What is this about?

Bookstore Memories

“When did that great old Coca-Cola sign disappear?”

“You mean the one on the south side of the street?”

“Yeah, near the Supply Sergeant.”

“Man, I dunno. Years ago.”

“That’s a shame.”

“Tell me about it. You remember the old Pickwick Bookstore?”

“Vaguely.”

“At Las Palmas.”

“Yeah.”

“There was a White Castle and The Gold Cup coffee shop on the south side of the intersection — all the queers hung out there. On the northwest corner was Swensen’s and across from that was Pickwick. Loved going to that place when I was a kid… bought my first books there: a boxed set of The Chronicles of Narnia. Still have ’em, minus the box. I think I was ten years old.

“Didn’t B. Dalton own that place?”

“Later on they did, but before that it was an independent. Had a great history section up on the third floor, which was really just a converted attic. You had to get up there via this creaky narrow staircase and it was hot and smelled wonderfully of books of course and there was hardly room to breath much less move. I can’t remember how many Saturday afternoons I spent up there camped out in a little nook between shelves reading all the Civil War titles they had. Huge haunting books of Matthew Brady photography and pictorial histories of the Union and Confederacy. Couldn’t get enough.”

“Now it’s all gone.”

“Yeah, like C.C. Browns and the Longs Drugstore and the old Grauman’s courtyard box office and the Ho Jo’s at Vine and…”

“And the Coke sign.”

“And the Coke sign.”