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Saturday, May 24, 2014

British and American Nostalgia

I just love the old/new past/present pictures. The two below are © Hugh Mcknight.

 Iron bridge lock (77) in Cassiobury Park. The cottage was demolished in the late 1920`s

Same view in 2014. Above and below this lock have been very peaceful moorings during the many hospital visits.

Not sure of the date above but the Metropolitan railway arrived in 1927 so at  least pre that date. Interesting thing about the railway is that it is about to be diverted into Watford town centre. When built the Met was intended to go into the town but objections halted it in it`s tracks and it has taken 80+ years to get there by a different route. The original building that the train company purchased still stands in the high street and is a pub. London Transport sold the site in 1936.
Same view in 2014, the Met railway bridge has recently been renovated.
We moored here for a few days when I had my last surgery. It was nice to be near fuel and water at the marina and the bridge I am taking the picture from has a bus service into town. As things turned out our stay was short and we moved up into the park with just trees for company.

 Ed`s easy diner in Watford was a draw for Jaq as they sold genuine A&W Root beer.
I decided on the coffee with it`s free endless refills.
With 1950`s and sixties rock n roll playing Jaq drifted back to her childhood in Alaska and the Bun Drive-In.

The Bun Drive In, Anchorage, Alaska
 When I was a very little girl my sisters, who were ten and fourteen years older, used to babysit me while our mom worked nights cleaning planes at the airport. When it was my sister Susan's turn to watch me, she would take me out with her to some of the hot teenage night spots. The Bun Drive in on Northern Lights Blvd. was a classic 1950's American Drive in Restaurant. One could pull up and park and a car hop (waitress) would come out and take your order and then deliver it to the car when it was ready. The tray hung on the window.

Susan and I always went inside and I sat at the circular bar to eat a hamburger, fries, and a milk shake. While I was busy eating my dinner and chatting with the waitress, Susan was up on the roof of the building where DJ Ron Moore was spinning 45 records of the latest rock 'n' roll. In the summer he would let a few girls dance on the roof and my sister was one of them. She was slim, five foot five inches tall, with long blond hair worn in a flip, and she had great legs.

I remember watching my sister do the Mashed Potatoes, the Twist, the Frug, The Shimmy, the Pony, the Cross Fire--all the latest dance moves. Jimmy Gilmer's Sugar Shack was one of Susan's favorite songs, along with Manfred Mann's, Doo Wah Diddy but her personal themes song was "Wake up Little Suzie" by the Everley Brothers. My favorite song at the tender age of five or six was Navy Blue sung by Diane Renay. I was fortunate to listen to some of the best music ever, broadcast live above my head on the Coke Show. The Bun Drive in was THE happening place to hang out if you were a teenager in Anchorage in the 1960's. If you were a lucky little sister sometimes you got to tag along.

It was a real treat to sit on the pink leather stools that spun around, surrounded by the circular Formica counter. The fry chefs wore little paper hats and long white aprons and your meal arrived in a red plastic basket. The car hops wore red pants and white shirts with red lipstick with their hair in a pony tail.

The burgers were all beef patties on large sesame seed buns. Crisp lettuce, slices of raw onion, and slivers of dill pickle nestled to the side of your burger. The bright yellow cheese square melted over the the top of the beef patty and the fries were freshly cut and deep fried to a golden crispness. The soda came in glasses with ice and two straws. The milk shake was made with local hard packed ice cream and real chocolate.

Ed's Easy Diner brought all this back quite poignantly. It is a true to life rendition of the classic American Burger Joint--from the decor, to the fry cooks with their paper hats; from the endless cups of coffee to the Juke boxes with classic rock 'n' roll playing. Then of course there's the food!

Everything on the menu at Ed's is authentic American--no "near guesses" or strange British approximations. The hot dogs are REAL hot dogs--100% meat, no rusk, wheat stabilizers, or bread of any kind except the buns themselves. And they have authentic A&W Root Beer!!!

Which takes me back to the few times a year our mom would take us across town to the A&W Drive In. We would park out front and the car hop took our order and brought it out to the car. Consequently I have no memory at all of the interior of the building. We sat in our car because the original Anchorage A&W had of all things a live Lion in a cage!
Looking back now I feel terrible for its incarceration as a thing of curiosity in a northern climate totally unsuited to its species. Back then though, it was an amazing site to see while drinking a frothy A&W Root Beer float.

The food at Ed's Easy Diner is not cheap but it is well worth visiting as an occasional treat. And I promise--you haven't lived until you have had an A&W Root Beer float!


Tom and Jan said...

OMG Jaq...... You are so YOUNG!


Unknown said...

Oh Jaq, you make me feel ancient. Definition of getting old is to still being able to identify each and every motor vehicle from the 1950's and upwards for thirty years
after wards just by looking at apicture of same and also the model as well, such as the 55 Chevy coupe in the photo. A&W
Allen and Wright (root beer and fast food restaurants)
drive-ins were popular here in Southern Ontario for a period c/w those trays sitting on a side windows. Whistle Dogs, A&W root beer floats, and the Mama & Papa Burgers, Baby burgers and the Teen burger. Then it all disappeared.
These days A&W is returning with
take away (the UK term) driving to the speaker, ordering and collecting at the window.

Now wonder if somebody could set up similar for narrow boats on a canal near you?

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

LOL Why thank you Tom!!
:) JaqX

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Bryce,
Ed's Easy Diner charges £3.65 for a frothy glass of A & W Root Beer. Why root Beer is not popular over here is any one's guess. I suspect it it all that Shandy, and hard apple cider and 3.050 different types of porter, ale and bier over here. Coke is the number one soda pop apparently. Pepsi is hard to fond in restaurants and most folks seem to think Coke nd Pepsi are interchangeable. BTW, even Lemonade over here is soda pop!!

Jacquie said...

Loved your memories of your dancing days Jaq, and I love them diner's and juke boxes in America, and all the nostalgia. You can still boogie on the boat remember, you push back them chairs girl and Go. Hugs Jacquie

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Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hey Girlfriend,
You did manage to post six times! We deleted the copies and will be moving the chairs out of the way this evening!
We love you gobs and bunches,
Jaq and LesXX

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs