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Goodbye to an Old Friend

Ariana, Natalie, David and I went to our local Borders store in Arcadia yesterday to see what we could pick up at the liquidation sale before all the good stuff is gone.  Our local store had been spared so far through the rounds of store closings.  Ariana found the most books while I got two, and David found some magazines.  Both girls found new calendars also.  Our biggest score were puzzles which the girls have been doing during the day all summer.  They can piece together a 1000 piece puzzle in a day.  I picked a Breakfast at Tiffany's puzzle


and the kids found these mystery game puzzles


which each have a story and clues in the puzzle to help you solve the mystery.  Since we've been playing  a lot of Clue lately, these seemed like a good choice.

The line to check out wound from the front of the store all the way to the back, and I realized that it would have been nice to see people buying more books over the years instead of using Borders as a library where they could buy a cup of coffee and read books and magazines in the store without making a purchase.

But then I started to feel guilty.  My use of bricks and mortar bookstores is dramatically different than it was a few years ago.  I read a lot, and now buy most of my books through my Kindle or on-line.  I moved to the big box stores of Borders and Barnes and Noble years ago because of discounting even though I felt guilty for not supporting independent retailers, it was a matter of economy.  Five years ago, I was in Borders or Barnes and Noble at least once a week.  I read 87 books that year.

My life was very different five years ago, and reading and hiding in the bookstore was my way to escape from it all.  Ariana and I would go to the Borders in Pasadena and stay for hours, but we always brought treasures home with us.  I realized yesterday how special the Pasadena Borders was to me.  When I was pregnant and overdue, I was told that climbing stairs was a good way to get things moving along.  The Pasadena Borders had previously been a department store; I think it was a Neiman Marcus when I was little, and it had a large central staircase in the middle of the store.  I carried my very pregnant body up and down that staircase, and later that night, I went into labor.  Every year after the Rose Parade ended, I would bundle Ariana up and make an excursion there.  Everyone had best of New Year's Day spirits and resolutions, and I liked to be in the middle of such great expectations.  Later, as things got more troubled at home, we escaped there more and more frequently.  It was a happy port in the storm for us.

My life changed though.  I met the man of my dreams who loves and cares for me and who I am.  I don't need to escape from my home.  We've built a life together with our kids and our careers.  We've never been busier or happier.  I only read 33 books last year, and although I miss having the time to read, my life is so full of good stuff, it's a fair tradeoff.  There will be plenty of time to read later.

I've changed, but Borders didn't.  As other retailers realized that people prefer to buy on-line, Borders never really found a way to make that work for them.  I will miss Borders and what it meant for my daughter and me, but we will continue to make new memories.  We sit together now and troll through the recommendations that Amazon gives us.  We make wish lists, and I surprise her with orders when she doesn't expect them.  Books will always be a special part of our relationship.  We're just saying goodbye to the way we used to share them to make room for the way we share them now.

2 comments:

  1. I'm going to miss the Borders here, too. I've always loved going to the bookstore, the small independents and the big guys. I love books, thanks to my mom, who was always reading, and still reads.

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  2. I just discovered I have a Borders gift card in my wallet, so we'll have to go back again. We have a small Barnes and Noble and Vroman's. We are luckier than most these days.

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