217 East Alder Street sits vacant as the fall semester starts – an empty shell of the divine sanctuary it once was. The downtown Goodwill was a source of fire fits, themed party get-ups and the ever addicting trinkets. But now, our desks and window sills sit bare, naked of any ceramic cows with aprons or of any strange photo frames with bizarre, semi-religious phrases written on them.
The Goodwill was comparable to a buoyant street market, filled with color, chatter and the visible joy of a good find. Even when a desired shirt, extension cord or accessory went undiscovered, there was always hope for the next visit.
It built community; the bond between friends tightened with every Goodwill run. “What did you find?” “That’s so cool!” Bonds reinforced with subsequent moments: “Are you wearing the–” “The boots I got from Goodwill last week? Yes, I am.”
“When a classmate says they like my pants and asks where I got them, I just tear up,” says Amy Rembours, senior and long-term member of the Goodwill community. “It was a glorious era. If you weren’t addicted to spending at least twenty bucks there every weekend, you just don’t get it. But I think most of Whitman and most of Walla Walla gets it.”
Amidst the mourning, citizens of Walla Walla grapple with what our future will look like during these uncertain and unprecedented times. Many struggle with the realization they may be forced to patronize the two Yeehaw Alohas on Isaacs and Birch to quench their thrift thirst.
A vigil is being held this weekend at the shrine where the Alder Street Goodwill has been put to rest. We recommend you wear an outfit constructed entirely of Goodwill goodies for the event – your kitsch sweater, the pants you swore you could make fit or the patterned scarf from the end of the racks. We know you’ve got ’em.