Wednesday, June 25, 2014
This morning I learned that Two Peas in a Bucket will be closing.
Suddenly I felt the same way that I did when the first school that I taught at closed. It was a small, close-knit private school that had been struggling for a while, but kept fighting the good fight because it believed it had important work to do. I had been a student there, and returned years later to teach there, and I loved it. The school shaped me, and I helped to shape it. On the last day of school one year, after the students had left, the faculty received the news that the school would be closing. I tried to fight this change, joining a small group of students, teachers, and parents to try to raise the funds needed to keep the school going, but it was too late. A decision had been made. The school closed its doors. The students never got to say goodbye to each other. They all scattered to different schools. Facebook did not exist -- we inevitably fell out of touch with each other. Wherever we ended up and wherever we are today, all we have in common is the memory of the community we once were.
Today I am feeling the same shock, the same sadness and frustration, and have to squelch the impulse to fight, because there is nothing that I can do to keep Two Peas in a Bucket alive. Times change. Just as the economy changed and people opted to send their kids to local public schools over private ones, affecting our little school's enrollment, so have economic shifts and people's choices contributed to the end of the Two Peas community. There's a heartless but realistic saying that seems to hold true in cases like this one: adapt or die. Sometimes that adaptation can be a conscious choice, but sometimes, try as we might, no matter what we do, the environment itself has shifted and we cannot make ourselves survive within it. There is no one to blame. Two Peas tried to adapt. It fought the good fight. The peas who were committed to the community continued to participate in it and to support a business that they believed in. It wasn't enough. The environment has shifted.
Where does this leave us, the peas, the scrapbookers who continue to pose ominous questions like, "Is the industry dying?" and "Is scrapbooking over?" The two questions are interlinked, but the second one is more important than the first.
If scrapbooking has value for you, then you will keep doing it. You won't be able to stop. If it consumes you as it consumes me, because it is one of the best ways to capture life and what it means to live it honestly and fully and powerfully and wonderfully, then you will continue to call yourself a scrapbooker for years to come. The industry will stand or fall depending on whether these kind of people exist. The choices we make with our dollars will determine its fate. Even if individual businesses crumble, however, scrapbooking will still find a way, because what motivates us to scrapbook is not really the pretty paper or the cutesy accents; what motivates us is the story that must be told, the moment that must be shared.
It was just beautiful to have a place to share that passion with others. That is what Two Peas in a Bucket was for me, and maybe it was that way for you as well.
So we will disperse, like that school community that I so loved, but we will find other communities, other paths to learning, other ways of seeking inspiration. We will do what scrapbookers do: we will take what we have loved, we will remember it, and we will make it matter, somehow.