While it is almost always fun to visit the Learning Path Store, Saturday was an exception. It was the last day at the store.
During a typical visit you would always find a smiling Betty ready to help you find just the right toy to help that struggling student. You might also find a man – Hugh – looking a lot like Santa Claus out of uniform. In fact, if you went to the store during its December Open House, you would find Santa in full uniform and get to take your picture with him.
If you went to the store during the week, you would often see Betty reading with an animated, enthusiastic group of young children surrounding her in a circle.
And on any given day for the last 30 years, you could find teachers, parents and grandparents searching the shelves for the perfect gift or educational tool.
But it wasn’t like that Saturday. When we arrived Hugh was there, along with two customers. The shelves were nearly empty, and everything was 70% off. The two customers did manage to find something to buy, as did my wife.
Hugh talked about the next phase of life for Betty and him. And we talked about how much we would miss the store. It was indeed sad.
There was one bright note. When my wife talked about there being no more Santa at a December Open House, Hugh informed her about that particular tradition continuing with the business moving into the location. So the good news is come the first Saturday of December Santa and Mrs. Claus should be in their usual spots.
As for me, I am going to remember the store not as it was Saturday, but as it was during one of those open houses or one of Betty’s reading times.