Ms, Hattie's House!

It's happening to every small town.  Yes, the old main street that you remember is no longer the same.  Those memories of Saturday shopping and visiting your friends at the local drug-store or just sitting at the counter at Sam's ice cream shop and sipping on a double chocolate malt.  There was a variety store and don't forget the big department stores.  It was a simple time, but yet you looked forward to it.

Now there are many shops and stores that are standing vacant and faded, even the for sale sign in the window is barely readable.  We now travel to the other side of town where they have built a big Mall.  This is where most all of our larger stores followed suit and now we are left with our main street deteriorating one---shop at a time. 

 

King St.
King St.

There was one small building that did catch ones eye.  Ms, Hattie's house sat right smack-dab in-between the old pharmacy and the optometrist.  Yet, it had always been there and no one could remember when it wasn't there.  Ms, Hattie King, was a spinster.  Many streets are named after the original land owner.  Our main street followed this same tradition and was--King Street.

Some one on the city council convinced the other members to hire some one to come up with a plan to revitalize the buildings so that they could be more appealing to buyers and then that would bring back the business's that they had lost to the malls.  This plan looked good---on paper?

Several people applied for the position.  John Appleton, was the first one to swear that he could turn this problem around.  He was not from this area and some were hesitantbut finally gave in.  After visiting each business and telling them his plan, that they would be required to alter there front facade and repaint their buildings with the colors that he and his small staff of volunteers would have to approve of.  Also they would insist on a few buildings to be completely demolished as soon as they could find the owners.  They would have to be replaced with a more modern style.  Ms, Hattie's house would be the first to go. 

It only took three months before John Appleton anger at the shop owners for completely ignoring his brilliant plan, that he turned in his resignation.  There were two more applicants after him but there tactics were the same.  Each one demanding that Ms, Hattie's house would have to be demolished.

Once a month there was a city council meeting and the subject of hiring another person to try again to tackle this issue.  They finally agreed that they would hire another person but this time it would be some one local that might understand their needs and situations much better.

Ms, Irene Bains, was certain that she could make a definite impact on the matter.  After all she had lived in this area most of her life and knew most of the people and was sure that she could handle Ms, Hattie.  She had went to school with Hattie and she would simply confront her with this issue and make her understand that this was what the town needed.  Although she had not seen or made any real attempt to contact Ms, Hattie in all these years. 

Hattie was only seen going and coming once a week to the small grocery store and the bank.  No one remembered seeing her at any town functions or her attending any church services either.  She would only nod if spoken to in passing.  There had been rumors for years about Ms,Hattie's house being haunted.  Yet, no one had ever been inside of it that they knew of.  The old men that sat across the street on the only bench in town swore that the same old blue drapes that hung at each window had been there for at least fort-five years. 

Irene was stunned to find out that the vacant shops were not owned by people that she knew in the area and when she asked Henry at the bank who they might be, he declined to say and that he was information that the owners did not want public, for it was through a third party.  If and when there might be a buyer he could direct them to an attorney that had the power-of-attorney to handle the transaction if it was accepted.  Yet, all offers that had been put forth had all been turned down so far.

Well, she would deal with those matters later.  Right now she would make a call on Ms, Hattie and see if she could get her talked into maybe selling and moving into a nice apartment near the mall where everything would be more convenient for her.  A women to women talk sometimes could work where others had failed.

After repeatedly knocking on the front door for several minutes and getting no answer, she went to the rear of the house and knocked louder.  There was one small window and again the same old blue curtain hung over it but it was not entirely closed.  She peered through the gap and there on the floor lie Ms, Hattie.

For the next few weeks the town gossips were in full swing about what they thought would happen to Ms, Hattie's house.  Some said that it had to be torn down to rid it of the ghosts that haunted it.  No one seemed to know who had taken care of Ms, Hattie's funeral or where she was buried?  There had been no notice in the local paper?  They did notice a well dressed stranger walking along King St and looking at all the vacant shops.  He would stop and write something down on a clip-board that he was carrying.

It was not long before these shops were being spruced up and several had new tenants moving in.  There was now a new Deli,Bakery and a small coffee shop across the street.  The one that completely shocked the old men that sat across the street from the Pharmacy was when they tore down Ms,Hattie's house and they were speechless when they were told that in its place there would be a small park with several benches and a fountain in its center.  Everyone was speculating on who this man with all the money that they had seen was, or was it some rich investor that had come into their town and was he going to sell it later on?

Finally when these rumors had gotten so far out of hand, the city council posted a large notice in the daily paper that everything would be explained at the next council meeting about King Street, and all of its renovations and future plans.

There was only standing room at that meeting, for it seemed that everyone in town was there.  Yes, indeed they were going to protest and stop this rich investor from buying up there town.  When that man in the dark blue suit stood up---you could have heard a pin drop.

"I am here on the behave of the Hattie King, estate.  Hattie King owned the properties at these said locations."  As he read the long list of all the vacant buildings, you could hear gasp and low whispers from the people.

"In conclusion; It is stated in her Will, that all of these properties be turned over to the city and its people to be governed as they so deem in accordance with the law.  I only ask that every shop on King Street place flower boxes with blue flowers planted in each."

TO REMEMBER:  (PROGRESS OR CHANGE IS NEITHER SWIFT NOR EASY.)

 

 

Comments 10 comments

Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor

Great one! I live in a small town just like this one, with the same eccentricities. The last old department store just closed; we'll see what they come up with to replace it.


goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

I feel everything I knew as a boy is gone, and it happened in the blink of an eye. And it wasn't really that long ago.


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 7 years ago from India

Love your nuggets about a different way of life GN! :)


Ginn Navarre profile image

Ginn Navarre 7 years ago Author

Teresa, goldentoad, yes it is happening and will continue---they call it progress??? but maybe the better word would be GREED?

Feline, thanks--I guess we just have to keep walking forward and try and keep up.


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 7 years ago from United States

Great hub! Makes you think about all the small town VIPs who are selling the soul of our country away to anyone with the money.


Ginn Navarre profile image

Ginn Navarre 7 years ago Author

jerilee---you are right its like a run-away train.


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

I can always count on you for bigtime nostalgia - I think by now it's settled that we're both suckers for it. Change sometimes is a sad thing. Thanks for sharing :D


Ginn Navarre profile image

Ginn Navarre 7 years ago Author

Yes Cris, when you tug at the heart---the biggest and the toughest melt and show ---that they are suckers, but don't tell anyone that we are!!!


Becky 5 years ago

I lived in one of these Old downtown areas. It was being remodeled and a friend asked me to take a store that he had and open a shop there. I opened an antiques and collectables shop. I had to fight the planners to not paint it one of their colors. I finally won when I found a room in the basement that had never been painted since it was built. It was a light green. They had told me no one painted the buildings that color and I had to paint it dark green with pink trim. Garish and bad taste to me. I got my way with dark green trim and then they added that color to the list. Most of the shops ended with the buildings painted that green because they did not like the 'historic' colors. I don't know where they came up with those.


Ginn Navarre profile image

Ginn Navarre 5 years ago Author

Thanks Becky, I too have challenged the historic several times and know what you are saying here.

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