Charlie’s in Exile

Retrofitting frenzy is overtaking Noe Valley. It’s a good thing, a wise thing, really. But it looks violent, the streets torn, sidewalks cluttered with sawhorses, cement mixers, cranes lifting massive steel beams. And now Charlie’s Corner has been swept into the frenzy, and violence is being wrought. Our floor is being trenched! Our carefully chosen quotes on the walls, torn and obscured. What about our trees? We wish them the best. We have been driven from our comfortable kingdom, clutching our books, hugging our puppets. It’s for our own good, all of us, but even though we are not being punished or overthrown by a coup, it felt for a while like we are in exile.

We have been uprooted, have searched for new shelter, and now we are adjusting to a new space. The staff was temporarily adrift, separated from our Charlie’s home and its comforts. But we’ll make do. Right now we’re sitting in the new space, boxes piled high, waiting for a moving team to haul some stuff to storage, waiting for the delivery of more bookcases. Leo is sitting on the bench out front playing his guitar. Loreny made a mop from a broom and a rag. Jeff arranges electrical wires with Danny, while Lena spreads good cheer. I sit behind the desk, looking morose, keyboarding this. But I’m not really feeling morose, just a tad untethered. Ah, now Leo is singing the signature Charlie’s welcome song: I think it will feel close enough to home soon. And soon we’ll see our old friends again. And we will re-establish our community, welcome some new folk too, and settle into our new space for stories and song.  Charlie’s will be Charlie’s, wherever it is.

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