Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Old Postcard Wednesday--Downtown Silverton, Oregon, and Mac's Place


This is not that old a postcard, having been sent in 2005 by the real estate agent who sold us our house as part of his (then) ongoing networking. The message on the back reminded us that the "Real Estate market is vibrant & now is a great time to buy or sell!" That makes the postcard seem like it was printed in a long ago time and place.....

The scene depicts a downtown street in my town, where nearly all the buildings are old and most are well-preserved. The postcard was from a print in the Silverton Limited Art Series by Portland artist Donna Mattson. She paints using varied techniques and mediums and you can view her work, including some similar to the above postcard under Prints, at her website here.

Do you see the green building with the front gable on the left side of the street? Twenty-five years ago the building was painted red and it was called My Place Tavern. It is where I bought my last drink.

After drinking a pint of Sherry at home after a miserable day at work as a legal secretary I went downtown. I cannot remember now whether I first drank at one or more places but I ultimately wound up at My Place Tavern an hour or so before closing time. I remember having drinks there only once before then - with my mother and we both thought it to be a really low-life and depressing kind of place. It was a run down establishment and didn't so much cater to as expect run down customers, mostly men. That night only men, except for me.

I sat with my drink and smoked some cigarettes and my eyes focused on a bearded guy drinking alone at a small round table in the cavernous dark room. He is not a clear vision in my memory...strange for someone who played such an important role in my life. I remember he was medium-build, had dark brown longish hair, and a thick beard. Maybe he was 28. Maybe he was 46. He was not one of the broken-down, haunted-looking older men scattered around the place. Was his name Larry? I am no longer sure. It did not take me long to feel a compelling pull and through the muck in my brain to know clearly what it was that I must do. Without any glances having been exchanged between us I picked up my things, walked over to his table, sat down, maybe exchanged names - maybe not, and then point-blank asked him to drive me into detox in Salem, some 15 miles away.

And that is how, on October 15, 1985, the miracle of my sobriety was rooted. The seed of change planted in a seedy old barroom into the mysterious soil of trust in a stranger. The stranger did indeed ask me if I was serious, if I was sure, dozens of times as we walked to our separate cars for him to follow me to my mother's house, where I parked my car in her driveway and quietly deposited my keys in her mailbox -- and he asked me if I was sure more times as he drove the country road into Salem, me drinking a tall Budweiser purchased at My Place Tavern as my final drink. I drained the can of its last drops there in the parking lot of the detox building while responding I am sure one last time, then hugged him goodbye before I walked to the door and pushed the night call button to summon the graveyard shift employee who let me inside.

:::

In the 25 years since then, old My Place Tavern has gone through several different owners and is now known as popular Mac's Place. These days it has quite the reputation in this valley for being a happening kind of place. I've been inside only once since that night a quarter century ago and that was to honor some regional volunteers on a political campaign where I was also a volunteer. The inside was nice and packed to the gills with a vibrant crowd of people ages 20 to middle age, a totally changed ambiance from its dingy days as a tavern with a few old pool tables lit by bulbs hanging from corded wires.

Since I have decided to defer my solo beach trip to later in the month I have told Michael I would like to go to Mac's Place on Friday night to have a bite to eat..... before something called CLUB NITE at Mac's begins at 9:00 p.m.  It will be a unique way to celebrate my 25th sobriety anniversary, and I will do so with a special gratitude for a stranger I met there who helped me on my path.


 Photo via Flickr by Koocheekoo, taken October 2009

This is Mac's Place website description of the establishment:
Mac's Place is the oldest building on the Silverton National Historic Registry. The building survived the fire of 1885 and was the only building in downtown to survive the fire of 1934. In May of 2002 Mac's Place became an addition to the Wooden Nickel Pub & Eateries, Inc. Today it is famous for great burgers, pizza, pasta, and more.  New additions to Mac's Place include hand painted art and murals by local artist Kelly Farrah as well as rare photographs of historic Silverton. We've also added expanded our deck and added a gorgeous cover as well as heaters to keep you warm when the air chills.

We have the best stage and sound system in the town and have music, dancing and DJ/Karaoke every week!  Stop in and enjoy our national and local live music artists that play within these historic walls. {Aside Note: click here for a video of an impressive group playing at one of Mac's Place Sunday Jam Sessions!} Visit our online music calendar to see who will be playing next!

And just who will be playing next? None other than John Lee Hooker, Jr., on October 24th
Mac's Place is certainly not the My Place Tavern of once-upon-a-time-when.....


.

23 comments:

Phivos Nicolaides said...

I enjoy reading you article Lydia.

Fireblossom said...

Darlin', we get there how we get there. Congratulations on your anniversary and on making a decision for sobriety, and life. It isn't easy for those of us with the addiction to put down the drink and leave it down. It takes faith, guts, and help from others. I am so glad you are sober today. And I am so glad I get to be your friend, and read your blog. Again, Lydia, congratulations and many more to come.

xo

FB

Looking to the Stars said...

Wow, this was great! I love the postcard & the story of the building but most of all I LOVED your sharing. What a wonderful way for you to start onto a new path years ago.

Congrats on your anniversary :)

Lydia said...

Phivos~ Many thanks. I always love to see your smiling face here. :)

Fireblossom~ We're in this together, kiddo. Thank you for your meaningful comment. I am glad I get to be your friend, too!

Looking to the Stars~ Thank you for your enthusiastic well wishes and for being my consistently wonderful blogging friend. :)

pohanginapete said...

An amazing story, Lydia — congratulations. Inspirational, even for those of us fortunate enough not to have to struggle with this. Makes me think if you can manage something like this, maybe I can make much easier changes.

Roxana said...

"The seed of change planted in a seedy old barroom into the mysterious soil of trust in a stranger."

this has totally blown me away - your words, what happened in itself... i don't know, reading this (and the entire post) has made me feel suddenly so happy...

Lydia said...

pohanginapete~ Thank you, Pete. Oh, I think that you are one who could manage any type of change your heart desires!

Lydia said...

Roxana~ As I am about to shut down the computer for the night I am going to bed feeling suddenly so happy about your comments.
I see on WorldTimeServer.com that it is 10:40 a.m. there. May you have a beautiful day!

Roxana said...

:-)

good night, dear Lydia!

Lydia said...

Roxana~ What sweet wishes! It is now a gorgeous sunny morning here. I notice on the WorldTimeServer that it will soon be 7:30 p.m. in Romania - so for the next hours I will return the good night blessing. :)

Hattie said...

Wonderful. I think I want to go visit Silverton and meet you at Max's. Maybe some day...

Darlene said...

Wow! What an inspiring story of making a decision that changed your life for the better. It would be a great scene in a movie.

Congratulations on all those years of sobriety.

Lydia said...

Hattie~ Thank you. :) I sort of had my heart set on Depoe Bay, but your idea would be fun too.

Darlene~ Thanks much. :) I guess that is the way I see it, as a scene played out a long time ago. No sequels!

the half-life of linoleum said...

What a great little scene - and what a tremendous story.

Good for you.

Lydia said...

the half-life of linoleum~ It is always great to have you here. Thank you for your comment. :)

secret, fragile skies said...

Thank you for posting your brave and beautiful story. Congratulations on this anniversary!

bfk said...

Lydia, that's a lovely and well-written piece. And I'm so glad you went there to commemorate the day. Shows real strength of character. Happy anniversary!

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

ok - so i have no internet at home at the moment (imagine lots of me jumping up and down in frustration at people that don't speak very good English) so am a bit behind

1) Love the postcard - the style of the painting really interests me. I'd love to have a go at a New York scene in that kinda style

2) I'm so glad that this person was able to help you out - maybe he was a kinda guardian angel. i don't think it matters - but the thing that does matter is you took that step and should be proud of yourself for doing so

Lydia said...

secret, fragile skies~ Wonderful to have a comment, especially this special one, from you over the weekend. :)

bfk~ Your comment meant so much to me. :)

Pixies~ That is a bummer to not have home internet and I hope it is a temporary situation. Having to go to an internet cafe must be kinda like having to go to a laundromat.
I agree that the style of painting in that series would suit a NY scene. Get busy painting!
My husband was referring to the guy as a sort of guardian angel too. He was a blessing in my life, no doubt about it.

Freda said...

The postcard drew me in, but your story will stay with me for a long, long time. Congratulations and Every Blessing

Lydia said...

Freda~ I so loved your comment. Thank you!

Jennifer said...

I have read some of this story before, but really enjoyed reading this version -- and I love the fact that you went back there on the anniversary of your sobriety. I was thinking about where I was on October of 1985. Not in a good place. Funny how far away and close those days can feel no matter how much time has passed

Congratulations, Lydia, on the sobriety and on making that night so vivid here.

Lydia said...

Jennifer~ Thank you for your comments of understanding.

It is so good to know that you have emerged from your times in such a wondrous way.

ShareThis

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails