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"For being such a livewire all his life, he was very patient after he went blind," she says. "But he just didn’t like to be alone, wanted somebody all the time there with him."
And he asked Lila, who once caught him up on the latest bestsellers as they rode to work, to read to him again.
Often he’d close his eyes and she’d try to gently shut her book when he’d cry out "What’s the next thing?"
Lila missed Sam Weller’s — as did Sam, who would call his son and now-owner Tony three times each day and say simply "Report."
When Sam died in 2009, Lila asked Tony if she could come back to work.
"I had maybe five friends, where [Sam] had a whole city full," she says. "I missed the store, really. I wanted to be where the action was."
They no longer required a bookkeeper, but Tony set her to collating a heap of rare books. Catherine says it’s invaluable to share the company of someone who has survived so many struggles — from a fire that gutted their old building, to a radical restructuring of Salt Lake City that decreased foot traffic along Main Street, to the rise of nationwide chain booksellers.
"She’s still an active person with an active mind," Catherine says.
It’s a comfort knowing, she says, that times are tough for booksellers, but nothing’s ever beaten Lila Weller.
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