Death of a Best Friend, Borders Books

As everyone knows by now, all Borders Bookstores are closing across the world. It’s extremely heartbreaking for those of us who have loved and frequented this bookstore for years.

Before Borders, there was Walden books in the malls. I shopped at Walden books in my hometown with my Grandmother when I was little. She used to buy me Nancy Drew mysteries in hardback at Walden, which I’d finish in a day, and read again and again. I still have them all. She and I browsing the bookstore when I was young is one of my favorite memories with her. Later when I was older, I liked reading science fiction. We still went to the mall together occasionally and she’d still like to buy me a book (even though many times it was a Star Trek book, and she never complained!)

When I moved to Virginia, Walden books was where you went to get a book. Later I discovered some smaller bookstores like Little Professor books in Reston, Virginia. The little bookstores were easy to browse and felt personal.

Then the big bookstores started coming to Virginia – Borders Books and Music, and Barnes and Noble. Borders eventually purchased Walden books, and Barnes and Noble’s presence put that Little Professor books out of business. I never felt at home really in B&N. Too big, too fancy-seeming for my tastes.

But Borders! Wow my favorite store:  Borders Books and Music (who wouldn’t love a store with a name like that?!) in Bailey’s Crossroads, Virginia.

Yep this was the store I’d immediately love forever. The first time I visited, as I was driving up I just went “Wow”. A two-story, books-and-music wow! Once inside, it was like a dream. The atmosphere was casual, there was a cafe, with books, movies, and music. Dreamy!

I’d also frequent the regular Borders in Tysons Corner – they served veggie burgers at their grill — see, casual! I’d take my kids in to both of the stores when we’d be out shopping. They’d get cookies and cocoa, or cakes and cool drinks. When they got older I’d take them for coffee.

We moved to Pa about 4 years ago, and the first thing I googled was to see if they had a Borders. Yes! Not far from where we were planning to live. It came to be that Borders was the only good thing about living here. (I don’t like where we live now; a move in the future is most likely!) I’d take my son at least once a month to get coffee and see if he needs any books, or go to browse magazines and buy one or a few, and a book (or a few!) As my income declined so did my book and magazine purchases, but I’d still go to the cafe and relax.

Borders has been there with me through rainy days in my life – it’s been my comforting friend. It’s been a happy, upbeat place where you could go to relax, have coffee, eat, use the clean bathroom, and find a new book to accompany you home. You’re leaving me best-friendless up here in Pa, Borders. I’ll love you forever and think of you fondly always. I never had a bad time in your store, or bad customer service. All memories of you with my kids and of visits alone, are uplifting, comforting and happy.

I’m devastated without another bookstore in our area. My son and I will have to find another cafe for our coffee (sans books and magazines). It won’t be the same. Your death leaves a colossal gap.

I’m happy to have known you, happy that you were a best friend of mine from day one. I will miss you desperately always.