Raise a glass of dandelion wine to the dreamy kid from Waukegan, Illinois, who today becomes a nonagenarian. Herewith my appreciation of Bradbury from a while back: https://www.frontporchrepublic.com/2009/06/ray-bradbury-of-illinois/

Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture


  1. Somewhere back in my archive of bits and bobs of literary effort, I have an article by Bradbury on small towns and his assertion that the health of any downtown can be accurately assessed by the quality of its hardware store. It came out around the time that the classic old Greenwich Hardware downstairs from my office at the time was replaced by a Laura Ashley Store. Greenwich and its Greenwich Avenue remains a very prosperous place in a variety of ways but it’s classic hardware store is long gone. The demise of the Hardware store occurred at the dawn of a new era of tall walls and automatic gates. Prosperity seems a loaded term, particularly when there aint a hardware store to gauge it against.

    The great thing about Bradbury’s essay, as I recall was that it was not simply a sentimental salute to old hardware stores, it embraced the new and evolving things found there and looked at the future with an open face rather than through the rear view mirror. I wish I could find the damned thing.

    Happy Birthday to Mr. Bradbury!

    • I wonder if that might be The Great American What am I doing here, and why did I buy that? Hardware Store. (1987). In Ray Bradbury, Yestermorrow: Obvious Answers to Impossible Futures. Santa Barbara: Joshua Odell Editions / Capra Press, 1991.

  2. D.W.,

    If you find the link, please post it. Sounds like a great article. I’d second his hardware store litmus test with one of my own. The health of a small town community can be noted by the presence of a cafe or coffee shop. Every vibrant town I’ve ever visited has a place like this packed with locals, and farmers in town for the day. Not just the retired sorts, but the small business folks actually doing business over a hot cup of coffee.

    If you pop into the place for a $4.99 plate of eggs, bacon, and toast with your coffee and the waitress is named Dotty, they get extra points.

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