So it’s official. The Gealeys are retiring and selling the coffeehouse to longtime employee Juan and his wife.
It’s very odd.
One must understand that I have probably logged more hours at Headlands than anywhere else on earth. More cathartic events in my life have happened at Headlands. More evenings of tea and festivity, good music, barbequed tofu. It’s a place I walk by every day, and I usually stop in while I’m at it, to see what there is to be seen. I’ve eaten everything on the menu, and Headlands has always been like a fixed constant in my life, to the point that moving the phone booth was highly upsetting, let alone the installation of newspaper racks. The coffeehouse and I have always had a good relationship, despite the fact that I haven’t touched coffee in almost ten years. Headlands is the traditional sort of coffee and tea house, a place where intellectuals gather and disputes range on into the night.
So I have mixed feelings about the entire affair. On the one hand, I am really happy for Juan and his wife. He’s one of those employees who is always there and always wonderful and I know he and his wife will take really good care of Headlands, that many traditions will remain unchanged. I have every confidence that they are a good fit–if Headlands is going to sell, Juan is the man who should own it. I’m sure they will have many years of happy business there.
I’m also really stoked for the Gealeys who will get to pursue adventures of their own, more writing and art and all the good things in life without being tied down by the coffeehouse.
But at the same time I feel sort of wistful for the end of an era. I’m used to seeing Pete or Dave or Mary behind the counter, and I know I’ll still see them around, but in a different context. Perhaps even in a better context. Meanwhile I’m trying to accustom myself to the change, because with time inevitably comes change, I know.
The Gealeys have done a lot of wonderful and generous things for this community. They founded Headlands, which serves as a community hub. They award a writing scholarship every year. They are active in the Laurel Street Merchants Association, and in the community at large. I’m sure their contributions to the community are not going to cease with the change in ownership, and I wish them the best of luck in all their new endeavors.
But still. The times are changing. New terrifying Harvest Market, Headlands changing hands, what’s coming next?