ANYONE FOR A “BLACK COW” ?
The year: 1950 The town: Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts The place: Bendslev’s Luncheonette The Waitress: Me
This was my Senior year in High School and I’d worked at this small restaurant on weekends and after school for three years. It was a “Mom & Pop” operation owned by Mr. & Mrs. Perkins, who were also my neighbors.
Although we had a soda fountain we had no counter seats so it was more like a tearoom in atmosphere except for the clientele. The food was very good and inexpensive so the town workers and students were our best customers. We had a large share of children too since the only movie theater in town was located in the same building.
(It was seldom that I saw a movie from start to finish during this time. If we were slow in the restaurant I’d go next door and watch until I was called back. I missed a lot of finales but it was a cheap way to go to the movies.)
The Perkins’ also made their own candy. They would often leave the “upstairs” (the restaurant) to my care and they’d retire to the basement where they had a “candy” room. This was an air-cooled, enclosed area with marble counters and molds and they would pour, box and label the candy down there. Everyone in the restaurant would know when they were making a new batch because the aromas seemed to seep up through the floor and we would all groan with anticipation.
The menu never varied and I remember the daily lunch special was a “triple sandwich plate”…3 half slices of bread with three salad toppings, Egg, Ham & Chicken, served with a pickle and fruit in season. Of course we had a wide variety of sandwiches besides this but the busiest section was the soda fountain.
Frappes, Floats, Milkshakes, Malteds and all the ice cream delicacies were dispensed daily but the favorite, by far, was the “Black Cow”. This was my favorite too and I prided myself on concocting the best “Cow” in town. To make sure that the foam wouldn’t overflow the glass I would put a small amount of vanilla ice cream in the glass first, then slowly pour in the Root Beer. I would then, gently, place a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. It would foam up and look great but it wouldn’t make a mess.
I loved that job and Mr. & Mrs. Perkins were very good to me. When I decided to transfer to Boston University for my last two years of college I lived at home and, once again, I worked for them. This was in 1953 and ‘54 and it was the perfect job for a college student. I ate well, made a fair salary and good tips and even kept up with the movies. But, best of all, I could have a “Black Cow” whenever I felt like it !