While reading Jim Hale's excellent article on the closing of The String Shop, I was reminded of Ray Oldenburg's book "The Great Good Place." Oldenburg studies and laments the rapid disappearance from our culture of what he calls "third places" - neighborhood bars, coffee shops, soda fountains and other such places, other than home and work (the first and second places) where people could go to relax and talk and air their thoughts, joys, and grievances, where discussions covered everything from national elections to the price of eggs to the condition of local roads, interspersed with the showing of family photos and the quaffing of appropriate beverages. Oldenburg's premise is that our culture is a good deal poorer for the loss of many such places from our social as well as physical landscape, but that a few remain and more can be established.
It's clearly too late for The String Shop and for Hale's childhood haunt, Haps & Caps, but we can all work hard to find and patronize the remaining great good places in our towns and our lives.
Judy Hale Young
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