It was September 21, 2009 and a light morning rain had just ended but enough of a sprinkle to create small puddles as I drove towards Sayville. No need for the windshield wipers and the sun was doing its best to poke through the clouds. All I could think about was how this was going to be an amazing day as I headed to my printers office. Yes, today was the day I was picking up my first published book and I was feeling a sense of pride and accomplishment.
I pulled into the printers parking lot, it was early and there were plenty of parking spaces. Such anticipation as I entered the print shop. I immediately noticed Charlie and darted over to the counter. We both greeted each other with a huge smile and a Good Morning. Charlie said, “I have your books right here ready for you” as he gave me a copy to review. I saw that the cover was just as I envisioned it. “Aloha – Bayport, Blue Point, Long Island, New York – A Postcard Pictorial.” Charlie said, “They came out really great“as I turned every page and was beaming on how nicely the pages looked. Thanking Charlie I left his store to head over to meet with Marianne the owner of Runaway Bay Bookstore in Sayville. I have been to this bookstore many times over the past decade, but today the bookstore took on a completely new meaning.
I entered her store feeling amazingly happy and nervous at the same time. Marianne had just opened her store but was expecting me. Her bookstore was quaint and cozy with small reading areas, tables and coffee tables. Her cat was in the bay window and she smiled and said, “His name is Harry Potter he likes to greet the customers coming into the store.” “Let me show you our local history area” as we walked to the middle of the room. “I made room for your book right here in the center for you”. Together we filled the shelves. My book was proudly displayed and I was thinking good grief I hope they sell. She smiled at me and said, “I have all your information and as the stock gets low, I will call you for restocking.”
I left walking up Main Street feeling very happy and thinking of her words , ” I’ll call you when the supply gets low,” I couldn’t help playing those words over in my head. Will it be a few days, a few weeks, will I ever hear from her again?
Almost a week past when I received a call from Marianne, and of course I missed the call and it went to voice mail. “Rich we are sold out, please come over when you can.” I arrived at bookstore that afternoon. The store was busy but she glanced up and gave me a big smile. I went ahead and restocked the shelf as she waved me over, “I have your check ready for you!” As she handed me my check I did not know if I should make a copy of it, framed it or cash it.
The holidays were upon us and the book was a great success. I made many trips to the bookstore and was thrilled. The first of January I decided to take a drive into Sayville and wish Marianne a Happy New Year. As I approached her store, I noticed a huge banner across the storefront.
My heart stopped. The banner read”ALL BOOKS 50% OFF – STORE CLOSING. “ I entered only to find the bookstore packed with customers and my books had again been all sold. I could only think is Marianne all right, is she okay? I glanced over to the counter and was relieved when I saw her. She seemed just fine but I could easily see her read my distraught face. Again she waved me over, and whispered to me, “The local history books are not part of the sale.” “I’m so sorry I have not had a chance to call you to bring in more books.” I had a supply out in the car and so brought them in and placed them on the shelf. She had a moment between customers and I said, “Are you okay”? She smiled and said, “Yes, it was a hard decision but I’ve decided on closing the store and looking to take some time off before deciding my future plans.” I realized this was not a hasty decision, and something she had postponed as long as she could. The more she spoke with me, the more I realized she was comforting me, she had already accepted the closing of her bookstore.
By the end of the month, the store had closed and my friend Marianne was gone. The bookstore was now empty. Harry Potter no longer stretched out in the bay window greeting customers. The community was sad and mournful in seeing our local bookstore close. The newspapers and community leaders were busy honoring Marianne and her family for the many years of community service to our town. Marianne, we all miss you. Thank you my dear friend, thank you.