By Carol Ann Gleason
Two of my grandsons, ages 10 and 12, were at my house last month. The Buffalo News was on the kitchen table. While going through the paper in search of the most important pages – the comics – they came across a headline: “Niagara Hobby & Craft Mart has closed.”
We read the news of the hobby shop closing with surprise and sadness. The boys and I talked about our memories of being at the hobby shop.
When Grandad and Grandma visit from Oklahoma, the hobby shop is the first place they take the children. Not only did the boys have fun racing their cars, they knew Grandad and Grandma would add to their collection of cars.
Their little sister would enjoy looking at the craft items and doll furniture. She also knew that she would be bringing something home.
Spending time at the hobby shop was a whole family event.
After reading the article, the boys realized the hobby shop would be opened the following Saturday. It would be one last day to reminisce, purchase cars and race their cars on the track. The plan was made!
On Saturday morning, the grandchildren would come to my house for breakfast, then Papa would drive them to the hobby shop at 9 a.m. I made them pancakes with maple syrup and whipped cream.
The boys had their money and knew what cars they wanted to buy. They were full of anticipation and excitement during the 20-minute drive.
Upon arrival there already was a line. The boys knew where the cars they wanted would be. Alas, even at that early hour, there was only one left! And that Indy car became their prized possession.
Time to cash out meant waiting in the long line that meandered up and down the aisles of the shop. They waited patiently like the other enthusiastic customers. The crowd was friendly and seemed to radiate a quiet and peaceful thanks for having one last day to visit the hobby shop.
As my grandsons were enjoying their time racing Indy around the track, they knew this was their last race at the hobby shop.
While the boys were inside, their sister played on the caboose, which also was for sale. It had a fair but hefty price tag. The children hoped Papa and Nana could afford to buy it.
Their sister was not interested in cars but did find a kite. She is now waiting for a windy day to fly the kite with Papa.
The closing of the Niagara Hobby & Craft Mart was sad news. The boys learned that there are disappointments in life. Now where will they race slot cars? They’ve already done some investigating and became aware of another shop in the area.
Maybe the boys will receive a race track for their October birthdays. It is quite possible that when Grandad and Grandma come to visit at Christmastime, the boys will be making new memories as they race cars on their own race track in the basement.
Hobbies seem to cross generational lines and create memories of fun and companionship. As John S. Kavulich leaves the business, he can be very proud that his dad’s hobbies provided so much fun for so many.
In just a few days my husband and I saw disappointment, enjoyment and anticipation in our grandchildren’s lives. We were glad we were able to “steer” them through these “tracks” of life.
By the way, the boys and I continue to read the comics in The Buffalo News.