Friday, September 24, 2010

And Another One Does

Sophisticated man 
greedy for his own
decor in the big city 
plunders the riches 
of a small town's 
history. Raping 
her, gutting her, 
leaving her torn, 
a gaping hole 
His assurances 
earned trust in town
before leaving her
forever bereft.
They, not he
are left 
with remorse. 

Loverby and I heard a sad story last weekend in a small town in Eastern Washington. Waitsburg has a lovely history. Mr. Wait owned the gristmill on the Touchet River. The town thrived. 

A few years ago a Seattle man bought the historic bar on main street with the understanding that he would renovate it and rejuvenate the town at the same time. It had one entire wall of custom oak bar. Mirrors. Draft handles. Personality. Patina. Artisan quality work that isn't found any more. 

As soon as the ink was dry, he gutted it - installed it in Seattle somewhere - and left the gaping hole on Main street. The building is useless now. He doesn't care. He got what he wanted. Waitsburg pays the penalty for his greed. Thus the angry poem.

These pictures aren't the same building; it was in a town close by, telling the story better.

This is how another charming small town dies. 


Anonymous said...

that's so horrible. People are such jerks sometimes. :(

Craig said...

It is sad to see "History" be discarded. The sad changes in the little town's you and I grew up in. :( But then we see places like the "Lincoln Theatre" in Mount Vernon, and we can smile and "be a part of History". :)

katdish said...

What a shame that something which could have been enjoyed by those who could appreciate its history has been moved to a place where it won't. The need to posess is a nasty character flaw.

Maureen said...

It is true that a hole is left. It is also true that a hole can be filled.

I'd agitate for using that space shown in your pictures to be turned into an art space for public sculpture. Have a competition to ask artists to design sculptures for the space, leaving the walls as is or perhaps turning them into murals and the beautiful horizontal columns, fill in the ground with painted concrete. It would be unexpected. The arts are a tool to revitalize, and now more than ever we need art to help us deal with the ugliness.

We can accept sad stories. We can also help change them. It's what's happening in Haiti now and that I tried to show in yesterday's post.

Maureen said...

Your poem may be angry. It also speaks eloquently to the loss.

Kelly Langner Sauer said...

wow - that's awful. there's just no remedy for that...

Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said...

I've watched a lot of old buildings like that fall, one after another, in my hometown. The destruction left only holes, unfilled by any development at all.

In the case of my hometown, the buildings haven't been overtaken by suburban sprawl -- but by rural decline. As a result, our Main Street is only a shadow of what it once was.

So I feel this ... but in a slightly different way than you describe here. Thanks for sharing.

Kathleen Overby said...

Thanks for lamenting with me. Our own hometowns are suffering the same.
It is a tragedy.

Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said...

Where did you grow up, Kathleen? I grew up in northwest Iowa. There are just gaping holes now in my Main Street. The post office, a bar and a funeral chapel are pretty much all that stand. ... I live near another small town now -- one where my husband grew up -- but thankfully, it is still surviving. ... Thanks for writing this piece, it was quite thought-provoking for me. Came back to read it again this a.m.

Lyla Lindquist said...

Had to look twice, that photo could have been from my own Main street.

But I do love Maureen's vision to redeem these losses...

Matt @ The Church of No People said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog about your journey with church. I always enjoy hearing from readers, and I really appreciate your candor. If I can ever do anything for you, let me know! Grace and peace.