Archive for September 2017

Ortwine Hardware R.I.P.

September 17, 2017

Ortwine Hardware in January, 2011.

The Ortwine independent hardware store was the first hardware store I visited when I moved to San Diego. It was on Federal Blvd. in City Heights, a few blocks from where I lived. It was a wonderful place where the customer service was unsurpassed. The owner kept all the products and their locations in her head. And she knew what you what you were looking for even when you didn’t know what you were looking for.

For more details check out this profile I wrote six years ago for a previous blog.

But now the store is closed. It first opened in 1946. I went there recently in search of a miniature Phillips-head screwdriver. Barbara would have known exactly what shelf it was on. But I saw the front door caged shut and a sign saying the next occupant in that strip mall would be some kind of beauty salon.

Here, I guess I could lament the dominance of corporate stores. The loss of San Diego history. But I’ll only say I’m sorry to see them go.

Ortwine Hardware closed, September, 2017.





September 4, 2017

It was a birthday present for my daughter. It’s a small black box and when you open it you see the record player inside. Put a record on and it reaches over the edge of the box like a dinner plate on an end table. This should be in a dorm or a kid’s bedroom. But I mean one from the 60s, before college kids could find or afford pricey stereo equipment.

My wife and I have two boxes of records we listened to when we were young. Hearing them is a nostalgia trip for us and I don’t know what it means for Sophie. Maybe she just likes records.

I listened to my old Bruce Springsteen record, the Wild the Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle. The record spins and the needle bobs on the gentle warps in the disk.  I see the song on the record because a black circle marks the end of it and the needle rides the grooves until it gets there.

A record is a physical thing and I think that’s why I’ve never loved a CD like I love this Springsteen album. It’s a glorious package, the album cover with the art you see every time you play it, and the record inside that embodies the music.

You hold it in your hands like a sacrament – touching only the edges – and lay it on the turntable then gently touch the stylus to the beginning of the record where it floats for a moment until it is seized by the groove and you hear that pop. Then the magic begins.