If you have wandered north of Calhoun on King Street, then you have probably run into a curious, small bookshop called Blue Bicycle Books. The sign that hangs above the door implies a message one would hardly call false advertising: it is a local bookstore that contains rare, self-published books, and also has an extensive selection of literature about Charleston or by native Charlestonian authors. Each nook and cranny of the store contains something different, and perhaps, if you have traveled deep enough into the store, you would have found a greyish-brown cat curled in one of the chairs. This cat’s name was Purdy, and she was considered to be the ‘mascot’ of Blue Bicycle Books. Purdy, at 19 years old, was put to sleep February 18.
“In the past year Purdy’s health had been fading, and although she was still affectionate and happy, we think that she was in pain and ready to go to kitty heaven,” explains Valerie Keller, a junior at the College and also an employee of Blue Bicycle Books. “The customers all loved her and came back to see her often, and we are all sad to see her go. However, we’re happy to know she is in a much better place.”
Purdy’s date of birth is unknown. As for how she came to be in the store, she was “grandfathered in,” to the lease by Jonathan and Lauren Sanchez when they had first bought Blue Bicycle Books. Purdy remained in the store for the rest of her life, where she greeted the customers, provided comfort for them, and enjoyed being continually petted by them.
It is sad to see such an integral part of the culture of such a unique store pass on. For me, living in campus housing for the past two years, and though it has its perks, not being able to have pets is not one of them. At home, I always had a house full of animals. Purdy, along with the many dogs that visit Marion Square, filled this void that was left gaping when I left home. I’m sure that she provided this same service for many other College of Charleston students.
After I heard that she was being put down, a couple of my friends and I visited her to pay our dues. I can say that she did seem rather weak, but not unhappy. Her eyes drooped from sleepiness, but she purred happily as we rubbed her belly and scratched behind her ears. Purdy’s final days, one could argue, were not much different from others; though some of her resilience was lost, she was still her cheerful, sweet, and friendly self.