My Escape

My all time favorite bookstore would have to be Gallery Bookshop & Bookwinkle's Children's Books in Mendocino, California, a small New England style sea village on the coast of Northern California. I daydream about owning that bookstore. During my worst days when clients were demanding, I’d heard “Mommie” hundreds of times in an hour, dinner was once again “Domino’s Delivers!” and the plumbing was taking the day off, I’ve called my husband and asked him to contact a broker to buy the store. When life is too much; this is my escape dream.

I first visited the Gallery Bookshop almost twenty years ago when it was a small shop on a side street – I thought of the original Gallery Bookshop while reading about Harry Potter’s room under the stairs. The last time I returned the store had expanded to a space four times larger with windows across the front overlooking a full view of the State Headlands Park, the dark, rocky cliffs and the Pacific. The store is filled with light, warmth and thousands of books. The store still lives up to its name as the “Gallery” bookshop with stationary, cards and beautiful items. They support local authors with a significant collection of their works.

I spent an afternoon meandering among aisles of tall, dark bookcases while my husband sat in the car with the napping kids, listening to the radio. I was gone so long he completely drained the car battery, and we had to call AAA for a jump. I bought Kalimantaan by C.S. Godshalk there that afternoon, and seeing it on my bookshelf makes me smile as I recall that magical place.

During our last visit, our innkeeper told us that it takes a PhD just to get a job at the Gallery Bookstore. I only have a JD, and I’m sure the last thing Mendocino needs is another lawyer, so I’ll have to console myself with the knowledge that the Gallery Bookshop is only a short plane flight and a lovely drive along the coast away.

Kim Allen-Niesen