It's never too late to follow a dream

Our review of the eBay search tool we promised will be coming this weekend, sorry for the delay.

A fantastic story about following a dream came to us via the Old Bookstore group on Yahoo. It comes from Lera of
The Novel Shoppe. – Thanks Lera.


May I take a moment and share my “story” with you. First, a little
history and scene-setting.

Without giving away my age, I will share with you that I am a
grandmother of 12, mother of 4, wife of 1 and daughter of 1. For many
years my husband and I owned an auto body repair shop (far cry from
the book world) and we worked side by side to make it a reputable,
fair and honest body shop. My mother-in-law died, my father-in-law
developed Altzheimer’s and my husband dealt with those problems by
absenting himself from the business, leaving me to run it all alone.
Now, please understand that I am a woman and although I love
Corvettes and a few other cars, that is a love that is not extended
to anything beyond looking at or driving. Which resulted in my
running a business that was more my husband’s than mine, and
continuing his dream, not mine. Suffice it to say, I reached the end
of my rope and, feeling like I had no other choice, I walked out. I
moved in with some friends in another town to house-sit for them
while they traveled and started putting on stupid seminars on how to
manage a body shop using a computer.

One day, I drove by a yard sale that had literally hundreds of boxes
of books in the front, side and back yards. They wanted 25 cents a
book. All of them were hardcover book club editions with DJs from
about 1950-1970. I love mysteries and most of them were mysteries so
I spent a good bit of time going through the boxes picking out the
ones I wanted. After a while, with the hot Texas sun beating down on
my back, the man on the porch said I was giving him a backache
watching me so if I’d give him $10, I could take them all. Now, I’m
fairly certain he didn’t really expect me to take them all, but I
did. Two trips in 3 vehicles by 3 people later, I was the owner of
about 3000 books. I had a booth in an antique mall so that’s where I
took the books. The booth wasn’t big enough, so I rented the building
next door and hung out my shingle. (Just to keep the time-line
straight, this was BOBS [Before Online Book Selling].

Shortly after that, my dentist and the friends whose house I was
house-sitting with talked to my husband who came to see me. And I am
sharing these personal issues with you because I am an extremely
lucky and blessed lady. In short, my husband sold the business, sold
the house and said it was time for him to stop being selfish about
living out his dream and he would now — for the rest of our lives —
help me fulfill my dreams. BOBS came along and I closed the
bookstore, we bought an old house in another town and “started over”.

Life is never simple so the new complication was a 2-story pier and
beam house built in 1920 with a fireplace in the middle and a lake
that formed underneath it every time it rained. By this time I had
amassed a lot more than 3000 books and that weight, coupled with the
fireplace and the “lake”, made us realize what we were doing wasn’t
going to work. Nor was the moisture good for the books. So a few
years ago I opened my 2nd bookstore.

I tell you all this to help illustrate a philosophy and support some
advice I’m going to give you. It is not just a cliche to say “life is
too short”. It is, indeed, a fact. Why did I wait until my father-in-
law got Alzheimer’s before I became unhappy about the road I chose in
life? Why did I think that road had to be the same road as my
husband’s? Was it a generational thing? Why did I not “get in touch”
with my own wants and desires? These are, of course, hypothetical
questions at this point and even though I may now know the answers, I
am so totally satisfied with my life as a whole — and so is my
husband, by the way — that my only regret is that I waited so long
in life to pursue my dreams.

I will never be able to advertise my bookstore as having been in
business for many years. My children will not be able to say they
were raised in a bookstore instead of a body shop (although my girls
are quite proud of that, having won some trophies with cars they
customized themselves, and my son continues the body shop business
today). I have more books than I could possibly catalog in the amount
of time I have left on earth if I never buy another book. Soon I
won’t be able to carry boxes of books from one end of the store to

So no matter what you think the obstacles are, forget about them. If
it truly is a dream, don’t wait another day to put the wheels in
motion. Organize it all in your mind over the next 24 hours and go
browse some bookstores over the weekend. Look at the stacks, smell
the books and remember the first time you ever stepped foot in a
bookstore (that was NOT a Barnes & Noble or Waldenbooks, etc.). Go
back home and do some googling on how to handle books, repair books,
and identify books.

Another cliche: Do what you love and the money will follow. If it
doesn’t, that’s okay too, because you’ll be happy anyway.

Then just do it.

6 thoughts on “It's never too late to follow a dream”

  1. I am so glad you posted this story. It was first posted on the Yahoo groups oldbookstore. It is a moving short story with a strong inspiration to never give up on your dream and just do it.
    There seems to be a lot of that going around lately. Today theres a story of a retired NYC Firefighter who lives in a rural area near KC, MO. He commutes to NY many times a year to hawk cotton candy at shea stadium. Why? Because he’s retired and wants to. Its his dream so why shouldnt he? Heres the link.

    Im happy for him. We should never stop chasing our dreams.
    Like Lera says, Just Do IT.

  2. Lera, that is a wonderful writeup and great advice – Bravo!

    It is amazing you were able to break free and must be an amazing woman to cause your husband to reassess his life as well.
    Hopefully you have touched many people who think money is the thing most closely related to happiness and get them to search their souls or at least give their heads a shake.

    It took me a year or so in the business to understand why Napoleon Hill in “Think and Grow Rich” said that having money was number 12 on the list of ways of “being rich” – a Positive Attitude was number 1.

    I hope you and yours always savor the joy this business provides in such abundance.

  3. Lera, thank you so much for sharing your story, which is also partly my story. I walked away from a 26 year nursing career a year ago with a vague idea that I could turn my hobby of selling a few books on Ebay into something more substantial. Now, 12 months later I have a website that’s getting good sales, I still sell on Ebay, know more about Search Engine Optimisation that I would ever have thought possible, and don’t regret quitting my ‘real’ job for a second!

    Life is wonderful!

    My best wishes to you and all who read this, from Adelaide, Australia

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this story. I have been fortunate enough in life to find my path early and become a career bookseller working only for independents – but I have never been an owner. It’s the next big step on the horizon with many challenges and costs. I apprectiate the message of you posting.

  5. Thank you for posting this, it really struck home with me.
    I followed my husband of 20 years around living my life ‘for him’ and when he decided he wanted to trade me in for a newer model I was left wondering what to do with myself.
    The only thing that comes to mind was something I had always dreamed about. Open a bookstore.
    I’ve been facing a lot of opposition and negativity about it. Family and friends saying I’m out of my mind and it will never work. But i have a good head on my shoulders, a knack for organizing and I’m going to go for it.
    wish me luck.


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