photo: Nicholas Burnham

The Polk closed a couple weeks later. Sharon started a course on computer skills, hoping to get an office job. But by Easter, Mr. G. still hadn't really figured out what to do. "I never should have sold it," he said recently. "Now I just sleep all day and sleep all night." He didn't sound well. His voice alternated between a throaty rasp and a high wheeze. "I wish I hadn't sold it," he said again. He wasn't sure what the new owners were planning to do with it, but he thought they were going to build an apartment complex. "I miss it so much," he said. "I was there since 1959." He paused. "That's 47 years," he added. It was as if he almost couldn't believe it himself.

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