By SUSAN TAYLOR | Uptown News
Here was a place for truth, honest expression, And humble hearts worn on artistic sleeves.
Its owners were solid, trustworthy people.
I liked that Lou was a grandpa and that he had a taste for smooth Werther’s caramels just like me.
Not all the people who went in there were like me, But it was interesting to see regular North Park folks buying horse racing papers, lottery tickets, Doritos, and magazines.
If you spoke German or Italian, you could find a kindred magazine.
If you needed one of those things to keep your glasses on your head, you could find it there.
Even when they took away any sliver of parking space to make a bike lane, it was accepted philosophically.
It was open late but looked warm and friendly and surprisingly nonthreatening, even on this vulnerable 30th Street corner.
The Rock and Roll Marathon street closures couldn’t put a crimp in Paras’ style.
We’re here for you if you need us.
When the newsstand closed it took away cultures and opinions.
Global testimonies were wiped away like dust.
Walk by now and peer through the iron accordion gates.
Behind the gates are glass doors,
Behind the glass doors is a cavern devoid of thoughts and soul.
The stories and bright blazing graphics have been sold off or carried away.
Buy two and get one free, they pleaded Pick up some discounted Post-It Notes or a Pepsi.
Don’t forget to close the door behind you when you leave.
Today the bus stop people, the sidewalk sleepers, and the readers grieve.
But they have memories of the old days.
The curious will seek other places where mysteries and secrets Stand tall on bookshelves or hidden behind last month’s publication.
Truth to power, truth be told, The words, real news, The poetry, the fashion, the art, the stop-in-your-tracks photograph can’t really disappear.
They pay rent in our mental museums for us to revisit as we will.
– Sue Taylor is a retired English teacher and currently works as a private tutor and freelance writer. She has written for North Park News and Edible San Diego. Taylor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.