Waking Brick and Mortar

I was out of town for a week. A day or so after I got home, I had to go into work, but did I ever get a shock on the road. A huge "Going out of Business Sale" banner was stretched across our Borders. I knew they were in trouble. I knew they had declared bankruptcy in order to reorganize. To be honest, I didn't think all that much about it. I knew the same thing had happened to Barnes and Noble a few years back and they were still around. I figured the same thing would happen to Borders.

I remember the demise of Crown and Waldenbooks. I remember Barbara's Bookstore is Oak Park closing. I felt a little pang when these stores shut down. I remembered meeting Clare at Barbara's, haunting Waldenbooks waiting for mom to be finally finished in Penney's and waiting for a ride home from the movies in Crown. The closing of Borders is a little more. I don't know how many hours I spent in that store. Rhea and I would go there all the time on our girl's nights. We'd leave our husbands to play cards at home and go out to dinner. We didn't want to go home right away so we'd wander through Borders, get a coffee and chat while we prowled through the stacks.

My three year old daughter came to love the store. The kiddie section with the toys and orderly rows of books at her eye level. Whenever we drive down that street she asks, "Can we go to the bookstore?" That's my girl. I had to tell her the bookstore wasn't there anymore. She pushed out her lower lip and pouted. Honestly, I kind of felt that way too.

For me, it's a  little more than the passing of a brick and mortar giant. It's not just the wave of the future where you order your books online and never get to feel them in your hands until they arrive at your door. Or, in the case of ebooks, it's a matter of seconds and you never really get to hold the book in your hands. There's a seduction there, I admit. I own a Kindle myself. I will miss Borders, though, as I miss all the bookstores of years past.

So, we'll take a moment and raise a latte to Borders. We'll reminisce about girl's nights hanging in the cafe. I'll bid a fond farewell to the Teacher Appreciation Days, and my little girl dancing in the kiddie section. It might be another stride into the future of books, but I'll take a little time to wallow in the past. I hope you do too.


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