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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Seven Reasons I Know My Wife Loves Me

Like many husbands, I'm not always sure what my wife was thinking when she bought my Christmas presents.  I can always say that I'm sure she was thinking something, but what that something was is not always clear.  But I can say with absolute surety that my wife was thinking of me and knew what would be the perfect gift for my odd little mind last Christmas.  Here is the proof.

     The Lefton Company produced China, ceramics, glass and other collectibles for sixty years until finally closing shop in 2001.  The set I have is from their Roadside USA Collection, The Great American Diners Series.  I have all but one of the diners produced for that set.  My wife Jennifer was searching through a thrift store in town and came upon seven of these wonders.  A worker at the store explained that an elderly couple brought them in and it was quite obvious the wife was forcing the husband to give up his collection.  Jennifer was able to buy the set for next to nothing.  When she explained this to me as I opened my present last Christmas morning, I was nearly brought to tears.  Not at the great price she had picked them up for, nor at the diners themselves, though they certainly could produce a few tears of joy if I let them.  I was terribly saddened to think of that man who had been forced into giving up his collection.  To you sir, wherever you are, I tip my hat and offer my deepest condolences.  Know that they have gone to a home where they are greatly cherished.
     The pieces were designed by artist David Stravitz.
1.  The Commuter

This little diner looks cozy.  Not only is it open 24 hours a day but it also has booth service!











The perfect place to take your lovely sweetheart for a late night snack.  And be sure to sit on the same side of the table!
2. The Tip Top Diner

This stunning roadside attraction is in better than tip-top shape.  You can clearly see it is twenty minutes to seven, so the eggs should be popping like firecrackers and the pancakes already stacked high.
There is parking in the rear and some lucky girl will get the chance to work at this awesome joint because it clearly states a waitress is wanted!

3. The White Tower



White Tower Hamburgers were a semi-successful knockoff of White Castle.  Originating in Wisconsin in 1926, they spread into surrounding states and at one time there were as many as 230 White Towers.  There is still one open in Toledo, Ohio. 


The greatest thing about this place is the 5 cent hamburgers.  I think the tax I pay on hamburgers is higher than five cents now.  I have always loved White Castle from my days back in Illinois.  I don't remember White Towers, but since I can't have a White Castle in my collection, I think this is a great substitute.  I rather think the Art Deco look here is actually better looking than the White Castle, though I'm sure my father-in-law would disagree.  Sorry about that, Jim.

4. The Modern Diner

Nothing gets the customers attention more than the assertion that your diner is modern!

I want to sit in the nose cone section.  Those windows are too cool!


5.  The Empire Diner


The Empire Diner was built at West 22nd Street and 10th Avenue in 1946.  It recently closed in 2010.  This fantastic gem has an Empire State Building added to its roof during a refurbish in 1976, which was included on this reproduction but which was broken off before it came to me!

Known for surly service and high prices, it was frequented by the Arts crowd, including many actors and directors.
Read more about the Empire Diner.

6. The Patriot Diner


The Patriot Diner is rather solid looking, like all patriot should be.  Mine is missing a star burst over the top sign, but it is not surprising.  Many patriots have been wounded throughout our history.

This baby is a real triple threat!  Not only is it open 24 hours a day, not only is the food good, but she's air conditioned!  Oh, man!  For those hot, sultry nights when you need a place to go at 2 in the morning but you won't just eat at any place that slings average hash.

7. The Market Diner

I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I was absolutely certain that this diner was in California.  It just had that L.A. look over New York City.  However, the Market Diner was in NYC.  There were, in fact, eight of them operating at one time.

I suppose it was the pastel colors that led me to think of it on the West Coast, as well as the name.  This doesn't exactly sound like the place to pick up a Pastrami on Rye.

Can't you see this sitting on one of the hills over looking the City of Angels?  Well, anyway, the good news is that even though they were baking on the premises, it was air-conditioned, so it wasn't too hot in there.  And what luck!  The hoi polloi could really step it up and have their affairs catered by these guys!

Pretty convincing proof, don't you think?  Any wife who bestows this upon her husband has got to love him to no end.  (I don't have the best view of that woman who made her husband give them up!  That poor, poor man.)  Thanks, darling.  And just to let you know, there is one more out there.  The Star Light Diner. :)
     And of course, if you need an idea for next Christmas, feel free to look up Lefton's other Roadside USA collection, the Spectacular Vernaculars collection.  That mind-blowing Airplane Cafe would be a swell place to start!
     For those of you who don't know, I spent a great deal of my childhood traveling the roads of this great nation.  My wife well knew that I would love these because I have a deep nostalgic love for anything that I would have seen from the van windows as we drove across the country in the mid-seventies and into the eighties.  Many of these great diners were still around then as were the countless old motels with their fabulous art deco, modern, and googie architecture.  I have begun to bring much of this into my home now.  I can't seem to get enough of it.



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