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At Mayfield’s

Bill Jordan“A Place that people need — the small personal touch.” –Bill Jordan

It was just after nine on a Sunday night. Eudemon’s eyes were drawn to the red-orange neon sign that had just flashed on in the window on the other side of Pierce Street. It said Mayfield’s. Just above the window was a painted sign proclaiming that this was a House of Peace and Love. The building was an old Schlitz Tide House that was slightly out of position for a corner bar, a few numbers down the block from the corner. Bright colors had been painted on the wall where the Schiltz sign would have been. The door was open. Eudemon went in to find a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The proprietor, Bill Jordan, greeted Eudemon as Sarah the barkeeper, who dresses with a theatrical flair, served them a drink. Bill and Sarah talked about Mayfield’s while the sounds of Jazz floated around them. Sarah noted that Bill prefers the term sepia music, rather than Jazz, to describe the sounds that complement the low-lit atmosphere of the bar. Bill grew up in Milwaukee and thinks our city is “the crown jewel in the heart of the country.” Bill talked a bit about his life. He fell into a musical career when he was a teenager. He learned the trumpet and at 16 toured the country with the Joe Turner orchestra for two years. He returned to Milwaukee to take odd jobs with the city. Music is part of his life. He bought this building in 1983. He opened up the bar in 1995 when he was 67. Bill said, “Some people get wild ideas. I wanted something good for the neighborhood. I wanted to give back to the city that had given me so much. I wanted a people place- a place to come sing, talk, play music. Something out of the ordinary.” Sarah said musicians sometimes stop by and give an impromptu performance or join Bill on the small stage at the end of the bar. Bill Mason, guitarist, Tim Cook of the Riverwesteners, and singer Sarah Kozar have all been seen performing at the bar. Bill went up to the stage and sang along. Eudemon asked Bill what happiness was to him when he returned from the stage. “Happiness is Mayfield’s. I know it makes me happy and I don’t please too easy.” Eudemon asked Bill if everyone was welcome at Mayfield’s. “If you have those standards. We got peace. We can swing,” said Bill. “People have been so delightful and receptive.” Bill moved down the bar to greet some patrons. Eudemon asked Sarah how she liked her job. ” I love my job. I get to hang out with Mr. Bill Jordan all the time.” She gave Eudemon a card. It said: MAYFIELD’S, Home of happy feet, Finest in Sepia Music, 3315 N. Piece Street, 9 pm to 2:30 am Friday and Saturday, 9pm to 2am Sundays. Eudemon came back the next week with his friends. Riverwest Currents – Volume 1 – Issue 2 – March 2002