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New England Encounter

Post by Chris…his first one :)

Turning off I-95, we ended up on a few windy back roads on our way to Newport, RI, this past weekend. After passing by trees, a nursery, trees, and more trees, we passed a small building on the side of the road with a simple sign out front advertising “BOOKS, old postcards.” Being a sucker for old books and an even bigger sucker for old postcards, I was tempted to pull right into its parking lot and have a look around. Not wanting to be late, we had to pass it by and continue on to Newport for our assignment that day.

On the way back home, a light rain started to fall when again we passed by unassuming building on the side of the road. We stepped in and were immediately hit with the smell of old books. Musty and earthy, the kind of smell that reminds you of elementary school, card catalogs, and learning about the Dewey Decimal System. Books were everywhere, even stacked up in places that seemed temporary at first but eventually became permanent.

The real find, however, was through a little doorway in the back. Behind the counter, we could see an older gentleman tapping away at his laptop with a small stack of postcards strewn about in front of him. We stepped through into a small curio shop with shelves lined with old Life magazines, model trains, postcards, and other bits of Americana. We pulled up to his counter like patrons at a local bar and he greeted us and asked us what we were interested in. Being the consummate Californian, I asked if he had any old postcards from the Golden State, and sure enough he had 3 binders full of them.

While flipping through the pages, we found out his name was Sandy and that he was a retired educator who found great satisfaction turning his hobby into a business. He also owned the building we were in and the bookstore was its other tenant. His expertise was Rhode Island, and mine California, so in spite of my short 28 years of life, I managed to tell stories about the postcards that came into his collection.

We ended up spending close to an hour looking through old postcards and talking shop. Turns out he was a NY Giants fan before they became my SF Giants, and he then happily sold me his copy of a 1958 Life magazine chronicling their move west. He rang us up for the magazine and a few choice postcards on an antique cash register and with a resounding ring, we reluctantly said our goodbyes and dashed back to the car, still very excited with our finds.

We got back on the road, and past the trees, fields, and nursery, found our way back to the interstate and headed home with our newfound little pieces of history tucked away safely.

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