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

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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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