Friday, April 24, 2020

Why I never tire of blogging ...

This morning I received a lovely email from a man who had just read my 2007 entry about the Air Transport Command Restaurant in Delaware. He wrote: “I was captivated by your story. I loved that restaurant as a kid, and would love to find more in the U.S.”

It was strange because ever since being sequestered due to the Covid Pandemic I have spent time reliving special memories and this particular one kept coming back to me. I've thought about re-posting it but it took the interest of a stranger to give me the push I needed. Here it is exactly as it was written 13 years ago.

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.


Blogger Marie Smith said...

Oh my. Tears here. What an incredible time you had, etched into your family history, mind and heart. Hugs!

2:06 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I got back to and finished your book last evening. I was moved to read more about Dick and the too-short life that you had together. Although I have read all sorts of posts about your life, I loved reading your story in a contiguous way. You did really well with your book about such an interesting life. What a treasure for your scions.

4:55 AM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

Wow, what a powerful post. That restaurant was an amazing discovery, almost Twilight Zone like. For it to be your last evening out together makes it so poignant yet beautiful.

5:56 AM  
Blogger Marcia said...

I had to come to see read your post after seeing your comment on Anvilcloud's. Do you know if that restaurant is still there? Maybe I should google search for it. A very touching story.

8:04 AM  
Blogger Marcia said...

It closed in 2006 and has since been bulldozed over.

8:09 AM  
Blogger Regina M. said...

so beautiful...thank you.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

This brought back memories, Ginnie, because like you and Dick we also came across it when we were in new Castle, DE, and would see it so many times as we traveled from NJ to VA before and after we relocated there. One day, just as you did, we stopped and had lunch there. It was the only time. I have also read that it has since been demolished and am unsure if anything was left there. We no longer travel that route to get from NH to NJ. Thank you for sharing such a poignant memory and for reminding me of one as well.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Goldendaze-Ginnie said...

From my friend Jan:
"Yes, what a story. I guess if we live long enough these places and moments in our lives hang in there with us. I call it traveling with ghosts. Sometimes we go places or just read about them or see pictures of them, and the ghosts of times past tap us on our shoulders. And we get that ache... and the tears come.
But we must be grateful we did have those years, those places..."

6:43 AM  
Blogger Ivy Green said...

I loved that restaurant too, and wish I'd gone there more than just the few times I did. Your touching memory pulled my heartstrings because of your personal story, and all the more because I remember it similarly, the decor, the music, the atmosphere. At the time, I lived and worked nearby, now I'm far removed in time and place, but it's still a favorite recollection. If the restaurant business comes back, this place's time has come again.

10:17 PM  
Blogger Joared said...

A very emotionally moving memory I’m sure. Also, I recall well White Cliffs of Dover which brings tears to my eyes still.

2:58 AM  

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