Noah’s Cafe

My father-in-law was a pretty good chef and he taught my mother-in-law, Pauline, to cook after they married.   In fact, he had his own restaurant for a while. It was right across the street from Cudahy’s Meat packing plant located at 2300 N. Broadway Street in Wichita, Kansas – an awesome place for it.  Cudahy’s is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It was the largest packing plant in the country at the time with over 13,000 employees.  That might have meant a lot of lunches for Noah to fix!!  

My husband pointed out the cafe to me many years ago before the buildings along there were torn down.  It was a simple little frame structure.  I wish I had taken a photo of it.

Noah Ahijah Johnston had a system figured out so he could feed people rapidly – bacon and eggs, biscuits or hotcakes for breakfast – hamburgers, hot dogs, and fries, or chili for lunch.  He had fast food before fast food was cool!  (As I am writing this his firstborn is in our kitchen whipping up a batch of chili.)

Hamburgers, French fries, and a Coke was the iconic date night meal for Bob and I when we were young.   It still makes for some pretty tasty munching.   The oldest hamburger chain was White Castle, also in Wichita, established in 1921. Noah was just ahead of them.  They undoubtedly got the idea from him…

As the new bride of his eldest son in 1958, I was slicing some onions for him at a family dinner and he said, “Blankety, blank, you call that thin?”  I never could slice them to suit him, so he did it himself.  He could be a grouchy old goat, but I loved him anyway. 

He liked to fish but never was successful at it.  If you wanted a day of futile fishing, getting his line out of a tree, using one of his newly purchased gadgets guaranteed to catch fish, and listening to his colorful vocabulary, you would want to go with Noah.  He always had lots of thinly sliced onions to go on the sandwiches he packed for lunch.  I think he wanted to put fish on his café menu but it didn’t work out.

I never knew the name of his restaurant but I’d say there was a good chance it was simply called “Noah’s Café.”  He didn’t operate it very long because he usually had a new adventure in mind.  In the spring of 1920, he traded the business for a 1919 Studebaker along with some cash and went on his way.  No one seems to know what his next endeavor was.

The building is long since gone and so is my father-in-law, but I’ll be chuckling about his onion comment until the next time I see him.  He’ll probably be slicing onions somewhere…


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Eggs Are How Much???


I went to the grocery store this morning – something I’m enjoying less and less, but so grateful we still have food to buy. I have been hearing about eggs costing over $8.00 but they haven’t shown up in my store until now. They had some for $3.69. Guess which ones I bought. I guess I’ll have to back off on baking!


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Set Another Place


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We built our first new home in 1968 at Milford Lake in Kansas.  Some new pieces of furniture were needed and a dining table was the first order of business.  We entertained a lot and wanted a table and chairs big enough to do the job and sturdy enough to last.  We had no idea “sturdy enough to last” would mean until the end.  We bought a maple Tell City set, which was a big deal at the time.

When I started to write this I decided to do a quick check on the company and found a fun bit of trivia.  Jacqueline Kennedy saw some of their chairs at Saks Fifth Avenue in NY City, liked them, and ordered 425 for the ballroom at the White House. Hers were fancy, so different from our Early American-style maple Continue reading

Goodbye, Beautiful Fall

We were gifted with an absolutely gorgeous fall this year – and it didn’t seem to want to go away, which was fine with us.  The pumpkin patches were beautiful, combined with an array of colorful and oddly shaped squash, delicious apples, corn shocks, and fields of bailed hay – always very photogenic.  I am a sucker for old wooden wagons, antique tractors, and hayrides to complete the picture. 

But it is winter now, 14 degrees last night with snow on the ground.  We have everything as ready as it can be for the four feet (or more) of snow that comes our way and keeps us company until July.  Well, maybe not quite that long.

For those of you that love playing in the snow, this may be a good winter for it, if the predictions I’ve read are accurate.  I’ll just take pictures of it.


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It’ll Be Easy, They Said

Change your cell service, they said.  It’ll be easy, they said.  

I didn’t want to change cell service, but I had no choice.  Old people like me prefer not to change much of anything!  I have a natural aversion to big companies, but I wound up with one!  We all thought everything was just ducky since it was all working.  Then I got an email telling me to get my service changed.

I told them I already had, two weeks ago. Upon checking they determined that my number had not been ported- out, or not ported- out properly – I was never sure which.  So – they did it and that’s when everything became not so easy!

Nothing would work!!  Nothing. 

All kinds of things were going on behind the scenes between three entities and I kept checking with them.  Nothing was getting any better.  More weeks passed with the email messages continuing,  telling me I needed to get it changed. Everyone was trying, but nothing was working.  Two more port-out attempts were made before they said, “You are completely out of our system now.”   Two days later I got another email telling me to git-r-dun.  Sigh. Still – nothing was working.

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Ghosts of Eldo Past


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I was a skinny 11-year-old girl going from store to store in downtown El Dorado Springs looking for work. Being tall, I could pass for thirteen but they had a way of asking my age first thing, so I had to admit to being only eleven.  I was usually told they’d had kids thirteen years old but never eleven.  No employment was found.  Not even at the drugstore I loved so much with its amazing smells,  paddle fans, ice cream, and comic books.

Later, when I was old enough, I did find employment at the 4-Corner Diner.  Then I could buy the black and white saddle oxfords, can-cans for underneath my dresses, even those hideous hoops that were in style.  How on earth did we manage to sit down!  I seem to remember that they went out of style pretty quickly.

The three-story school building that we attended had concrete steps and I don’t recall ever using a handrail – or even if we had any.  I just zipped up and down them, no problem, and never stumbled.  Now I would have a hard time with them even with a handrail.

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Santa’s Sad Saga


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I ran into Santa recently and we had a nice chat over cookies and milk.  He was considering  new career choices and asked me what I’d do if I were him.

I quickly told him that I’d get a different job.  Well, maybe not, the way unemployment is right now, but it’d be  worth a try.  I’d at least stop having white put on my traveling suit.  Those chimneys turn it into read and soot!  I’d also stretch gift delivery time into a lot longer than one evening! It must really tire out the reindeer to travel so far in one night, and who can afford to pay overtime anyway?

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Bridges Well Built

Wayne's covered bridge

A little boy named Wayne Baker, along with a few other children, were told by one of their teachers that they “weren’t worth wasting her time on.” So she didn’t.

Eventually Wayne went to Oakland,California to find work and landed there the day before Pearl Harbor was bombed. He found work at a shipyard where he gained priceless knowledge in cutting and welding. Wayne was later drafted and after Continue reading

Flutes, Woodpeckers, and Bob


 My husband has decided that he wants to learn to play the flute.   I feel fortunate that he chose a relatively quiet instrument.  During early marriage, he decided to learn the guitar, but was too busy with work and family so gave that up.  Now in “later marriage” we’re back to learning music again.  Thank goodness he has his man cave.  I can close the door.  Maybe lock it if need be! Continue reading