A new beginning after 60: “I resigned and opened the bookstore I always dreamed of”

Throughout her life, Carole-Ann Warburton maintained a small hope that shone in the back of her mind. “You live your life. And every now and then you think: “I have a dream”. Warburton’s dream was to work in a bookstore.

It took a terrifying experience to find the way to this. In 2010, she collapsed while at home. Her legs did not know what to do and she was constantly vomiting. The hospital eventually diagnosed an infection inside the ear. Warburton had to learn to walk again. She recovered for weeks on her daughter’s farm in Ilminster, Somerset.

He had worked for 15 years in an administrative position in the Regional Development Office of Southwestern Europe. Her daughter thought it was time to resign. “There are some bungalows and houses for sale here,” he told her. “It was a coincidence that he showed me details of a small shop with an apartment upstairs.”

The store was a barber shop for many years. Warburton visited it with the help of her new walking stick. “It was a terrible place. “I fell in love with it,” he says. In her work, she submitted her resignation. “They said to me, ‘What are you going to do now?’ I said, “I’m going to open a bookstore.” It was the first time she had said her dream out loud.

“It took less than 12 weeks for everything to happen, but it went smoothly,” he says. She sold her house, bought the store and, a few weeks after her 65th birthday, opened The Book Rest. Warburton has always loved books. When she was a child, she gave her pocket money for books and read constantly.

At Cambridge University (he studied mathematics), he started buying even more books – a habit that resulted in him being overwhelmed everywhere. “Our house was always full,” he says. Her ex-husband shared her passion. “Most rooms had boxes of books and bookshelves. “We had a house with four bedrooms and all the rooms consisted of small corridors between piles of books.”

Photo: Simon Leigh / The Guardian

By the time The Book Rest came out, Warburton had 8,000 to 9,000 books to fill. But even though she dreamed of working in a bookstore, she did not expect to sell her own books. “I had to process this psychologically,” he says.

Her first sale was difficult. “I was holding the book. I said, “You will like this. I enjoyed it very much and it is a bit difficult to let it go “. We laughed. And I let it go. “I still feel, when I sell a particular book, that I experience a small loss – as if a small part of myself has been taken away. And then I make common sense come back to me and say, “Let someone else know that.” It is a form of maturation, if you will, an acceptance “.

This year, The Book Rest celebrates its 10th anniversary – shortly after, Warburton will be 75 years old. Although the store has neither profits nor losses, it brings other rewards, such as friendship. “There are a lot of people who stick their heads in the door and say, ‘Are you okay, Carole-Ann?'”

And if the days are quiet, she does not mind at all. “I’m so happy to be standing here in the middle of a pile of books. I can walk to the store, get a book and sit down to read it… I would like to keep doing this until I can no longer. It’s a wonderful feeling. Someone may come in tomorrow and say, “I’ve been looking for this for a long time!”

Warburton’s dream has come true, but what about those of others? “All dreams are in books,” she says. “Everything is there and they are waiting for us to catch them.”

Source:

www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/jul/19/a-new-start-after-60-i-handed-in-my-notice-and-opened-my-dream-bookshop

Center photo: Simon Leigh / The Guardian


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