Fillipi’s Old Books and Records, Seattle’s oldest bookstore, is closing. There are wide gaps in the shelves and the posted store hours have diminished to ten a week.
This family owned shop opened in 1935 and moved to the building at Melrose Avenue and Olive Way in the ’50s. It expanded until it’s collection of books, records, sheet music, and vintage snapshots and movie stills filled the building’s three storefronts.
In the last ten years, I’ve spent a dozen afternoons browsing there. On my first visit, I bought a hundred year old anthology of short stories by Scottish writers for $3.50. It had the self-contradicting title, Stories by English Authors: Scotland. I went to a park and started reading it, which soon became difficult as the book still had some uncut pages. At the time that Stories by English Authors: Scotland was published, books were bound with some facing pages bundled together. Readers had to use a knife to seperate pages — to get from page to page. At the time, I assumed that it was a binding error.
This is unhappy news. Time marches on.
Oh, how unbearably sad… I hate seeing all these rich smelling old stores full of timelessness closing up. What a dark time, when we realize not much farther in the future how we should have prized and protected them, like heritage sites.
We had a row of used bookstores on Adams Avenue in Normal Heights, San Diego; since turned into Antique Row with small bookcases in the back. I found an original edition of Archy & Mehitabel, with an oilcloth covering; it smelled so sweet, musky, heady, and I was transported right back to the newspaper editor’s office that held the famous typewriter. As I turned the pages, I sat in the corner sipping a cuppa jo, watching Archy jump up and down on the typewriter keys, stamping out his latest missive…
Society is going to be very depressed someday when it realizes we did nothing to save these treasure chests of imagination.