MAIN STREET — It was 1976, and Jadis had just opened. A woman came and knocked on the door, a smile wide across her face. The collection of technological oddities and anachronistic models reminded her of her grandfather’s basement. But her boyfriend, standing next to her with a latte, did not want to pay the $1 entrance fee.

“Parke said to her, ‘That son of a bitch won’t spend a dollar to keep a smile on your face?’ He could see in her face that she wanted to come. And she came back — without her boyfriend,” Mel Bloch recounted of one of his first memories of the shop and Parke Meek’s desire to keep people smiling.

Now, after 34 years as a staple on Main Street, Meek’s prop house and oddities collection, Jadis, is in the process of selling its collection and closing its doors forever. The first sale was Sunday, and sales will continue throughout the coming month.

Meek, a former member of the Ray and Charles Eames’ legendary design firm, died in early January at 86, leaving behind his lifelong collection. To his friends’ slight surprise, one of his dying wishes was to have his collection sold after his memorial. Though he did not recommend having a memorial, Meek told his friends that if they must hold one, then shortly afterward they should begin opening a set of envelopes he left them with directions for what to do next.

A month after Meek’s memorial in April, Bloch and other friends opened the first envelope, which said to sell the contents of the store. No other envelopes have been opened yet, Bloch said.

“Typical Parke, making it fun to the end,” said Susan Lieberman, Meek’s friend and former business partner. “In a way the envelopes did not come as a complete surprise. As he got older, it was very frustrating because he used to be active. He would say, ‘What am I going to do for an encore.’ So, I guess this is his encore.”

Despite being Meek’s wish, the sale is bittersweet for Lieberman.

“I’ve been unlocking that back door every day since I was 26,” she said. “I’m 61 now.”

The hardest part about closing the shop for Lieberman is the thought that children will no longer have that “magic” and “wondrous” place to grab their attention as they walk down the street texting or playing video games.

But she said she felt good about the people who came to the sale Sunday and purchased items, as they were respectful and genuinely happy to have a souvenir of the landmark.

The high turn-out for Sunday’s sale represents the impact the shop has had on the community, Bloch said. The line to get in started at the door, went up Hill Street and turned the corner to stretch three-fourths of the block. Only seven people at a time were let in, and people waited four hours to see inside and shop, Lieberman said.

Emotions of the shoppers ranged from tears to absolute joy, Bloch said. Many people told him they had been trying to come see the store for years. Grandparents who had come when they were younger now brought their grandchildren to see the wonders of the collection.

Meek’s collection is extensive and represents almost 80 years of technological advancements and updates of typewriters, microscopes, telescopes and cameras, among many other items. Meek would get it in his head to start collecting one thing, like a typewriter, and within two months he would have hundreds of different models, each one representing an update on the previous, Lieberman said.

While each item represents a memory for Lieberman — where it was bought, the exchange she and Meek had with the vendor, etc. — Meek did not get attached to the items in that way, she said. Many of the items were collected on trips she and Meek took to the Midwest, his birthplace.

“It was about the thrill of the treasure hunt,” she said. “He said quantity gives validity to the collection. Once he amassed every model, he would move onto the next thing.”

The next sale will be sometime this weekend, but an exact date cannot be set as some items are out on rental for films, Bloch said. The best way for people to know about the next sale is to sign up for e-mail updates by e-mailing While many of the items are rare, prices start as low as $5.

Bloch would not comment on the fate of the building after all the items have been sold.

Above all, Meek wanted the store to bring a smile to passersbys’ faces, like the woman from when the shop first opened. His enjoyment was seeing children go wide-eyed as he turned on the front window display, a tin-can locomotive, Bloch said.

“He always said, ‘If it ain’t fun, don’t do it.’”

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