Monday, January 06, 2014

snow storm of memories

So there was a big snow storm in Massachusetts on Thursday that ended on Friday morning. And for a magical 36 hours, it felt as though we were trapped in a snow globe. Every time we looked out the window, it was snowing. And snowing and snowing and snowing ... and never once did I wish it would stop.


On Friday morning, once Charlie had finished clearing the driveway at my sister's home, we took a drive to Concord, Massachusetts.


This is the town where I was born and where my family (actually, my father) had a pharmacy for more than 30 years. It's also the town where we were married, 20 years ago this coming August.

(Twenty years?!)


I've written about the pharmacy before ... it was called Snow Pharmacy and although the pharmacy is gone, the historic building remains.


Years ago, I found this little Christmas Village building for sale at Target, and the name on it stunned me. To this day, I'm certain that whomever designed this building knew my family. Or at least knew of Snow Pharmacy in Concord, Massachusetts ... that was run by the Foley family.


In that two story brick building with the big bay windows, which my father still partially owns, is The Toy Shop of Concord.


The toy store, incidentally, is the oldest independent specialty toy store in the country.  I find it ironic that after all the years of hard work and labor that my father poured in to his store, and how little fun I had there when I was a child, waiting for Dad to finish up work and take me home ... that space is now occupied by children's TOYS.


Not surprisingly then, when I first walked in to the store, I couldn't hold back the tears. It was certainly unexpected that I'd start weeping in the middle of a toy store but the memories of that place, and the vision of my bigger-than-life father, who used to stand so proudly on the back bench, now sitting in a wheelchair alone at a nursing home, was much more than I could handle. You'd think at 42 years old, I'd come to grips with all of it but obviously not. Oh well, I'm sure it's nothing that a few dozen co-pays and some time spent on a therapist's couch can't help settle.


The children, meanwhile, were thrilled to be in the Toy Shop that has a larger footprint than the pharmacy ever did. Here we are standing between what used to be the divide between Snow Pharmacy and Concord Clothing.  I was so pleased to see that they'd kept up the old signage to reflect what had been there for so long (John C. Friend Pharmacy had occupied the space from 1892 until the name was changed to Snow Pharmacy in 1913 and it remained Snow's until my father closed shop for good in the late 90's.)


The children looked at me with wonder in their eyes and asked, "Grampy OWNS this store?" And I had to clarify that no, he doesn't own the toys, but he does own the building, so let's all pick out something fun to buy so that Grampy can continue to collect a monthly rent payment from his tenants.



They were more than happy to oblige.

And so was I.