|Reflections on Andersonís Hardware
I knew this day would come, that someday Andersonís Hardware as I had known it for my whole life would close, that the hardware store would be owned by someone else. I had the chance to prepare for it. But now as that time has come, I wanted to reflect on it a bit.
My parents purchased Brightmanís and made it Andersonís Hardware in 1984, when I was one. It is the only life I ever knew growing up, and it was my second home. My parents still recall me sleeping on the feed bags, hitting a tennis ball against the back wall and steps, and studying there while waiting for wrestling practices or tennis matches. My parents, the employees, the customers and townspeople were the fabric of my youth.
Now I have gone on to my own life, currently in Syracuse as a resident physician at St. Josephís, after college and medical school. I am married and even own a home. I owe most of this to that upbringing. I am in family medicine because I liked the people of Richfield Springs and Van Hornesville and the other small towns. I want to be able to make a difference in peopleís lives by being their primary care physician.
I learned to work hard in that store and enjoy days off. At RSCS, and before that ODY, I was able to enjoy friends, academics, and sports. My parents, always busy with the work of the store, supported me with love, advice, good upbringing, and financially. My teachers and coaches were often in the store as well, as were some of the physicians that encouraged me towards my goals.
I am writing this to thank all of you. I was sad to see Andersonís Hardware close, though the timing was right. I came back once more before it closed, to personally thank the current workers there. They and the previous employees of my parents always treated me kindly and genuinely cared about our wellbeing, along with each otherís. I could name most of the employees from the time I was 5 until today. I will not forget you, either those there currently and those who have gone on for one reason or another. I know how hard we worked when I was among you, getting the freight stickered, carrying heavy objects, or ringing up lines of customers. When we had breaks, we would joke for a moment in the back, tossing a box or discussing the sports. Thank you for being there, and good luck in all your endeavors.
To the Andersonís customers: thank you for your patronage. Obviously, as Stew and Pamís son, I benefited directly from your shopping, though you might be surprised how much of the proceeds went right back into the store itself to improve it. Without customers, a store cannot survive. I am glad that we served you well. Many of you were also friends, the blessing of a small town, and it was great to see you in the store. Again, you were a vital part of my life in my youth, and I thank you. We tried to provide what you needed, and I hope that we did.
My parents brought me up well. They worked hard, and sometimes we ate late, or spent too much time in the store. I didnít have everything I ever wanted, but I had everything I ever needed. The store was their lifeís work for so long, and I know they took pride in it. I am very proud of both of them. Some things change working together that long, and so I am saying ďI love you,Ē to both of them individually. Thank you for making almost all of my memories of the store happy.
Dad, you are a great salesperson and owner, and a great father. You always supported me when I needed it. You were the center of the store and the visible energy of it.
Mom, you were the brains, the bookkeeper behind the scenes. You were a great mother, a source of quiet energy. Many people will never know just how much of your efforts helped to build that store. But both of you were always there for me and worked hard together in that business. You both made sacrifices for me, and I wonít forget that either. Things have changed and will never be the same, but you both deserve thanks and credit for all the work you did.
Richfield Springs will never be the same, but that is how things go in a small town. Hopefully everything will work out well, and I wish Aubuchon Hardware all the best.
I merely want to say that I will both smile and shed a tear for Andersonís Hardware.