His name is Frank, and he's 82. He was one of our favorite customers back when we had our walk-in store. Larry knows him better than I do, since he was a train customer. Many of the train customers were retirees who'd moved here from elsewhere, usually the northeast. Northerners played with toy trains as kids more than southerners seem to have.
So here was this guy in his late 70's, absolutely delighted to find some model railroad items he'd wanted for decades.
We closed the store in 2005, and lost track of a lot of the customers, including Frank. He phoned the other day and left a message, asking help in selling off his collection. Larry called him back.
Frank is now 82. His wife died in 2006. He's moving back up north.
It nearly broke our hearts. It just sucks to see someone who loved these things so much, dealing with loss, divesting himself of the things he loved, going back to where there's family to look after him, winding down his life. "Isn't he keeping any of it?" I asked Larry. "I don't know. He may be moving into a spare room. He may not be able to keep it. I said I'd go over and help him sort and sell it."
So today, Larry visited Frank. Dreading it.
He came home smiling.
Frank isn't moving into a spare room, or into assisted living. A few months ago, on one of his trips back to his hometown, he met an old girlfriend. Hadn't seen her in 62 years. They're moving in together.
I think I'll quit making assumptions.