It is my inclination, when coming to the ending and beginning of things, to take stock. Where to take it? Cross-country to Abilene? Or wandering through the front door, ringing the bell on a spring, alerting the empty store and its endless series of stock rooms. The counters in the front, and the shelves, and an old cash register. Close the door carefully behind me, and just stand, for the longest time, taking stock. God bless the efficient capitalists who have done this so many times before.
My Grandfather Fees ran a country store in Yuma, Arizona, for a while. The Depression killed it. He was a warm man, with a warm moustache.
My Grandfather Wolf grew up in the Sherrif's house in Lampasas, Texas.
The families converged in Ajo.
All around me at the moment are piles of letters, some from people I now have to remember who they were, others a weighty part of who I am, all jumbled. The last forty years, out of cardboard boxes. Hitchhiking through the serial backrooms. So much on the shelves. So much on the floors. An antique store in the mountains of Colorado in very early 1960s; an antique store in the middle 60s, along the main road where Oakland merged with Berkeley (Berkeley, where African drums filled the University squares). Crawling through tunnels of stacked stuff as a child and finding a magical miniature book, with fs as esses in the former; not wanting to leave the latter: almost a new teenager, pulled to follow my friends leaving the store, but wanting to know how, if maybe, in what way, and how to go about it, those lead soldiers could be mine. The proprietor had genuinely furry teeth, and a stump of cigar.
And here now a clump of the weekly family letters my Uncle Squire used to type out, always ending "God Bless! Us'ns".