My store has been open for almost fourteen years and in those years children have been born, learned to read, and achieved various milestones. All of these milestones are significant, but none seems as large as going to college. Many of our customers are heading off to schools around the country in the coming weeks, and two are very dear to us.
This past week Elizabeth and I had the pleasure of taking two of our soon-to-be college freshmen — actually, they’re called first years now — out to dinner. It was so lovely to see these young women come into their own. Excited conversation about majors, boys and books filled the evening. Emily and Danielle are best friends and it’s always great to see them together. They are a charming combination of supportive, goofy, silly and thoughtful. They are so excited about striking out on their own and learning, and I envied them their clear-headed approach to college.
I’m happy that Emily is going to school locally, so we stand a small chance of seeing her throughout the year. As for Danielle, we’ll have to wait for holidays to get caught up. My only regret for both of them is that they won’t have time to read for pleasure like they think they will. College tends to have a work load that doesn’t allow for free time.
It’s so strange to see children we’ve known for years go off to school. Soon they’ll be coming back to visit with serious boyfriends, talk of careers and the excitement of starting new, and through the magic of bookselling I won’t age at all. This event could be tinged with sadness, but I’ll leave that for their parents. I am thrilled for these young people to get out in the world.
So, to all you college-bound bookstore rugrats, congratulations and don’t forget to pop by the store when you’re back in town. I’m sure we can find you a galley or two to review.