After several hours of flights and a shuttle ride to our rented beach house in Capitola, all I could do was plunk down in a chair on the balcony to watch the town. I lived here a few decades ago – lots of things have changed and I’ve forgotten lots. But directly across the street from us is St. John’s Helpful Shop. It’s been there forever – I do remember it. It’s a small thrift store benefiting the Episcopal church.
It’s a prime corner location, but it’s a bit sad. It’s clean – smells good, yet the goods are shabby. Made me wonder if anyone ever bought anything there. Reminds me a little of Stephen King’s book “Shop of Needful Things” but it’s not so sinister. Both connect with our need to consume, to hang on to goods.
I like the name ‘Helpful Shop’ – might be out of the 19th century. Inside, most of the things seemed to be left behind, not so useful or helpful.
I turned the whole idea of a Helpful Shop into a metaphor for my need to let go of old, not-helpful things – memories, objects, and even some people. I moved to Capitola over half a lifetime ago. I had a lot of good times here, but made lots of mistakes too. Time to let that go. I’ll put those things in the anachronistic Helpful Shop.
And then I’ll be in this cute touristy town as if I’ve never been here before. This could be in Europe. It’s new to me. Lessons learned, discards made – a fresh start. Now that’s helpful.