Redbeard’s

No new Weirder Tales this week. I’ll climb back on that horse next week. As for the contest — we have NO winner. That’s right, not a single person was able to decipher our little puzzle. There were only nine entrants in all. Some were rather clever, but none  delivered the proper response. Allow me to share it with you now.

This is Guy Starbiter.

guy

He’s a German Occultist and Proprietor of
Boleskine House.

A German. Named Guy Starbiter.

Now do you get it?

Now, in lieu of a new Weider Tales, I would like to share with you a little something from my past. Last night I had a dream, and in it I was prowling about an old house filled with books. There were shelves weighted down with thousands of titles — mostly science fiction and fantasy, and there were stacks on the floor that would dwarf a person of average height. Near the back door was a cashwrap, and shelves filled with RPG manuals, dice, and pewter miniatures, and there was a cardboard box filled with Frank Frazetta posters. I awoke with such a good feeling. See, that dream had once been a reality.

redbeards

I first encountered Redbeard’s Books when I was in Junior High School when it was located just off the square in downtown Marion. In 1982 they moved out on the bypass. That was the location I dreamed about last night. In 1989, Redbeard’s shuttered their doors and the owners shuffled off to Florida where they opened a bookstore in Gainesville.

As often as I frequented both locations, and believe me, it was a near weekly pilgrimage, I never really knew the owner’s names. The gentleman was simply Redbeard to me. His wife was Anne. Learning their names beyond that meant little to me, which is odd considering how important they were to me. I spent hundreds of dollars in their store. I bought D&D rulebooks and modules and miniatures. I bought all the Frazetta posters (that I would kill to have now). I bought hundreds upon hundreds of used paperbacks. Tons of Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft, in particular.

So, I went searching online this morning, hoping to track them down. And I did. Sort of. I found an article announcing their retirement in 2012. Their names were Phil and Anne Haisley. After closing up Redbeard’s in 1989, they opened up Books Inc and The Book Lover’s Cafe and it sounds like it was much loved. But it couldn’t have been more loved than the love I had for Redbeard’s. I think of it often and miss it terribly.

Yes, there have been other book and gaming stores in my life (and I’ll wax nostalgic about Wizard’s Keep sometime in the near future), but Redbeard’s was the first and the best of them all, because that’s where, for me, it all began.

I hope Phil and Anne are enjoying their retirement. And I hope that somehow they know just how much they meant to me and my friends.

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