"Give thanks with a grateful heart"

"Give thanks with a grateful heart"

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The End Of An Era

I love books!  I love the feel of a book in my hand! And I love bookstores!  There's something special about being surrounded by books and quiet, little spaces where I can browse and read - and maybe find something special that makes its way into my bag to come home with me.  I've shared before that my sweetheart and his siblings have an annual Labor Day reunion at the Oregon Coast.  We meet in Tillamook - famous for Tillamook Cheese - and the time we have spent there has always included a stop (or two) downtown at Rainy Day Books.  Recently I was sad to learn that Rainy Day Books closed their doors forever at the end of last year.  After twenty-six years in business, it was time to say goodbye to the community and the travelers who always found their way into a place where everyone was welcome.  Independent bookstores are closing all around our country.  No matter how hard they try or how many changes they make, they have a hard time competing with electronic readers and online book sales.  That's what happened to this sweet, little shop that was a haven for many people through the years.  Shortly before the store closed, the owner reflected, 'What people can’t get shopping online is the chance to wander the aisles and discover books that you never knew existed, to find a treasure, and encounter an author you haven’t read before. That’s what is lost in the digital age. . . It's sad. I never imagined books would go out of fashion. Independent book stores are like the canary in the coal mine. When we’re gone it will mean something drastic has happened, something is lost, and it will be too late to bring it back.'

I could never just walk through the front door of this special place!  The building was old and quaint, with angled bay windows on each side of the entrance.  In the angles of the bay on each side of the door were huge chalkboards that always captured my heart.  In the window on one side of the door - this. . .
On the other side . . . this.
Inside you never found the latest decor.  It was an eclectic mix of historic things from around the area.   It was a charming and personal place to spend a few minutes or a few hours on a rainy day - a place filled with local furnishings. An antique table and book cases from an old tavern in a nearby coastal community. A huge glass-fronted case from a long-gone local jewelry store. A pitcher and a clock from a laundry and glass cases and book shelves from an old creamery in a town a ways to the south. The wainscoting on the walls was from the old city  hall.  It was a place of treasures and history and memories.  Filled with nooks and crannies. . .
 And room after room filled with books from floor to ceiling.
But the dearest treasure of all when I visited was Webster, the resident cat!  Webster often met you at the door - or you could find him curled up nearby on a chair or a comfy stool.  He was a gregarious fellow.  He lived for greeting the customers and usually talked them into petting him. Some folks came to visit him often - and he seemed to remember every one of them.  Some of them brought gifts of catnip but what they didn't know was that catnip didn’t excite him at all!
Webster died about a month before the store closed. The local paper said he was the heart and soul of Rainy Day Books - and he was. The article went on to say that he was an extraordinary spirit who was loved so very much. He was eighteen years old.  He had lived his whole life at the bookstore and he made many friends from far and near. I wonder if he died of a broken heart.

The end of an era has come and gone.  My next trip to Tillamook will be bittersweet.  The joy of being at the Oregon Coast will fill my heart but something special will be missing.  Webster and Rainy Day Books won't be there to greet me - but they will always be treasured memories of time spent in a world away from the noise outside the door.  It was a world of books that took me to far-away places and a friend I always looked forward to seeing again. 

14 comments:

Ceekay-THINKIN of HOME/Doublewide Decor said...

Oh, this makes me sad. Poor Webster just couldn't go on without his store and customers...it is the end of many eras. Just imagine...Hostess is gone now too.

Kathleen Grace said...

Oh so sad. Will our grandchildren know what a book store was? Will they see and hold paper books and feel the paper, and see the brilliant illustrations? One of our favorite hangouts used to be the big Borders store a mile from our house. We would go and get coffee, and peruse the magazines and books, and almost never walked out empty handed. It's gone now, as are most of the small book stores. I just heard the other day that the first book free librarty opened. You go in and get e-books. How sad.

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

Ah that is sad! Even Barnes & Nobles is closing stores!

Lea and her Mustangs said...

I am so sad that the bookstore closed. I have never been there but I love books. I read and read and quilt and quilt. And Webster lived a happy life. Am glad he didn't live longer than the store. My favorite used book store in Spokane closed too. I almost cried when I found out. If people like electronic books, OK but I want one in my hand where I can turn the pages. Thanks for your thoughts.

StitchinByTheLake said...

I confess I use an e-reader Adrienne but will miss the book stores that we've lost. I still buy the occasional "real" book but with arthritis in my hands the e-reader has been a real help to me. blessings, marlene

Gayle said...

Ah, so true! Enumclaw had just such a bookstore as well. The old wood floor made a scrunch noise as you walked, it smelled of strong coffee and I always found a book I simply couldn't resist! I must confess, I am a shopper of Amazon and download books and have an account with Good Reads online. But nothing can compare to a bookstore!

Marilyn said...

I get sad each time a bookstore closes. I love the feel of a book in my hands also. I can remember a particularly rough year where I hung out at Barnes and Noble alot. I would miss having book stores to hang out in.

Donna said...

I adore my electronic reader, but I also adore bookstores! That looks like a lovely one, so it's a shame that it had to close. We've bought a lot of books over the years, but have had to whittle down our inventory because of space limitations now. The only bookstore I know in our city is a used book store. We try to go a couple of times a year to it, but it doesn't have much character.

Rhondi said...

It's very sad isn't it? I love a good bookstore.

Mary Ellen said...

Isn't it amazing how our world is changing so rapidly. Book stores no longer available. I know some of the reason is Amazon and electronic readers but wonder just how much too, is due to people not reading like we used to. Every time I would go visit my dad he would as what book I was reading- it was just a given that reading was a part of our lives.

Reading Augustine's, On The Two Cities(Selections from The City of God) right now- very interesting as it was written due to the overthrow of Rome- so parallel's our thought as a people today.

Consider yourself hugged friend!

bee blessed
mary


Paula said...

Riff and I went down the coast this past weekend and I was devastated to see Rainy Day Books gone as well. It was such a wonderful place and will be truly missed. I do not, and will not, own and electronic reader for the very reasons you just stated in this wonderful post. It makes me sick to think that our little grandbabies may never know the joy of wandering through an independant book store and feeling that joy of finding a treasure!

Paula said...

This is so sad....

Angela @ Cottage Magpie said...

Oh, so sad!!! I love bookstores and I'm sad that this one is gone! Boo!

~Angela~

Barbara said...

These bookstores are closing everywhere with the advent of Kindle and Amazon. My next post will be featuring a second hand bookstore that has not closed nor likely to.