Friday, November 16, 2018

My Life With Comic Books Part # 210

A brief introduction:

My name is Paul Howley, owner of the Eisner Award winning pop culture collector’s store known as “That’s Entertainment” in Worcester, Massachusetts and a second store in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Some people have called me the “luckiest man in the comic book business.” (I’m not) My stores have been around for over thirty years and it’s been a long and interesting combination of events and people that have brought these stores to this current place. It is not my intent to boast or brag about my store or my life. I just want to tell you my story. In many instances, my wife remembers things a little differently, but this is the truth as I remember it.

The Current Cast of Characters:

Paul Howley: age 48

Mal Howley: age 49

Adam Howley: my son, age 21

Cassy Howley: my daughter, age 18


   Now that we were living in Florida, we were trying to enjoy the vibrant lifestyle of South Florida. We visited the ocean beaches that were close by and went to some weekend festivals held around the eastern part of Florida. We didn’t know very many people here and any “new” people that we did meet were usually sales clerks at furniture stores while we attempted to furnish our new home. We missed our close friends from New Hampshire and Massachusetts and it was difficult to get to know “new” people since we didn’t work at normal jobs and we were no longer involved in our kid’s school. While neither of us is shy, it’s hard to connect with strangers without having something in common. We hadn’t found a church to get involved with yet although we went to several church services in the area. It was basically just Mal and I, together all the time.

   Our home was very conveniently located and I could walk to a nearby shopping plaza that had a video rental store (remember those?), a grocery store, a bank, a few restaurants, a horse supply store (our neighborhood was an equestrian neighborhood) and a mobile Post Office truck. One evening, Mal mentioned that she was in the mood for an ice cream sundae from the nearby McDonald’s so I walked over there to buy one for her. When I got there I noticed there was a large display of classic cars participating in a Cruise-In Car show. Before I ordered Mal’s ice cream, I walked around looking at these interesting cars from the 1950s and 1960s. I had a fun time talking with the car owners and I kind of lost track of the time. I didn’t have a cellphone back then, ( I didn’t think we needed TWO cellphones since Mal and I were almost always together ) so Mal had no way to contact me while I was at the car show. Once I realized I had been gone for far too long, I bought the ice cream and walked quickly home. I found Mal crying and shaking. She assumed something awful had happened to me. My absence brought back terrible memories and thoughts about Adam’s accident for her. It was inconsiderate of me to spend so much time there when she was expecting me to be back home with her ice cream within a few minutes.

Next chapter: The new “normal”