Everyone has a time in their life when they are called upon to sort through the belongings of someone else. When moving to a new house (or moving someone else) we discover what is beloved and what has been forgotten.
In the book store, we have been learning about the long-time owners and the customers they served. The Hivala heritage is fitted in many nooks and crannies, from tall, Scandinavian candles in blue, white, and red, to little glass birds or a guidebook for the perfect sauna experience. I hesitate to move the books during our first days, knowing that I will have to be independent from Shirley's amazing memory and may struggle to find 'just the right book' on my own.
The collection reflects Escanaba as well. There is a wide selection of Bibles, some small enough for pockets and others with proud gold filigree and silk ribbon. There is joy in the children's section, where I find Pat the Bunny or The Berenstain Bears that I grew up with. And I reflect on how expansive the section is surrounding recovery from addiction, divorce and grief.
Yes, we technically 'bought' the bookstore, but it feels like I am taking on a collection from someone familiar. I grew up here and I love this town. Underneath the hubbub of "do we have this already?" or "do you want this anymore?" I will be mourning the loss of Shirley's store and welcoming into the world a book store of my own.
That is the bittersweet taste of inheritance, and it is not lost on me. --- RB