So, last time, I hinted that things were about to get interesting. And they were.
After our short tour of the city, Patty took us over to a little shopping district. I don’t know if it has a name, but it features a fun collection of cool little shops, cafes, and restaurants. Very up and coming. It is on Hope Street near the intersection with Rochambeau Avenue. (Hope and Rochambeau...sounds like vaguely like the title characters in a romance novel for horny Christians. But, come we won’t go there. Much too uplifting and spiritual.)
Hope is, by the way, a somewhat famous spot in the city. It has its own Wikipedia entry (see below, at Footnote No. 1). Though, perhaps of greater use to tourists, newcomers, and others who are just curious, there’s a Hope Street community webpage on the GoProvidence.com web page...where the area is described as a place of “vibrant streets lined with historic houses...[with] the highest concentration of independently owned businesses in Providence, where nearly all are owner-operated.”(2) Which is true, I suppose.
Also extremely useful, the Hope Street Merchants Association has a webpage with listings of all its members and descriptions of the individual shops. You can see it below.(3) That’s what I’m looking at right now, in fact, as I write this, and try to construct the events that followed...which, alas, were complicated.
We arrived in the area. Patty found a parking lot -- no easy task, btw -- and we began a little stroll about. I don’t remember all the shops we visited. Frankly, and not to sound sexist, but face it, ’tis true...I’m a husband. And when wives get into the boutiques we tend to, uh, zone out. Now, if it had been a coffee shop, with a great line of pastries, well, now, that would have been quite a different kettle of bouillabaisse. But that’s an offensively incorrect stereotype for another day. A day when I’m feeling cute. And self-destructive.
This is a shot of Martha from 2015 during one of our rambles. Read the sign on the wall. I sincerely hope so.
Where was I? Oh, yes. We walked. I think I remember our visiting Studio Hop (https://studio-hop-ri.myshopify.com/), which was mostly arts (some very good, indeed), crafts, jewelry, and clothing. Then I’m pretty sure, too, we went to Frog & Toad (https://www.frogandtoadstore.com/), which offers quite a number of things--clothing, arts and crafts, home goods, Rhode Island and other New England state-themed souvenirs, that sort of thing. I think Martha got something there this visit, but I don’t recall exactly what it was.
Then, we may have gone into Henry Bear’s Park (https://www.henrybear.com/), which is a cool, upscale toy shop. We tend to hunt them out to try and get gifts for the grandchildren. Funny how toy shops seem to have sort of, well, vanished, replaced by the pink and blue aisles of big box stores (sigh). So, we usually visit them when we are lucky enough to find ‘em.
Oh, and I think we may have visited The Green River Silver shop (https://greenriversilver.com/) which is a lovely jewelry shop. I’m very fond of silver jewelry and try to buy it for Martha. It’s all that Indian turquoise and silver that I grew up with in New Mexico...
Okay, but you have probably noticed that I keep saying “may have visited,” “I think we visited,” etc. There’s a reason for that. And it isn’t just the reference I made to men ...or, at least, me...spacing out when shopping. The reason is more complicated.
The reason is that shortly after this, after we had visited the shop...something...happened. Which rather drove everything else out of my mind. And made it difficult to remember.
We had left some shop. I don’t remember which one. Maybe Frog & Toad. Maybe something else. I just don’t recall.
We were walking together on the sidewalk. It was a narrow sidewalk so we couldn’t be side by side. Martha was in the lead. Patty was in the middle. I was in the rear.
I looked up. there was a tree planted between the sidewalk and the street. Around it was an ornamental iron fence...quite small. Just a few inches tall. And stretching down from one of the posts was a long iron chain that actually trailed off on the sidewalk.
I thought Oh, God, that’s a risk because Martha might not see it. I started to walk a little faster, but then I was relieved to see that she had successfully moved around it. I relaxed and fell back behind Patty.
Then I heard Martha scream...
Then I looked up...
And she was falling.
1. The Wikipedia article on Hope Street can be found at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hope_Street,_Providence
2. The GoProvidence Webpage about the Hope street area is here: https://www.goprovidence.com/neighborhoods/hope-summit-neighborhood/. It also says that “Hope Street is always bustling with activity. This area is an eclectic mix, which includes academia, professionals and young families.” Which is also true, I suppose.
3. The Hope Street Merchants have their website here: https://www.hopestreetpvd.com/. They also have a Facebook page which has some nice photography on it, which you can see here: https://www.facebook.com/HopeStreetProv/
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