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Dunbar: Growing up means leaving behind your favorite places

Blair Dunbar, Columnist

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If you haven’t seen the new Starbucks in Evanston, you should definitely have a look. While you would be lucky to get a seat in the old location, now you can take up a whole table, spread out your books, lean back in a booth and study for a few hours. It’s the biggest Starbucks I have ever seen.

But in with the new means out with the old. This new Starbucks opened just a few weeks after Caribou Coffee announced it would be closing the majority of its Chicago-area stores. Those that did remain open would be converted into Peet’s Coffee & Tea shops.

I’m a Caribou girl myself. There has always been one in my hometown, and on a hot summer day, I love nothing more than taking a nice long walk and rewarding myself with a vanilla cooler. Then I’d sit down in one of Caribou’s lounge chairs to read for a few hours. Since I brought my car to school this year, sometimes I would drive ten minutes into Winnetka just so I could have Caribou instead of Peet’s or Starbucks. Now I guess I’ll have to get used to mocha freddos instead of vanilla coolers, because Caribou is saying goodbye.

I never thought losing a coffee shop would be so hard for me, but when the news broke, I was more than a little disheartened. Sure, this new Starbucks is great, but I prefer the cozier, log cabin feel of Caribou.

Growing up means learning to say goodbye. This is true of people and animals — I learned this when a car hit my favorite dog, and my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. But I didn’t think growing up meant saying goodbye to my favorite places.

I should be used to saying goodbye to favorite stores or buildings growing up in the Chicago area. After all, I still remember when Marshall Field’s was Marshall Field’s and not Macy’s. I remember when the Sears Tower was the Sears Tower and not the Willis Tower. But neither of those losses hit me as hard as losing Caribou.

I’m not the only one who feels an attachment to stones and bricks, even if others don’t realize it. Who isn’t nostalgic for his or her childhood home? Who didn’t have a store he or she liked to go to as a child? Who doesn’t have a favorite park that was destroyed to build some new houses?

I had a good friend in high school whose family used to own a little bookstore called Robin’s. By the time I met her, Robin’s was long gone. She would always recall fondly her memories of the store and how, when it closed, it broke her heart. It was like losing a friend.

When you think about it, life is a series of gains and losses. All things, whether animate or inanimate, become old and decay. Eventually, the old has to leave in order for there to be room for the new. At the end of the day, it’s just a fact you have to accept.

So maybe I’ll make this new Starbucks my home instead of the Caribou in Winnetka. Maybe I’ll get used to mocha freddos instead of vanilla coolers. I’ll wait until one day the new Starbucks closes and Peet’s makes way for a new coffee shop, leaving me with only fond memories.

Blair Dunbar is a Weinberg sophomore. She can be reached at blairdunbar2015@u.northwestern.edu. If you would like to respond publicly to this column, email a Letter to the Editor to opinion@dailynorthwestern.com.

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