But sadly, I cannot.
I cannot kiss it for you, Helene. I cannot do that anymore because I do not have the time machine to go back to the years where the bookstore is still open. Based on the research, it was a tiny store near Baclays Bank, within the far end of the Charing Cross Road, where the Cambridge Circus was.
|Found this 1955 photo on the internet, thanks to the man who posted this!|
But now, even the circus was gone - it became an intersection between Charing Cross and Shaftesbury Avenue . Look, the bookstore is not the bookstore no more. It was turned into a bistro.
|Google maps says this is what replaced the bookstore, back in 2012.|
Oh, Helene, if only you knew. I went to London two years ago. I went to the Palace Theatre, too. But sadly, I haven't found any bookstore along the street. You see, I can easily take the tube from Tower Hill to Tottenham Court Road and stroll towards the circus, and look for the 84 Charing Cross Road. If only I read your book couple of years earlier, I would've ask for the golden plate which immortalized the location of the bookstore - like those letters of yours that immortalized not only the place, but also of the person who manages the bookstore.
|I used to live near the Tower Hill Station, and I always carry my oyster card.|
It was only recently that I've encountered your collection of letters - it was a traveling book that the book club owned. It was only yesterday that I've read it in one sitting. It was supposed to be read weeks ago, as soon as I received the package, but because of workloads and other stuff, I wasn't able to.
|Tina sent it via courier because I wasn't able to attend the previous book discussion.|
My sight literally zoomed in to my name - knowing it was a package sent. And when I opened it... tada! It was your letters immortalized into a book!
I felt your letters, Helene. It was heartwarming and full of those Ye Olde English books that are worth reading, but since I am not familiar with the others - I cannot relate to your bookshelf, actually. I read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, but all those dated 1800's, I cannot afford to own or even read one - for me they maybe too difficult. I still have to read Virginia Woolf's collection of essays entitled The Common Reader.
I researched the books entry in Wikipedia to double-check your bibliography! And I re-concluded, we can share our sentiments about Mr. Darcy. haha!
But what I loved the most is how those letters are kept to the heart and were able to salvage in two decades~ and that for me, is very tough. I live in a tropical country with heavy monsoon rains. My diaries and psycho-graphs dated back in my high school years were simply swept away by flood. Even precious photos of me and my family when we were younger. Oh, I just loved your mails. You started with a formal greeting and ordering those books you needed - then as time goes by, you became sweet not only to Frank and his family, but also to the other staff of the bookstore - even to Megan who went to the land far far away. You even wanted to convince her otherwise!
And then as Shiela grows up, you didn't stop being affectionate, you sent parcels of food, cheered for the Spurs (of Tottenham), and you watched The Queen's coronation in the wee hours of New York morn. And you continue to order books and greet everyone from the other side of the world.
But people come and go.
It maybe sad, but it is futile to live with regrets. I was so happy that Frank remained the sweet man I thought him to be. As well as you, you remained the same thoughtful woman I imagined you be.
I wish I can hug you. I wish I can kiss you.
But sadly, I cannot.
An aficionado of books,