Variations on that greeting rang through Covered Treasures during the month of July. Customers old and new celebrated our 20th anniversary with us: we partied, we reminisced, we laughed, and we shed a few tears.
Then, this past Sunday, the “happy” was taken from us.
Paula came to the store about 2:00 to pick up books that had been dropped off for the Black forest fire victims the Saturday before. She was greeted with an open back door to the Chapala building and by an open back door to the bookstore as well. Her first thoughts, that I had come by the store just before her, were dashed when she realized the lights were not on, I didn’t answer her calls, and there were some papers and a pair of scissors lying on the floor behind the cash desk. She quickly called 911, then me.
For the next 3 hours we talked with the police and other building tenants and owners, gradually coming to terms with the reality that someone had violated our beloved store. The cash drawer was taken; the business checkbook was taken; our I-pad mini for processing charge sales was gone. Heartbreakingly, the bank envelope containing cash donations intended for books for the Black Forest fire victims was also taken…. over $700.00… generously given by members of our caring community for children who had lost their favorite books along with their homes.
I’m sure we were in shock. But it was not until I glanced over my shoulder to check the time for the police report I was filling out that I noticed that the clock was gone. That did it….. the tears began to flow. It wasn’t an antique and not particularly valuable….. just a 30-day wind-up oak clock that chimed on the half hours; it was usually running 5 minutes fast or slow, but our customers, particularly the children, liked it. And now, as we automatically glance up above the cabinets, probably 50 times a day, we realize how much we loved and depended on it, too. And each time we are reminded.
Our friends down at the other end of the Chapala Building, Shades of Amber, were also robbed. A cash box containing over $2,000, a flat-screen monitor, and some costume jewelry were taken from them.
As we do our best to return everything to normal, our friends and customers are grieving with us, angry on our behalf. Some are trying to “make it better,” to start the healing. Today our friend Cathy Green brought in a jar and 2 bags of Hershey’s miniatures to replace the plastic box with the candies that sat on the counter.
We know we’ll heal, that this will gradually fade into memory, even though it will never be forgotten. We know we will celebrate other birthdays. We just wish our Great Big 20th Happy Birthday Celebration hadn’t ended like a popped balloon.
Thank you, all who celebrated, and who now grieve with us,
Tommie Plank, owner
Covered Treasures Bookstore