Transitions -- 'grooviest bookstore in Chicago' -- closes

Full story: Chicago Tribune

I f Gayle Seminara-Mandel were going to recommend one book to people who have just suffered a deep loss, it would be "Peace Is Every Step" by the Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh.
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1 - 20 of 32 Comments Last updated Dec 7, 2013
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Bob Greene

Libertyville, IL

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#1
Aug 16, 2008
 
Mary,

You're almost as big a sap as I. Incorporate some tripe regarding Baby Richard, and our souls will be one.

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

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#2
Aug 16, 2008
 
Howard Mandell??? Far out!

Good thing he has his TV show to fall back on...
Doug

Chicago, IL

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#3
Aug 16, 2008
 
What's up with your ginormous forehead?
strut2k

United States

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#4
Aug 17, 2008
 
Doug wrote:
What's up with your ginormous forehead?
That's John McCain's ginormous forehead! I'll be changing pictures soon. The next one he'll be easier to recognize.
salamander

Chicago, IL

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#5
Aug 17, 2008
 
This news comes a surprise. My wife really enjoyed this bookstore, and I'll hate breaking this sad news to her.
TonyT

Chicago, IL

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#6
Aug 17, 2008
 
Let me get this straight. Transitions closes because, like many independent bookstores, it can't compete with the Web. You write a piece mourning the loss ....

... Then, after you leave Transitions for the last time, you quote a page from a Thich Nhat Hanh book that you found using Amazon's "Search Inside" function?

You couldn't have _bought_ Thich Nhat Hanh's book at Transitions before you left for the last time?(The store even was featuring books at half-price, as you write in your column.)

Good grief. As a columnist, shouldn't you have a little more self-awareness and nuance?
Abbie

AOL

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#7
Aug 17, 2008
 
That's irony, TonyT ... sheesh!
Get a grip. I think it's you who fails to see the nuances.
rod ivy

Chicago, IL

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#8
Aug 17, 2008
 
This is the best news I've had all morning!! Finally this mall can get a decent bookstore.

Thanks!!
frumpy old cat person

Hammond, IN

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#9
Aug 17, 2008
 
Hate to sound cold but, as a former employee of Transitions-what they sold in the front and how the place ran was 2 entirely separate things. Anyone who had to witness Howard's sweaty, profane rants in the back office and Gayle's whiny nagging knew this was a long time coming. It all looked real pretty-but,it was gloss on true ugliness underneath.

On the other hand, I am truly sorry for the employees. I worked with a number of them and if those lifers were still there at the closing, my best wishes are with you.
Poet_knows_it

Chicago, IL

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#10
Aug 17, 2008
 
Good Catholic girl...come home...it's Sunday.
new age sucks

Lake Zurich, IL

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#11
Aug 17, 2008
 
bummer
TonyT

Chicago, IL

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#13
Aug 17, 2008
 
"That's irony, TonyT ... sheesh!
Get a grip. I think it's you who fails to see the nuances."
----------

Hi Abby--

Sheesh, I've never been accused of being ironically challenged.

If Mary Schmich were known for an ironic, rapier wit, I wouldn't have written my comment.

But she's the Garrison (yawn) Keillor of the Tribune: i.e., her column is an irony-free zone.

If this really was her first foray into irony, all the better and hooray.
Maureen in Chicago

United States

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#14
Aug 17, 2008
 
I read your column this morning, Sunday on the 17th. When I read about how Transitions Bookplace went out of business, I was absolutely devastated.
Between the years 1994 and 1995 my parents were dying. My father died the first week of 1994, and my mother was dying of cancer. She was in the hospital. On top of that, my guitar was in for repairs, and one Saturday morning during that time, I had to get my cat fixed. I was at my wit's end that day. It was some time in February, and it was cold.
After I dropped off my cat to get fixed at a small veterinarian on North Avenue, I rode the bus to the North and Clybourn corridor. I knew that Transitions had moved to the North and Clybourn corridor recently, and I need a break.
I was not disappointed. I brought a book by SARK about embracing creativity, and another book about making music for the joy of it. I read them drinking something, sitting by the picture window.
That bookstore saved my sanity so many times. The owners had a winner for the community for many years. I wish them well. However, my heart is broken because it is exactly the same as saying goodbye to a teacher and wonderful friend.
I couldn't even put my words together. I'm doing chores today just to keep myself sane today. I went to buy groceries, and I took off my glasses as I felt my eyes tearing. I'll miss going there on a sunday afternoon.
amazon dot commie

Chicago, IL

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#16
Aug 17, 2008
 
TonyT wrote:
Let me get this straight. Transitions closes because, like many independent bookstores, it can't compete with the Web. You write a piece mourning the loss ....
... Then, after you leave Transitions for the last time, you quote a page from a Thich Nhat Hanh book that you found using Amazon's "Search Inside" function?
You couldn't have _bought_ Thich Nhat Hanh's book at Transitions before you left for the last time?(The store even was featuring books at half-price, as you write in your column.)
Good grief. As a columnist, shouldn't you have a little more self-awareness and nuance?
Even amazon.com tried to guide her to deeper truths: "Search inside."
Blukat

Chicago, IL

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#17
Aug 17, 2008
 
I too was a former Transitions customer-turned-Employee, and am sorry for the many customers that will not be able to hang out at the Cafe, enjoy life in that upscale neighborhood, which before all the neighborhood renovations in the early 90's, was not so pretty.

Transitions was a place where people could come to begin their journey inwards..giving them the tools which to do exploratory searches. It was a place of serenity on the front, but in the back rooms, was another story, as the comment above illustrates. However, there was a good bond between many employees that was unique and memorable. There were several that even married each other!

I find that the internet and high gas prices are giving actual physical shops a run for their money now, and this type of business is not immune to this.

Sad to see things pass, but change, like the I-Ching quotes, is ever-present. Time for all involved to start new journeys! Good luck to all.
Margaret C

South Holland, IL

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#18
Aug 17, 2008
 
Wonderful Book Store... I'm only sorry I didn't purchase more and have my friends purchase books, musical instruments, jewelry, CD's there over the years. Best of luck to Gale and Howard.
Kevin

United States

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#19
Aug 18, 2008
 
Maureen in Chicago wrote:
I read your column this morning, Sunday on the 17th. When I read about how Transitions Bookplace went out of business, I was absolutely devastated.
Between the years 1994 and 1995 my parents were dying. My father died the first week of 1994, and my mother was dying of cancer. She was in the hospital. On top of that, my guitar was in for repairs, and one Saturday morning during that time, I had to get my cat fixed. I was at my wit's end that day. It was some time in February, and it was cold.
After I dropped off my cat to get fixed at a small veterinarian on North Avenue, I rode the bus to the North and Clybourn corridor. I knew that Transitions had moved to the North and Clybourn corridor recently, and I need a break.
I was not disappointed. I brought a book by SARK about embracing creativity, and another book about making music for the joy of it. I read them drinking something, sitting by the picture window.
That bookstore saved my sanity so many times. The owners had a winner for the community for many years. I wish them well. However, my heart is broken because it is exactly the same as saying goodbye to a teacher and wonderful friend.
I couldn't even put my words together. I'm doing chores today just to keep myself sane today. I went to buy groceries, and I took off my glasses as I felt my eyes tearing. I'll miss going there on a sunday afternoon.
I think your post sums up the feelings a lot of us have about the thought of Transitions no longer being open. It was more than just a bookstore, it was a community and a great resource. I heard so many interesting lectures and bought so many thought-provoking books there. It's sad to think that a city as big as Chicago can no longer support a store like this. First Healing Earth Resources closed, now Transitions. The big chain bookstores just don't support these types of authors. I know that Gayle and Howard made some bad business decisions over the years, and I also know that they weren't always the easiest people to work for. But I'm thankful they had the vision to open the store and provide a place for those of us who like to have discussions that go beyond "da Bears" and the usual Chicago fare. Thanks to Mary Schmich for a great article.
Maureen

Highland Park, IL

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#20
Aug 18, 2008
 
I made a mistake when I wrote my father died the beginning of 1994. My father died in 1994 in November, and by the beginning of 1995, my mother, who was a cancer patient until my father died, became a cancer victim literally two months after he died, the early eight weeks of 1995. She died in April, 1995.
Maureen in Chicago wrote:
I read your column this morning, Sunday on the 17th. When I read about how Transitions Bookplace went out of business, I was absolutely devastated.
Between the years 1994 and 1995 my parents were dying. My father died November 1994, and my mother was dying of cancer. She was in the hospital. On top of that, my guitar was in for repairs, and one Saturday morning during that time, I had to get my cat fixed. I was at my wit's end that day. It was some time in February, and it was cold.
After I dropped off my cat to get fixed at a small veterinarian on North Avenue, I rode the bus to the North and Clybourn corridor. I knew that Transitions had moved to the North and Clybourn corridor recently, and I need a break.
I was not disappointed. I brought a book by SARK about embracing creativity, and another book about making music for the joy of it. I read them drinking something, sitting by the picture window.
That bookstore saved my sanity so many times. The owners had a winner for the community for many years. I wish them well. However, my heart is broken because it is exactly the same as saying goodbye to a teacher and wonderful friend.
I couldn't even put my words together. I'm doing chores today just to keep myself sane today. I went to buy groceries, and I took off my glasses as I felt my eyes tearing. I'll miss going there on a sunday afternoon.
Catlady

Philadelphia, PA

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#21
Aug 18, 2008
 
I loved this wonderful store and am very sorry to see it go...
Anonymous

United States

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#22
Aug 18, 2008
 
I worked at Transitions as a couple of the other posters here did. I am not surprised they are closed. My experience was that of the frumpy old cat person above. Honestly can't believe they stayed open this long because they never paid any vendors and they paid their employees in pocket change. Not the best laid business plan.

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