Blog 17- The want ad
Was it Thomas Wolfe who said you can’t go home again? I think so. Not sure why he said it. For me it was easy, I jumped in my car and drove two hours east to Dayton, Ohio. I wasn’t trying to prove him wrong or anything. I was trying to find the original want ad Starbucks had placed in the Dayton Daily News. The want-ad I had responded to which set off a series of event that culminated in me getting a job with Starbucks in Chicago in the fall of 1990.
Around this time last year I was committed to the editing of the “novelized” version of Tripio. I can step back and evaluate Tripio, as it has now become, in three forms: The memoir version, the novelized version, and the edited, converted to past-tense version. I will cover editing more fully in future posts but will only say for now that I feel very fortunate to have worked with the editor I did. This wise man suggested a more impactful, catchy “hook” for the opening of Tripio. I could see his reasoning right away. Tripio opens deliberately and slowly as Jay is at his writing desk in his apartment, “shirtless and smelling a bit ripe” Besides writing all he bothered to do was take out the trash. Riveting stuff, eh? I did see my editor’s reasoning but my first reaction was “Where is the patience, people?”
Dorothea Lange [Public domain]
But in and among those thoughts I knew what I wanted. I wanted to find that original ad. At first I combed the couple journals I had kept from 1990 but could not find it. I remembered that the ad included the phrase “must love coffee” so I tried the internet. No luck. I took a trip to the main library in downtown Indy for help. Their archives for the Dayton Daily News did not go back far enough. I did find an old ad for Starbucks as it opened in the Los Angeles market. Close, but that wasn’t want I wanted. What I, at this point, had to have.
In Indy, I was given contact info for the archivist at the Dayton Daily who suggested I try to search the microfilm in person. I have family who live in Dayton and I could arrange that easily and visit them as part of the bargain. Off I drove.
The visit with my family went well, the search for the want ad did not. I again proved Wolfe wrong and went from old home to current home, this time heading west two hours.
During that drive with my brain and five senses occupied, my mind took control and it occurred to me that in the summer of 1990 I was thinking of moving from Dayton to Chicago. The ad would be in the Tribune! Almost as soon as I got home (coffee on the trip back required a trip to my bathroom first), I jumped on the computer, subscribed to a month of the Tribune archives and within two minutes had found the original ad. After switching bait several times, I had hooked my hook.
May I help who’s next?