What A Mug

By Anastasia Humphrey

What a Mug!, Failed Coffee Shop Startup Photo by Anastasia Humphrey (April 10, 2016)
What a Mug!, Failed Coffee Shop Startup Photo by Anastasia Humphrey (April 10, 2016)

Over the years of commuting to King’s College every day, I’ve noticed that Wilkes-Barre is an interesting place. It’s full of interesting people, and interesting things, such as this giant, old-looking, and run-down mug that is apparently for sale from an unknown seller and for an unnamed price. Yet, the seller of this giant mug apparently doesn’t want anyone to buy it, as its one door is boarded up with strong-looking pieces of lumber and a ‘No Trespassing’ sign is posted right next to the door. I’ll be honest here. The fact that I can’t take a look inside is really kind of a shame. I would have loved to talk to the seller of this giant mug, get a quick look inside, and maybe, just maybe, if it were cheap enough, I would have brought it. After all, I am looking for my own place, and it is close to campus.

Honestly, I want to say that I was surprised to hear that this giant mug was supposed to be a coffee shop called A Cup of Heaven. But, frankly, I’m not. I mean look at this thing! What else could this big thing be? According to 2015 Times Leader article, this mug started off as the dream of a woman named Amie O’Kane, who also owned another coffee shop in downtown Pittston called ‘City Perk Bistro & Coffee Shop.’ That closed back in 2009. The mug was originally supposed to have a drive-thru system for customers. I assume that means that customers would drive around the mug, take a look at a menu, order, and pay in one window. The coffee would be brewed inside by an employee or two while the customers drove to the next window. They would then pick up their orders at the second window, and then they would drive away.

The Big Little City, F.M. Kirby Center Photo by Anastasia Humphrey (April 10, 2016)
“The Big Little City, F.M. Kirby Center,” Photo by Anastasia Humphrey (April 10, 2016)

O’Kane was once confident and ecstatic about making sure her dream came true. She was even planning on marketing her own special brew. She enlisted the help of a mysterious partner who, it seems, wound up doing her more harm than good. According to Sarah Gyle, a resident of the area who is familiar with this mug’s story, O’Kane’s partner ran off with all of their money and left her broke. The construction of A Cup of Heaven needed to be shut down, and O’Kane, who was battling a central nervous system disorder, ended up fading away into obscurity. Very few people know her current location or even if she is still alive.

In Memoriam, Holy Saviour Church Photo by Anastasia Humphrey (April 10, 2016)
“In Memoriam, Holy Saviour Church,” Photo by Anastasia Humphrey (April 10, 2016)

After I gave the inside and outside of the mug a good clean up and moved all of my furniture in, it would make a mighty fine home for one. It’s certainly big enough for me and all of my stuff, and judging by the rough feel and look of its exterior and how its been standing for almost a decade, it must be able to handle intense weather pretty well. It looks like it must provide a lot of privacy too! That’s great because I love my privacy. I will admit, though, that I’m not the biggest fan of the fact that it’s right next to the street, as I am a person who also likes my quiet time. But then again, I guess for the first place that I’ll be living in by myself, I can’t set my standards too high. It does, at least, have a roof. This mug would also make a great place to live because of its history. Even though it’s sad, it still is pretty interesting. Plus, it’ll give me something to talk about with my guests, after I tell them the story of how and why I live in a big mug in Wilkes-Barre.

For now, the mug sits on Spring Street, deteriorating, waiting for the next person with a beverage-based dream to come along. Like I said, this mug’s story is sad. It’s like a giant testament to depressingly remind passersby that not all dreams come true. Ehh . . . you know what, I think I’ll keep looking. Maybe I can find a place with a happier backstory, a place that’s also not right next to a highly-travelled street. Definitely, without a doubt, I deserve a better roof over my head.

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