Places like Fields of Pikesville used to be in many communities. They were places where you saw people you knew, got the things you needed for daily life-especially medicine-and hung out.
But those days are gone. Now, places like Target have taken over. You can get just as much there as at a place like Fields. In fact, you can get more. The smaller stores like Fields can fight against the giants but, in the long run, they can't win.
That's why it's not a surprise that Fields will be closing around Labor Day. But when it does, it's a loss for the area that it has been a part of for so long.
I spent a lot of time at Fields, especially when I was in high school in the late 70s. I had a part-time job there for about nine months that made me a little money and gave me a lot of laughs.
Sometimes, I worked in the pharmacy section on Saturdays where I learned how to handle the cash register-a skill that helped me for my next job, at Rite Aid.
Other times, I had to come in at 7:30 a.m. on Sundays to help put together all of the big Sunday papers, mainly because I was too much of a klutz to do things right on Saturdays.
It used to make me laugh when I saw the long line of people ready to purchase their Sunday paper the moment we'd open at 9 a.m. You could see it through the window as we'd be racing to put all those papers together. These people really wanted the newspaper. Now, they probably read it online.
I also remember seeing how serious some of these people were about buying make-up. There were people who stayed for long periods of time just to get the right make-up. I could get two or three things done, and they'd still be there.
And there were also people who came in to get a milk shake. Some people would buy nothing else except the shake. My wife remembers when her mom took her there after a doctor's appointment for a grilled cheese and a shake.
That's how things were back then. And it's sad that they've changed now.
As I grew up, I got to know the man in charge, Jeff Levin, very well. He worked hard to make that store something special and any place that stays in business for about 120 years has meaning to a community.
The closing of Fields is a loss to all of us.