by Stephanie Hogue
It’s closing night for the Postale. It was more than a place to get a cup of coffee and a knish with your keys. Like any good play, you entered a different world when you stepped through (and closed!) that door.
You might find yourself in the controlled mayhem of a packaging operation, or a maze of boxes, amidst flowers, or pumpkins, or Christmas wreaths, with the smell of coffee brewing and on Saturdays bacon frying, and somewhere a black cat is curled up for a nap, someone needs a postage stamp, and John is scooping slush for the children dancing at the counter.
Prince Postale was a neighborhood within the neighborhood, where you befriended people you might otherwise never meet. North Bennet Street School students, life-long North Enders, transplants, the young and the rest of us, all participated in the wacky, wonderful improvisation that was Prince Postale. So raise your coffee or your tea, your burrito or your slush, and let’s applaud the Postale, where everyone really did know your name or would before you left. I’m sad it’s closing but so very, very glad to have been a part of it.
From now on, whenever I smell coffee or hear Sam Cooke, I’ll be in Prince Postale. Chica will be climbing onto John’s shoulder, and Gabe will be slicing that everything bagel he saved me. Prince will be sauntering in after his latest walkabout as another friend opens the door. Together, we’ll hit pause on life’s insanity until we’re ready to go out into it again.
John, Gabe, may the road rise to meet you. Package safely received, dessert’s in the bag, and my heart is lighter than when I came in. Thank you, thank you, and thank you. Good night, Gentlemen.
Stephanie Hogue is a longtime resident of Boston’s North End.