Friday, June 29, 2012

Life in a Coffee Mug, One Sip at a Time

I was looking around at a local thrift story a few days ago and spotted a mug from Expresso Café in Modesto.

IMG_0314The café isn’t there anymore but a lot of personal memories are. After I brought the mug home, I realized that I actually had three mugs that represents very specific points in our family’s life.

When my folks were alive, dad used to drop mom off at the old Mervyn’s department store on McHenry. Then he would drive across the road and settle in at the Expresso Café and shoot the breeze with whoever was there. When dad was hanging out anywhere, everyone was a potential new friend.  After about an hour, dad would go back over to Mervyn and find mom.  I too used to visit the cafe a lot.  I had an acquaintance who worked there and the atmosphere was casual and friendly.  The coffee was good, the food memorable and, Jan ( pronounced "yahn"),  the owner, was a soft-spoken gentle giant. 

Bubb's Big Burger and Breakfast Restaurant in Turlock was a local landmark for decades.  They had the BEST burgers and shakes.  When we lived in Modesto but the kids were going to school in Turlock and I was working there, I used to drop Quanah off at high school for a  7a.m. jazz band class and then Kris and I would stop in for breakfast before I dropped her off at school and I went to work.   Oh yes. Did I mention that their breakfasts were the best too?  Then I stopped in one day and they were closed.  Just like that. No warning.  I later learned the owners moved to Arizona and that was that.  Later, Bubb's became a Mexican Restaurant.  Good food, good service, and a parrot (read about Pancho HERE) who was my best birdie for a while.   The old Bubb's location is now going through it's fourth incarnation since its closure and I'm looking forward to seeing what the old place will become next.

 My final mug is from Hamilton's Café.  When my mom moved to Samaritan Village (before her stroke) I used to take her there all the time.  Hamilton's is in Hughson and it wasn't unusal for us to show up there together.  After her stroke, it was, even moreso, our place.  The waitresses have been there forever and they loved taking care of their older and sometimes much slowed down customers. 

I still go to Hamilton's a lot.  I've introduced out of town friends to Hamilton's and shared meals there with other devotees.  Don and I were eating there when I told him about a china cabinet and sideboard I had seen at Goodwill and off we went to get it.  Krista, at 18, won the drawing for a 6 foot Christmas stocking.  She kept a few of the goodies and the kids next door benefited from her good luck.  I love Hamilton's so much that I even put a book together about the place and sold a few copies to locals. Click here to see the  Book.

I've got the odd mug from here and there as well.  I have one from a cafe in Williams, Az.  There is another from a pub in Portland celebrating Rogue River beer and one more from a restaurant somewhere in the Columbia Gorge.  As souveniers go, this is a fun one to collect.  So if it's a magnet, spoon, or mug, and I've been there, I probably have  one of these momentos to remember the moment.

7 comments:

Ginny said...

I like to buy a little something from each place we go, as a remembrance. Mugs and magnets are great ideas. Your links do not work, it says the blog is closed to all but invited members. I imagine you would have to make your blog open for them to work.

Annie said...

Thanks for reminding me, Ginny. I DID close it to viewing. I'll go fix it now.

Pam said...

Enjoyed your post and Hamilton's book Annie. Diners are so uniquely American - a much welcome travel stop for a quick meal when I was a young tourist. They served me a slice of pie once, when I had actually requested that I would "like to pay now". So much for the Aussie accent!

Ash said...

That's beautiful Annie. All the lovely memories with it...

When I was younger, I used to buy mugs and fridge magnets. But these days, the only souvenirs I bother with are photographs!

sandy said...

What an interesting post Annie. I really enjoyed reading your memories - now I'm off to check out your links you posted.

Jenny Woolf said...

I get attached to mugs too. They all mean something to me even the ones that don't have names of places on them.

Barbara said...

Fun to have mugs that remind of life events etc.