Thanks, everyone. Yesterday's blog received dozens of comments and responses, a new record for THE BLUE MOON GRILLE. The comments were replete with wisdom that would have made Stan, the innkeeper in the play SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE BLUE MOON GRILLE, proud. Usually Kim Schmitte Matthias responds from the greatest distance, Southern California, but this time Nancy Wright Donovan weighed in from Australia. The responses went in three directions. People wanted to nominate "wonders," particularly from the past, and then they wanted to reminisce about these wonders and, finally they wanted to discuss how much had changed. Steve Feher hasn't been to Chittenango since 1998. He wrote, "Scary to think of all the places that have changed/gone out of business/missing/etc. Sounds like I wouldn't recognize the place today."
The first cooperative "wonders" list involves Ancient Retail Emporiums. People remember fondly those places where they shopped as kids. There were so many nominations that the list rolled past seven.
Wonders of the Ancient Chittenango Retail World
1. Lynch's Bakery. People most loved reminiscing about the headlights, tail lights, chocolate glaze and peanut donuts, and dinner rolls. Nancy Lenzen Davis recalled stopping at Lynch's after church when St. Pat's was in the village. Jack Lynch, proprietor of Lynch's Bakery, passed away recently. The bakery is now a SUBWAY and St. Pat's is an apartment house.
2. Waldman's Department Store. Dave Fischer remembered it as Waldron's. (Gene Waldron was the SU point guard back in the early 80's and Waldman's had a great selection of sneakers. Perhaps that skewed your thoughts.) Our relatives loved coming to Chittenango just to shop at Waldman's. Nicknamed Eli's Cardboard Shop, Waldman's, long out of business, is now Michael's Restaurant.
3. Perrone's Drugstore. A drugstore that was so much more. Perrone's now is an empty storefront.
4. Mayer's Market. One response suggested that one of the Mayers brother had died causing the market's closure. Like Mark Twain sort of said, "Reports of his death are greatly exaggerated." I imagine Mayers' Market closed because of the expansion of supermarkets. Mayers had the greatest meat counter in central New York. You could do an entire shopping in the building that now is the Emerald City Grill.
5. The P&C Market when it was on Tuscarora Road. Now the Salvation Army.
6. The Canteen. Jim Boeheim's favorite restaurant. Now an empty lot.
7. Sharon's Luncheonette. Now an engineering office.
8. Grant's begat Ames' which begat Name Brand Deals (No Big Deals) which begat a big empty store.
9 Smith IGA which is now a Dollar store.
10. Chittenango Farm Supply--now an empty lot.
11. The Bowling Alley--now a parking lot.
12. The Chittenango Hotel--now Mike Quirk's dance studio.
13. Sandy Hatch's Agway--I once held the rope when Bill Brewer hung off the front of the top floor to paint it. Now, deserted, I believe.
They say, "change is good." They say, "you can't go home again." They sing, "they take paradise and put up a parking lot." You can choose your favorite quote. I wonder how many people who read this posting said, at one time or another, something to the effect of, "Chittenango! Man, I can't wait to get out of here." Funny how "absence makes the heart grow fonder" or "time heals all wounds." I loved writing yesterday's blog, which was meant to be silly, and I also loved the more serious responses that it garnered. Kim Matthias e-mailed a poem that she wrote some time ago about Chittenango and the Oz mentality. If Kim will allow, I'll put it in my blog sometime. In her poem, Kim reminds her readers of the theme that, "there's no place like home." Probably if you took all the trite quotes I have used in this paragraph and pureed them in a blender, some truth would become apparent. Whatever is the truth, Chittenango seems to be a place of "wonder."
(I've got at least enough stuff for another blog, and eventually I'll list everyone who contributed to these blogs. If you know anyone who you think might enjoy reading or participating and that person isn't a FACEBOOKER, tell them the Blue Moon Grille blog can be found at wwwmotleyplayer.blogspot.com/ No dot after the w's, and don't forget the /.)