The Left Bank at Amelie’s, in Rock Hill, South Carolina, has the best baguettes we have tasted. You can buy them warm or for the freezer, and both are scruffy, (as the lady on The Great British Baking Show) would say.They are great with butter or toasted with olive oil.
That was why we went to Rock Hill, to pick up baguettes.
They have made they shop as close to something in Paris, has they can, including locks placed on a fence outside, just like the Pont des Arts or “Love Lock” bridge in Paris. The locks were apparently removed from the Paris bridge because of the added weight they placed on the bridge that was built in the 1800’s.
The bake shop is located in a former bank and the large vault is used for valuable pastries instead of coins.
As we left Amelie’s, Nick notice that there was a large old building across the street that mention art and pottery.
That had our attention.
It was the “Center for the Arts … community performance center … Gets Art Center.”
We walked up the solid steps and entered a different time. The building, a former post office, reminded me of something out of Superman’s time. I could see Clark Kent and Lois Lane stepping quickly down the hall and climbing the staircase.
We found a pottery shop and studio that was open, “Black Crow Pottery.” Katherine Petke, the owner/potter had on her apron and was shaking and glazing a plate. Petke said she had been a horticulturist until about 8 years ago. I think she worked with her dad, and when he died, she changed carriers.
It was a delightful shop and potter studio, on the first floor and with large windows. She is waiting and hoping downtown Rock Hill will revive. As with many towns, there are “reasons” for stagnant downtown revitalization. The past and the present, the powers that be, different interests and visions.
There is another pottery studio on the first floor, but it wasn’t open.
We walked around the first floor and marveled at the architecture. Pf course, I got a bit angry at society, for abandoning such works of art and viable structures. Craftsmanship. Endurance. Longevity. Character. It was a building of substance.
And abandoned for what? New building slapped up with speed instead of substance?
We meandered around, looking at old post boxes, to a wonderful staircase. Not just steps in a dark corner, but this was a staircase that one descends from.
We saw a sign that said on the second floor was “The Cordial Churchman.”
A black gentleman was walking down the hall and we bid hello and we asked him why eat Cordial Churchman was.
We didn’t quite understand what he said, but decided to go up and see.
In a quiet corner of the second floor, was a small studio. It was “The Cordial Churchman.”
We walked in and were greeted by a reserved girl. We asked what they did her.
“We make bow ties,” she said. And upon closer examination, that became evident. A sewing machine and iron were set-up and surrounded by bits of fabric.
“How did this get its name?” I said.
“The Cordial Churchman is a preacher,” the gal said.
HIs wife made him a bowtie and he put a photo of it on his twitter account, and that is how the online business started.
We just happened upon their little studio.
After leaving there, we walked down the second floor hallway. First stop was the men’s restroom, whose door was wide open.
The women’s was closed and locked. We went into the men’s restroom and noticed the urinals were out of commission. It reminded me of the bathrooms in the old “Doctor’s Building” win Cincinnati, where our family doctor was for years. We’d go see Dr., Goldman, who knew our whole family and what ailed each of us. He was Ohio’s oldest practicing physician, when last I heard, a few years ago. He was 100.
Down the hall was an old courtroom, a magnificent room. It was there that I said, “I want to buy this building.”
Of course, that can’t happen, but my great gardenias, it felt wonderful to be there. So much of my past swept by me. The brilliant red carpet and the judges stand and wood walls and glorious ceiling and light fixtures made me feel rich in life and history.
Most buildings I go into today, I feel nothing. All I want to do is get out. Run away from the fluorescent lighting and fake everything. One looks like the other. There is nothing that makes you feel like something better exists. It is like the passion for aesthetics is gone. We are just passing through. And don’t really matter.
This building we were in said, This building matters. This time matters. Your presence matters.”
Nick sat in the judge’s chair while I ogled the ceiling and light fixtures. The experience enriched me.
Then we left. Grudgingly.
We dropped a pastry by a friend’s house and took our baguettes home. One of the baguettes was still a smidgeon warm as I buttered it.
It was delicious. As was our morning.
The Black Crow Pottery www.facebook.com/katherine.petke.9
The Cordial Churchman www.thecordialchurchman.com