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To my wife I want you today tomorrow next week and for the rest of my life All I want is you just remember I love you fleece blanket
The year that Barth started her part-time job at the Raven, a Borders opened across the street. “Back then, it was big-box stores versus indies, and I remember worrying so much,” she told me. “I had really just started working there, but it already felt like such a sacred place, and I was so worried we’d lose all our customers.” But opening day for the Borders in town was the single biggest sales day in the Raven’s history. “It was amazing,” Barth said. “People would go browse at Borders but make a point of coming to order the books they wanted from us, the same way they do today with Amazon.” Still, the Raven’s sales decreased by fifteen per cent the year after Borders came to town, and a quarter century of bookselling has left Barth realistic about the precarity of the industry. “It’s a life style, really. I love books and, even though I may never get rich, I just love it, and I think you have to.” To my wife I want you today tomorrow next week and for the rest of my life All I want is you just remember I love you fleece blanket
Sarah Young, who has worked at the Raven for more than eighteen years, feels the same way. She’s watched children grow up in the store, and knows the literary tastes not only of some of her regulars but also of their extended family, from all the birthdays and holidays for which she’s helped find the right book. A professor of English at Benedictine College in nearby Atchison, Young started at the Raven not long after she finished her doctorate at the University of Kansas, impressing some of the staff by answering a customer’s question while filling out her application: “She happened to be describing a series of mysteries I knew pretty well, so I called out, ‘You’re looking for Diane Mott Davidson,’ and I was hired.” The bookstore was a source of financial stability during Young’s early years of adjunct teaching; she mostly works weekends now. Her favorite shifts are Friday evenings, when the date-night couples come by after dinner and the live-music and movie crowds sometimes spill into the store—once including the musician David Crosby. To my wife I want you today tomorrow next week and for the rest of my life All I want is you just remember I love you fleece blanket It’s like there’s this big, giant secret everybody’s in on, the people who shop at the Raven,” Young said. “They feel special, not in a self-aggrandizing way but in a way that means we’re all connected to each other.”
Caine felt that way from his first visit to the store. Originally from Cleveland, he and his wife moved to Lawrence for graduate studies. She was a music therapist starting a master’s at K.U.’s School of Music; he had gotten frustrated teaching high school and wanted to study poetry. “I remember the first time I walked in,” he said. “There were these two women trying to cut this screaming, struggling cat’s nails, and I thought, This place is going to be great.” The cat was Dashiell; one of the women was Barth and the other was Heidi Raak, who bought the store from Kedhe and Wright when they retired, in 2007.