Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Our day out

As I mentioned on the April post of afternoon gardens, the grammy, the daughter, and the granddaughter had a lovely shopping day. We went to two stores which we've visited many times since Margaret was little. First we went to our local health food store, where the owner, our friend, has been following Hazel’s progress on Facebook, and was eager to meet the little lady. We had a wonderful visit. I took some pictures and posted them on Facebook with the words, ‘third generation shopper.’ The occasion filled me with a new and exquisite joy - the pleasure of sharing my daughter’s childhood with her daughter. 

We then proceeded down the hill for a bittersweet visit to our independent bookstore. Bittersweet because it is closing, and that very day was its last day in business. This store has been such a part of our lives. Forty years ago, Tom and I would haunt the aisles on a late-opening Friday night. By the time our kids came along, the store had moved to a bigger location, and also sold the most wonderful children’s books and toys. There was a toy creature that rode a unicycle on wire suspended from the ceiling, propelled by batteries or magic. There was a wooden train set up on a table at just the right height for little ones to play with while their parents were shopping. There were stuffed animals and games and tapes and just about anything you could imagine. The downstairs was given over to children, while the books for grownups were upstairs on the main floor. It was bright and cheery and welcoming. The clerks were knowledgeable readers, and there was a whole shelf devoted to employee recommendations. It was the ‘anchor’ store for Main Street, and such a part of the community. There were yearly contests in the schools where children would draw bookmarks, and the winning designs made into official bookmarks which were tucked into books bought at the store.

Some years ago, the original owner sold it, and gradually many of the older staff left. We got to know the new people, but the feeling wasn’t quite the same. And then of course the changes that were felt all through the book world began to happen. Internet shopping and electronic books began to gnaw away at the store’s business, and then the recession compounded the situation. I am as guilty as the next person. It was very hard for me to go there and spend $25 for one book when I could buy two online for just a little more. I’d still go in at Christmas time and buy presents but I winced at the price. They tried some new things to bring people in: a little cafe, some author appearances, a book club, and various classes. Finally the two floors were combined into one to cut costs. But in the end none of these things could save the store. And so, it is now closed, and Hazel Nina will never know it as her mother and I did. 

Our third stop was to a delightful shop that a woman keeps in the front rooms of her house. It is packed with everything delightful, from jewelry to notecards, and candles to baby shoes. It is like an old-fashioned, much-loved living room. The woman is also a friend who has been keeping up with Hazel Nina on Facebook, and was overjoyed to see her in person. 

Everywhere we went kind people flocked around, some we knew and others we didn’t. After hearing Hazel’s story, one man in his seventies said that when his sister was born, a wedding ring could be slid up her arm. 

It was a day that filled our hearts with love and friendship, and a sense of belonging.

26 comments:

  1. Such a beautiful post. I know that Hazel Nina will read this one day and will be so very proud of her Grammy.

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    1. As I am of her! I so love that little girl!!

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  2. A lovely, lovely post, Nan. What a special time in your life. So sad about that bookstore, though. Reminds me a little bit of Meg Ryan and You've Got Mail.

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    1. Thank you. I love every minute I spend with her. It is a bit like the movie, except there isn't even a 'fox books' around here.

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  3. Agree with Kay G. Beautiful, and sad because I remember shops that I went into as a child that are now gone, and so only live on in the memory. I have copied your description of the bookstore that has gone, to share with some booky friends - I know we will all feel the same when we discuss it. Thank you Nan. xx

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    1. What a nice thing to do. Thank you. It is sad when the old stores go. I remember a milliner's shop my mum and I went into when I was little.

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  4. Love and joy were oozing off this post. So glad you had such a nice day out.

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    1. Everything we do with this baby fills my heart with such joy.

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  5. I am glad you enjoyed the day...so nice and sunny and springlike.
    I am so sick over the demise of that bookstore. My visits to that town and it's wonderful Main Street will be the poorer for it. (I suppose I can try and console myself at that seemingly endless candy counter, but it won't help.)

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    1. And now the Oasis is closing, too. Bailiwicks is going in where it was. And Duck Soup closed without fanfare. I loved that store.

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  6. Now that you have a grandchild you will seldom have an ordinary day. You will see things through her eyes and through the eyes of her mother, and you will cherish even more the events and joy. As she gets bigger she will tell you things, and you will have more wonder in your own life. A nice post. I too am sad that more and more bookstores are becoming a thing of the past. May we always have libraries!

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    1. You are so right. Every single minute I'm with her is such fun. I'm thankful that we have two local libraries we visit which are thriving!

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  7. Beautiful post - how wonderful to be with your daughter and granddaughter, I do have to admit to some envy - no grandbabies in sight here. Sigh. But it's the way it is. Maybe someday, but I'm afraid I'll be too ancient - ha,ha!
    Sorry about the bookstore. It's happened here too, far too often. But I know that I'm as much to blame as anyone. The amazing variety and good pricing of that big online store we won't mention is so tempting.
    Happy Spring to you, enjoy that sweet baby girl!
    Mary

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    1. Never too ancient! Tom's mum is 86 and she is over the moon excited!!

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  8. What a lovely day you had, Nan! Though it's very sad that the bookstore is closing. So many of them are.....and yet the lure of the internet and their prices is almost irresistible. I don't know what the answer is, because I need to look at the books in the bookstores, and to walk around and see and touch and get to know the books....and yet the price is high. We have lost so many here in Ottawa too. We can hope that somewhere, sometime, they make a come back, right? And then your granddaughter and my children will know the joy of walking into a bookstore :-)

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    1. I'm hoping the libraries will take the place of that joy.

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  9. A great day out for little Hazel Nina, her mother and grandmother! I don't have children, but I love going places with my Mum, places we've both known all our lives and have seen many changes but also some things are still the same.
    It's a pity about the book shop but understandable.

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    1. I love your adventures with your mum. You are both so lucky to have one another, and to live so close.

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    2. By the way, only this week I have learned from my Mum that the bookshop we all (Mum, Sis and I) have been favouring during the last 20 years or so is closing down. It was run by two ladies, one of which has to step down because of a serious, incurable illness, and the other lady can't and won't do it on her own.

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    3. Isn't that sad. I'm sorry for the sick woman.

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  10. It was a wonderful day for all three of you. Almost perfect (except for the bitter-sweet part with the bookstore -- and I completely empathize with your thoughts there). What a delight to introduce Hazel Nina to all her neighbors and friends. (and thank you for introducing her to your bloggy friends too!)

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    1. She is meeting new folks almost every day. Yesterday she visited another baby who is a bit older. He was of course enchanted with her.

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  11. Long before we had our first grandchild, I knew I would love being a grandmother. What I didn't know was how much I would and what fun it would be, Nan. Amazing, isn't it, how love expands to hold so much love and joy? It is that all encompassing love and joy that pours out through your words here, and in all your posts about Hazel.
    It is always sad to see a favorite store, especially a book store, close. There will be other adventures to share with her - and all those books you must still have. Lovely to see this post.

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    1. Love does expand, though I do feel my heart almost coming outside my body. It's because it is my child and my child's child. There are no words that can really express this.
      And I do have a lot of books which I kept!

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  12. Sounds like a lovely day...all the more so because you spent it with Hazel. We also have a quaint small town bookstore but I too find myself sometimes picking a book at the library or a less expensive one at a bigger store...perhaps a trip to the little store is in order! Enjoy your time with the wee one...

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    1. It's a difficult problem, that's for sure. The little stores are so dear.

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