A few months ago I was out on my bike and stopped at the Ben Franklin store on Eighth Street for some stickers and yarn. It reminded me of the dime store I knew as a kid, the one we always called “June’s” because my mother’s friend worked there.
While my mom chatted with June, I browsed around in the back where the kids’ stuff was: trading cards, jacks, marbles, crayons, coloring books, furnishings for a doll house. And since I had very few dimes, I looked long and hard before I put my money down.
Nobody ever tried to hurry me or sell me something I didn’t want. Ben Franklin on Eighth Street was that kind of store, where I felt comfortable, welcome, known.
But when I got off my bike a few months ago, I discovered that the store was closed and empty. I could hardly believe it and pressed my face against the glass. Gone, all that merchandise, all those employees, all that history, that friendliness.
Oh, I know where to go to buy stickers and yarn, but I don’t know where to go with my sadness. I had lost so much more than a store.