The only thing I recognize in this late 1970s picture taken in Lafayette Plaza is Handlebar Toys, the sign for which still exists on the building even though the toy store relocated to a storefront between Trader Joe’s and Diablo Foods.
The people? That’s hard to say. There’s a chance I might know some of them. Many people who are raised here stay close by, or move back. I’ll recognize names, but not these youthful faces. How about taking a look and seeing if you know any and can tell us who’s who.
Handlebar Toys as Community Retail Landmark
I love that the Handlebar sign sneaks into so many community pictures, like a mischievous kid trying to get into all the group shots at a wedding. I wonder how many of us have at least one picture in our family albums which unintentionally has the Handlebar sign in it, too.
Consider this new photo Teresa Gerringer posted on Facebook Sunday:
“Driving thru downtown came upon a holiday bass ensemble concert in the Plaza. Love Lafayette!” wrote Gerringer.
How many noticed the musicians and went home to tell the family that something was happening in town, near the old Handlebar Toys?
Stores can be that — community fixtures, familiar scenery that is both store and compass.
I look at this 1970′s caroling photo now and wonder, how many local family stories include Handlebar as short-cut family story set designer? Are they telling stories about what happened one day when the were in Handlebar, near Handlebar, at the park in front of Handlebar, walking by Handlebar, turning the corner over by Handlebar… the list can, and does, go on and on.
If you’re interested in seeing more Handlebar photos without sifting your albums, here’s the insider tip: Walk into the new Handlebar Toys location and you’ll find the poster commemorating the store’s 40th anniversary.
While there, you’ll see that the store itself holds to old-fashioned toy store charm, complete with holiday decorations plus something extra on the weekends — cider and cookies for holiday shoppers. Extra credit that it has a great collection og Lego sets, games, dress-up clothes and themed coloring books.
What about you and your family – where in Lafayette do most of your stories happen – which park, school or store?