Saturday, June 14, 2008
Cedar Vale Cafe Musings
The focus of these musings will be the Cedar Vale Cafe along with the surrounding business houses as anchors. The CV Cafe was run by various folks at different times and was located (as I remember for reference) northeast of the Skelly Station and the Ziegler Barbershop. Possibly other businesses were in this block but on the other side of the cafe was the Williams Chevrolet Agency owned by Kale Williams. Around the corner from the service station was a cream/egg station. The Utts ran this business at one time but I'm not sure when their realm began.
Grant Utt has been positively mentioned several times by various bloggers. Grant was a good man who was looked upon by the "younger" generation as a super home-run hitter for the local baseball team.
During the late 40's and early 50's the service station was run by Pete Napier. Pete and Gladys Napier were nice folks with two young daughters named Polly and Sally. Polly married Kenny Smith and Sally dated my cousin Mike for awhile in high school. A bit of fiction or fact from my almanac would be that the Napiers at one time owned a St. Bernard. I remember asking Pete to donate to the "Cedar Log" while I was in high school and he (without question) obliged. Later, Pete managed the Cedar Vale Cooperative Oil Company. At that time a few of us had initiated the Cedar Vale Civic Club. We had various projects including painting at Hewins Park, a bit of landscaping at the "new" gym, and starting a men's traveling softball team. Pete donated sharp uniforms for the team.
The barbershop's owner had a son in my class. Keith Ziegler was a rather troubled lad that most likely had unfulfilled promise. Rumor had it that his dad was rough on Keith and some might feel that this was a root of Keith's problems. Keith was bullied a bit at school and in retrospect I have always felt badly that I didn't step up and befriend Keith during this time. Keith did not have a real compelling personality and I am hopeful that later in life he was able to find some positivity. Later, Twid Martin ran the barbershop and was a good and fun Cedar Vale citizen.
William's Chevrolet was one of the focal points of the town and was expertly run by Mr. Williams. Our blogger Dick Williams, his parents, and siblings were a remarkable family. Dick and others have posted about them and there is a photo of the family available to bloggers.
Don Shaffer, Jeanette Rice, Pat Williams, and I were driving around one time and our destination placed us at the site of a large puddle. Thinking that I would be gallant, I picked Pat up so that she would not have to walk through the water and mud. Slipping .. oops, I dropped her. Another time, Don Shaffer was teaching me to drive his dad's "Fleetline". The first lesson was to back out of the Shaffer garage. Don failed to tell me about the clutch and the vehicle lurched and damaged the door a bit. We were scared of what might happen and after a brief session with Mr. Beggs we immediately took it to the Williams Garage for hopefully some immediate repair. This wasn't possible so we had to face the music of the likely ire of our dads. Neither Clyde or Jesse were too upset and in fact took us to Winfield that evening to a baseball game.
On the second floor of the Chevrolet Agency was the office of the Drs. Stone and Stone. The old man Dr. Stone was a real character and the younger dentist Stone had a fine trio of daughters. (Especially enamoring to me was Janice who had perhaps the best personality in school. Judy and JoAnn were also personable and great gals.) Herb Stone worked on my teeth quite a lot as my parents did not concentrate much on such matters when I was younger. I remember the pain of some serious work that he did for me while I was in high school sans the benefit of a numbing injection. He was a good dentist in my opinion and had not the common wart of some folks in the medical/dental profession of money first and service later.
The Cedar Vale Cafe of the era of which I have referred was run by Merl Sartin. Merl also had a business of buying and selling furs. Merl (I believe) had earlier been the victim of polio and had not the benefit of full muscular activity. Merl was said to have a drinking malady that was quite prevalent at that time in the Cedar Vale area. Merl was a personable and engaging fellow and I liked him. He was married to Melva whose parents ran a grocery store in Longton. Their children were Janice and Ronnie. It is believed that Ronnie still lives around Cedar Vale. Janice and her husband lives in Branson, Missouri. Janice was an attractive and funny girl and it is remembered that in the eighth grade I walked to her house one night for a movie date. (After our eighth grade graduation I took Norma Champlin to the movies and possibly some ice cream afterwards prior to her parents taking her home. These were the only dates that I remember without benefit of some form of more traditional transportation.) After moving to Dexter, I would often drive dad's car to Cedar Vale to the Oltjen house. I would visit Pat and usually some of her friends during the afternoon and then have my meal at the Cedar Vale Cafe prior to taking Miss Oltjen to Winfield or Ark City to the movies. Almost always I would enjoy a delicious hamburger steak, french fries, and a small salad with french dressing ... along with a Coca Cola. Now that was living!
Actually, for me it was wonderful living in Cedar Vale (and Dexter) in the late 40's and early 50's!