So Yesterday: Running a Video Store
For a while, my Grandfather Rogers was a blacksmith. He chose this profession because it was improvement over life on the farm, and because in the early 1900's he didn't realize that, career-wise, he was beating a dead horse. Sure, there were still horses around for a good long while, but, "Hey, pal, get a car," which is how my father and his buddies would taunt the few remaining horse drawn travelers still around during the 1920's.
My grandfather's next career had more long run staying power, that's for sure.
With his brother, Jim, he opened a tavern, grandly and quite imaginatively named The Rogers Brothers Saloon. (None of this Roscommon Pub, or Thirsty Druid, or Tir na Og for yer man in those days. I grew up in the same part of Worcester where The Saloon was, and the area was full of equally imaginatively named bars and taverns: McGuire's Breen's, Mulcahy's, Moynahan's, Donahue's, and Hennessey's.) The Rogers Brothers Saloon did have its own theme song, however, sung to the tune of "Back Home Again in Indiana:"
Back home again, in Rogers' bar room
That's the place I long to be...
Unfortunately, bar-keeping went tempoarily the way of the buggy whip and blacksmith, and Rogers Bros. was closed down by Prohibition.
Neither one of the Rogers Bros. had to spend much time worry about a next career move. They both died - still in their forties, Jim perhaps even younger than that - in the early 1920's, leaving my grandmother and Great Aunt Annie with young kids and little money.
Careers come. Careers go. And, technology being what it is, the pace at which they go grows ever more accelerated. (Clerk-typist: does this job category even exist anymore?)
I was thinking about all this when I saw in our little neighborhood newspaper, the wonderful Beacon Hill Times, that Fred's Video on Charles Street is closing.
Not that I can even begin to feign surprise.
When was the last time I checked anything out at Fred's?
Not since we got Comcast On Demand, thank you. (Sorry, NetFlicks is just too much pressure to decide in advance. Everything comes around to On Demand eventually.)
No more making reservations at Fred's. No more browsing the stacks on Saturday evenings, trying to decide whether we were up for two flicks - or even three. No more pouncing on a video that someone had just returned. No more shoving my returns into the slot early on Sunday morning, only to find that the receptacle was so fillled that you had to prod other returns out of the way.
No more Fred.
He is shutting down ...
Fred Rose has been a neighborhood fixture for so many years, going from Emerson College kid in 1990, when he started working at the store he bought in 1996, to nicely graying before our very eyes.
According to the article in the BH Times, he hasn't yet decided what he's doing next. He is personable, hardworking, entrepreneurial, and business-savvy enough to know when to call it quits. (Wish I'd had that good sense a few stops along the way.) I wish him the best of luck. I'm sure he'll do just fine.
For now, I'll have to wonder what will go into the spot that Fred's Video is vacating.
We absolutely have enough realtors in the neighborhood. We're good on restaurants, coffee shops, grocery/convenience, and liquor stores. We've got a local, unchained drugstore and hardware store. A shoe repair shop. Upscale gift shops, funky "stuff" shops, and shops that cater to rich kiddos, skinny young things, prepsters who buy cumberbunds with lobsters on them, and folks who pay lots of money for handbags. We have our very own Post Office - plus a UPS store. Antique stores we've got.
It would be nice to have a bookstore.
I know, I know. The ones we've had here haven't been able to make a go of it. There are two Borders and B&N a short walk away.
Still, if some rich Beacon Hiller wanted to open bookstore... Someone who, unlike Fred, does not need to earn a living...The space that Fred's Video occupies is not very large. It would have to be a teensie, tiny little bookstore. Perhaps it could just carry poetry. Or children's books. Mysteries. Travel guides. Or books that I like to read. (I'd be happy to supply a list.)
I know that we're told that books, like videos, are so yesterday.
Still, wouldn't it be nice to have our very own little book boutique? Hopefully owned and operated by someone as nice and good for the neighborhood as Fred was for all these many years.