A couple of weeks ago my husband, Dave and I took a road trip out West. It's about 8:00pm and with no place to eat for fifty miles we spot a 1940’s dance hall that advertised Burgers, Booze and Pool. There is a small amount of light shining out from this place and Dave went in, just to make sure it was open and were still making burgers. He came back out with a thumbs up and said the owner told him "The sign says open, doesn't it?" The bar sat twelve people (no one else was in there) and there was a pool table in the other room. The ole timer asked how we liked our burgers and we told him medium rare! His response: “He would try to catch it in time.” He then proceeded to fire up the ole George Foreman, sliced us each a piece of cheese to go on top, a few rings of onion and a pickle. He took a couple of pops out of the cooler and started to share the history of the old place with the walls and ceiling covered in dollar bills.
His parents started the place in the 1940's, and he shared a great old picture showing it as a log and chink building but now it is all covered with siding and is up for sale because his kids have taken different directions for their lives. He was proud of his family, loves the USA, hardworking, has three jobs: mining, logging and at 5:00pm takes over for his wife running this place. He was getting ready to retire and was going to finish out his days logging and doing whatever pleased him. We enjoyed our time visiting with him and getting a small peek back to a way of life that is quickly fading away.
We decided to stay at an 1800's hotel about twenty miles from the pool hall. Now, I love antiques, heck I am becoming one! I LOVE American history so when the opportunity presented itself to stay in this charming 1800's hotel I was all excited to have a night experiencing things the way they used to be.
It was about 9:30pm on a nice Fall night. It was getting chilly when we entered the guest lobby, which was very cozy with the wood burning stove, comfy overstuffed chairs and a note on the door to tell us our room was #9. As we started up the winding staircase I admired the detail on the banister but noticed it was two feet shorter than normal, so if you wanted to use it you were bent over at the waist. This makes sense since I am five feet nine inches and most women 100 years ago were five feet tall give or take a few inches. I could see why the banister was so low to the ground and was now decoration and for short little children they might think it was built just for them.
We arrived at the top of the landing and as I looked down the hallway there were rooms on either side with beadboard on the walls and ceiling. We saw lights shining under many of the doors as we started to go down the hallway to our room with floorboards squeaking so loudly you quietly start to tip toe, so we didn't disturb the other guests.
Our door was open and there was an old dresser to our left and a double bed with a quilt and a metal bed frame with a detached headboard to our right. The window probably had been painted over so many times that it hadn’t been opened in fifty years. You try to get into bed as quietly as you can. But a bed with metal springs and a single mattress on top makes a lot of noise without you even trying.
The warm heat I appreciated on our arrival had now risen to the top floor and Dave and I were so hot all I wanted to do was take a crow bar to open the window for a breath of fresh air. In addition the mattress sinks to the middle and slants South. I asked Dave to take the inside of the bed, reminding him that he loves me! During the night he kept rolling into me, squishing me and I asked him to move over, and in a bit of a snarky voice I hear "Do you want to trade places and try not rolling into the middle!" I know enough to stay where I am. So we both grab onto our metal frames to keep from rolling into each other. In the olden days walls and ceilings had NO insulation so you hear your neighbors, snoring, whistling, coughing etc.
About 5am we realize we are both awake, had barely slept and we might as well just get going. Did I mention it had one bathroom you share with the rest of the floor? Now, Dave and I are good sports, so we took it in stride to get in line as we stood in the hallway and chatted with our neighbors as we waited to use the spacious old fashioned claw foot, enamel tub and sink with a floor that had a definite tilt to it. I must say you don't linger when you know other people are waiting to use the bathroom which is good time management!