Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Busy August

There's been no sewing since the last post. I've been recovering from an oral surgery (I'm fine, really), entertaining guests and then this last weekend, attending my 40th high school reunion - oy vey. Tomorrow I board the train for a week with art quilting friends and a couple of former co-workers from my Tacoma days. So not much time for creativity. I was iffy about that class reunion, but through the magic of FaceBook, several of us had reconnected on-line (having no contact since the 10th reunion), so not as much awkwardness as might have been otherwise. In fact, we were so busy gabbing we forget to line everyone up for a group picture. This is just a small fraction of attendees, and we were joking that as usual, here was Gary and his harem. I really enjoyed talking with these classmates again, and it's always nice to go back to my hometown in such a beautiful setting.

We had a "mixer" Friday night at the Wallace Brewing Company, a micro brewery that was news to me (just over two years old). But I must admit, I really liked the Jackleg Cream Stout - very smooth for a dark beer. You can see from the business card that they are playing up the racy mining town reputation, but I did like their solution to the sluggish local economy. Turns out there's not only a connection to my class among the partners, but also a Sandpoint connection.

The buttons above the business card are two antler buttons I picked out at the Arts & Crafts fair on Saturday. The class reunions for an 11 year span were coupled with the annual Huckleberry Festival - it would appear, to make planning activities a bit easier. I opted out of most of the general activities, but did cruise the fair and then cruise the downtown. The central part was blocked off so food vendors and a stage for music entertainment could take over.

Most of the stores I knew while growing up are gone now, replaced by a multitude of antique stores and other tourist attractions. A few of the restaurants remain in one form or another. When I was in high school, Albi's Steak House was the nicest, fanciest place to eat in town, and where one took your prom date if you remembered to get reservations. It's still operating, but I was puzzled at what has moved in next to it.

Some of the 13 bars still remain as well. This one always intrigued me with it's sign and the fact that you had to go down those stairs to its basement location. It is named for the proprietor who's last name was Stein (and there was a Stein in my class), and the foam on the sign's stein had multiple little lights that flashed after dark. Love that sign and glad to see it still there.

Another period sign still intact is this advertisement for the motel that I believe was built in the 1960's. One of our classmates stayed there and reported nothing had changed - it was very retro. Again, we have the flashing little bulbs that sequence from bottom to top, exploding in the star and pointing the way to the motel. Don't ask about the little UFO thing sitting next to it - a more recent marketing ploy has labeled this town the center of the universe.

The historic railroad station no longer operates as one, but is a little museum with a gift shop. One of my classmate's father ran the station, and the family lived on the upper floor, which always fascinated me.

The town once had a 5 story hotel with an open cage elevator complete with human operator. They've made a nice little park on the corner it once occupied, and I was happy that they had saved this tiling that one walked over to enter the hotel's main doors which opened on the corner.

So some things remain the same, others have changed and if nothing else, you can always depend on the old buildings to sport some interesting details if you bother to look up, something I do these days. This building was not readily visible in my day, but now with other buildings gone, I see it has a very interesting facade which tells me it was built in 1916. Below are details from other buildings downtown.

Last but not least, what about this cool matching car and trailer?


Anonymous said...

Had my 40th in July just south of you, in Moscow. We probably sat opposite each other at sporting events!

Connie Rose said...

Looks like a lot of fun! So where was the reunion? Glad you still get on with your high school mates -- I haven't been to a reunion in 20 years (and that was my only) and swore I'd never go again! Enjoy the rest of your summer! xo

Chris said...

What a fabulous post. Thank you for taking the time to get it together. I live for that kind of excursion. I adore old neon signs, and I always look for architectural details. That's why I almost lost my mind in Italy! These small towns are like vanishing treasures. I don't know what would happen if there were no antique shops to fill the downtowns.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Oh my yes! I was either playing in the pep band or providing half-time entertainment (was a twirler). I have fond memories of traveling to Moscow for the U's Homecoming parade, so maybe you also saw me marching out front of the band. Small world!

The Idaho Beauty said...

Connie, that's Wallace, Idaho.