Sunday, June 12, 2005

Requiem for Roman's. The neighborhood video store, which initially called itself "Roman's Video" after the pizza place next door, but was then bought out and cleverly renamed "Video Store", has closed. Over the years, the place became a sort of way station for newly arrived Latinos getting their first introduction into American business.

Among the more famous of these in our family was Max, from Nicarauga. He knew all of us by name, and long after the M,W & J left for college he would ask how they were when I dropped by. What drove Max nuts were the people who would check the movies out and simply not bring them back. Those people finally drove Max to sell the business.

It was then acquired by a young man from Cuba whose father often covered for him. The father and I got to be friends, and he would ask me about English words he had newly acquired, not only how to pronounce them, but also the social context in which the words would be most appropriate. In exchange, he helped with my Spanish.

Lately the store had been managed by a nice young man who had a girl friend. They were always necking as I came in. He was sitting on the stool behind the counter and she was sitting in his lap. That was interesting.

On the way to church this morning, I saw the shop was empty, the movie posters gone, and a "closed" sign hanging in the front window. I imagine Netflix finally did them in. The store survived Blockbuster, but even Blockbuster is going down to Netflix.

RIP Romans.

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