My heart fell and so did the space. To the basement. While it's not the same as putting Baby in the corner like in Dirty Dancing, it felt like it. I was deflated. I loved the two rooms on main floor at the Charles Lee Mansion. But, plans change. The developer and project manager determined it would be best to use that space for pop-up businesses and events.
The dark, ominous cement/stone encased area was now available because the business that was going to occupy it determined it was too small. I didn't want to go or be "there." At all. I whined to a couple friends and, like good friends do, they supported me in my disappointment.
A few days later, I returned for a visit. After all, the first time I saw the house and walked through the basement, I wasn't paying close attention because the bookstore wasn't going to down there. I remembered a few things. This was the space where the last owner, Rosemary DeGesero, kept her pet leopard. Yes, leopard. If you've lived in Saginaw for a while, you've probably heard about the "cat lady's house." The large feline named Chichu spent time inside a chain-link fenced area in the basement.
Prior to that, Rosemary's father, Dr. Michael Ryan, housed his medical practice in the basement. There are a couple cool remnants of his time seeing patients in the residence (curious? more to come).
And, after seeing the space again, it wasn't as dark as I thought. There were more windows than I remember and they were up high so there was room below for books. Plus, it had a separate entrance so the bookstore could have different hours than the standard 9 to 5 Monday through Friday businesses upstairs. But, would being in the basement be a hindrance to bringing in people? Would people come to the Lee Mansion and bookstore as a destination? Could this space be revived... into a place with an eclectic, funky bookstore vibe that I'm going for? These answers and more on the next episode of Soap, uh, The Road to Indie.