WRITERS’ SERIES: A Holiday Memory

(Editor’s note: With the holiday season more needed than ever after a year that has been challenging to say the least, The Westfield News asked several members of the WhipCity Wordsmiths to share a thoughtful recollection of years past. We hope this series of cherished holiday memories by local writers will enlighten you and perhaps even remind you of a time from your past that you also treasure.)


Russell Atwood is the owner of Blue Umbrella Books, 2 Main St., Westfield. His novels include “East of A,” “Losers Live Longer,” and “Apartment Five Is Alive.”

A Holiday Memory

My parents, Russ and Mary Atwood, owned Atwood Drug at the top of the hill near the turnpike entrance in Westfield, and back when I was a kid from the 60s thru the 80s, my mom, dad and sister and I went in and worked on holiday mornings because this was before convenience stores and 24/7 gas stations so we were the only local place you could grab a gallon of milk or a last-minute gift, as well as fill a much-needed prescription on a holiday morning.

Mary and Russ Atwood were the owners of Atwood Drug for several decades. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

We usually got in by eight a.m. and put together the morning paper. And it was always a lot of fun, seeing familiar faces and strangers who saw we were open, all on their way to their separate holiday destinations. 

This may have somehow contributed to my becoming a writer, the realization and appreciation that there were so many other people celebrating in different ways, but all in the same emotional motion.  

I miss those days and my parents, but through life I have taken jobs that required me to work on Thanksgiving or New Year’s Eve, because I still enjoy that panorama of experiences. 

This Thanksgiving morning as I have for the past three, Blue Umbrella Books will be open, hopefully see an old friend or two who might be in town, but mostly because it reminds me of my folks.

Russell Atwood is the owner of Blue Umbrella Books on Main Street in Westfield. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

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