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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Thursday, May 24 2001

Nanty Glo's cafe society

Even though I never drank coffee while still living in the Valley, there's a myth of a "cafe society" attending the Nanty Glo in my mind. My novel, serialized here last November, attempted to catch and perpetuate it. In my teens and early twenties, it was a sodapop culture, but I observed and found certain fascination in the coffee society of influences like my first Nanty Glo good friend, Bill Martin (now the Nanty Glo bureau chief of Mainline Newspapers/The Journal), and my mentor, Andy Rogalski, then the Journal's editor.

Though at that time the K&B restaurant (earlier well known as Hagens' and at last report still a pizza place) was the main cafe in town, there were three or four other places where coffee was the main brew, not to mention many bars and clubs that could probably produce a cup on demand.

Downtown Glotown had scores of merchants, bankers, clerks, secretaries and professionals like insurance people at the time, and it was common to find many of them taking coffee breaks at the K&B in the course of a day. The professional pace didn't seem hurried and harried then; one of the smalltown pleasures was noting who was sitting at the restaurant window and possibly joining him or her or at least exchanging the time of day from the next booth or table. By the early 60's the valley also had a sizeable college coffee-drinking group (Dick Millward and Mike Olsavsky being the ones I knew best, among probably several dozen), who liked to drop in for a cup of joe and catch up on latest news or gossip, and perhaps fortify themselves for a late night of boning up for exams or term paper writing.

On his last week of work for the Journal, Rogalski appointed me his constant companion as he tried to pour everything he knew about community newspaper editing into my brain in five days. His stops for coffee were so much a part of his routine that I commented that "I'd better learn to like coffee if I'm going to do this job." He impressed me by objecting, encouraging the greenhorn to stay innocent and unspoiled. But on this score, for me at least, I was right. Eventually, I'd have to learn to like coffee and eventually did.

Now the best place for coffee is Starbuck's, where on my last newspaper job I started the day most days. And now that I'm in "industry," two or three of my best friends and I repair there each Saturday morning to get the weekend off. Regardless of which of several nearby Starbuck's we frequent, it's always crowded and noisy, with overflow patrons occupying sidewalk tables. There's something comforting about such a tradition and a shared experience and culture. But despite Starbuck's appeal, its 21st-century cachet, and inestimably better coffee...I'd rather be at the K&B.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

What kind of Catholic are you?

An old man walks into a confessional. The following conversation ensues:

Man: I am 92 years old, have a wonderful wife of 70 years, many children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Yesterday, I picked up two college girls, hitchhiking. We went to a motel, where I did wild things with each of them three times.

Priest: Are you sorry for your sins?

Man: What sins?

Priest: What kind of a Catholic are you?

Man: I'm Jewish

Priest: Why are you telling me all this?

Man: I'm telling everybody.

Sent by Bob Kennedy

Remember when?

When they threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed...and did!

When the worst thing you could do at school was smoke in the bathrooms, flunk a test, or chew gum. And the prom was in the gym and you danced to an orchestra.

When a '57 Chevy was everyone's dream car...to cruise, peel out, lay rubber or watch submarine races, and people went steady and girls wore a class ring with an inch of wrapped bandaids, dental floss or yarn coated with pastel frost nail polish so it would fit her finger.

And no one ever asked where the car keys were because they were always in the car, in the ignition, and the doors were never locked.

Sent by Trudy Myers
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