Friday, August 6, 2010

Nothing stays the same.

Can't seem to let them go, 2010

The little gallery is gone. The space on Columbus Street, near the truffle shop. The truffle shop owned by the proud Frenchman with funny shoes. He is abrupt and kind. The shop where my little brothers ate their first truffles and drank their first espressos. They wanted to know why the cups and chocolates were so small. Because when things are wonderful you only need a small amount, I told them. They nodded and sipped. It was the same day my dad drank a macchiato and kept saying it over and over again. He loved the word and saying it made him feel like Dean Martin. We saw Thiebaud's sweets in this gallery. His son might have owned it. We also saw the work of a sculptor who shapes figures in bronze. I never remember his name, and when I do, I spell it incorrectly. He makes us think of Giacometti. The blinds are drawn. A for lease sign with a black & white photograph of a real estate agent hangs in the front window. The truffle shop is still there. I saw the Frenchman today. He was behind the counter. I could not see his shoes.


  1. this is so beautiful, so touching! i could gladly down a ristretto, like right now. :) thank you.

  2. I always take it personally when a place closes. "Should I have gone more? Paid more? Ohhhhh."

  3. No, no it doesn't. And little bits of our own history close down with them. That's why it's important to remember. And to share with others.

    xo Jane

  4. I like your new single paragraph style. Dense with detail.

    Amazing how much of a story you are able to tell in such a small space.

    But I guess that makes sense because "when things are wonderful you only need a small amount."

  5. You're such a beautiful, deep writer. Your stories are always profound and full of vivid images.

  6. What a beautiful image. And yes, it is good to keep them with you in your heart...

  7. I felt as if I was right there with you. Poignant images.

  8. You really have a beautiful way with words. I especially liked your explanation to your brothers -- 'because when things are wonderful you only need a small amount'... perfect.

  9. Denise, I love this so much. I know I'm not the only one. I wish I could have your blog on my nightstand, so I could read something like this entry right before I went to sleep.

  10. I don't recall this shop (?) I wish I had a chance to experience it though, and those shoes ... Reading your words reminded me of Maira Kalman...kind, observant, thoughtful... Have you seen the MK show at the Jewish Museum? I think you'd love it -

    Pesto, roasted tomatoes and Kentridge... yes, forever :^)

  11. "Because when things are wonderful you only need a small amount, I told them"

    gorgeous writing. :)

    xo Alison

  12. Change is the only constant. I hate that phrase. When things are good I want them to stay the same forever, but the flip side of that is that when things are going poorly, I can take comfort in the fact that they won't always be so.

  13. i like this somehow sad little story very much.
    altough i remember being very disappointed tasting espresso for the first time in my life, the smell was so promissing and then it was so bitter.

  14. I just read this and thought, how have I not been following this blog? Your writing is not describable in words, it is more of a feeling. We go up to the U.P of MI in the summer and I always looked forward to listening to a local call-in program hosted by a guy named Jay Barry. We didn't go to the U.P. last summer and this summer we learned he had retired in 2009. It was like a piece of the U.P. just floated away.

  15. Lovely writing. I discovered the chocolate shop when I worked for five years at SFAI in the 1990s. Delicious place, both the school and the shop. I think he's Belgian, however.

  16. this is such a beautiful post! macchiato, macchiato.

  17. fleeting things, small and wonderful espressos and truffles and galleries. could I have walked past this now-gone place? I think so.
    I would have loved to have seen Thiebaud's work there.

  18. How perfect - I love that 'when things are wonderful you only need a small amount' - how true!

  19. I particularly like how the writing parallels the feelings being written about - memories twinged with nostalgia, treated kindly, and ending abruptly. I love your stories, Denise. Thank you for sharing them here.


  20. woolf, Thank you.

    cookiecrumb, I've often felt the same.

    flwrjane, So true.

    knowledgeman, Thank you.

    Stacy, Thank you.

    Char, Thanks.

    Molly, Thanks. I will continue to do my best with the keeping.

    Michele, Thank you.

    Jen, I wonder if they remember...

    Julia, That would be fun. Bedtime stories for grownups.

    Janis, I haven't seen the MK exhibition yet, but I will definitely be attending before the close date. I do own The Principles of Uncertainty (a gift from a friend) and like it very much.

    and flowers pick themselves, Thanks.

    Apples and Butter, I guess nothing stays the same forever. Luckily there is a lot of good change.

    wsake, I hated cappuccino for years. I recall my mom hoping I'd like it one day. I told her it would never happen. Now it is rare that I go a day without my morning cappuccino.

    Pretty Neat Designs, Oh no. That seems like such a fun memory to return to. I wonder how they'll fill the space. Maybe a new tradition?

    Zoomie, I spent some time at SFAI too. I just graduated with my MFA in 2007. It is a special place. I'm pretty darn sure he's French. I'll check with him next time I stop in.

    melissa, Thank you.

    Denise, Well, you should feel at home. Come any time.

    nancy, Good news. I did a little research and I believe they are in a new space on Chestnut Street.

    Annie, I am a believer.

    Maria, Thank you for such a thoughtful and kind comment. It really means a lot to me.

  21. Sigh. I've been away. It's true. Nothing stays the same. Our little Fairfax diner, The Koffee Klatch, just closed after 43 years in business. These things make me sad.

  22. Shae, Such sad news. I'm never happy to learn of such things...