My memory is taking me back to the early years of raising our family, which consisted of one son, five daughters, Joseph and me.
Of course these were the years of teaching, nurturing and also building the blocks of character, strength, and love. Experiencing life in various ways brought us joy and appreciation.
One of our most memorable projects was creating a new entity and focus in our lives–a family bookstore.
We found an available property, with a house, on the corner of Rapp and Church streets in Littleton. This was a turn-of -the-century house across from Arapahoe Community College. It was only a block from Santa Fe Drive, part of the original Santa Fe Trail.
We soon learned while cleaning up the lot and the house that the city had their own ideas on what it would take to get our new property up to snuff. The weight bearing walls needed more support–with cinderblocks positioned under the house in the dirt–amidst the spiders…
We also learned that we must replace the entire sidewalk, extending along two entire sides of the property. This was a good sized corner lot.
The third big requirement to hit us was the need for a 12-space finished parking lot.
So, we jumped in, head first, so to speak–through a root cellar door to the unfinished ‘lower level’ of the house. The clearance was only about three feet. We all crawled in and started digging holes for the cinderblock.
Joseph did the heavy work. We were pleased to find, after a few days, that all the black widow residents has relocated to under the front porch, away from where we were working.
After many of those dusty days lying on our bellies with masks protecting our faces, we planned happy endings with ice cream at Pat’s Twist O Cream right next door.
The city inspector, cowardly approved our finished work in the dirt, with the spiders, without even walking down to inspect it!
For the next huge job, Joseph jack-hammered the sidewalk while the I and the little helpers carted the pieces off in their little wagons. I can still hear him breaking up and lifting those heavy concrete pieces into the wagons. One great benefit for him was the defined six pack he was developing!
We dumped the concrete chuncks into a far corner of the lot, which would eventually provide excellent drainage for a prolific veggie garden.
When cleaning the inside of the house, we received generous help from my retired Uncle Bernard. With his woodworking skills he repaired and refinished all the hard wood floors, some of which were “birds eye maple.”
The checks we wrote to Bernard over many months for his invaluable work were never cashed!
We spent weeks ordering our books direct from all the publishers. Soon we were open for business.
The Littleton Independent wrote a wonderful human interest story about our work as a family and the resulting attractive bookstore and business. It helped to give the enterprise a running start, by bringing in curious customers.
We planned book fairs and many author book-signings throughout the years. Two of the best known authors who graced us with their expertise and vibrant personalities were Dr. Wayne Dyer (Your Erroneous Zones) and Malachi Martin (Hostage to the Devil). The authors were always invited to our home for dinner. I remember Malachi bouncing our young children in his lap. He was an impressively patient man.
And when he was autographing his books, the shop was filled with priests and nuns, all fascinated to see him in our little local bookshop!
After a challenging start, the whole family has warm and some ‘icky’ memories from our bookstore adventures.
Finally, when it was completed, we enjoyed it and the fascinating people we met for many years thereafter.
Our Brandywine Bookshop will be in our hearts forever.