Hub Hobby’s old building on Broad St was demolished. Word of it being torn down spread like wildfire.
One of our customers, Jim Letten, was emailed by his friend Martin about the demolition of their childhood hang-out.
The subject line was: ROSEBUD
“Rosebud” was the dying word spoken by Orsen Welles in the movie Citizen Kane: a reference to his childhood sled – the symbol of memories of youthful innocence.
I’ve known Jim for at least 40 years and he has given us permission to publish his reply to his friends email.
Here it is:
“Martin, thank you for this.
Coincidentally, I had just heard that the building had been demolished—but hadn’t been by to see it gone.
Your Rosebud metaphor and sentiments are moving to me.
Living in our sweetest dreams for sure—and literally.
I can remember so vividly my Dad taking me there—among my very earliest recollections…standing at the counter next to him and looking at the VERY first of the Roco Minitanks…and later with you, walking the easy, very pleasant mile after school so many hundreds of times—only to excitedly find a new shipment of Airfix 1/72 scale soldiers (maybe British 8th Army or Red Army molded in that light gray).
Or in 7th or 8th grade, having just seen your completed Aurora Raider Atlantis, rushing to the Hub to (fingers crossed) get one before they were all gone. And yes, mine is still on display at my house 55 years later—poorly but proudly painted in your garage.
In a tradition I cherished way more than most, I took my son James there beginning some 25 years ago—and each time was transported by the evocative, distinct and indescribably comforting aroma of cardboard and plastic—grateful that he could experience it too as my gift to him of sorts.
The sheets of decals; the flat military paints; the seemingly never ending surprises consisting of new releases. The Napoleonic field piece which you lovingly presented to me recently, remembering that my father had—like deus ex machina—completed it despite its stubborn recalcitrance of wood and brass. Thank you.
And the great treasures there notwithstanding, as our almost daily destination alone it will always occupy a sacred place for us in our hearts and minds. It didn’t matter if we left with anything tangible…for we had gotten our dose of incomparable sense of wellbeing, of security, of adventure, of joy.
We couldn’t travel to North Africa or southern Russia or Normandy, nor certainly not back in time…or could we? No—we could, and we did. With every examination of box art—with the purchase of that Airfix Junkers JU-52 seaplane or that Aurora Panther—we were at sea or in the skies over Europe or the hedgerows of northern France.
Later, not too long ago (well, 20 years!)—I would and did proudly present to Chuck, Jeff and of course our hero, Jerry—my own models I had built as an adult. The Nichimo Panther I built and detailed in 1971 as a freshman at UNO—and a Revell Type 7 U-Boat I had constructed in Baton Rouge at my hotel in 2000 during the Edwards trial…both of which miraculously survived having been submerged by Katrina and which stand guard in our home to this day. And even now, an Airfix “E-boat” built during that same trial proudly sits in the glass case in the new location.
It’s telling but I only wept twice after the destruction of Katrina. The first and hardest was very shortly after the very deep water in that low area had drained away. As the U.S. Attorney I was in my government issue Ford F-150 four wheel drive truck and making my way through the city meeting various groups of local police and federal agents deployed throughout. That day—alone—I summoned the courage to drive to it—to see it. And there stood that building, with all of its treasures and memories inside in a blur of toppled shelves and piles of soggy boxes—in cold darkness.
Seeing that was too hard. So I said a prayer and wiped away the tears and just stood there, remembering. Remembering you and me as kids in a place so special that it was our magic carpet…a place which in spite of its having passed into history—will always be one of the most important parts of our lives in so many ways.
Thanks for remembering, Martin—and thanks for sharing it all with me as my friend.”
(And thank you, Jim, for letting us share your highly personal, moving and heartfelt tribute to Hub Hobby. The photo below of our demolished old building was taken by Michael Toso)