Obviously, this photograph is new - when my grandma worked there, first in the shop and then as the owner of the pub ("korchma"), the building was simple white and the signs were both in Slovakian and Ukrainian. I must have an old photograph somewhere...
The house to the right has been there for ages, and so have the tall trees on the left. but the green hedge is new. It hides wooden tables with patrons from prying eyes, I guess. When I was little, there was nothing there - just an open space to run around and jump over a small, muddy stream running on the side. I still do it sometimes in my dreams.
I remember drinking a lot of Coca Cola from the sleek, glass bottles, and the truck that used to come regularly to collect the empty bottles and bring full ones. They would unload the plastic crates with clinking treasures at the back door. It was the entrance for the privileged :-) - we felt privileged because it was our grandma working there and only we could enter and exit that way. I can still see her locking the door at night with so much care, twice, and then trying the handle, twice, to make sure it was locked.
The storage had a special charm. I always found some old ledgers and documents on the shelves. I used some of them to write my stories and books. I wonder where they are now... And there was also a backroom with two chairs and a table and some cabinets where my grandma and us used to talk and eat when the patrons didn't need her. It must have been a rather stressful job, if you think about it, but my sweet, sweet grandma had never gotten cross with us.
We used to hang out around the pub all the time. We helped with washing the glasses and wiping the tables when it was time to close. We would bring out cold bottles, make sure the fridge was full and restock the shelves with cigarettes and yummies. The expensive chocolate bars and "bonboniery" were on the top shelves, naturally. But our grandma never let us do anything too dirty. I wanted to help her with the difficult stuff, like sweeping and cleaning the floors and even the toilets, but she NEVER EVER let me.
I remember every smell, every touch, every inch of the pub. I remember this ancient deck of cards that the old men used to play every day, all day, all night. They were darkened by the cigarette smoke, heavy and greasy from being used so much. You could barely shuffle them anymore! There was an old chess set, too, and a TV up there in the left corner that was buzzing and adding light to the dimmed atmosphere inside.
I wished it had never gone away.