My gentle readers, I don’t know what’s up. I don’t know if it’s the smoke coming from the mountains, but I feel like everything is off. It’s not just that Cody’s is closing, or George Carlin and Cyd Charisse died, and it’s not just the fact that the media thinks it’s news that Larry Birkhead bought a used teddy worn by Anna Nicole Smith for their daughter. The final straw was yesterday, when the Bay Area found out that DeLauer’s Newsstand is closing.
If you don’t live in the East Bay, let me tell you about DeLauer’s. I mentioned on my blog once I go in to read magazines at least once a week. It’s the type of place that you see in old 40’s movies, when men still wore hats and women had their hair done like Betty Grable. In the front of the store, there are newspapers from all over the world. Want to know about what’s going on in London? Go to DeLauer’s, they’ll have some newspapers from there.
DeLauer’s has been around for a hundred years. A hundred years, ladies and gentlemen. It has survived two world wars, the great depression, Korea and Vietnam. When President Kennedy died, no doubt people read about it at DeLauer’s.
Further, in the store there’s magazines you never knew existed. In the social issues section we have The Nation and NewsMax, side by side, getting along. Oprah is sitting there as well with her magazines, with Hooters magazine. I don’t know how they get along, but I hope well.
Go further in the store and you might see me sitting there, reading Entertainment Weekly or The New Yorker. I can’t afford subscriptions to magazines right now so that’s why I go to DeLauer’s. My library can’t afford some of the subscriptions to the magazines I read, so that’s why I always went there. I also just loved browsing the store. There are comic books with Wonder Woman fighting the bad guys, and Betty and Veronica fighting over Archie. Sometimes I want to tell them “Girls? Come on. Go for Reggie.”
By the cash register, there’s Moon Pies, Red Velvet Cake, and violet scented gum. I’m still trying to lose weight, but one day when I know I can work it off or I just need it, I’ll have one of those Moon Pies.
My dad used to go to DeLauer’s all the time to read the newspapers from Detroit (he’s from Michigan) Sometimes he would take me and then buy me comic books, and I loved holding his hand, reading the magazines, thinking one day, when I get published, I’m going to come here and buy the magazine. They’ll have it, they have all the magazines in the world here.
It’s not just me that loves the place. There always people there, talking, laughing, showing someone what they just read. Sometimes people greet the clerks by their names. It’s a true community.
However, Mr. DeLauer, who at 93 has been at the store all his life, is sick with cancer. It doesn’t help matters that the economy is bad. Therefore, on Thursday he is closing the store, his lifeblood.
Forgive my language, gentle readers, but I’m pissed. I’m tired of this crap. Not at Mr. DeLauer, because he has to do what he has to do for his health. But I’m tired of places closing because of this bad economy. I’m tired of walking down the street and seeing Out of Order signs. I’m just plain tired of it.
Now you might be thinking “Jennifer, what about the internet? Can’t you get what you read from the Internet?” Sure I can. Sometimes I do. If you couldn’t tell already, I love the Internet. I love having information readily available at my fingertips. However, I also love the feel of the newspaper, the newsprint getting on my hands. I love the smell of a freshly printed magazine. The internet, as far as I can tell, doesn’t have a scratch and sniff page yet.
Then I read a comment by someone who complained that around DeLauer’s, there’s just too many riff-raff there. Pimps, prostitutes, crack heads all go there and read. It’s just not safe. Now I know the place has been held up. I’m not going to lie to you here. However, I’ve been there many times and oddly enough I’ve felt safe. If you look like Penny’s mom in Hairspray, terrified to death something is going to happen to you, let’s face it, you’re a magnet for fear. You can’t live your life like that. As for the pimps, prostitutes, whoever, the last time I checked, if they want to go somewhere to read, they can, as long as they are not dangerous.
What worries me is that everything is becoming bland everything is the same. I’m not perfect; I get a lot of my writing done at my local Starbuck’s. However if a place like DeLauer’s closing, what does that say about us? That we choose to have the bland over the unique?
Maybe I’m a person that sees things half full, maybe it’s because my parents made me see so many Frank Capra movies, but I’m getting my Howard Beale on and I’m not taking it. I want to save DeLauer’s Newsstand. I don’t know how, but I want to save it.
Here’s the deal. Mr. Paul Cobb from the Oakland Post is trying to get DeLauer’s declared a national landmark. The website is a bit dated, but show him your support by going here: http://postnewsgroup.net/ and pressing the contact button.
You can contact Mayor Ron Dellums here:
Now this is where Red Room comes in. If anyone has blogs or media contacts please mention DeLauer’s there. I don’t want to say you must, because I don’t want to dictate what people write. However if the spirit moves you, let it. As writers, when a place like DeLauer’s closes, it is dangerous because then it is one less place to get the printed word. We lost Cody’s, let’s try to save DeLauer’s.
Maybe DeLauer’s will close, but it will not go down without a fight. Let’s fight the good fight.
Causes Jennifer Gibbons Supports
Gilda's Club, Greenpeace, Rosie's Broadway Kids,Westwind Foster Family Agency, Amber Brown Fund, Linda Duncan Fund for Contra Costa Libraries