Monday, July 8, 2013

Bookstore Shopping with My Dad

From Kate's Writing Crate...

     After I learned to read, I learned to love book shopping.

     I am not a shopper by nature--my mother and siblings got that gene. I prefer to stay home with a good book like my dad. However, we all got dragged to the mall one weekend a month when I was growing up.

     After 45 minutes or so, my dad would say he was heading to the bookstore and I would grab his hand when really young or start walking away with him when older before my mother could tell me to stay.

     Once we arrived in the bookstore, I would rush to my favorite section which changed as I aged. It was a long, narrow store and my father was taller than the shelves. He could usually see me or he kept an eye out that I did not get past him to the door--as if I would ever walk away from books without being called!

     I felt so grown up. I could browse the shelves before I knew the word browse looking for books I liked all by myself. Heaven!

     I always found a few books, occasionally more than a few. I would carry them to my dad who would gather them up and take them to the counter. I would stand beside him as they were bagged separately so I could carry them myself. That always made the rest of the shopping trip bearable.

     My dad and I went to a bookstore recently--something we hadn't done in a long while as our favorite bookstore had closed years ago. It was a fun outing; we weren't escaping from the rest of the family and now we go to a lot of the same sections even sharing a few favorite authors like Louis L'Amour and Suzanne Brockmann's SEAL series.

     Happily, some things never change. We gather our books separately, but put them in the same basket. Dad carries them to the counter and has mine put into a separate bag, more because we live apart now, but I am so glad we still love to go bookstore shopping together. 

What memories of bookstores do you have?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This is edited from the eulogy I was honored to write for my, our, mother. Books were always a big part of our lives:

    We lived in a city of three-tenement houses filled with working class families just like ours. We were poor, but didn’t realize it until years later. Why? I think it’s because my Mother never complained about what she, or we, didn’t have, but focused instead on what we did have. Mom had an incredible ability to make everything fun. Little things pleased her, and so us as well. During her early years as a mother, Mom and my older brother were constant companions. They did a lot together, just the two of them, simple pastimes such as rocking on Mom’s platform rocker, making jig-saw puzzles or watching that new-fangled invention, television.

    Several years passed. I and my three younger siblings came along. We were close in age, and while my older brother was off on his own, we four younger ones spent a lot of time with our mother. Mom continued to find ways to amuse her large family. Often on rainy days, for a special treat, she went into her closet to pull out her old piano sheet music, and we sat around the dining room table, singing obscure songs from the thirties and forties.

    Mom didn’t drive, so for outings, she parked my youngest brother into a stroller and we walked to our destinations.

    Our greatest pleasure was frequenting the city library. Mom spent hours with her brood picking out books. In the winter, we came home to hot chocolate or tea, and pour over our acquisitions. In the summer, if Mom was particularly flush, on the way home we stopped at Ferland’s variety on Illinois St. for ice cream.

    Often we walked to a little second hand book store just up the street from our house. Adler's. Mom had a jar of change on the buffet, and when she had enough cash in it, we’d troop over to Mr. Adler’s place and come home with paperbacks stuffed under our arms.

    Mr. Alder was an elderly gentleman, small, balding, with glasses,usually wearing a short-sleeved button down plaid shirt. He always sat at his desk by the door, and enjoyed talking to Mom. He didn't mind our roaming his tiny shop as we were well behaved. We went up and down, up and down each aisle, making sure to select just the right fare. The cost was minimal, 10 or 25 cents for each book, but with Mom and four kids, we had to choose carefully. I can still smell that book store.

    As for most of our generation, buying new things was not the norm. Mostly we wore hand-me-down clothing, either from sibling to sibling, or passed on to us from other families. Bags of clothes coming into the house was an event; we had our own “fashion shows.” In those days, getting “stuff” during the year was unheard of, but, boy did Mom and Dad make up for it at Christmastime, splurging on a profusion of toys and other goodies. Each of us getting our own Crayola “box of 64s” every year was an especially generous and loved gift.

    On hot summer days, Mom spent an inordinate amount of time standing in the yard with a garden hose, spraying us in our bathing suits to keep us cool. Or she filled our wading pool early in the morning and sat with us while we played. We didn’t go to restaurants, but backyard lunchtime picnics were an almost daily event. Dad had built a huge wooden swing set, and our back yard was a gathering place for neighborhood kids. Mom always had an abundance of homemade Popsicles for everyone. She never ran out, I never quite figured out how she did that!

    None of this neared being spectacular, but Mom made it all fun and special. She was one of a kind. I miss her. We all do.

  3. Connie,

    I am new to blogging and I accidentally deleted your comment. I apologize as I enjoy hearing from you. Can you resend comment?

  4. Also Connie, I am looking for the book that we discussed. As soon as I find my copy, I will blog about it.

    Thank you for your comments and interest.