May 14th, 2017

krazy koati

All My Life, Though Some Have Changed

Just because everything changes out from under us doesn't mean we have to change what we don't like, of course. We maintained an Ann Arbor visit tradition by going to Ashley's for lunch, and for Stilton cheese fries, and if we took maybe more photos than we normally do it's not because we're trying to ward off the shocking news that the place is closing. We just want to be ready in case.

Then we went down to Main Street, the spot of The Peaceable Kingdom, and a part of town we'd slipped out of the habit of visiting because, well, there weren't so many shops of interest in the area. We did pass a street musician opposite the closing shop playing the Beatles' ``In My Life'' and getting the words just wrong enough to fret bunny_hugger. Also, considering the location, that's pretty on-the-nose. Cheap symbolism, reality; you could do better. We also discovered that around the block of The Peaceable Kingdom was a door still bearing the shop name Kresge. We'd never known it was there. I haven't seen a Kresge building since the last time I was in Schenectady. It makes for a neat little discovery.

The Peaceable Kingdom looked about like it always had, in my annual-or-so visits. They still had the gallery of art pieces on the main wall, and smaller, more affordable things on the aisles. Lots of cards. bunny_hugger stocked up on several. Between Middle Earth, which closed a couple years ago, and The Peaceable Kingdom now, we're running short on places to buy higher-quality and more exotic cards. On the bright side, we haven't needed so many cards since my fight with a Big Name Furry Celebrity cost us a bunch of friends at once. Sometimes life balances things out.

The one major concession to The Peaceable Kingdom's closing was that the place had a book of memories and an invitation for people to write theirs in. The cashier was warning people the place was shutting down in about a month, and encouraging people to write about what they had done, but the book didn't have much in it. I didn't feel I knew anything relevant to write. I did buy some postcards showing the place. At least one of them was commissioned for the shop's closing.

The center of the shop, and the thing that appealed ever to the young bunny_hugger, was the ``Cheap Thrills''. Plastic and rubber toys, some of them as cheap as a nickel, in a huge array of bins and given handmade, often cartoony, signs. Junk? Okay, so it's junk. If you're a kid, though, your imagination will be caught by a 50-cent tiny rubber Eiffel Tower or the like. We may not have examined something from every bin, but it came close. And in the end, bunny_hugger bought one of the rubber mice, made from the same mould (but painted differently) as one she had got in the shop decades ago.

A little thing around Ann Arbor are Fairy Doors. They're, well, small doors, to suggest tiny people going about their business without notice in town. The Peaceable Kingdom has one. I hadn't noticed it on previous visits but knew to look for it now. They didn't just have a door, though. They had a whole interior, laid out to look like a general goods shop. Some of the Cheap Thrills they sold are used there, where they look like full-size decorations. I discovered that they don't just have a fairy door in the entry way, but also a little window on the inside from which you can see the fairy-shop from another angle. And that there was another such window on the opposite side of the main door.

As we were readying to leave, a couple people nearby notice the door. We tipped them off that there was a scene to look at inside the door, and a window inside that they could look through too, and another window on the opposite side of the main door. They had no idea, and were delighted. And that was what we could leave The Peaceable Kingdom on.

Trivia: Of the 192,000 registered inmates of workhouses in England and Wales in 1889, some 54,000 were under sixteen. Source: Servants: A Downstairs History of Britain from the 19th Century to Modern Times, Lucy Lethbridge.

Currently Reading: Heat And Thermodynamics: A Historical Perspective, Christopher J T Lewis.