paraphernalia (is that still a thing?), it would've been easy to turn on our heels and beat a hasty retreat to the rental car. Myopic would we be if we failed to take a few moments to focus our eyes and discover the best parts of Hi-Jolly.
|A bounty of Native American chalkware busts.|
I wanted all of them; unable to decide on a single
one, I foolishly decided on none.
How great are those graphics and the jolly green saguaro?
|I couldn't find the Arizona corollary for kissing Dutch figures,|
but I was sure I'd be able to find a place for them in the yard.
|Curiouser and curiouser.|
Dead stock 60's dolls are relegated to a cardboard box.
We also found vintage velvet paintings leaning against a
back wall; upon closer inspection, they were dirty and torn.
|A rack full of risque, novelty greeting cards from the 70's.|
I wanted to spend more time in Hi-Jolly searching for the other old-timey odds and ends that were hiding between racks of Arizona state magnets and cow patties encased in resin, but we were keeping a very tight schedule and needed to get back on track. Although, I did have time to pick up one souvenir.
|A tooled-leather wallet to replace the one I have that is actually|
bursting at the seams. This one has insets of cowhide...sorry PETA.
Is the service amazing? No. Is the shop air-conditioned? No. Is the spirit of Hi-Jolly's opening day still present in the narrow aisles packed with Native American "art" and Southwest souvenirs over seven decades later? Yes. If you find yourself in Mesa, AZ (which you undoubtedly will after you see some of the neato things that we have yet to share with you), be sure and stop by Hi-Jolly Gift Shop. You'll be jolly glad that you did.
Still intent on dispelling the stereotype, I struck the
most un-jolly pose I could muster. Nope...still jolly.
Hi-Jolly Gift Shop
4500 E Main St #2