Yesterday my brother and father came over and brought a trailer to start packing up the items they have had in this store for the last several years. As we got everything loaded up and made piles of my stuff to be packed up it really hit me, it's nearly over. I was flooded by memories everywhere I stepped and it really hit me hard, this place, my very first big purchase, my first business, my dream (well sort of), was coming to an end.
I remember the old garage, how dilapidated it was, nearly falling down, one wall held up by a chain and a rotten 2x4, the old rotted out wooden cooler that was still intact in there, the piles of years of junk back there, Eldor's giant old boat of a car that was parked in there for years and years and years.
I remember hearing from the neighbors how sad the place looked and how ashamed they were to be in the same neighborhood as it. Eldor was 91, he couldn't keep up with it, and the kids were all so busy they couldn't keep up with it either.
I remember my father and I the very first weekend in November spraying all the poison ivy that had grown up around the building because most of the family is so highly allergic they couldn't stand to be around it. I remember removing the debris from the picture to the left and all the soda bottles, store packaging, car parts etc... that they had buried in the ground back there. I remember cutting down the light post back there with my brother and the fun we had pulling the stump out of the ground with his old blue truck. That sucker was buried back in there 6 feet! I remember when the wind blew part of the roof off and into the parking lot behind the building and the fun we had rebuilding the garage. We took it apart piece by piece, my brother, my father, my brother's now ex-brother in law, Free, and a host of other people that were there. How we rebuilt it smaller but better and completely transformed the back of the building.
I remember spending many nights talking with Robin, Gary and Julio sitting in the garage. I remember parking in my very first garage for the first time, putting in the work bench, setting up food for parties in there. Oh the parties I hosted in there. Our annual parade day party, mother's day, appreciation bar-b-que, family bar-b-que's, Free's diaper party, oh they were all so great. Such great laughs, great conversation, so much happiness.
I remember the old kitchen, what a horror it was when I bought the place. I remember sorting and tossing so much of what was in there. Scott, A.J., Nancy, Gloria all pitching in to build the dividing wall, plumbing the new sink, running the new gas line. Julio and I rewiring all the lights, recovering all the new walls and the old as well. My uncle painting the floor and the ceiling.
I remember my sister and I working hard back there creating new sandwiches and new ideas for the deli. I remember coming back from work one day at the pizza shop to find my brother and sister started making the 150# of potato salad I had going out that weekend, every bowl and dish filled with either potatoes, dressing or vegetables waiting for me to mix all together.
I remember Free coming over 3 or 4 days a week and me having him peel potatoes while we talked, or the fruit tray we created together, or the hours of conversation we shared back there while I was cooking. This is the space I came out to him, the first time I said it out loud to someone I knew and what a relief it was. The conversations we shared in that kitchen always have and always will mean so much to me.
I remember the intercom conversations I had with my sister at the front counter, how I nearly burned the building down when I put a pot of prettles on the stove and didn't know I had the spoon rest under it and how it smoked and melted and caught fire. The thousands of pounds of prettles we made in there. My sister-in-law and my mother competing while packaging to see who could get the most packages right on the first try.
My brother and I ran new gas line when we found a free commercial stove, assembling the new stainless steel tables I purchased. This is where we carved the turkeys for our first annual Christmas party, all the conversations I had with my uncle, my family, the neighbors, the previous owners, their family members. All the great ideas that were born out of that kitchen that still are near to my heart....and my stomach lol.
Oh the back room, if those walls could talk I'd burn the building down myself. lol. I think about all the things the space was supposed to be. It took 2 whole years to sort out the stuff in that space. It was going to be the hardware store, the paint store my uncle and I were going to open up, the chainsaw shop the neighbor always dreamed of, the diner I wanted to open, the butcher shop, rentable space. It did spend time as my consignment shop, the work room, the party room, and eventually became a rentable space for the neighbor's insurance business and now my uncle's private office. I did drawings and plans to move my friend's barber shop into the rest of the space, but due to money issues for both of us, it never went through.
It was the location of our first Christmas party, the space we did our 57 Christmas trays and 25 gift baskets, the space we watched Saturday football games, we set up corn hole sets and had a tournament in the winter, we set up chairs many days and had friends come over and we drank the night away. I walked through this space millions of times over the years, it's where I lost it during clean up and reconstruction and kicked the box of outlet boxes and scattered them across the room when my father followed me and we had a real heart to heart.
This has been rather draining, but I'm enjoying it. In an effort to break it up and get some sleep I think I'll continue this another day. I hope it doesn't bore you too much, if it does, just skip these posts. lol.