Thursday, September 03, 2009

Life, the never ending story: people come and people go.

To everything there is a season. I think we can all accept that. We acknowledge death; usually reluctantly, but sometimes with welcome relief. The same sentiment can hold true for businesses too. Often businesses will close with nary a second thought on our part. Other times, the demise of a business is akin to losing a kindly old uncle.

Years ago, at the age of seventeen, I left my home town to make my way in the world and after a bit, made my way back there to ply my trade and raise a family. In the twelve years I'd been away, many changes had occurred, many businesses I'd known, growing up, were no more. The Ford Street of my youth had suffered a poor excuse for plastic surgery (called urban renewal). Gone were Al's Men's Shop, McConnville Hotel, Judy Rose, Surprise
Store, Woolworth's, and Newberries. The pool hall and Al's were gone. Fanny Farmer and the Busycorner; gone forever. I could go on with the list, but for the purpose of this piece suffice it to say, these were businesses that I frequented in my growing up years. I noted their demise upon my return home with nostalgia and fond memories but took the attitude that time marches on.

It's worth noting that some of my most favorite establishments were/are still alive and doing well, some having relocated to other areas of the city.

Phillip's Diner was still there: still is today. Kinney's Drug store was and is still my Drug store of choice. While the A&P and Lowblaws left town, and Acme and Grandunion came and went, Eddy's Market stayed the course and was a solid family run operation closing only recently with the retirement of the O'Donnahue brothers.

Hulett & Son Jewelry store and Mr. Art Hastings, watch repairman extraordinaire, stood the test of time.

But I have to say that the store that was consistently a part of my life from an early age until today was a hardware store; Hacketts Hardware. Everyone, I think, has a favorite type of store. For me it's been hardware stores, at least for to majority of my life. Today it might be a toss up between that and bookstores.

To say that Hacketts has stood the test of time is a gross understatement. They have served the Ogdensburg community since, circa 1830.

Hacketts Hardware is dying. It's wheezing it's last breathes as I type. And Hulets is going down with them. I note this with more than a tinge of sadness. Like my kindly old Uncle Ed, I'm going to miss Hacketts and Hulets. Their demise will leave a void in me, to say nothing of the dilemma of where to do the far majority of my Christmas, Anniversary, and birthday shopping.

Oh sure, we've got our Wal-mart and Lowe's; Price Chopper and Aldi's. What we are slowly and consistently losing is our living history, relegated to anthologies deposited in our, rich with history, Public Library, to be left unread as we hail progress and zip down Rt. # 37 bypassing the city and it's nostalgia. Hmmm, I wonder how many more years before the library gives way to the advances of the digital age. Will history become a mere twitter quickly lost in cyberspace?

The circumstances that caused the demise of two of my favorite businesses? I don't have a clue. Many and varied I'm sure. Doesn't matter; I'm going to miss them, and I'm going to miss talking to Art Hastings and watching a storied piece of history slip in to obscurity.

And so it goes (Kurt Vonnegut)
p.s. just so you know; Farrands Flowers has been sold to the hospital, Youmi has moved her business into her house and Joe Basta is looking longingly at retirement. Where the heck will I shop for flowers in the near future?



Blogger Puss-in-Boots said...

Do you know my favourite shop from those days...the corner store, where you could buy anything and the owner knew everyone by name and you knew his and his family's names. They were part of the community. The closest thing now is our little shopping centre nearby, but that is marked for expansion within the next 18 months, so it won't be little anymore. Hopefully, it'll still be small enough not to become impersonal.

Aaah, nostalgia...

9:14 PM  
Blogger Churlita said...

It's always sad when a favorite business closes. Luckily, our downtown is still thriving and no one has tried to revive it.

12:39 PM  

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