Maureen Connors Badding arrived in Wauwatosa 22 years ago via Buffalo and Phoenix. She's a freelance writer and habitual volunteer who enjoys book clubs, travel, entertaining and cheering for her daughter's swim team.
They say you never forget where you were when major news events were announced. Personally, I remember exactly what I was doing when Neil Armstrong took his first tentative steps on the moon, when John Lennon was shot and when we started to bomb Afghanistan. And now, I can add to that list the shocking revelation that Drew's is closing.
A friend e-mailed me the story from WauwatosaNow, and I kept looking for the punch line. It can't be true, I thought.
How predictable; denial is the first of the five stages of grief. The next stages weren't far behind. Anger: Now I hate Wal-Mart even more for putting mom-and-pop stores out of business. Bargaining: If we shop at Drew's a lot over the next few months, maybe they'll change their minds. Depression: What if a horrible national chain store goes into that space? Or worse, what if it sits empty for months?
Acceptance is a long way off.
Drew's is wonderful and weird and quirky, just like the Village itself. This is a business district that revels in its odd traditions, whether it's a five-minute Homecoming Parade or a once-a-year beer blast or a giant iguana living in the window of the Riverwest Building.
Through it all, Drew's has been one of our most treasured traditions. Here, for instance, is a sampling of the odd items I've bought at Drew's over the years:
- Dried flies for our water frog that won't die
- Velvet color-by-number posters
- Countless tubs of Play-doh
- A Styrofoam advent wreath and green velvet ribbon to cover it
- Three purple candles and one pink one, annually, to go with the above wreath
- A cookie cutter shaped like a duck
- A wading pool for my dog
- Foam curlers to curl my daughter's hair for Irish Fest performances
This is in addition to all of the normal things I've bought there over the years: school supplies, yarn, fabric, picnic tablecloths, Rubbermaid storage tubs, blue recycling bags, acrylic paints and brushes for face painting, candy for St. Nick's and sidewalk de-icer.
Face it, Drew's is like Mary Poppins' purse on a much larger scale.
Several of the above items were purchased in the last couple of months, after climbing over piles of dirt and dodging construction vehicles. But it wasn't enough.
There will never be another Drew's, unless some glorious angel swoops in and buys it, inventory and all. We can always dream. But if it must go, please don't let it become a chain drug store or convenience store that would make the Village look like every other town in suburban America. Tosans love wonderful, weird and quirky.
This is a picture of the trees down the street from my house. You could easily mistake the scene for a warm, sunny September day, when a couple of trees have just started to turn yellow. In fact, the photo was taken on November 12 -- the day AFTER we were supposed to have all the leaves raked out to the street.