Sepia Saturday – A lunch counter memory

California Historical Society : Sepia Saturday Theme Image 418

Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs.

The Sepia Saturday theme image this week features an illustration of the longest lunch counter in the world, which was in the F W Woolworth store in Los Angeles.

The image brings back a memory from my childhood which I wish was as vivid as this illustration, but instead is a bit vague. I was not blessed with the best memory.

Dancing with my baby sister Dec. 1963

The little snippet of my life that this brings to mind occurred in Great Bend, Kansas. I’m placing it in the fall of 1963 or spring of 1964. I would have been 11 years old.

I went shopping without a parent – or anyone, as I recall it. My mission to was purchase a 45 rpm record and I was excited about going without supervision.

I successfully completed my transaction and decided to feel my independent oats and treat myself to something at the lunch counter in the dime store. Maybe it was a Woolworths. I don’t remember.

When I sat down I noticed a little shelf under the counter where you could put your belongings, so I stashed my purchase there. I proceeded to get lost in ice cream or thoughts or sights or sounds, finished whatever I was eating, and left…

…without the bag containing the first-time-I-ever-went-shopping-by-myself-record!

When I realized what I had done, I hurried back to the store and searched the shelf under the lunch counter, but the flat paper bag containing my newly purchased favorite hit song was not there. Angry at myself, sad, and dejected, I walked home empty-handed.

I don’t remember what record I lost that day. I think it was something by the Beach Boys.

I do know what I bought the next time I went shopping as a wiser-from-experience-girl: Sugar Shack, recorded by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs. Sugar Shack was in the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 list for 10 weeks in 1963, beginning the week of October 5th, and hit the #1 spot on October 12th.

This makes me wonder if I was shopping with birthday money, as my birthday is in October. I’m pretty sure I went back to the lunch counter after making my purchase – just to prove that I had learned my lesson.

I liked to imagine that little coffee shop made out of wood and its mighty good expresso coffee. It all sounded hip and romantic. I can still sing along without missing a word.

Sugar Shack earned a gold record and Billboard ranked it as the No. 1 song for 1963. Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs recorded it at the Norman Petty Studio in Clovis, New Mexico. I’m not much of a music historian, so why does this matter to me? Well, our family’s third residence after leaving Great Bend was in … Clovis, NM. I had just graduated from high school two weeks before our move to Clovis, so I only spent a couple of summers there before and during college. I didn’t learn about Clovis’s musical fame. I never heard of Norman Petty or his studio. Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, and many others recorded at the same studio. Norman Petty was kind of a big deal, I’ve now learned.

That unique organ riff in Sugar Shack was played on a 1940s Hammond Solovox organ – added by Norman Petty after the recording session had ended and Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs had left the studio.

In addition to adding that extra special something that could push your rock and roll recording to the top of the charts, the Solovox organ could bring your family back to your long neglected piano.

Or perk up your party!

Hammond Solovox 1948 Ad

I wish I’d known about Norman Petty and his connection to Sugar Shack when I lived in Clovis. I would surely have paid the studio a visit. At least I can take a tour of the studio and the Rock & Roll Museum in Clovis via the internet and get a glimpse of the Solovox too.

An image of Norman Petty (seated at a counter) and an audio interview of him.

Have a seat at the lunch counter and see what others have served up today at Sepia Saturday.

Family Recipe Friday – Ice Box English Tea Muffins

Continuing with recipes my mom submitted to the Friendship Circle Cookbook in 1973….

I didn’t remember that this recipe was included in the cookbook and was surprised to see it. I’ll take credit for its inclusion, though.

One summer when I went for my yearly visit to Iowa, my Grandma Hoskins (Eveline Coates Hoskins) made these muffins for me. I really liked them, so I asked her for the recipe and took it home to Mom.

So you see, I am allowed to take credit.


Ice Box English Tea Muffins

1/2 cup butter or oleo
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins
1 cup milk

Cream shortening and the sugar. Beat in the egg, mixing thoroughly. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add alternately with the milk. Stir in the raisins. Fill greased pans 2/3 full. Sprinkle with brown sugar and chopped nut meats. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Yield 12-16 muffins. Batter may be kept in a covered bowl in refrigerator for several days.

I suspect that Grandma got this recipe from the newspaper or a friend. I don’t really remember my grandmother making muffins when I was little. And as I think about it, this was the late 60s – people baked muffins of course, but it was before super-sized muffins of every conceivable flavor were so readily available. Maybe that’s why I was impressed by them. That – and because she seemed so pleased with her new recipe.


Family Recipe Friday – Sweet and Sour Meatloaf

I’ve been thinking about this little cookbook.

The ladies of the Friendship Circle of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Clovis, N. M. put it together in 1973.  We moved to Clovis two weeks after I graduated from high school in 1971.

Mom contributed several of her “go to” recipes for the cookbook. I’ll be posting those recipes here for the next few weeks.

Usually I try to prepare the recipe I’m posting and take a picture or two, but today I can be lazy because I have some pictures I took back in 1999 when I thought about making a family cookbook.

I could get in serious trouble for including this picture of my daughter making meatloaf back in ’99, but since my kids never read my blog, maybe I’m safe.

Shhh! Don’t tell!

When mom served her meatloaf, the menu almost always included mashed potatoes and green peas, so that’s how I always serve it too.

Not long after my husband and I married, one of his high school buddies came for dinner. After dinner he told me that he really wasn’t a fan of meatloaf, but that this was good.

I think he meant it…. I should ask him.


If you make the recipe, be aware that the tomato sauce is mixed in a small bowl, then you go and get another bowl to crack that egg into. Also, I started putting about half the sauce into the meatloaf and the rest on top.