It’s a job, but there’s a good chance it’s more than that for your local independent bookseller. This note comes from John Willson, a poet and a bookseller at Eagle Harbor Book Co. on Bainbridge Island, written for the store’s customer newsletter and honoring his longtime coworker and manager, Paul Hanson, who is leaving after 16 years at the store.
On my desk I have what used to be an ordinary wooden cigar box that Paul transformed into a Christmas gift one year. On the outside of the box he had applied reproductions of old U.S. postage stamps celebrating American poets, among them T.S. Eliot, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson… Imagine my surprise and delight, then, when I opened the box and found, inside the lid, a digitally manipulated postage stamp (6 cents) bearing a photo of my face and the words, “John Willson, American Poet.” …Now there’s a friend.
Over the years I have been using the box to keep the odd occasional note from people praising my efforts as a poet or writing workshop leader. Now I also view the box as a repository of memories from a friendship and from Paul’s fine term of service at the store, service during which he helped each of us realize our unique talents within the organization, brought us through key periods of growth, and put his stamp on our current identity in the community.
To use the phrase heard often around here, Thanks, Paul!
Thankfully, Hanson is moving up north to another stellar indie store, Village Books in Bellingham. Eagle Harbor will send him off in style with an open house on his last day, June 1, 7pm.