Thursday, August 09, 2012

A TALE OF TWO COEUR D'ALENES...
...it was the best of times, it was the worst of times...
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If by "the worst of times", one is referring to the economy, he/she's probably correct. But within that climate of economic paranoia, towns keep growing, inventors keep inventing, businesses keep popping up everywhere, and life goes on, which indeed it has in my old home town of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Now before I get started here, I'm no supply-side economic theorist; I approach it from the impressions it makes upon me and what I come away from it all thinking. My old home town's been growing, growing, growing. I may not know which businesses are in what building, but there's been a lot of building going on. So, that said, let's take the plunge...
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I don't know if downtown CDA's premier coffee shop is still called "Java On Sherman", but for old times' sake, I got my day started here this morning. Until I moved away 6 years ago, I was in here at least 4 days a week, breathing in coffee fumes as my life depended on it, which it probably did. This is what I miss most about the Coos Bay, Oregon area I live in now. There are no coffee shops!
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However, everything changes. Here inside "The Java Place", the chair I used to sit in is gone, replaced by counters and other implements of the coffee trade. Good coffee shops are great places for one to immerse himself in public. In my case, I overheard two guys talking business, and felt glad that I didn't have to do that anymore.
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MMM..along with coffee, a big raspberry muffin...who cares what kind of muffin it is as long as there's plenty of overhang and a double-dose of sugar on top. It's nice to know some things don't change; years ago when I was last here the muffins were just as huge as this one. Consuming that muffin helped me to carbo-load for the day ahead...I gained five pounds just Looking at that muffin!

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Fortified at last on my muffin diet, I hit the streets. At photo left, here's a big landmark that wasn't there several years ago before I left. Taken from in front of the "Zip Stop" gas mart that's managed to survive over the years. The only bummer-factor here is, that Tall Building is but one of those blocking the view of Lake Coeur d'Alene, which is back there somewhere...

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Strange creatures have been frozen forever in suspended animation on various street corners downtown; I believe this is a "bum" steer? It's nice, I suppose, to run across something unusual like this. Although, there's a paradox here; Coeur d'Alene has some of the most stringent business sign laws in the world, but artists can put artificial animals of most any size most anywhere.
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This is Sherman Avenue between 3rd and 4th; what you see here is the historic Clark's Jewelry Street clock; that's where it was when I used to win radio contests long ago, with the winning price being a Caravelle watch, which I won and gave to my Mom. A couple times a week I'd go pick up 5 records which the Radio Station sent to Clark's. Fun times from waay back...
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There are several businesses inside this building, which is the Old Coeur d'Alene Fire Department structure. On the east side of the building, you can see the big arched structures that fire trucks used to come out of and park themselves back in. It's nice when these grand old buildings are resuscitated by Positive Economics. Also, the old IOOF building nearby has been converted into a "Great Floors" franchise.
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Coeur d'Alene seems to have been inundated by strange metal animals appearing all over the place. This one's in front of a bank. There's another moose similar to this one, who's parked himself near where the Seaplanes take off. Every city must have it's own thing; in the Coos Bay/North Bend area, fire hydrants have been painted every imaginable color and one day I'll do a post on those.
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Coeur d'Alene's downtown is changing very rapidly, and the growth
of the trees you see here make shopping at downtown businesses seem like a nature walk. Way back in the summer of '85, the city street department ripped up all the pavement you see here, and walking on Sherman back then became very much like hiking through the wilderness...
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In the northwest portion of town, a big development has opened up, featuring shops, services, escrow houses, cinemas and apartment houses all over the place. In fact, it's frightening in a way, how people are stacked into boxes that are made of ticky-tacky (quote from an old Pete Seeger song there), but undeniably the times they are a-changin' in the Coeur d'Alene area.
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But it's a tale of two Coeur d'Alenes. When I got to my motel a couple of days ago, the owner and I were talking about this area. He graduated in 1968 from Coeur d'Alene High, and he said that (the proverbial 'they') have taken "all the real jobs out of Coeur d'Alene". Meaning, of course, mining, logging, and other core industries. And it's true; those businesses are long gone. One of the "Coeur d'Alenes" is ritzy, appealing, designed to fill every rich tourist's dream, while the "other" Coeur d'Alene, which begins at 8th and Sherman and proceeds east, looks just like it did in the 1950's.
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The people in the neighborhoods which surround the East End of Sherman are all working-class people, struggling every day to make ends meet; some with dingy homes that have fallen into disrepair, trying to grind out the American Dream, at service jobs, gas stations, grocery stores, manufacturing plants, driving local taxi-cabs, or reporting to work at 6am to slap them Sausage-Egg McMuffins together, trying to stay on the good side of ruthless bosses. Chances are those blue-collar workers won't be shopping at expensive downtown stores; they'll be buying used clothing at Goodwill or St. Vinnies, and trying to make their money go as far as possible by clipping coupons and hoping they have enough gas in the tank to get to Wal-Mart once in a while.
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This post was written in my motel room at The Bates Motel, and remarkably, no one has stabbed me in the shower yet. I'm getting this room for $32 a night. It's a Cheap motel room. On the East End of Sherman Avenue, of course.

3 Comments:

Blogger NGOI NHA VUI said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

please don't stop posting.

9:32 AM  
Blogger عبده العمراوى said...

شركة المثالية للتنظيف بالاحساء

3:03 AM  

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