A Father's Journal: Change and pig-sized rodents are inevitable
When my daughter Caroline left for college in August, she didn't want us to change her room or touch anything of hers while she was away. She was making big changes, but didn't want us to. We couldn't even let her sister Julia store clothes in her room, so renting it out to a family from Eastern Europe seemed out of the question.
Caroline wanted us to keep her room as a sacred, do-not-touch museum exhibit.
Against Caroline's wishes, Fairfield is changing. Media Wave downtown recently announced it was closing. It was the last of the video stores in the area. Caroline knew before we did. She called and told us.
It almost seemed she was accusing us of causing its downfall.
"It was part of my childhood!," she said.
To a small degree, we did cause its demise. We stopped going so often, and we watched a lot of our movies on Netflix or just went to Redbox. We will accept partial responsibility. But almost everyone saw it coming.
Last week, Caroline called with news of another change, again in an accusatory tone. Blinn's toy store in downtown Fairfield had announced it was closing after 80 years in business. They said they could not compete with Internet toy dealers. She accused us of not supporting Blinn's.
She was again partially right. The last time I went in there was in December. I bought some stuff for the Pinewood Derby car my nephew was making for the Cub Scouts. I knew Blinn's had the greatest collection since we always bought our Pinewood Derby supplies there back in the day.
We bought more stuff when the kids were younger. But I can go online, and in about six clicks, have a toy or any present purchased, wrapped, and sent to my intended for cheaper than I can buy it locally. I am partially responsible for the demise of Media Wave and Blinn's.
Ten years ago, Caroline made a weathervane for a school project, using parts from a model plane kit. We knew Blinn's would have it, so we went there and they personally guided us back to the exact model she needed. She won some kind of award, and Channel 12 even mentioned Blinn's when Caroline and her class were featured on the news.
Contrast that with today. Caroline recently became obsessed with capybaras -- the world's largest rodent, about the size of a pig, and a distant relative of guinea pigs. I'm told they are featured on currency in Uruguay. I had never really heard of a capybara, but after typing "stuffed capybara" into my search engine and six clicks, I was able to send a care package consisting of a stuffed capybara to her dorm room for a total of $11 and maybe three minutes of my time.
Other changes are happening around Fairfield for which I cannot be held responsible. Is it just me or has Rawley's hot dog stand gotten a fresh coat of paint? I think it is a bit redder. Before it was a more dingy, comfortable burgundy. Maybe it just appears brighter against the snow. I had nothing to do with that change, Caroline.
This last week we made a change Caroline is not going to like. After 18 years of the girls not keeping the shower curtain inside the tub and letting water get all over the tile in their bathroom, it was time to replace the flooring. We deviated from the old, black-and-white pattern and went with a gray and white, but with the exact same style.
Caroline, the gray was your mother's crazy idea. Since we ripped up the floor, it was probably time to put in the new, water-efficient toilet. So we have a new toilet, too. You have to push one button for No. 1 and another one for No. 2. Now, this change was almost entirely because of you. How many times have I asked you to keep the shower curtain inside the tub? Oh, and we also bought a new shower curtain, one with a fancy mildew-resistant liner.
So now, Caroline, when you get back in May, Rawley's may have a new coat of paint, and part of your childhood in Blinn's and Media Wave will have vanished from your hometown. You can drive your stuffed capybara around town showing it how times have changed. You can also learn to put the new shower curtain on the inside of the tub.
Thomas Lawlor lives in Southport with his wife and two daughters. His "A Father's Journal" appears every other Friday. He can be reached by email at Tlawlor@mcommunications.com.