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Letter: A long and winding road

Over the past few weeks I have stopped daily to look at the progress and changes occurring on “my” block. Emotions and memories of time spent there surfaced during these visits. Some are sad or contain uncertainty like “who am I without the store?” or “what will I do now?”  Others are filled with excitement and expectations of the things to come – even if I don’t yet fully understand how all this will converge into my new life.  Mostly what I have come to realize is that this journey has been a long and winding road for me and the store’s location.

Through this process I have learned that the story of the land most recently occupied by Hastings Gift, Garden and Floral garnishes only pages and certainly no more than a chapter or two in its history.  Several houses existed along Vermillion Street in the mid-1800s and were already gone by the turn of the century. So, while many feel that the demise of our buildings cuts their life short, it seems that 60-plus years is historically acceptable.

Remains of an old limestone cistern, square nails and other artifacts found in one of the building’s foundation all predate the house just torn down. Tucked down in some of that same dirt for the past 70 years was a 1944 monthly movie schedule for the Hastings Riviera movie theater. Former outhouse locations on the block were scouted and digs by knowledgeable historians yielded more pieces of the past.  It intrigues me that knowing others have come and gone can be comforting.  What small footprint will I leave behind to be discovered in decades to come?  Maybe that is why when I was young I wanted to be an archeologist.

How has my time at Hastings Farm Market and then Hastings Gift and Garden impacted others?  Working there in the early 1980s and buying it in the early 1990s certainly gave me ample time to grow and establish myself as a vital part of our community. Faces and events flood my mind as I ponder this. People who I worked with (and couldn’t have worked without), customers who I now think of as friends and families who trusted me to create floral pieces commemorating happy or sad occasions come to mind. These people and events were what molded and made me who I am today. Thank you for the part you have played. Moving forward with a new business name, The Tinker’s Ware, I am reminded just how much has changed in the past few decades. I typed this on a laptop and emailed it to the paper. Funny how exciting it was for me to find those square nails.

As I begin to write a new chapter in my life’s story I thank God that He has given me the opportunity for a new beginning and pray that He will give me the strength and courage to continue on my long and winding road.