Sunday, December 27, 2009

Guest Post: TKW's Dad



Happy Holidays, Readers! I hope you are all cuddled up with your gifts and your Valium Salt Licks? As a special holiday treat, I have my very own Daddy-O guest posting today. He spins a good yarn, so make yourself a hot toddy, sit down and enjoy!

TKW's Dad on: How I Got Served Alcohol while Underage and Resembling Wally Cleaver

I entered college in 1952. At that time, most colleges had hard and fast rules against drinking on campus. Still, I think it was the best time in history to attend college--the G.I. Bill had been enacted and many colleges/universities had Upperclassmen who had served in World War 2 and Korea. Because it was rather difficult for these educational institutions to inform returning servicemen in their early to mid-20's--just back from the toil and trauma of war--that they couldn't have a beer. What kind of asshole does that?

So here I was, 17 years of age, sharing space in Freshman housing with all of these older guys--guys who, by the way, definitely knew what T.G.I.F. meant. Now when I say I was 17, understand that I looked younger than that: 6 feet tall, 135 pounds soaking wet. You get the idea. Luckily, a 26 year old ex-Marine took a liking to me, and gave me his spare Military I.D.

Friday afternoons, everybody looking for a party went to a bar in town called The Bob-Inn. The town was dry except for pitchers of beer that flowed from a couple of establishments. Naturally, I was pretty excited to break in my "new" I.D. the next Friday.

Well, lets just say that the owner of The Bob-Inn didn't exactly buy that I was a 26 year old ex-Marine. He looked at the I.D., looked at me, grabbed my wallet and riffled through it...and kicked me to the curb. This wasn't the end of the world for two reasons: One, he hadn't confiscated my new I.D. And two, they served Schlitz on tap and I didn't like that crap beer anyways. It gave me a headache.

So, while the rest of the student body was at The Bob-Inn, I started down the street, hoping to find something to entertain me. About a block away was a place called The Green Lantern. I walked inside and it was almost empty, except for a gentleman behind the bar with a bald head with sides of white hair. I walked up to the bar as casually as I could, sat down, and ordered a beer (which to my delight was Budweiser on tap!). He looked at me for a couple of beats--eyeball to eyeball--and then smiled and poured me a beer. We visited on and off for about three hours, and several glasses later, I left, a happy man.

The next day, everyone asked me what had happened to me, and I told them I'd found a much better place to drink on Fridays. The next week, quite a few of my friends joined me at The Lantern, and the next Friday, even more joined me. Before long, hardly anybody went to The Bob-Inn anymore. The Lantern also had the benefit of Peg, the wife of Jack, the bald owner. Peg started coming in, once the crowds started flowing, and she made the best homemade soup and hamburgers you could imagine.

Now I gotta tell ya, this added benefit was awesome, since we had a dietician at the college named "Ma" Kuhns, who we swear had gotten such a good deal on orange marmalade that she blew the whole yearly budget on the stuff. She made the worst, skimpiest food and to this day, I cannot look at orange marmalade.

On October 23, 1956, I was spending the evening at The Lantern, and when the clock struck midnight, I looked at Jack and said, "Well, it's my birthday!" Jack smiled at me and said, "And now you're finally old enough to drink."

Somewhat taken aback, I laughed and said, "You've been serving me these past four years without a single question?"

Jack said, "I served you because you came in, were a polite little man and never caused a single problem."

I appreciated that; Jack was a very strapping, big man--nobody messed with Jack. It was sometime later that I learned that Jack was a retired lieutenant from the police force.

It was a great time to attend college. Helluva lot easier back then. Nicer, too. If we behaved, they let us grow up and have fun.

Obviously, my two daughters found something hilarious about this story, because one year I had a convention in Chicago and they insisted that they come, too. Just to see where "Dad went to school." We went up to the campus one November day, froze our butts off, and made a pilgrimage to The Lantern for lunch--just for old times.

Alas, Jack and Peg were gone, but the pub was doing just fine. That Christmas, my girls gave me a mug with this picture on it. It was in my office until I retired and now sits beside my computer at home.



***A message from TKW: you are fully allowed, if not expected, to laugh at the big, horrendous bar-hair that sis and I are sporting in that photo.

30 comments:

  1. Great story!
    Love the photos of you with your dad. I can tell you really, really love him!
    And the bad hair? Well, we just laugh around here when we look at the old albums.

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  2. Love the hair, gave me a flashback. Ok I have been looking. Where in Chicago is the bar? or is it in the Burbs? I would love to see TKW's Dad's old haunt.

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  3. Hi TKW's Dad! What a marvelous story. I can see where TKW's gift of writing comes from. My grandfather was one of the returning servicemen in college during that time. He has many great stories about the experience and it did sound like the best time to be in college!

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  4. ...and now we know where TKW gets it!! What a fabulous story...funny and touching (and guess what, TKW...yup, tears)!! And oh yeah...love the bar hair ;)

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  5. Well now I know where you learned how to spin a yarn.

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  6. Bryan,

    Dad went to Lake Forest College. The tiny town surrounding the college is where you'll find The Lantern!

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  7. Delightful post. The 50s and early 60s seem like a whole other planet, don't they...

    No valium salt licks here. Damn. I knew I forgot something on my Xmas list. I did get a Top Chef cookbook... was that a hint, ya think?

    Hope you continue to enjoy your holidays!

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  8. Awesome post I see where your writing skills come from.

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  9. What a great story - thank you for sharing, it put a big smile on my face tonight.
    (and your dad, and my father in law should have a story telling contest, they'd give each other a run for their money!)

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  10. I'm guessing holidays around the Witch's Kitch are quiet and meek, judging now from the musings of these two timid storytellers.
    Merry, Happy, and Jolly to you both!

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  11. What a great story, I'll pop in when I head back to Chicago. I kinda wish I could go back to the good old days.....minus the hair!
    Nice one- thanks for sharing

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  12. The regretful 80's hair is more than made up for by the wonderful story.

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  13. What a great story! And I love that picture. Hopefully someday I can go to my old haunts with my girls, how fun would that be.

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  14. TK- Thought something was amiss when I read that Dad was guest posting. Glad to know it's not. Enjoyed the post. Happy Holidays!

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  15. I bet those are stirrups you are sportin' there. And with a turtleneck! By chance, you got a b.u.m. shirt under the bomber?

    For some unknown reason, I'm singing "Only In My Dreams" by Debbie Gibson.
    jc

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  16. I loved reading your dad's story! It does sound like times were a lot nicer back then and what a great hang out. How fun that you got to go and visit the place and that it's still there!

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  17. I TOTALLY get it. Like father, like daughter!

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  18. Aw! I like this story...and to be honest I quite like the hairstyles too! :) xxx

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  19. A+++++++++++ Way to go, TKW's Dad!

    (And Witch, that is one bitchin' pic. You are adorable, as always.)

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  20. What a great story! And complete with embarassing pictures of your daughters. You done good, TKW's Dad!

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  21. jc:

    No, Goddammit, I am NOT wearing stirrup pants! I am wearing very chic leggings...tucked into my socks.

    No B.U.M. shirt under the t-neck...just a nice little bulky Esprit sweater...running into the corner in horror and shame...

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  22. I'm adopting your father whether he likes it or not!

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  23. Loved this story. I'm guessing I'd love hanging out with your dad as much as I'd love hanging out with you!

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  24. Great story! And scary hair!!

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  25. Hey Witchy do you have any Valium left on your lick????

    I adore this story, and adore you in your skinny pants and 80's hair. Your sister jacket did give me a bit of a belly laugh! AWE-some. Totally.

    lets go have a bud soon. xox

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  26. Oh no, not horror and shame! I got my jambox, we can jump on the bed like banshees then trade clothes and braid each other's hair into knots. Awesome! Ask your dad if you can sleep over, we can get pizza and movies. :) jc

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  27. jc: I'll come over only if I get the big hairbrush when we belt out "Our Lips are Sealed."

    BloginSong: let's do that. Also, you up for a Chinese New Year dinner at Chez T.? It's the Year of the Tiger!!! RRRROOOOAAARRR!

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  28. YOU BET! I am up for Chinese New Year Tiger Roaring Evening with YOU! Pay no mind to what they say....it doesn't matter anyway hey hey hey!

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  29. Love the get up in the picture! We could have totally been BFFs. I had the same hair and leather bomber jack and Esprit wear. God, what were we thinking? So cute that your dad posted today. I love that. Great story.

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