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    Posted February 16, 2013 by
    Vero Beach, Florida
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Your T-shirt tales

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    Bar T-Shirt - Souvenir Where Love Began


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     cynthiafalar shared a photo of her favorite t-shirt, which shows off the dive bar that she and her husband first met at in Rochester, Michigan, 22 years ago. She says this t-shirt, which she occassionally wears on the weekends, has bitter sweet memories. It reminds her of the first time she met her husband, but it was also given to her by her late brother-in-law. She says she and her husband have not gone back to Michigan for the past few years, but whenever they are in town they stop by the bar for a quick drink.

    'The place has changed a bit. It's never quite like you remember. But we always laugh and smile and tease each other about "our story" of meeting there,' she said. She says that she is constantly getting new t-shirts from events and races, but she normally gives them away. 'I really don't hold on to many of the "old" ones. This is the only shirt I have owned for 17 years,' she said.

    Do you have a favorite t-shirt? Share a photo of it and your t-shirt tale with iReport.
    - Jareen, CNN iReport producer

    Some might say I was looking for love in all the wrong places. I think I found it when I least expected it. I met my husband in a dive bar in Rochester Michigan. Years later, the Paint Creek Tavern, was renovated and referred to as a “yuppie bar.


    I must confess that the first time entered the Paint Creek Tavern; it was on a dare of a college girlfriend. Dressed in preppy clothing, we noted that we were the only women in the place, and it was apparent we were out of our element! My now husband was there after just completing a state champion road race. His excuse was that he was too tired to go buy beer. His apartment was just across the street.


    I have had this Paint Creek Tavern t-shirt for more than 17 years. I can’t part with it because it’s where our relationship of 22 years began. It was a gift, from my late brother-in-law, Bill. It’s bitter sweet because it is a souvenir from where my husband, Jim, and I first met. It is also a connection to fun times there with Bill and his wife Donna long ago.


    I don’t really wear it a lot. I just keep it in a special section of my closet where I keep a memory box. Some might say that I am a packrat. I like to think that I am sentimentalist.


    Every time I pull out that t-shirt it’s like opening a time capsule. In a flash I can year the old jute box playing Patsy Cline’s “You Belong to Me.” I can smell the old musty shag carpeting that covered the poles that held up the wooden roof and of cheeseburgers being prepared in a toaster oven for hungery patrons. I can also still visualize the sign that hug next to the front door that read, “No Motorcycles!” We always laughed because it looked like a biker bar. The crowd was always mixed with lively people from auto workers to business folks. Despite everyone’s apparent differences, everybody mixed in the harmony of cheap beer and the tranquility of the passing creek waters beneath the tavern.


    In addition to this t-shirt, my late brother-in law, Bill, also gave me a sweatshirt from the bar that has the owner’s signature on it. The man who owned the bar when we met was named Don. I once told Don that I thought he should have a wall that featured all the people that met and got married as a result of his establishment. He said that unfortunately he felt his bar was responsible for more break-ups than unions! All same he seemed to appreciate that I often thanked him for his business connecting me to Jim.


    So here I am pictured today in my Paint Creek Tavern t-shirt. I am holding our wedding picture. Next month we will celebrate 21 years of marriage. We will also pay tribute every February for meeting in the Paint Creek Tavern – where I unexpectedly found love.

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