Shopping All Over the World

My husband got a special delivery package yesterday, and the best thing about it was the return address.

84 Charing Cross Road.

If you’ve never read the book by the same title, or seen the movie, you’ve really missed something. Get one of each in your hot little hands as soon as possible. Long before there was ever a gleam of an online book store in anyone’s eye, Helene Hanf, an American writer living in New York City, did the next best thing to ordering online (at least in the 1940’s).

She wrote a letter to the owner of this little book shop on Charing Cross Road, looking for a copy of a certain, hard-to-find book. Frank Doel kindly replied that indeed, it was in stock, and sent it off to her. She continued to order from the store, and they continued to correspond, creating through letters a magical friendship that was to endure solely through the mail.

So my husband was rather pleased to be able to order (online) a couple of books that weren’t available anywhere in the US.

And I was quite tickled to see something arrive with a return address from Charing Cross Road.

(In actuality, the bookstore he ordered from is called 84 Charing Cross Road Books. But I choose to think it has the same spirit as the little shop featured in that charming story I loved so much.)

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