Fruit salad, anyone?

I slept in — as much as it’s possible to “sleep in” when one’s head is full of crusted snot — and pledged I wouldn’t miss the weight-training class at the gym this morning, so you folks only get 20 minutes of my time today. My Quickfire all-bloggage challenge starts…now!

Our fame spreads. I knew one day all that time I spent reading Ann Landers could pay off. Also, it’s interesting to note the credulousness of the American media was ever thus.

Just a warning: If tomorrow you see a photo posted with a long string of obscenities, I will be taking Friday off to gnash my teeth. Because guess what we’re promised overnight: Snow, and perhaps enough to photograph.

The idea of putting my house up as collateral for a new bathroom never appealed much to me. My parents were Depression babies, and never went in for the sorts of high-wire financial shenanigans so popular in recent years. (They were, however, the Trumps compared to Alan’s parents. One story I recalled at FuneralFest 2008 was the reaction of Alan’s grandparents when their daughter and her new husband took out a mortgage to buy a tiny house in Defiance, Ohio — “You will be paying on that for the rest of your life,” delivered in an accusatory, thou-shalt-be-damned tone. Amount of the loan: $8,000.) I really really really would like a new kitchen, but I really really really really don’t want a home-equity loan to worry about at 3 a.m. Finally, vindication! Ahem:

Americans owe a staggering $1.1 trillion on home equity loans — and banks are increasingly worried they may not get some of that money back.

To get it, many lenders are taking the extraordinary step of preventing some people from selling their homes or refinancing their mortgages unless they pay off all or part of their home equity loans first. In the past, when home prices were not falling, lenders did not resort to these measures.

I remember in the ’90s, I’d see ads touting home-equity lines of credit as a good way to finance a vacation. Whenever I am tempted to spend too much in a restaurant, I remind myself that no matter how good it tastes, it’s going to be headed to the waste-treatment plant in 24 hours one way or another. Imagine being kicked out of your home and staying warm with your memories of the beach in Bermuda. Nope, doesn’t do it for me, either.

Related: A total financial moron explains it all for you. Clip and save. Useful!

Twenty minutes is up. Tell me how my affinity for drug-culture trivia can be monetized in the future. I’m off to the gymnasium to swing some of those newfangled Indian clubs.

Posted at 8:52 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

33 responses to “Fruit salad, anyone?”

  1. alex said on March 27, 2008 at 9:56 am

    Bummer. Go Ask Alice, supposedly a true story and one of those books I was forced to read as a school child in the ’70s, is really just another Reefer Madness?

    I can’t remember whether Alice partook of “fruit salads,” exactly, but I do seem to remember a party game that involved LSD randomly placed in open bottles of Pepsi. And a toilet plunger in the girls’ juvy hall named “Johnny” that did double duty as a dildo.

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  2. Marie said on March 27, 2008 at 10:03 am

    “Tell me how my affinity for drug-culture trivia can be monetized in the future.”

    Commentary on one of those VH1 countdown shows? (“I love the ’70s”… “Biggest Celebrity Drug Meltdowns”… etc., etc.)

    That’s the only idea I have, but then, I’m still trying to find lucrative uses for my own random wells of trivia knowledge. (My husband says shouting answers at the TV during “Jeopardy” doesn’t count.)

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  3. john c said on March 27, 2008 at 10:07 am

    No offence to NN.c, but what I loved about that link was the reference to the Lowell Sun. My grandfather, Frank Campbell, wrote a column for said paper for many years. It was called “The Saturday Night Bath.” I wish I could say that was what got me into journalism. But he died a good 15 years before I was born. My connections to him are my middle name and stories from my grandmother about visiting the press boxes in Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park, stories that always ended with this warning: Watch out for the drink.

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  4. john c said on March 27, 2008 at 10:16 am

    I remember Go Ask Alice. I also remember some great episodes of Dragnet and Adam 12, where hippees would occasionally “have a freak out.”

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  5. nancy said on March 27, 2008 at 10:28 am

    And a toilet plunger in the girls’ juvy hall named “Johnny” that did double duty as a dildo.

    I thought I was a student of “Go Ask Alice,” too, but I don’t recall this detail. If you’re correct, that pegs it as b.s. right there, and probably a man’s b.s. to boot. Men always want to imagine women masturbating with phallic objects, no matter how repulsive. When the truth is, God gave all of us all we need to sin when he gave us two hands.

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  6. brian stouder said on March 27, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Pam and I began watching her first-season dvds of The Tudors, and had to laugh when, during the jousting scenes, the (male) contestants would occasionally pause, and call to a particular maiden (or wife) in the crowd to render ‘favors’ (I think that was the term they used). Then the maiden (or wife, in the case of Henry’s Spanish Queen) would approach the rail, and the knight (or the King, as the case may be) would ease his steed over, and flop his long lance over the rail, and the woman would tie a ribbon upon it(!!)….whereupon the contestant would hike his lance back and point it skyward, and hold it erect as he directs his horse back to the starting line – there to point his (decorated) lance right at his male opponent, and then charge forth for the joust, and a crashing climax!

    So we had hetero and homo-eroticism, all at once!

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  7. nancy said on March 27, 2008 at 10:59 am

    Also, if I ever write a column again, I’d like to call it “The Saturday Night Bath.” That’s one for the ages.

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  8. del said on March 27, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Yes, the subversive drug culture. Remember when that Ginsberg guy failed to pass muster as a nominee to the Supreme Court because he admitted to the senate that he had [Gasp] smoked a joint? SNL had a fun skit about it depicting the Harvard Law professor sitting around a campfire smoking some spleef and saying (with lungs fully inhaled) . . . Yeah, man, the Constitution just . . .like . . . happened.
    Too bad that our politicians “weed” out the the truthful nominees damning us to the hypocrites the morbidly rigid. That’s probably why WJC never admitted to inhaling.

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  9. del said on March 27, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Brian, good story. I was worried that your Tudors’ story was heading down the road of Darryl Hannah in Clan of the Cave Bear. The British are more refined than that, right?

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  10. Connie said on March 27, 2008 at 11:15 am

    My advice: save your home equity for the time when your kid decides she must go to an expensive private university. Ask me how I know. I wouldn’t have done it except I expect to be in this house at least another ten years. Unless this property tax reform mess compels me to find a job in a different state.

    We are also expecting snow here in Minneapolis as well. I am heading down to Rochester MN for two days at the end of the conference – the city I worked in before moving back to Indiana. Rochester is expecting 7 to 10 inches. Oh boy.

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  11. Catherine said on March 27, 2008 at 11:59 am

    The telling quote in the economics-for-dummies link is the guy who says, “You shouldn’t be worried. You should be angry.” This Bear Stearns bailout is the last straw. It’s time for this administration to leave office, if only because they *must* be through the list of rich contributors whose pockets they needed to line. Military-industrial complex? Check. Big pharma? Check. Bankers? Double check. Anybody not get theirs?

    OK, ranting over for now.

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  12. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 27, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    If you think infiltrating al-Qaeda’s hard, try getting inside teen culture. Past 22, it’s all gonna be secondhand, filtered by what they think you want to hear. When a reporter who got the straight skinny on payoffs at city hall (age 29) is asked to find out what the young folks are really thinking, it’s hard to admit you can’t even get a peek into the rec room on Thursday at 4 pm (other than renting “The Ice Storm” or “Ferris Bueller” or “The Breakfast Club”).

    So you either make stuff up, or repeat what the kids told you, thinking it was what you wanted to hear: just google “rainbow party” — second verse of the Fruit Salad Song. Problem being most of teen culture is solitary, so there’s less there there than most think.

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  13. joe k said on March 27, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Rochester is expecting 7-10 inches?
    Oh Mister Benny!!!
    “snicker, snort, guffaw.”

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  14. Harl Delos said on March 27, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    So you either make stuff up, or repeat what the kids told you, thinking it was what you wanted to hear

    I think that’s where “mellow yellow” came from. Someone thought it was funny to tell the older generation that the most popular fruit in existance can be used to make a recreational drug.

    I never heard of the fruit salad, but I remember parties where everybody tossed whatever they brought into a big punch bowl. Beer and Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill do NOT taste good when mixed, even if someone adds Ronrico 151 to it, and once the beer goes flat, it’s even worse. After 3 or 4 times, people realized it was a stupid idea.

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  15. Jon said on March 27, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    I had to laugh at “Clip and save”!
    Whose parents kept a ball of string in their junk drawer?
    Raise your hands.

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  16. Dexter said on March 27, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    John c: Thanks for the comment on your grandfather’s column in the Lowell Sun. I have been “living” in 1938 Lowell for a while as I am doing a slow read of Kerouac’s “Maggie Cassidy”, set in Lowell, MA.
    Last night I read the New Yorker story about Lenny Dykstra. I had not thought of the former Phillies & Mets outfielder since he retired some years ago. He’s now 44 years of age and a day trader extraordinaire who awes none less than Jim Cramer (Mad Money). Cramer said he would have hired him to work on his hedge fund, he’s so good at analyzing the Market.
    Dykstra, who sort of came off as a smart-ass chaw-jawed hard-nose, hardly a genius with the stock market, and never went to college at all, now owns a Gulfstream jet and one of the fanciest cars in the world, a $385,000 Maybach.
    He lives in a compound of seven buildings on a hill in Thousand Oaks, CA, and when in NYC stays in $3,000 a night rooms at the St. Regis. How does one spend $3,000 a night for room and amenities in ANY hotel when you don’t drink and are up when the bell rings on Wall Street every day? Oh, and your diet is usually dining room French fries and Coca Cola? But that’s Lenny. The story is still at The New Yorker’s site if you’re interested.
    He’s launching a magazine for “Players”, in which he outlines the good life and how to maintain it after a player retires.

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  17. moe99 said on March 27, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    Did Alan grow up in Defiance? I did and Terry Ryan, the author of The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio, was my camp counselor at Camp Palmer. I’m probably a bit older, having graduated in 1970.

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  18. Dexter said on March 27, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    moe99: I had a friend (as an adult) who lived there on Washington Street…maybe even in the same house as the Ryans once lived. I used to visit frequently, never knowing of the legendary prizewinner. The movie was good…I did not read the book. Washington Street is the one which has back yards ending at the river bank. Once in the mid-80’s the water level was right up to the top.

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  19. nancy said on March 27, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    Yes, Alan’s from Defiance. He’d be five years younger than you (class of ’75). We’ve discussed the Ryans before but no one in our family circle seems to have known them. And the movie was good, but the book was better.

    That remains one of the most affecting portraits of a certain kind of alcoholism that I’ve yet read.

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  20. michaelj said on March 27, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    Anybody of you heard of BCCI? You’ve got te internet, so look it up. How to derail the banking avenues of Al Quaeda.

    John Kerry actually started the process, but HW Bush put the kibosh. W nailed it to the wall and enabled the resurgence in Afghanistan. Somebody want’s to say that’s not true, let’s hear your lame shit.

    Here’s the deal. Iran-Contra was spectacularly illegal. The assholes screwed with the election. They promised weapons if the Irani government would hold on to the hostages. This is so obviously true, the peroretrators actually went there.

    .If your such an idiot you don’t think Raygun was a party, you think he was a moron. If you buy this shit, ypiu’re an idiot. So, you’re a richer idiot.

    Trickle down. Anybody believe that horseshit?

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  21. moe99 said on March 27, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    My dad was the town pediatrician (’til 69 when the family moved to Rochester,MN) and he saw the Ryan kids but I don’t think he knew about the alcoholism, it was so well hidden. At least when the book came out, he said he had not known. Betsy (the youngest) was in my class at DHS and we were both big English mavens. I was sorry to learn of Terry’s death a while back.

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  22. Harl Delos said on March 27, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    I was excited when I read the book, because I knew Dortha Schaefer; in fact, she and Mom took piano lessons together in Payne as they were growing up.

    I’ve never seen the movie. Because of injuries, my hip won’t let me sit for 90 stretches, so I don’t go to theatres. But if it’s ever been broadcast on TV, I didn’t realize it to TiVO it.

    There’s a picture in the book of John Kemerer. He owned the Western Auto where the bike came from. I worked there in 1970 or 1971, summer job.

    I kept trying to figure out where the Ryans lived, and if she mentioned it in the book, I didn’t notice. South Jackson street, maybe? Anyone know?

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  23. Dave K. said on March 27, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    Harl, I never tried the beer and Boone’s Farm “hairy buffalo”, but one of the favorite party drinks in my college days was “Delt Sig Punch”. Each couple attending would bring a large can of Hawaiian Punch, one quart of 7-Up, and some fresh citrus fruit. The bartender would slice the fruit, combine the ingredients with a quart of the cheapest available vodka, and a good time was had by all! It actually tasted pretty good, and the clean-up crew got to eat the alcohol infused fruit from the bottom of the barrel.

    As for the “fruit salad” party, despite “extensive” research conducted over many years, I never saw it happen. I always was hoping to be the guy who had their drink spiked with LSD or some other mind-altering substance, but that never happened either. (Why would anyone waste perfectly good drugs on some stranger anyway?)

    By the way, if anyone wonders why I’m posting so late tonight, I just got home from an AA meeting. Eight years, nine months clean and sober and loving it.


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  24. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 27, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    At Purdue, we did the “hairy buffalo” vat, but not with vodka — used some good Hoopeston, Illinois grain alcohol (not legal for sale in the Hoosier State, but just a quick Dodge Dart ride away at the drug store over the border), which was 394 proof or something like that. Until Jim Jones spoiled it for us all, there was also “Purple Jesus” with grape Flavor-Ade and the Hoopeston Hooch, which one long draught would evoke the phoneme “Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeezuuuusssss.”

    Or so i’m told.

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  25. michaelj said on March 27, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    There’s Bob Seger and there’s Persecution Smith , and if you have some question about stop-loss and how GIs are being fucked over, you have Two+two. And th commander in chief is a draaft dodger. Don’t think so? Conoare his record with the guy that ran against him. Read that bullshit from the Swiftboaters. Cowards defending a nonentity by siming a hero. Ain’t that a Republican.

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  26. brian stouder said on March 27, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    I thought this video, from our local channel 15 news, was oddly compelling. A local apartment complex keeps having fires, and the most recent one caused one whole building to be condemned and demolished. The station videoed the demolition, and while there is audio, there is no commentary.

    You can go to

    and click on “Bonus video; Hunt Club apartments demolished”

    What struck me as both funny and somewhat wrenching is that as the place is knocked to pieces, you see someone’s television plummet to the ground, and someone’s dresser, and their bed….and there’s still clothes in the suddenly exposed closet.

    (and to stay on topic – someone probably also lost their stash, too!)

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  27. Hannah said on March 27, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    Wasn’t the bathroom plunger thing from one of Linda Blair’s teen movies from the 70’s? She was in some teen detention center.
    (Man, I hate having to admit I was a big geek who stayed home and watched too much tv…)

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  28. Harl Delos said on March 28, 2008 at 12:23 am

    oddly compelling

    I agree – and I don’t know why, either.

    (and to stay on topic – someone probably also lost their stash, too!)

    What’s more, if cops discover a stash, the evidence can’t be quashed because there wasn’t a search warrant. There’s no “expectation of privacy” at a fire scene.

    There’s another story I saw on the WANE site, where a judge said that a reporter’s notes about a telephone interview cannot be subpoenaed by the prosecutor. I can’t imagine why the prosecutor would want to. At best, it’s hearsay. The reporter didn’t witness a crime himself – and people lie to reporters more often than they tell the truth.

    It seems to me that evidence is evidence, even if it’s illegally obtained. Of course, in order to introduce evidence, you have to show that it’s valid – and that means that the cop who did an illegal search would have to confess to committing a felony – violation of rights – in order to get the evidence admitted. I guess I’m a little dense when it comes to “fruit of the poisoned tree”. We’ve got evidence against a criminal, and the confession of a dirty cop. Shouldn’t both of them go to prison, instead of neither?

    I suspect that video is going to break some hearts, with family heirlooms that survived the fire being destroyed as the building is demolished. Although it looked mostly like borax furniture to me, just one step up from bricks-and-boards bookcases.

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  29. Dexter said on March 28, 2008 at 1:18 am

    Harl: I mentioned Washington Street in my post; that is where the Ryans lived. As you know, I’m sure, it’s very close to downtown businesses mentioned in the movie. I assume the Chief market is the one still south of downtown, unless they had a downtown store back then. Also, isn’t the Western Auto now “R” Bike Shop?
    I believe Defiance’s downtown fared better than Flint’s, comparing GM towns. I went to downtown Flint in 1987 for the 50th anniversary parade and celebration of the 1937 Flint Sit-Down Strike , and the downtown ,save for a now-closed festival marketplace, was scary-deserted.
    It’s nice to have memories of a joyous downtown, wherever one may have grown up. Dad worked in an office in the Gettle Building in FWA, and as a kid I was downtown a lot. Fort Wayne was a lively place, Wolf & Dessauer, G.C. Murphy’s, having Mom take us to the top of Lincoln Tower for the view, the rubber tired-electric buses, busy sidewalks, great lunch spots and lots of restaurants, and Riegel’s Tobacco store where I would buy The Sporting News for my baseball fix. We never knew what a treasure The Embassy was when we were kids, but we loved going there. We also saw movies at The Jefferson, The Indiana, and The Rialto. Of course The Indiana changed into a porn house sometime in the 60’s or early 70’s. We ate at all the restaurants ; Zoli’s and the old Alexander’s were my faves.

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  30. Harl Delos said on March 28, 2008 at 9:32 am

    That’s a nice neighborhood, down by the library.

    According to their website, the first Chief supermarket was at 511 Perry. That’s where the United Way is now.

    I think I’ve read stories in the Crescent-News to the effect that the Hensch’s first supermarket was in Paulding, because they would have competition from the A&P and Kroger in Defiance, and they thought the new store might cannibalize sales at their existing store, but there were no supermarkets in Paulding; the Kroger was just a dinky grocery, about the size of their larger convenience stores today. They opened in a former tractor dealership, and the Defiance store came along a year or two later, as best I recall.

    Hey, whose memory is going be best about this? Someone whose family who only owned the stores, or someone whose family actually shopped there?

    The Paulding store was closer for us, but the Defiance store had much lower prices. Like I said, there was no real competition in Paulding.

    Mom’s family moved to Fort Wayne when her father became a supervisor for Indiana Service Corporation. They had employee parties every week upstairs at the car barn on North Clinton, so all the families knew each other. Employees’ families rode for free. She used to tell a story that her mom suggested she go play with a friend, the daughter of another employee who lived on the opposite side of Fort Wayne. She got on the car, told the driver whose house she was going to, and when she got to transfer corner, the driver told her which car to switch to. After playing a while, the phone rang, her friend’s mother answered it, then told Mom that she needed to go home, her mom had a surprise for her. When she got home, she had a baby brother. Mom would have been about 5 when this happened.

    When she was 7, the family had bought a home on Posey Hill (Roanoke), but Mom would take a car to Fort Wayne, where she would take piano lessons at Packard Piano, then wander around Murphy’s for a while, and maybe go to the Emboyd. (That was the original name of the Embassy. The owner, Mr. Boyd, named it after his daughter named Emma.)

    A different time, when a little girl could safely wander around unaccompanied in a downtown urban area.

    I don’t know if “R Bike Shop” is where Western Auto was, or not. It sure could be, but Mad Cow’s Disease, you know. It was about 3 doors north of Kissner’s.

    On Sundays, we’d drive to Fort Wayne after church, stopping at the Pancake House for lunch. Oh, my goodness, they had these little silver dollar pancakes, and pancakes with bananas in them, and all sorts of exotic things like that. Standing in line, we’d look at the pictures on the wall. One of them showed (left to right) David Thomas, Harlan Sanders, and Phil Clauss, and we wondered who Dave and Phil were.

    Later, they built McDonald’s, and we went there instead, where you’d stand outside to order, and young men in white shirts and bow ties would get your order. Usually, the food was fetched by another man before the cashier finished giving you your change.

    Gee, what a novel idea: fast service. I bet it would be a rip-roaring success if some restaurant tried that now. These days, there are five kids leaning on something, kicking the greasy floor just inches from fallen french fries, while you wait 20 minutes for them to start filling a cup with iced coffee – the only item you ordered.

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  31. moe99 said on March 28, 2008 at 10:55 am

    My dad’s family were longtime Paulding residents. My great grandfather was appointed postmaster there by Theodore Roosevelt and I have a photo of him and his two assistants proudly posing outside the office. WH and Seth, my grandfather, had a car dealership and ran a bus company that went between Paulding and Fort Wayne. I remember being taken to Fort Wayne to see Gone with the Wind when it was revived at some point. I fondly remember GC Murphys there because they had carmel corn, a real treat. I have a picture of me posing with the Santa Claus at Wolf and Dessauer. I was the only one because my younger sibilings were too afraid to go up there. W&D had wonderful Christmas windows for kids to gaze at.

    Do they still have John Paulding days in the summer? My grandmother and Aunt Beebee used to take me to those. Great fun.

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  32. Harl Delos said on March 28, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Murphy’s never closed the Fort Wayne store because they had five landlords, and they’d have had to spend over a million bucks to undo the “leasehold improvements” that had turned it into one building over the years.

    Something like three or four of those landlords were the estates of dead people. They’d previously tried to buy the various parts of the building, but it was so hard to negotiate with all the dozens of heirs, that they gave up.

    But even though the store was losing money as a whole, the bakery was making money. The popcorn machine was also very profitable.

    But the real money maker? That donut machine. It was up there in the window, where people could see it working, fairly close to the door so people couldn’t avoid smelling the donuts, and they were a big seller at a great markup.

    I loved those W&D windows.

    When Koehlinger’s sponsored the TV show with kids getting on Santa’s lap, was it W&D’s Santa? I think it was on WANE, but I wouldn’t put money on it.

    Moe, would you email me? My address is my first name @t my domain.

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  33. moe99 said on March 28, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Harl, I tried that address but it bounced back. Was I supposed to put the “t” after the @?

    you can reach me at It’s not going to get much spam, so I am boldly printing it here.

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