Posts Tagged ‘Ivywild School’

Wild at Ivywild

January 1, 2014

I had not yet been set loose upon the world on Jan. 1, 1954. That blessed event occurred nearly three months later, on March 27, in the hospital at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

As family legend has it, Mom’s obstetrician, upon learning I was to be named Patrick Declan O’Grady, proposed inducing labor to get me born on St. Patrick’s Day. Mom declined, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Out west in Colorado Springs, the Ivywild School was already open for business, and had been for years. In fact, it was one year older than my old man, who was born in 1917 in Bogalusa, La.

I didn’t attend Ivywild — by the time we got here in 1967, I was a ninth grader, and anyway, after a brief flirtation with a bomb-shelter-equipped home in the Skyway area we settled well outside downtown proper in what a newspaper colleague would later confirm was most emphatically not part of Colorado Springs, our suburban trilevel being well east of Hancock Avenue.

Ivywild gave up the ghost as a school in 2009, but was reborn recently thanks to local entrepreneurs Joe Coleman and Mike Bristol, who turned the picturesque old pile into the new home of Bristol Brewing, plus a number of other ventures: The Principal’s Office (booze and java); The Meat Locker (deli and charcuterie); Old School Bakery (breads and pastries); Hunt or Gather (seasonal foods from area farmers); Bicycle Experience (the second location of a neighborhood shop); and office space.

I hadn’t conducted an inspection tour since Ivywild’s resurrection, but last night Herself and I, along with a neighbor and the latest tenants of The House Back East®, dropped in to scope out a New Year’s Eve bash in the gym (think back-in-the-day sock hop, but with the booze actually sold on site, plus more and older wastrels).

It was pretty damned impressive, as you can see from the pix if you clicked the link above. The music was less so — the gym was a mighty small space, with either an indifferent sound system, poor mixing or a combination of the two, plus lots of chatter in the audience — but still, chapeau to all involved in making the Ivywild revival happen.

Ivywild is a welcome reminder that it’s not all Industrial Christianity and LiberTea here in Bibleburg. I plan on sentencing myself to a few rounds of detention there in 2014.

Weeds and grass roots

August 17, 2013
The front yard

The House Back East™ gets a front-yard makeover.

The rain has abated for the moment and the home-improvement projects have resumed with a vengeance.

The deluge reminded us of just how badly the garage roof leaks — it had become less of a garage and more of a free car wash — and so the roof got replaced yesterday.

The back yard

The back yard looked like a scene from “Platoon” before Herself and I spent an afternoon defoliating it by hand.

Also ongoing is landscaping at The House Back East™, which had developed a bumper crop of noxious weeds during our extended monsoon season. The front yard has gotten a colorful layer of mulch, and the much larger back yard is awaiting similar treatment.

You want a reminder of how feeble you have become in your dotage, spend an afternoon doing squats while pulling a metric shit-ton of weeds. The next morning, assess the plummeting property value of your crumbling temple of the soul. Comparables from the immediate vicinity probably won’t help much, if your wife is seven years younger than you, lifts weights and does yoga.

Speaking of things getting fixed up, a group of local investors has transformed the old Ivywild School, shuttered due to declining enrollment, into a mixed-use development that houses Bristol Brewing, Old School Bakery, the Meat Locker deli and any number of other worthwhile operations.

“This is a celebration that says, hey, if people work together, this is what can happen,” partner Mike Bristol told The Gazette. “We can do this again. Not me personally, but as a community. We can do other things like this.”

Yes, please. And thank you.