Maja and Vintage Cards

Cards purchased in the 2000s from McMonkman Pharmacy in Lincoln Heights

Not too long ago, at the corner of Daly and North Broadway in Lincoln Heights was a pharmacy untouched by time. It seems the good folks of Lincoln Heights had no reason to buy anything from this store except medication from the pharmacy. This resulted in a drugstore that masqueraded as a museum of products from the 1970s. The store never cleared it’s shelves and items stood dusty on display patiently waiting for an uninformed shopper to carry them home.

As you can imagine, a store like this piqued the interest of a curious person like myself. I would wind through the purposely created maze like shelves – shoplifting deterrents – purveying cosmetic items from decades past. La Maja, the dusting powder my mother and grandmother used featured a vampy raven haired Spanish dancer on the front of the box, and as a little girl, I thought she was the epitome of beauty.

The pharmacy carried a full line of La Maja products, at least twenty years old as evidenced by the same packaging I remembered from my childhood. Under glass was the well preserved display of the little soaps, the big round powder box with duster and a small box of perfume all red, black and gilded with gold. The price was still too high for me, all were well over $20. On my occasional trips down to Broadway and Daly I would duck into the pharmacy just to check to see if they were still there. Someday I thought, I will have a spare twenty in my pocket and in a tribute to my eight year old self, will purchase one of these fancy boxes. On one such day, with a bit of money burning in my pocket, I went in to peruse the Maja products only to discover they had replaced the vintage Maja line with new updated versions. The design was cheap and generic, lacking glamor. You can still buy Maja in places like Rite Aid but why would you? All the magic is gone.

As alluring as those old Maja products were, my favorite relic in the store was a display of greeting cards from the early 1970s sitting dusty on an old brittle and faded plastic revolving rack. Tucked away in a dark corner, the cards were overlooked and rarely browsed. My friend and I would read through them snickering at the old school jokes while the clerks watched us suspiciously. Eventually the pharmacy went out of business to make way for a discount store. Luckily, I snagged a few cards while I had the chance.

A review of Maja perfume and products here.

The history of Myrurgia, the company behind Maja.

While doing a small bit of research on Maja, I found the woman on the box was inspired by the Spanish dancer and model Carmen Tortola Valencia.

6 thoughts on “Maja and Vintage Cards

  1. Nombre Ta Loca says:

    Great post!!! Wow! Talk about flashback…. I used to go to this pharmacy with my mom or with my friend Grace, she would buy that cover up… My mom would buy Concha Nacar and tres flores…. I remember going with my friend back when welfare benefits had to be picked up at the cash checking place right around the corner… She was was nice enough to buy me this cover up… ūüôā

  2. Dona Junta says:

    Dam now that is a throwback! the Maja products freaken bring back memories of my mom back in-the-days. I remember she had the powder and the soaps. I also remember she had like a doll that was like a Spanish Dancer with a fancy dress almost like a Barbie but I was scred of it. wow Chim love love it.

  3. Chimatli says:

    Ha, DJ, I remember those dolls! Did your mom have one of those crocheted doll head covers for the toilet paper? Now that’s really old school!

  4. Dona Junta says:

    Lol I can’t believe you remember that doll haha the scary one! I wonder what was the deal with that? Haha my mom did not have the crocheted doll on the tiolet paper but my tia Dona Elena did! hahaha it was pink and white lol!!!!

  5. anonymus says:

    I do not like Maja perfume. For me it is a perfume ordinary and vulgar ….. The girls were just put it this way and that perfume they had like a glove.

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