“Where everyone knew your name”
We were returning from our annual vacation spot in Minnesota when we saw this delightful moving bar in Minneapolis. Bellying up to the bar had a whole new meaning with this unusual contraption. Sure beats the streetcars I used to travel on when I went to school in Chicago.
These barflies were not flying. They were peddling for all their worth to propel this vehicle down the street as they imbibed their favorite libations and conversed and laughed with their fellow boozers. Midst the cacophony of the street sounds, they appeared like an island of coziness—close enough to each other and certainly close enough to grab the bar tender to get his immediate attention to order another round. We could not see who was doing the steering, but they seemed to be getting it right and having a hilarious time doing it. I would have loved to have a ride on it and try it out.
When I saw this happy scene, I was reminded of when I was in college in Winona when we too had a favorite bar, The Blue Blazer, where everyone knew our name. It was a very congenial place—a place where our gang hung out most nights a week and the guys from St. Thomas did also.
Our gang happened to consist of returned veterans on the GI Bill (WWII folks) who didn’t have much money to spend . The gal that ran the place would be very kind to our guys. If they carried cases of beer up from the basement for her, she would give them beers in return. I was a cheap date in those days. Two 35cent Virginia Dare Light wines would put me in nirvana for the evening. (Never could get that back again later in life.)
Sometimes we would cross the Mississippi and go into Wisconsin to a bar called The Blackhawk. This was true particularly if we had underage gals with us. I was the only one over 21, so when they started asking for ID’s, the guys would all point to me to show mine and we were good to go.
A bar in a distant way propelled us into an earlier marriage than planned. When my husband, Bill, and I were courtin’-- he teaching 500 miles away from me-- our only place to go would be the town bar or the back seats of the local theatre or sitting in the car freezing or walking the streets. In those days, we did not have apartments, but only rented rooms and my landlady did not permit visitors! And Heaven forbid for me to go up to Bill’s hotel room. The whole town would know that in 5 minutes and teachers were to be models of moral decor . But this bar was really not your usual bar in that it sold ice cream and stuff to kids and parents as well. Bill would order a beer for him and a 7-up for me. I hate 7-up to this day, but I drank it and then the rest of the evening Bill would fill my glass with beer.
We had planned to be married in December, a Christmas wedding, but one especially cold night we changed our plans and decided to be married right away. We didn’t have a big wedding, but we did it in four week’s time. All of my siblings were sure that I was pregnant, but I didn’t have Jon until three years later!
In your past or present memory, do you have a bar that was your favorite hang-out if that was your scene at some time in your life?