The Shop Down The Street

For the second time in a week, I visited my town's new bookstore.  Yes, my little town (less than four square miles) now has in addition to its multitude of nail salons and pizza places, a cozy bookstore.  Its right next to one of three coffee shops that are in the town limits and it's a lovely little place.  It's exactly what a neighborhood bookstore SHOULD.  Barnes and Noble overwhelms me, this shop comforts me.

I'm of an age when I miss bookstores, record shops, and pharmacies.  All of these things used to be in my town, but until this new bookstore opened last week, had gone by the wayside.  

I'm feeling a little nostalgic.  I wonder how many people remember that there WAS a bookstore in town in the 1970s.  I don't recall the name of the store, but I do remember its location, about half a mile (or less) from the new store.  On the same main "drag" but the opposite side of the street.  The building, as I remember it, was small.  It was down and across the street from the little cottage that sold doll house accessories (yes that was a THING), a cottage that still stands and as a gift shop has that same personal feel to it.  I can tell you the two books I bought (or maybe were bought for me) that day:  Cherry Ames:  Senior Nurse by Helen Wells (the 2nd in a series of 27; Cherry Ames moved around a lot as a nurse from 1943- 1968) and John Bellair's The House with a Clock in its Walls.  (The BEST of Bellair's books in my opinion and the brilliant Edward Gorey's illustrations scared the crap out of me.)

When did the bookstore (and the dollhouse store up the block) fade away?  Like their names, I can't remember, but I DO remember the stores and the special magic each place held for me a youth.

I miss the small bookstore at the shore that I would regularly visit over the summer.  I remember the books I bought there as well (In Summertime, It's Tuffy by Judie Angell and when I got older, Petals on the Wind by V.C. Andrews after I devoured the scandalous Flowers in the Attic). I'm old and nerdy, because I recall the 1970s and 80s as being full of hundreds of wonderful young adult novels found on shelves in small bookstores and "mom and pop" shops that sold the latest issues of  Tiger Beat, Teen Beat and 16 (not to be confused with Seventeen) along with cherry slush puppies.

My town has always had a wonderful library (which I do not frequent enough), but as a youth, and even a young woman, I wanted to HAVE books, not just borrow them.  That changed as I got older and my dollars had to go to things like food, rent and insurance.  As I TRY (but not necessarily succeed) to downsize all my "stuff" (and I do have a lot of "stuff") I turned to an e-reader to fill my voraciousness for a good story.  (And there are some awesome story tellers out there...along with some hacks, but that's a tale for another day.)  An e-reader may have emptied some space on my shelves, but there are times when a "real" book is needed.  Books don't overheat in the sun and if they get a little sand from the beach in them, they don't crash.  No author is going to autograph your Nook or Kindle.  (I'm the proud owner of autographed books by Dorthea Benton Frank, Susan Wiggs, Rebecca Wells, and Lois Duncan to name a few.)  (Side note: I cried when  Pat Conroy, Sue Grafton and Dorthea Benton Frank died.  Three unique voices that always grabbed me.) And for those books that really "get" you; the ones that capture a moment in your life's history or for some reason, known or unknown, just call out to you, having a physical copy in your hands is a MUST,

Books can be treasures.  I'm thrilled that I have a special place less than a mile from my home where I can find them.


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