Monday, May 31, 2010

Revisiting that building

Not the one I mentioned. Another. I have been there for years.

It was a roadhouse once, a century home that a highway cut past and it became a boarding house with a tavern downstairs. I stopped by once but was leery. I was with someone else and wanted to leave quickly in the dream.

Next pass, it had changed hands. It became a bookstore/convenience store. The sort that sold whatever roadside might want and was a way for the owners to justify their book hoarding. Fish bait and ice cream freezers on the main floor with postcards and souvenirs from places not here and rambling maze of floors of dusty books. 4 stories of books and racks of records and CDs and closed doors to split levels where old bedrooms were partly furnished, partly even the flooring and internal walls being pulled apart.

The next dream I stopped by, a historical society had bought it, fixed it up, or started to. There was a tourism front office where there had been the old copper-keyed cash register and the ramshackle piles on shelves, some of which were items for sale, some were owners jackets and umbrellas and newspapers and lunch. Parts were opened. Internal columns were scaled back, woodwork pulled off and structural beams made metal posts for better sight lines. All new lighting. It was nearly glittering. The enclosure was the same space. The outside was spiffier but unmistakably the same red brickwork.

Some parts of the place were run by the coop for historical value, to be renovated back, skipping a century of questionable flophouse living. Part was financed by local business owners who managed to make it a sort of mall. A bit was still a book stall. One was a chic cafe, completely out of character inserted into the dark waincotting box.

This trip the main floor was toned down. It wasn't so close to the open house excitement. The tourism office was still there but getting a lived in look with turn racks of information, floor plants, coat racks. A partition wall had been put up, splitting the space in half. The paint job was darker. The lighting went for moire glass. There were large parts unoccupied, renovations stopped part way. But what was there was complete.

On the 3rd floor where the record racks formerly were was a complete dentistry office. S. was the dentist and she took me in to remove my upper right molars. Part way thru she said I needed a break and it was her lunchtime.

She accompanied me downstairs to the new cafe. It was more heritage-look now, sort of end of 1800s painted wainscotting but with outdoor cafe furniture and a buffet.

It was owned by C. She bustled to greet me. P on seeing me, either worked there as waiter or was an incidental customer and seeing me with the dentist brought me over Italian wedding soup, on the house he said.

Years of the same building and now, greeted as a known person by people I know. This feels like some kind of good shift.

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