I grew up in a town north of Columbus. It was a great treat when Mom would take me to The Christian Armory, a sort of Christian superstore with books, music, clothing and more. I could spend hours there, trying to decide what new tape I wanted to get or what new book I was going to take home. Sometimes I would even buy a Christian tie or t shirt.
But it was when I discovered soundtracks – basically Christian karaoke tracks – that I really loved going. I bought some of the most ridiculous songs that looking back I can’t believe I ever thought were good. “Great God” by Carman, being the leading example. Actually, anything by Carman is kind of embarrassing, though “Serve the Lord” was the first song I ever sang in public and its not so bad. Anyway, I digress.
We had a couple of stores like this closer to home. Marysville was home to “The Lighthouse.” It was cramped, but had so much stuff to choose from – especially songbooks. Marion had one on the way towards downtown that had a nice selection of music in the basement and I remember it being almost cold down there.
And then when I moved to Cincinnati and started school my roommate, Mike Riggs, got me a job at Berean Christian store. Owned by Standard Publishing, they were a larger chain and reminded me of the Armory back in Columbus. I started out as a cashier, quit because I had to go back home for Christmas, and then returned in the summer working more back in the books section. Again, I had to quit at Christmas because I couldn’t stay in the dorms at college and while I was gone, they moved to the Forest Fair Mall. I went back to work again in the summer and became the evening supervisor until I couldn’t handle the management style of the boss. (There’s a reason I work for myself and its not just because of the money).
Berean’s main competitor is Family Christian Store, which I now shop at. In fact, last Saturday I =bought a new soundtrack for my upcoming concert and found C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity for only $5! I could have spent more time there but my new glasses were ready to be picked up so I left . . . but that just means I can go back sooner.
Shopping there on Saturday brought me back to some of the good memories of my childhood. I can’t wait to go back because Christian bookstores now and then are one of my favorite things!
TOMORROW: THEME PARK THURSDAY!