There was Bob. Bob was imprisoned after going AWOL during the Vietnam war because, as a photographer, he just had his fill of full frame ferociousness. Bob went to a military brig where he became reknown inside the walls by inmates and guards alike for building both a full, double trailer semi truck as well as an old western fort completely out of used cigarette butts. Bob then went on to sell the two “sculptures” to the R.J.Reynolds tobacco museum for $10,000! Bob later retired to the hills of Pennsylvania where, he told us, “I’m just gonna hang out on the back porch eating mayonnaise sandwiches and shoot possum”. That was Bob.
Painting of Bob done by a guy whose name escapes me right now, but hangs in my kitchen at home
Then “Grundy”, a German immigrant that was as brutally mean as mean can get! The “dish-pit” was her domain, and anyone that wanted to cross the invisible line into it was scolded in a barrage of mixed German-English-Swear words befitting her cantankerous bearing as the matriarch of a brood of six kids that all hung out front on the cobblestones where they searched dumspters for day old bread and bruised vegetables. All of they’re bounty was destined for Grundy’s nightly “market special dinners” down at their one room studio in an old Pioneer Square industrial building. Grundy was let go when she got caught handing her oldest son Henry a case of turkeys out the north pantry doors one afternoon, and then drew a knife on Big Terry the kitchen manager. That was way back. That was Grundy.
Grundy painting by MK Monroe
And the stories about the regular customers back then, and even now, are as colorful as the characters themselves. From Gladys the hermaphrodite to Big Dom the 400 pound one eyed jazz musician (who would holler “Bourbon & branch water” as he stuffed himself onto a stool, then laid his glass eye on a bar napkin and put on his patch). Come in some day and ask about them, and I’ll regale you with the real deal assortment of NO BS stories just from MY 16 years here. I wish I knew what came before me. Ask about the fat drunk in sweat pants stumbling past the 3 salesmen in business suits, or the two kids I 86’ed the first month I was here, back in the 90’s; THE NUMBER 1 best story EVER!
Each story is a part of the fabric that makes up our corner of the market, and as the market gentrifies so go the stories. Everyone says “you should write a book” but its far more fun just living it!
Cheers to you and yours~
Mark @ Lowell’s