Did You Boscov Today?
A message from Oak Tree Comics' managing director and founder, Josh Oaktree:
In 2017, my cousins and I published a book about our grandfather. Did You Boscov Today? is an anthology of memories about Albert Boscov, the retailer and philanthropist, as told by the people who knew and loved him. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Here are a couple thousand words, visually-speaking, to describe the unique and loving person I knew as Granddaddy Al.
If you've never met Albert Boscov, he was a teddy bear, the Barnum and Bailey of retail, as warm and silly as he was hard-working. He grew his father's corner store into Boscov's, a family-owned department store based out of Reading, PA. When he passed away in February 2017, thousands of letters arrived from the community by mail, email, and Facebook, sending love, prayers and, in those letters, hundreds of stories.
My cousins and I published a collection of those stories a few weeks before Thanksgiving in 2017. Sharing the book was one way we hoped to thank the community. When our grandfather was sick, so many people shared their memories and, through those stories, we got to live with our grandfather a little longer and learn from him.
At its core, the book celebrates community. Throughout the book, drawings by two local Reading, PA artists (Abby Ryder and Jessica Santucci) highlight various lessons we learned from everyone's stories. In life and in how I go about my writing, I cherish those lessons.
JOSH'S JOURNAL: "Success is Never One Person."
The following is an excerpt of an entry from Josh's Journal. In my blog, I explore creative writing topics and share hands-on lessons from my adventures as a writer and storyteller.
As a writer, I often sit at a desk alone. Writing can be solitary. But being imaginative while alone is not the entirety of the experience or even the most important part of the job. Any book, movie, or comic you see would not exist without a large, supportive community behind it.
Creating Did You Boscov Today? taught me that lesson. It took over a hundred people contributing stories as well as their time and efforts to create the book. Flipping through the hundred-plus stories and the acknowledgement section only begins to allude to the amazing collaborative process.
Whenever I begin a project, I remind myself of my favorite lesson featured in the book: "Success is Never One Person." The people who make a project successful, in my opinion, are people who make good teammates. They are people who you can connect with on a creative and personal level. Often, if they are not already friends, soon they will be.
Whenever I begin a project, I ask myself who will help make this project a success. Careful! The question is not who has already obtained quote-unquote success, or how do I get them to work with me. Whether someone has an impressive resume and an Oscar is not what matters most for forming a constructive and enjoyable collaboration.
To truly appreciate the lesson, let's look at the emphasis in the sentence:
"Success is never one person."
The emphasis doesn't land on "success"; the sentence ends on and emphasizes "person." "Success" is secondary to developing great relationships. If you value and appreciate the people around you, then only good things will follow. That's the philosophy. Maybe it's a little hokey. But I like hokey! It keeps me honest and positive.
There are many more life lessons in the book, which I apply to my writing and in my life on a day-to-day basis. Some are:
"Begin Every Day With A Song."
"A Full Stomach is a Happy Person."
"Close Your Eyes and Dream a Little."
"Nothing is Impossible."
To garner the full meaning of each lesson, it helps to read the fun anecdotes that accompany each in the book.
For even more stories, visit the book's Facebook page, Memories of Al. On the page, we'd love to hear any stories you have about our grandfather. Feel free to share them there.