November 10, 2011

healing, time, and coffee

today, i thought i would share a story.


(a kind of long story, so best go get some popcorn.)

chan bess eaton sign

are you from southern new england? if so, then you know. if not, i'm about to school you...

bess eaton was a coffee and donut chain that was practically an institution where i come from... the rhode island equivalent of starbucks. there was a lot of loyalty to the brand. even my very first job was at a bess eaton, and i used to bring home bagels and muffins after every shift.

a few years ago, it was bought out by a bigger chain called tim horton's. more on that later...

around the same time that this buyout happened, things were also complicated in my personal life. a lot of change was happening. my family was in chaos for various reasons.

i took a huge leap of faith, and decided to attend a music conservatory in new york. but the transition wasn't going smoothly. all the friendships and support i had found at my old community college were gone. replaced with what i felt were successions of competitive, cliquey people. i just couldn't find any confidence around them, and my ego was perpetually deflated.

then, the day came when i arrived home from first semester of college. i was informed that our house was being sold, and subsequently, my parents were moving 10 hours away to maine. day after day, we all piled into the car while other families prowled through and sniffed around our home.

i was hauling around my whole life and all my worldly possessions, semester by semester, in an ugly white caravan that i loved dearly. sometimes, i didn't even know where i was going to stay during breaks and in between semesters.

at times i felt like a wild, independent spirit! certainly bound for a sacred artist's journey of self-discovery. yet i was lonely. i kept trying to find love in all the wrong places, and i felt abandoned by pretty much everyone i'd ever known.

and so. on one fateful visit back, i found myself driving around town. i realized all bess eaton signs now read as something called... tim horton's...

Tim Horton's

what the fuck.

i couldn't tell you why, but this royally pissed me off. just one more thing to make sure that all that i had always known would remain unfamiliar. henceforth i would snicker, with hatred in my heart, at any tim horton sign that i happened to glance upon.

looking back, i understand that this stupid corporate power play- that had NOTHING to do with me- had come to represent all the unwelcome change that was happening during that time.

so. many years, many battle scars, and a lot of attitude adjusting later, i've learned a few things. like the fact that situations are fleeting. and no matter how unfortunate it may seem, there are always hidden blessings. this may sound like a bad hallmark greeting, but i swear, i believe it's true.

still. this knowledge didn't stop me from being over-the-moon nostalgic when we pulled into some parking lot this weekend... and what do i see, but THIS sign.

bess eaton


it might not make sense... it probably doesn't. but things like this make it clear to me. sometimes the things you love and cherish come back into your life when you least expect it.

sometimes they never do, and that's okay too.

sometimes miracles happen.

i'm starting to doubt this less and less :)


  1. It makes total sense and happens to me more and more as I get a little older. Things I once found familiar change and with them goes a small sense of the world as I know it. I get the same way when favorits musicans die...the year Johnny Cash and Warren Zevon died I thought the whole world was wrong. There are things and people that make you feel like "things can't be THAT bad as long as X is here" and when they go...its hard. I know that's crazy...but I feel it too!

  2. Awe, I love this post for many reasons. I can totally relate to that feeling of being lonely. I hate chains and develop some sort of connection with stores (esp independent coffee houses and clothing stores) that remind me of happy times. And I totally agree in that there are hidden blessings even in the most unfortunate situations ;D.

    This post made me happy :). Enjoy your coffee at Bess Eaton, hehe :p.

  3. Regardless of other things it's always a bummer when a beloved local brand gets bought out. I have a bumper sticker for a bookstore that closed in our town like 10 years ago. I just can't bear to throw it out.

  4. loved your excitement in the picture <3

  5. I'm glad Bess Eaton came back! It is obviously a special place for you. Here in Canada, Tim Horton's is actually like your Bess Eaton. It has a very special place in the heart of many-a-Canadian. My Grandad (who passed away 16 years-ago) used to take us there every time he and my Grammie would be here for a visit. I have many fond memories of Tim Horton's, as do so many other Canadians. There was actually one point where we were worried that Tim Horton's would go bankrupt and be lost forever, but then Wendy's bought it up and they started to go global. It's pretty wild how much some Canadians love their Tim's :)

  6. That's great. It must have been such a happy sighting for you.

  7. thank god you guys can relate to this :)

    loren- i feel like i've done the same- holding on to some little remnant forever, just because it made you happy.

    lou- it was very exciting!!

    lc- girl sorry, i didn't mean to poop all over tim horton's :P i realize it's a big thing in canada... it does sound pretty similar to bess eaton, the way you describe it. i'm glad you can enjoy it!

  8. i love this story...and i totally understand. sometimes it's the little things, right?

  9. Beautifully said and perfect timing as my head is full of stuff like this lately :)

  10. I totally hear where you're coming from... although as a Canadian I have a big soft spot for Tim Horton's, their steeped tea and their maple dip donuts. I go with my family all the time! Even though everyone got a bit bitter after it was sold to an American company... probably the reasons you're seeing it! It's weird how we can feel attached to corporate entities, while not subscribing to the corporate view... nostalgia is a powerful thing.


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