Big Red

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Streetcar Diner about date unknown

IMG_3394Me, my dad, My mother in front of her Streetcar Diner, about 1942


The rented house with the Big Red’s house behind.

My first grade was still months away when Mom bought the Streetcar Diner, about 1942. It was a 24/7 cafe located on US 71 in Missouri. It was a popular gathering place during World War II. Folks didn’t have much money, so they claimed. However, they had nickels for the jukebox that stood at the north end. I grew up to the voices of Jo Stafford, Tex Ritter, Bob Wills, and others I can no longer recall.

Mom rented a two-story frame house across the highway from the diner. Much to my delight a large red dog occupied the doghouse located in the back yard. For us it was love at first sight. Our relationship continued until Christmas 1945 when I was informed we were relocating to Southern California.

Coping with wartime rationing had prevented Mom from accumulating an abundance of personal possessions. Inside of a week things had been sold, stored, or given away. We were ready to roll. Unfortunately, I assumed Big Red would go with me – he was family. But an eight-year-old has no voice in such matters. My tears blurred my vision the morning of our departure.

Seventy plus Christmas seasons have passed since that morning, and I still miss Big Red. He was family.

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