Written for my book, In Love With a Sailor + The Captain in Me, 2013-2014 © Karen Maeby
Today I met the owner of a bookstore in Gulfport, FL. A couple of weeks ago I met the other nice lady that’s worked there for quite some time. That day had also been my first time in the store and first time ever in Gulfport, even after having lived in the Tampa area for nearly three years.
It’s oddly symbolic for me. Finding out the ending of the store was my beginning of even having seen it. It absolutely breaks my heart to see any small businesses closing down shop, especially a bookstore. However, I’m pretty sure this situation wasn’t a casualty of not making it, it was a casualty of timing and life’s age setting up for a closing of a chapter.
There’s something so familiar between the walls of the shop, though I’ve only been there twice now. The smell, the little newspaper clippings taped on the door, the secrets that the books hold within their pages and among the walls. There’s so much history inside that place. The aura has to be amazing when the night grows dark.
I’m hoping to visit the bookstore a couple more times before it disappears. I’d like to know more than what I know, maybe there’s a secret or two or some piece of history that’s definitely worth knowing.
What struck me the most was finding a cart that had poetry on the top and boating on the bottom of it. Both are my favorite subjects and I write “nautical poetry.” I’d like to believe that I was meant to see that before it was gone. Since it means so much to me, maybe it’s my personal sign that I need to continue that path. Poetry and boating, I can see that being a good part of my life forever.
I’m often looked at strange for my expression of how I can have such deep connections to certain people or places that haven’t been in my life for very long. There’s just a feeling that never goes away. There’s something special within that moment, and I’ve lived long enough to know that when I feel something this deep… I need to hold on to it.
It may also very much be for the fact that I’m going through a lot of changes and difficult decisions right now. I need to close some more doors to my past so that I can move on with new things in my future. I really think everything relates back somehow, and the answers I’ll have looked for this entire time will already have been written within the pages of this book.
2019 UPDATE: Shortly after that shop closed, my new friend opened up “The Book Booth” right next door at the Beach Bazaar. It was there for a while, but she ended up leaving. We lost touch for a while….a few years later we reconnected and she became an important part of my writer’s group.