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Books, nostalgia.

A friend of mine told me that Macondo Books in Guelph was going out of business, and were having a sale this weekend. I went, not just for the sale, but to say goodbye.

Maybe that sounds corny, but it’s true. I always found at least one great book every time I went there, and the environment itself was welcoming. It never smelled musty, it was bright, and there were books stacked on every possible surface, as proven in this photo I took in 2011:

I bought a few books, lingering in the store longer than was probably necessary, and then my husband and I walked around downtown on our way to lunch.

Two high school friends of mine went to university here, and during that time I made several weekend trips to visit them, both on-campus and off. Then I moved to Calgary, and my visits to town became nostalgic. One of those friends took me there a few years after graduation, and we walked around the university’s campus, noting all the things that had changed.

I don’t get to Guelph as often as I probably should, but I always have some sort of emotional response when I do. Usually it’s the aforementioned nostalgia, but sometimes I start to think about the educational path I took, about how I only ever viewed university life as an outsider. I’m happy with the way my life turned out, but my relationship with traditional education has always been complicated and knotty, and I think it always will be. But I’m getting too old for wistful what-ifs now, and in fact I’m starting to find them annoying. So while I’ll never believe the closing of an independent bookstore can be a good thing, to me it felt symbolic to visit Macondo for the final time.

For lunch, my husband and I went to a restaurant I’d never been to before. The diner my friends and I always went to for breakfast was closed for renovations. Some of my old familiar landmarks were gone or changed. I discovered a bookstore that wasn’t there last time I visited. Maybe there’s a little symbolism in those things, too. Symbolism all over the place! I would be a terrible writer if I didn’t go looking for it, right?

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Donna Trump

    Lovely post today, Samantha. I enjoyed reading it. My knowledge of geography is so poor i don’t recognize where you’re writing from…but I scouted around a bit on your website and it looks like Ontario, Canada? I’m subscribed now, to your blog, so I’m looking forward to your future posts. Your #binder/fellow writer, Donna

    1. Samantha

      Hi Donna, thank you for the kind words! I hope you enjoy my future posts; it’s nice to have you along.

      Yes, I’m in Ontario, Canada. Just about 45 minutes outside of Toronto!

  2. Kat

    Happy you ended up going! (& oh, so envious! I’d live near Guelph forever if it was just on the island.) ;)

    1. Samantha

      Thanks for telling me about it!