Lost and found, a priceless piece of family life is returned
By MARY L. GRADY
Mercer Island Reporter Editor
August 29, 2012 · 1:34 PM
A Seattle building materials salvage company, Second Use, has reunited a loud, green, vinyl bar with bright brass rivets — touched by famous musicians such as Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones — with its original Mercer Island owner.
Second Use acquired the unusual piece at an ordinary salvage job on Mercer Island, after a contractor called the company to salvage materials from a house that was scheduled to be demolished. In addition to doors, lights and planters, Second Use picked up the green vinyl bar.
Coincidentally, Second Use employee Michael Greenwood knew he had seen it before. It originally belonged to a Mercer Island family: the Harveys.
Islander John Harvey had booked bands for places such as the Moore Theater. He was a promoter for events such as the Seattle Pop Festival.
The Harvey family, including grandmother Laura Harvey, lived on Faben Point. Laura Harvey’s house was just down the street from John Harvey, and bands sometimes stayed at her place during their Seattle visits.
But for Laura Harvey’s granddaughter, Michelle Harvey, the bar is about family. She remembers what took place around the bar, set up in her grandmother’s living room, as a defining element of their family life.
“When I was growing up, we spent all of our time around the bar,” she said. “We ate meals there, drank coffee there, stayed up all night there. It was the centerpiece of our lives.”
The TV was never on in that house, she added.
The family initially lost track of the bar when the house was sold after Laura Harvey died in 2009. The bar was part of the deal.
However, three years later, the new homeowners decided to part with the bar and called Second Use to retrieve it.
After Greenwood identified the piece, phone calls were made first to Paris and Chicago before the Harvey family was located. Daughter Michelle Harvey, who had just returned to live on Mercer Island, rushed over.
She was nearly brought to tears when she saw it once again.
“It was very emotional for me,” she explained.
“It is in perfect condition; no rips and tears,” she said. “My mother said, ‘We just cannot let go of it again.’”
Second Use dropped the price of the bar to put it in Michelle Harvey’s price range and sold it to her last week. It also has the five original stools that go with it.
“It’s extremely important to us that we close the circle and keep these kinds of pieces in the community,” said Second Use co-owner Patrick Burningham. “Stories like this are a big part of what makes our business special.”
Harvey has placed the piece in the living room of her Mercer Island home.
“We just need to get it plumbed in,” she said.
Second Use’s regular stock includes doors, windows, cabinets, appliances, light fixtures, tubs, sinks, toilets, hardware, flooring and stone.
Second Use will move in October from 7953 2nd Ave. S. in South Park to 3223 6th Ave. S.
For more information about the move, go to www.seconduse.com/newstore.
Contact Mercer Island Reporter Editor Mary L. Grady at email@example.com or (206) 232-1215 ext. 1050.