We just spent most of a week in Oberlin, visiting my parents. We got to see two of Miranda’s cousins for the first time in over two years; they are truly excellent. (It was nice to see my parents too, to be sure.)

Downtown Oberlin has changed somewhat since I lived there. More restaurants, which is a good thing – it only had one or two decent non-pizza places when I lived there, while there are now half a dozen or so places downtown where I’d be happy to eat. It seems to have gotten a bit more boutiquey, which I can live with; if they can sustain themselves (which apparently they can – no empty storefronts this time), more power to them. Alas, it’s about to get a good deal harder for general-purpose stores to survive – a Walmart is about to open up just south of town.

Two of the stores, in particular, apparently draw in out-of-town customers. One is called Bead Paradise; it also sells vintage clothing which seems rather decent (as far as I can tell from looking into the window and not being into that sort of stuff). And there’s an art gallery called Gingko Gallery, selling the work of six artists who have studios in the back of the store and several more that don’t; I did go in there, lured by some delightfully whimsical animals in the front window (apparently made out of twigs and seed pods and the like, though they also have very bright paint jobs on them). I ended up with two of those, a very amusing cube made out of angora wool with faces on five of the six sides, and a couple of sculptures that were absolutely gorgeous. Plus, they rescue cats, and had some completely adorable kittens in the back. (Some of whom hadn’t even opened their eyes, but a couple were old enough to be more playful.) It’s apparently been open in some form or another for nine years now; I hope it continues for another nine. Maybe I’ll put up pictures of some of the things we got there.

We spent much of the visit at Kendal at Oberlin, which is where my parents now live. Quite a lot of art there, too: this is what happens when you bring together retirees who either lived in a college town or would like to retire in a college town, and then move them into residences that, while quite nice, are presumably noticeably smaller than the houses that most of them previously lived in. So the result is that people’s art collections spread out into the hallways, the communal rooms, the guest rooms. (The one we stayed in had a couple of illuminated manuscripts, a couple of Japanese prints (which may or may not have been reproductions), a couple of prints of more recent vintage, this all in the size of a normal hotel room.)

A good visit.

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