Thursday, January 28, 2010

I Don't Think It Was J.D. Salinger

When I lived in Iowa City starting in 1973, there was a bookstore right next to the bank downtown. Iowa City had a bunch of temporary buildings down the main street at the time. Among these was an early incarnation of Little Caesars Pizza, including a big statue of the Caesar. There was a sub store called "Bushnell's Turtle." And lots of other cool little shops.

At the main corner, where the bank was, just catty corner from the Pentacrest was a bookstore in one of these temp buildings. Corner of Washington and Clinton. Some brothers ran it, 2 or 3 brothers. Their last name, I think, started with B, but I can't remember the name of their store. I used to go in there all the time.*

Sitting by the door several times there was an old man on a chair. I heard people whispering that he might be J.D. Salinger. I looked at him several times and wondered. But I guess it probably wasn't, since J.D. lived out east somewhere (I heard since). He died today or yesterday. I heard about it today.

When you're young, the old man sitting there just might be J.D. Salinger. You're practically willing to believe anything.

UPDATE (Feb. 13, 2010) - I found it. It wasn't a B but an E, so the B wasn't doing me any good. The place was called Epstein's Bookstore. The brothers were Harry Epstein and Glen Epstein. There's a site here about Glen, who passed away. Over there they mention their bookstore was there from 1968-1978. I didn't find this (the name of the bookstore) by searching on Google, because I tried that. I found it by getting a subscription to In the Sept. 20, 1973 issue of the Iowa City Press-Citizen, page 1, it was announced that Harry Epstein was a candidate for the city council. That's the picture of him from the article.

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