“Air Transport Command” restaurant….August 15, 1990
This is a memory that is almost too poignant for me to share.
It was 1990 and my husband of 32 years and I were on our way home to North Carolina from New York State. We found ourselves in New Castle, Delaware and happened upon this amazing restaurant, situated right across from the County Airport.
Dick wasn’t feeling very well. His diabetes was playing havoc with his body and we realized that he was in need of food so we decided to give this strange looking place a try. The restaurant was huge and situated quite far off the highway. As we drove in we passed a few WW II jeeps, two ambulances and a tank.
Then it hit us as we drew closer. This was a replica of a building on a WW II US Air Force airfield somewhere overseas. There were gaping holes in the side of the restaurant that could have been caused by artillery fire or bombs...and the strains of a Glenn Miller tune from the 1940’s completed the scene.
We couldn’t wait to get inside and, sure enough, it was the “real McKoy” there too…or as close as we imagined those days to be. The flying heroes and heroines of World War II were commemorated with old uniforms, pictures and equipment. There was even an exhibit about the WASPS (Women’s Air Service Pilots).
Even though Dick and I were too young to have served in the 2nd World War we were of the generation that could remember it well. The “Air Transport Command” restaurant took us back to those days. We could both conjure up images from our childhood, of black-outs and simulated air raids and streets filled with young men and women in uniform.
We soaked up every bit of the 1940‘s atmosphere. We ordered Prime Ribs and Yorkshire Pudding and ate slower than usual to make the evening last. Big Band music played continuously and then, just before we finished our coffee, it switched to a very soft version of “White Cliffs of Dover”. The entire room seemed to stop talking and I almost lost it. It was a powerful moment.
And why, you might ask, is this memory almost more than I can bear to re-live? It was to be the last time that Dick and I shared an evening out. I did manage to get him home the next day and he then took a turn for the worse. He died just 6 weeks to the day that we shared this memorable evening. He was 59.