A little history about me, Jeri, and 4Creature Comforts...
The Journey of Life that Leads to Present Day 4Creature Comforts Continues
A little history of me, Jeri, & 4Creature Comforts…
On the last blog, we ended at the Hoho’s Canal Store in Holyoke, Massachusetts. I still had my Seace Porcelain business in the same historic brick canal building as Hoho’s Store. In the Spring of 1986, I made the decision to move forward in my life. I closed both businesses in Holyoke and set off to Bar Harbor, Maine to open Jeri’s Unique Boutique. A best friend, Susan, was already in Bar Harbor managing a HomeGoods store named Pomme de Terre. A very classy store offering yummy, assorted wares for the home including tableware, kitchen accessories, nick-knacks, pillows & much more with a French flair. There was an empty space up a grand staircase from Pomme de Terre’s entry-level floor. I took this opportunity to do a clothing boutique catering to eccentric locals & endless summer tourists. I hired a manager looking for retail experience from the University of Maine majoring in business and retail. She was awesome…super motivated & great with customers.
A Weathered Store Sign
I arrived to set up the store in May with my Himalayan cat named Renoir Chagal, Reny for short. He was the store cat. A bit persnickety but he made up for this with his handsomeness. Reny & I lived behind the store in a small room, sharing a bigger apartment with Susan & her boyfriend. There were two large display windows at the front of the store. I used one of these for displaying my arty collection of clothes & accessories. I had never had a storefront display window before. I found it challenging & fun to come up with intriguing displays to lure customers in to find treasures.
My Business Card
I was extremely grateful for this store opportunity. I was hopeful that this seasonal store would put me in a good position for whatever was coming next.
Reny, the Store Cat
This was one of those times in my life when I was swept off my feet by a local infamous bar owner, Geddy, of Geddy’s Pub. I visited his charismatic Pub one of the first nights setting up the store. I was invited to his penthouse for an after-hours party with many people, only to find myself alone with Geddy as everyone who was at the party left.
Geddy’s Bumper Stickers:” Meet Me at Geddy’s Pub” turned up worldwide…even on the Queen Elizabeth Cruise Ship
The next few months were filled with wild adventure & fun. Geddy convinced me to move my store to his building which had many floors. Geddy’s Pub was famous for hosting concerts by famous stars in a small bar setting holding only 125 guests. The first level was a rocking bar, and the second level was a bar & concert area with a backyard patio.
Some of Geddy’s crew on the steps of the Backyard Patio sporting numerous vintage signs
My store moved to the third floor, and we lived in the penthouse. There was a hot tub, sauna, and a British phone booth served as a shower. There was no kitchen! The view of Bar Harbor was breathtaking.
I had fun wardrobing some of the performers from my boutique clothing collections.
Some of the amazing entertainers of that summer of 1986 were Mos Allison, Taj Mahal, Donovan, Aztec Two Step, Charlie Musselwhite, Livingston Taylor, Nicolette Larson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Los Lobos, Wynton Marsalis, and Bonnie Raitt. These performers would ask their managers to make Geddy’s Pub one of their summer stops because Geddy was masterful at knowing what to offer them that was over-the-top & made their summer tours exciting….like an outing on a local lobster boat or for Wynton Marsalis band, playing a 3 AM basketball game against Geddy’s staff at the local YMCA with me and Bonnie Raitt cheering them on the sidelines…or Los Lobos playing a special gig at a friend’s home on a local island, Islesford, which happened to be a lighthouse.
Bonnie Raitt & Me
Jerry Jeff Walker
Geddy and I had a 4 AM impromptu wedding on that island using water taxis from Northeast Harbor to ferry out our friend, Jeff to be the justice of the peace, the Pub manager, Jessica, and another friend, Bruce, to be witnesses to a sunrise ceremony on a rocky beach surrounded by candles.
Sunrise Wedding Picture on Islesford, Maine
The summer flashed by in a heartbeat. As Labor Day Weekend approached, Geddy made a wise decision to go into rehab for alcoholism in Bangor, Maine. At first, I went home to Massachusetts to reflect at my parent’s home. I returned to Bar Harbor to watch over the Pub, and my store & to support Geddy in his treatment program. I had become extremely close with Geddy’s first wife, Betsy, who lived in Maui but had returned to Bar Harbor that summer. She immediately saw I needed life support… and bless her Angel heart, she stayed by my side. We would go to see him at the hospital. One time when he was in the hot seat, the therapist pointed to Betsy & me, saying we were the definition of Love, the former wife & the present wife. When Geddy was released, he decided that owning an entertainment bar was not healthy for his new lifestyle. We put the Pub up for sale. Geddy’s Pub is still thriving in Bar Harbor after all these years under the same new owner, Arthur. It’s not as wild as in those old days but it retains the Geddy charm. A wild summer turned into 27 years of adventure with Geddy, as a recovering alcoholic
As you may have surmised, I wasn’t focused on the survival of my Bar Harbor store. It was only open that one summer. We moved to Kauai, Hawaii. I shipped all my inventory with us to the garden isle. The next chapter will reveal what happened next! Stay tuned!
Me in front of Geddy’s Pub, Bar Harbor, Maine