“People open shops in order to sell things, they hope to become busy so that they will have to enlarge the shop, then to sell more things, and grow rich, and eventually not have to come into the shop at all. Isn’t that true? But are there other people who open a shop with the hope of being sheltered there, among such things as they most value – the yarn or the teacups or the books – and with the idea only of making a comfortable assertion? They will become a part of the block, a part of the street, part of everybody’s map of the town, and eventually of everybody’s memories. They will sit and drink coffee in the middle of the morning, they will get out the familiar bits of tinsel at Christmas, they will wash the windows in spring before spreading out the new stock. Shops, to these people, are what a cabin in the woods might be to somebody else – a refuge and a justification.” -Alice Munro, Carried Away: A Personal Selection of Stories
Alice Munro, you get me. I consider myself one of the ‘other people’. I value the books I’m surrounded by. Immensely. I hope people think of me as ‘part of the block’, a part of the MarbleWorks community. A part of the Middlebury business community. You see, OCUB is my refuge and my justification. Justification of who I am. I can’t help but have this store be a part of me. Admittedly, it is only a part of who I am but it is a reflection. I allow bits of it to define me.
OCUB has been with me for many years it seems. A hidden dream that came true? I’m not sure. But I know when I was a factory worker many moons ago, in what seems like a different lifetime but my younger days, sitting at the machine my mind would wander to the outdoors and nature, of dreams to fulfill, inner expressions needing to bubble out, looking to unlock the untapped passion. Whatever it was, it was bigger than me.
When I unlock the store’s door in the morning I feel at home. Those that follow me in I hope they feel the same. Customers are a part of the driving force for keeping the business going. The connections we have. Friendships. Not only based on books but on stories, life situations, discussions, bantering, sharing of photos. All in good humor. I write frequently that I have the best customers and frankly, I believe I do. Walking in with a cup of tea, bouquet of flowers, chocolate bars, or sharing a meal to a bag of quality, donated books. Just popping in to say “hi!”. The connection and respect begins over a book.
“Books are an essential part of my life, the place where I have spent many unforgettable moments.” – Terry W. Glaspey, Book Lover’s Guide to Great Reading: A Guided Tour of Classic & Contemporary Literature.