Ferndale couple opens bookstore NORTH COUNTY -- Linthicum-Ferndale-Brooklyn Park-Pumphrey

CHILDHOOD DREAM BECOMES REALITY

July 02, 1993|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,Staff Writer

Nestled among the shops in the Shipley-Linthicum Shopping Center is the culmination of one man's dream: Toomey's Bookshop.

Daniel Toomey and his wife, Carol, opened their shop on Camp Meade Road last month. While their inventory has some new titles, most are used.

The Toomeys, who live in Ferndale, have compiled about 3,000 books, not including paperbacks, Mrs. Toomey said. Most of the collection concentrates on military history and the Civil War, but the store also carries a wide variety of books on topics ranging from law to art to science.

Mr. Toomey, 45, grew up in Howard County when it was mostly farmland and spent a lot of his time reading -- especially history books -- because there weren't many children nearby to play with. He dreamed of the day he could have his own bookstore.

The dream hasn't come easily. Both Toomeys still work their regular full-time jobs. Mrs. Toomey usually staffs the shop Tuesdays through Fridays, doing her data-entry work between customers. Mr. Toomey comes in on Saturdays. During the week, he works as a traffic manager at a Savage-based company. The couple's two children, Danny, 14, and Ruthie, 17, help clean, sort and shelve new arrivals.

In addition to providing a market for military history books, Mr. Toomey also helps fill that market. He has written and published several books through his 10-year-old publishing company, Toomey Press. His works include "The Civil War In Maryland," a day-by-day account of the war in the border state.

His family, Mr. Toomey said, fueled his early interest in books and writing. "When I was 8 years old, I'd come home from school and I'd sit at my mother's typewriter and try to write a book, although I didn't know what I was doing," he said.

He remembers his great-uncle and great-aunt, Lee and Helen Ennoss, telling him war stories when he visited their 35-room, brick pre-Civil War mansion. The family sold the mansion about 1968, but Mr. Toomey said, visits there were like growing up in "a huge time capsule."

"The great part about it was, whatever they told me about, it was all there," he said. Mr. Toomey recalls finding a Union soldier's belt buckle while helping tear down an old corn shed on the property when he was about 10.

A few uniform buttons hang in the book shop as a symbol of Mr. Toomey's ties to his past and his dream.

The Toomeys are relying on word-of-mouth and a few ads in a local newspaper to draw customers.

Linthicum resident Joan Svarczkopf, who stopped in the store recently and bought several books, said, "I'm tickled to death it's here. I hope more people will come in here and use it."

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