Today was a Thursday, which meant that once I washed out some yarn for an order and took care of email, I could "just do whatever I wanted to do", which is a freeing feeling. Fair enough. I have been in pretty great shape for Rhinebeck and have been dyeing for orders and filling Weaver Creek fiber orders but today was a light day, seeing that there is only one more show, this Fall.
I was wasting some time on Facebook, when a photo came across my newsfeed, from the great young gal who bought Annieberries, a children's store on Main Street. She is a clothing designer and turned the kid's toy and clothing store into a clothing and "some toys" store, as well as a place to buy fabric/and or learn to sew (she had a kid's sewing class, this summer, in her old storefront. Here in Placerville, the stores in our old Downtown swap spaces, quite often.) Here was a picture of a display of adorable raincoats and matching boots and well, I was sunk. I made my mind up that it was "necessary" for me to make a trip to town, because the sizes for Syd are always gone first...well, they ARE. This place, her new location, is SO adorable and so is she, which is why, although I know that I need to Beat Feet down there, when something perfect pops up, I also wanted to tell everyone about one of the treasures of Placerville.
You see, Placerville has been having hard times, since '08, being on the highway 50 corridor and being very much a mostly blue collar town, with smatterings of us arty types tucked away, here and there. (We do have a big representation of Tea Party Crabby Old White People, too.) Our area was hit hard because this region, from Placerville "up the hill" to Pollock Pines is where tradesmen make their homes and when the housing industry went poof, so too did the livlihood of so many of my neighbors.
Downtown suffered and there was no money for sprucing up the historic gold rush town, until someone found out about a little known contest put on by the paint company, Benjamin Moore. Actually, the folks who own the olive oil tasting room, next to Heyday, got wind of it and started beating the drum, getting the downtown merchants and people like me (a merchant outside of town) to get people to vote for Placerville in the contest to revitalize Main Streets all over the country, and Canada. Incredibly, we were one of the twenty winning towns and I don't know what it is, but people have hope again. The BM people and historians have come to town to work with the building owners and sometime in the future, the local BM dealer and local paint contractors will get to work on our town.
We have had a terrible eyesore at the corner that once housed the Hangman's Tree bar, which was two buildings ganged together and holding on to one another as they crumbled toward the wrecking ball. Of course, the local historical society put the kibosh on tearing down the buildings and miraculously, someone stepped up to take on the project to restore these buildings that are across the street from our historic hotel. The man hanging by a noose, outside of the old bar, suddenly donned goggles, a work apron and a hard hat, telling us that the miracle was about to begin. Now, the building has been shored up and now is cloaked in scaffolding, with a promise of things to come. The town is turning around.
I love it here and feel more a part of the place, every day.
I talked Rod into going to town for lunch, at Heyday, which is a tiny bistro tucked into an old storefront, complete with recessed door and dual bay windows. It was there that our real estate agent took me to lunch, for my birthday, 6 years ago and still remains a favorite. He and I settled into a high 2-top against the wall and were being dorks, checking our phones and talking about much of nothing. I noticed a very tall young(ish) woman come from the back of the restaurant restroom area, to head back to her table and she had the tell-tale look of someone who was "not well". She was very thin and looked very unhappy and sat at a low table across the restaurant. I kept looking to see if she was with someone but the table was set for one.
While waiting for our lunch, I was fascinated by this gal, who went into the restroom a couple more times. The guy who runs this place, as well as the Independent at the other end of town, came in, which was unusual these days, since the other location opened, and seemed to be standing guard at the front door. He had some words with this young woman and I watched as he motioned for her to sit down. Weird. She got up once more and walked over to the wine bar area and then I stopped paying attention to her because the owner walked out the door and greeted a cop with the canine unit vehicle, who had just pulled up outside of the restaurant. Next thing that I knew, the gal must have gone down the hall toward the restroom and probably out the back door, because the owner and cop came through the chock-full restaurant and out past us.
After they came back through and the cop got the owner to sign the report, the owner left and I got a chance to say something to our young server about the bit of "entertainment" that I had witnessed. She quickly apologized and said that everyone had left the restaurant but her and that the young woman had consumed and thrown up about $95 of food and wine, before making a run for it. I guess that she had done this before and the boss knew her. Fascinating and sad.
After lunch, we walked up Main Street to Annieberries and happened to mention the encounter to the owner and her helper, which got the helper to pipe up about how this young gal is homeless and bulemic and well known in the area. Wow. How tragic is that? What did she steal? Food and 6 glasses of wine, which barely sloshed around in her stomach before repeated visits to the restroom to remove it from her body. What a story and something that would not be noticed in a big city, but here, she is a part of the fabric of our town. Who can help her?
What can I say? I did buy that raincoat and rain boots, tied up with a ribbon, and came home to thank the universe for my good fortune and for that of my family, knowing that "but for the grace of God" this could happen to anyone's daughter. I can only send up prayers that someone can help her, before it is too late.
Life in a small town.