The Garret

The Great Makeover of 1970

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The Story The Workers Some Photos
Click on small pictures or scroll down to see larger versions.

The Story

The exterior of The Garret went through several color schemes over its life. During my time there it was first black, then vaguely sand colored and finished as charcoal gray. This is the story of its last transformation.

One night Terrea was overheard to remark that she wasn't happy with the Garret's current color (sand) and couldn't remember why it had ever been painted that color in the first place. Coincidentally, this was about a month before her birthday and BJ's. All this was quietly discussed among some of the regulars and a plot was hatched to surprise them with a newly painted building.

Cheryl mixing faux lead for the windows.

Cheryl Thomas, a commercial artist, took charge of the project, chose the new color scheme and even devised a technique for turning the front windows into faux stained glass. A group of us were recruited to implement her plan. It remained only to get Terrea, BJ and the rest of the staff away from the place long enough to do the deed.

Preparing to paint.

At that time, The Garret was dark Monday and Tuesday nights. After closing time on the Sunday of BJ and Terrea's birthday week the kitchen staff and friends promised to clean up and lock up and all but hustled them out the door and sent them home. As soon as their cars were out of sight, brooms, mops, gallons of paint and brushes appeared and the race was on.

Tana, Liz and Joy take a brief break.

We had until opening time on Wednesday to get the job done. For the next two and a half days we worked around the clock (in my case, taking a few hours off to attend college classes), cleaning, painting, eating and sleeping on the job site.

Even the boss has to sleep sometime. Joy in need of coffee. Cathy succumbs to exhaustion. Jerry brewing "wake the dead" coffee.

Hey!  Keep the noise down!.

We were once interrupted by a neighbor who complained about the noise (it was 4:00 a.m. on the first day) and once visited by Health Department inspectors who left when I explained we weren't open to the public The project mascot.(fortunately before they noticed Cheryl's cat – the project mascot – on the premises).

Where's a Dutch boy when you need one?

Considerable improvisation was involved in some aspects of the work. We made up some tricks as we went along.

Safest place to be if they don't like it.

By Wednesday evening the work was done, we were all exhausted and it was decided to hide on the roof, wait for Terrea and BJ's arrival and hope they liked what we'd done.

What have they done?!?

Fortunately for us all, they did. A birthday party was quickly organized. Shortly after that I collapsed from lack of sleep and so know nothing more of events until the next day, when things got back to what passed for normal.

Not bad ... Happy Birthday! Pie for everyone.

The logo picture at the top left of the Web site pages shows the final look with most of the work crew sitting in front. Unfortunately, we didn't know who owned the car in front, so couldn't get it moved out of the way.

While the work was in progress, I tried to document the event with photographs. Unfortunately, the only cameras I had available at the time were of poor quality – little better than toys. Nevertheless, I was able to put together an album of our crew at work, which I gave to Terrea and BJ as part of the package. When The Garret closed for the last time the album came back to me, minus a few photos and negatives that someone decided to keep. I recently found some of the original negatives in my archives, faded with the years, and had them reprinted for this Web site. Below is what some of us looked like, in June of 1970.

The Work Crew

Liz, Diana, Ania, Cheryl, Joy, Cathy, Tana
Liz, Diana, Ania, Cheryl, Joy, Cathy and Tana.
Note: The above list is drawn from the available photos of the event. On the second day, Gretchen Diller stopped by to admire our work and donated a gallon of paint so we could finish the south wall. If I've forgotten anyone else who was there, please let me know.
 —  Jerry Hollombe, Webmaster

Photos of the Project in Work.

Cheryl mixing faux lead for the windows.

Cheryl and the project mascot.

Jan working on a window.

Diana doing some final cleanup on the last day.

Jerry brewing "wake the dead" coffee.

Sweeping away more dirt, prior to painting.

Donna staining window glass.

Toni, house painter.

Joy, Tana, Liz, Cheryl
Joy, Tana, Liz and Cheryl
comtemplating the first night's work.

Tana, Liz, Joy.
Tana, Liz and Joy take a brief break.

Preparing to paint.
Washing off years of grime.

Annoyed neighbor
A 4:00 a.m. noise complaint.

Sign painting
Painting the main sign.

Cheryl works without a net.

Joy and Cheryl
Joy Neff and Cheryl mixing faux lead for the windows.

Ania at work on the marquee.

Even the boss has to sleep sometime.
Even the boss has to sleep sometime.

Joy in need of coffee.
Joy in need of coffee.

Cathy succumbs to exhaustion.
Cathy Singleterry succumbs to exhaustion.

Where's a Dutch boy when you need one?
Cathy and Cheryl working on the north wall sign.

Up on the roof.
Waiting for the guests of honor to show up.

BJ and Terrea
What happened!?!
BJ, Terrea and Stacey
It's beautiful!
Blow the candles out.
Make a wish ...
Sue wields the knife.

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Page last updated: November 29, 2003