New Feature: Friday's Favs

(Note: every Friday I'll post a favorite rant from the archives)

from May 27, 2009

Near Total Recall

I'll pick you up at the Stroh's plant after work, then we'll ride on our Uniroyal tires to Cunningham's Drugs for a milkshake. Better yet, a Vernor's float.

Speaking of beverages, I'm running low on Towne Club pop, so can we stop at the distribution outlet? I have my case of empty bottles in the trunk.

Then it'll be off to Great Scott! for a few groceries.

If you're good, I'll treat you to dinner downtown at the Rattlesnake Club.

After a day at Bob-Lo, of course.

Who says you can't go home anymore?

You can do it in your mind. All the time. Whenever suits your fancy.

I've pedaled my bike to Cunningham's, but for the baseball cards in the dispensing machine near the registers. Then I've traded them right out front, amidst the passers-by, with my friends.

Meet me at the Kern Clock. And while we're nearby, you can do some Father's Day shopping for me at Hudson's.

Lord help us if we ever lose the ability to have memories.

It's what can get you through, especially in these tough-as-nails times.

Readers of this blog know that I prefer yesterday to today. But that doesn't mean that I'm not willing to find out about tomorrow, and what it has to offer.

But today is tomorrow's yesterday, and something tells me that those memories might not be so hot.

How can it be, when there's no Hughes, Hatcher and Suffrin to outfit me and my men's clothing needs?

I'd discuss it with you over lunch at Red Barn, but I can't.

Maybe we'd catch a movie at the Quo Vadis theater and sit right in front, with the seats inches, it seemed, from the screen. But no can do.

There's a McDonald's where the Algiers drive-in used to be in Westland.

The horror!

I actually worked at a Cunningham's, in Ann Arbor while going to college at EMU. But it was long after they yanked the soda jerks from it.

I remember parking my car at Tigers games on Abbott Street, and the old Cunningham's warehouse on Rosa Parks Boulevard wasn't far away.

Speaking of Tiger Stadium, do they still let you drink on the roof at Hoot Robinson's? Is Hoot's even open anymore?

Can't have a burger at the Lindell AC anymore. Which means I can't admire Wayne Walker's jock strap, framed, on the wall near the ceiling.

I accumulated most of my 45 rpm records at the K-Mart. They had them hanging behind the clerk, in the order of their Billboard ranking for that week.

Oh, and don't forget to pick up some of those yellow discs with the holes in the middle, so you can play the darn things on your parents' fancy-shmancy stereo turntable.

Memories I keep alive, because, well, someone has to.

The Quo Vadis; some of the seats were so close to the screen you could touch it

There was nothing more exciting than when the Mr. Softy truck rolled by.

Soft-serve ice cream, from a truck.

You heard me.

The Mr. Softy man would park the truck, adorned with a gigantic 3-D replica of a soft-serve cone on its roof, and move to the center of the vehicle. For that's where the window was.

He wore white, and maybe even a hat.

The best hamburger in the world was at a place called Lum's, on Plymouth Road in Livonia. It was the Ollie Burger--spicy and zesty and yes, I can taste it right now.

We'd play Putt-Putt on Middlebelt, ride our bikes there, and if you were lucky you could win a free game if your ball's color lit up on the outside of the caddyshack--and you were fast enough to bring it there before the color changed.

There's a Meijer's where DRC race track once sat.

More horrors!

Of course, you can still grab some Chinese take-out at Ten Yen, so there's that, at least.

Or ribs at Alexander's, which were simply the best of all-time.

Do kids today even know how to ride a bike?

Sometimes we'd set out, in the morning in the summertime, and cruise the local ball fields looking for a game--our mitts hanging on the handlebars. And someone carried a bat.

We'd be gone all day, and no one worried. Just be home before dark; that was the only caveat from mom.

It's important to remember.

Once I bet my friend Jim Krebs that he couldn't par the par five at Whispering Willows golf course. Gave him all summer to do it. Told him I'd buy him dinner at the Fonte D'Amore restaurant on Plymouth Road.

We were in high school still, and Jim was a good golfer. But not par five good. And that was a nearly 500-yard hole.

On the last day before the bet ran out, darned if Jimmy didn't hole out in the required five strokes.

Yes, I paid him.

By the way, I wondered if old Fonte D'Amore was still open.

Did a Google and called the number.


That's why you should never forget, if you can help it.

Lord help you if you can't.


  1. Greg, my best friend and I (you, he, and I were all born within 6 months of each other) play this game (your column above) every time we get out together. We grew up in Dearborn, but the DRC, Quo Vadis, etc. in that neighborhood still bring back memories.

    However, there is one place you mentioned that struck a chord - and I still drive by it every day on my way to work. Somwhere, I still have a plastic bag hand-puppet from the Red Barn.

    I think all three of us need to go out one night and have a couple of beers while we play putt-putt on Middlebelt.


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