Crowding the back of the garage for over a year, the Tienda, stood unused and decaying. There was no garage storage space and the office remained without a proper bookshelf. As much as my genealogy materials called out at me to be properly archived, I couldn't allow myself to spend thousands of dollars on a new bookcase. I felt stuck! Out of frustration, we decided to do the second best thing: unpack and put together the Mexican bookcase for use as garage storage. Not ideal, I admit, but better than letting the tienda continue to deteriorate the due to lack of maintenance and use.
A friend, who in turn hired three more friends and two large ladders, helped assemble the heavy shelves. The fixture looked completely out of place (sorry, I don't have a picture), housing balls, bicycle helmets and coolers, but at least we had somewhere to store our junk. It was not a pretty sight. The garage, overwhelmed by the sheer size of this bulky bookcase, remained only a tiny bit more functional and marginally less crowded.
Three weeks ago, everything came to a head, when I was leaving for the little league match. I needed a folding chair which was awkwardly placed on the bookshelf between a couple of elegant columns. In the process of squeezing myself between the car and the bookshelf, I knocked over three bikes. Though I hate to admit this in public, I just about lost it that day. My frustration with the garage just about boiled over and I could not believe that the garage would stay so tight and messy indefinitely. I called my local version of Don Miguel, our trustworthy neighborhood handyman—Lincoln, and asked him to take a look at the garage and somehow find a place for a bike rack.
Lincoln, examined the situation closely. Since the bookcase took up eighty percent of the back wall of the garage, he suggested, hanging the bikes from the ceiling.. This solution generated some problems and he questioned me about the bookcase which clearly looked out of place. When I relayed a briefer version this saga, explaining how there was no way to get the bookcase into its' intended destination, I noticed a sparkle in his eyes. He listen politely and then proclaimed: "I can do it. I can take it apart. I love this kind of delicate projects!"
"Really? Are you sure?" I asked in disbelief.
He took a few steps up and down the gigantic bookshelf, tapped the sides and examined the construction and then stated emphatically, that what I thought was impossible, could definitely be done. His plan involved pulleys to get the longer parts through one of the small third floor window, but he was confident quite confident it would succeed.
|One of third floor office windows used|
to pull up the bookshelf. It is the smallest window
in the house measuring about 2'x3.5'
My mission now is to bring the bookshelf to it's original glory. I spent the weekend, rehydrating the thirsty wood with oil and then stacking it with books and office supplies, some of which have been in boxes for as long as the Tienda spent in the garage. The garage is now empty and ready to receive proper garage storage shelves which Lincoln will build. Finally, the office has become a pleasant place to work! I bring you this post from my antique desk (a desk with its' own story). Every few minutes, I can not help but raise my eyes and glance with amazement at the miracle of having La Tienda here with me. The bookshelf is so large, that it now houses not only many of my books, but also most of the family photos albums and my genealogy files. Best of all, it displays many photos of my ancestors as well as my descendants. For lack of display space, they were in storage for quite some time. These vintage photos have accompanied me along my genealogy journey and inspired my work and it is a wonderful feeling to be able to enjoy them again!
|La Tienda, in the third floor office!|
|Closeup of a drawer missing glass & knob.|
(Click to enlarge)
|One remaining glassed drawer |
with original knob. (Click to enlarge).
|Closeup of the knob|
|Vintage style candy jars in niche.|
(Click to enlarge)
"We bought a grocery store from a friend of Will's (William Bloomfield). It was some ten miles from where his mother's store was located. She had some fixtures that she loaned us. So without any money, or experience, we were in business." (Stored Treasures, 137)
|William Bloomfield, at the Bloomfield Market|
Laconia, NH c1920
(Click to enlarge)
As of now, my children do not have much of an appreciation for our eclectic taste in rustic furniture. Hopefully, one of our sons will one day want to inherit this beautiful tienda. Thanks to this blog post, the bookcase, will come with a story!