17 March 2014

End of an Era

Pryor's Interiors in 2011
I've previously posted about the passing of my parents (here and here). Last week the building in which they had operated their business, the Horace N. Pryor Co., was sold.

They purchased the building (the one on the right side of the two storefronts in the photo) and its operating business from Horace Clark in 1966. (How many Horace ==> Horace transactions have there been?) Over the years they grew and changed the nature of the business from providing window-washing and light janitorial work with paint sales on the side to one primarily devoted to selling paint and wallpaper and providing interior design services. I spent parts of many days with them in "the store" for over a decade. They sold the business to one of their long-time employees and a partner in 1987 but continued to own the building.

My sister and I sold the building this past week. That this piece of real estate was the last substantial physical connection to our parents and our childhoods meant its sale had an affective dimension. Even though it was not where we lived, the store signified our parents' vocations and livelihoods as well as their contribution to the community of Wayne, Pennsylvania. It represented the kind of "place-ness" that has not characterized my life with its major moves from one part of the country to another.

One of the effects of growing older is that life "rolls up" as we go along. Life keeps unrolling before us as new opportunities, events, and activities come our way. Yet at the same time our past grows ever more distant and, in fact, ceases to "be" except in memory. One day, of course, the rolling up will catch the unrolling and this life will be no more. Until then we can seize the opportunities we have but we must remember that we can't hold onto them. They too will be rolled up as and when that yonder roll is called.

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