Friday, August 7, 2009
The truth is that I did not remember exactly how the name was spelled, but modern miracle, I researched it quickly on the Internet via www.Google.com and confirmed the spelling I had chosen. When I began my career at Pawhuska High School we had essentially three choices for lunch. It was bring it yourself, eat in the cafeteria in the brand new elementary school, or eat at the Huskie Grill just across the street on Lynn Avenue and 15th Street. During my 7th or 8th grade year, the new Tastee-Freez was opened just down the road a piece (three blocks) on Lynn and 12th Street. The Huskie Grill was fine and I had eaten many a hamburger there, topped off with a soft drink and Fritos or some chips, or a Snickers candy bar. But at ages twelve, thirteen and so, our need for variety was great and also, the Huskie Grill was just difficult to get into some times. Standing room only and elbow to elbow. The Tastee-Freez took some pressure off of the other eateries and was still close enough that we could get there, stand in line, order, get our food, eat and get back to school on time. And there was an abundance of social life while you were there because you were with a mix of classes, older and younger. Some were there on bicycles, some in cars, so we saw older class members, some that we looked up to, some that we feared, and we were seen as well by younger kids who felt the same about us; we just didn't know they did. The Tastee-Freez faced to the west, had a window where we could bark our orders and where they would call us when it was ready. When there was time, we could go inside and sit at the five or six stools that adjoined the small counter that was on the south side of the building. Sometimes on a longer ride on the motor scooters we might stop in there and have something, especially on cold winter nights. The ghost of the Tasteee-Freez is white now, but in the beginning, it was a rough brown, which looked fine on it. The fare was similar to the Dairy Queen with hamburgers, hot dogs, chili pies, soft ice cream and sundaes. Once the Dairy Queen added the additional room, it became larger than the Tastee-Freez and parking was more abundant downtown around the Dairy Queen, so the DQ had more business, but the Tastee-Freez was so convenient from school and it was welcomed when it opened. The last time that I really spent much time there was in the middle 1970's when Carl Core operated it and David Meriable and I would make a run there to provide lunch for us when he lived just off of 12th Street. When I pause long enough and look at the ghost left behind, I still see kids I knew, now senior citizens, and the laughter, the songs and the noise echo through time, and as Ronnie Havens says, prove that they existed.