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A love letter

The owner of Fillamento finds a way to say farewell


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Dear Fillamento,

I have wanted to write to you for more than five years. Now is the time.

First of all, I must tell you how very much I miss you. Some might think you were only a building, a location, a business — only a job or a career.  But you and I know it was much more than that. You were a creative extension of my soul. It took me all this time to go through your archives and to find a place that could not be sad for your closing.

You were an amazing place where people grew, loved, cried and died. Where couples met and fell in love and some got married. Where hidden talents were nurtured and careers were born, and so were a few babies. We sang and danced and laughed and partied with the parade of celebrities that so frequently appeared: Santa, Uncle Sam, the Easter Bunny, Cher.

But the most important people who visited us were the people who would walk in and spend so much time savoring each and every item. I would watch visitors stroke every napkin, touch every piece of flatware, smell every bar of soap. Oh those soaps and lotions and potions on the mezzanine! All those luscious towels and jammies and stuff for the bath.

I think we need all the celebrating we can muster, and no holiday went by that was not celebrated. I remember the day our dear rabbi friend walked in and blew the shofar for the high holidays. What a sound to resonate through your old wooden walls! I remember, on your 13th birthday, we had a huge bat mitzvah cake.

Whether it was a grand formal table setting with dishes so expensive people just looked at them in awe, or an amazing toothpick with a knot at the end, you were the ultimate eye candy. You were the inspiration for many a creative soul. Sometimes I thought we could pay the rent by just charging admission at the door.

Together we were able to reach out to our neighbors and neighborhood and help when we could. You had such a generous heart. And all the seeds we helped to plant! From small items that I  would find, or tiny  little orders we placed, companies  grew and grew to become huge. We were blessed to have the freedom to try all sorts of wondrous products. It was the ultimate treasure hunt.

Buying for you was like going to an art store and buying tubes of paint for our paintings. Sometimes I would be inspired by some obscure item that would  lead into a whole new arena. I loved putting things together to please the eye. Monochromatic colors were — and are — like music to me.

But the best music came from the people who touched both of us — some for a few hours, others for many years, a few for a lifetime. Whether it was a lovely older woman — 96, to be exact — apologizing for not buying anything, or an eight-year-old boy telling his mom he wanted this special lamp for his room. We appealed to all with a sense of style.

Wherever I go, I run into people who miss you. It is amazing how far and wide we reached and how we are remembered. I loved going to you every day.  Some mornings when I was there all by myself, I would play Barbra Striesand so loud the dishes would rattle.

I hope we showed my kids how hard work, passion and love can sustain a life. I wanted them to be proud of their mother. I hope they got that. I remember that when my father passed away at such a young age, I thought he hadn’t had a chance to leave his footprints on the planet — and I wanted to make sure that I did.

And I did. We gave the landlord back the keys on my husband Gill’s 60th birthday, September 3, 2001. That was one week before 9/11. We definitely were blessed to be able to complete our task in such a timely manner. But then again, I always knew we were blessed.

Well, my dear, we had a great run. There wasn’t a day I didn’t want to be there with you. Thank you, beautiful store. I loved you!

Iris Fuller
owner of Fillamento