Bye Bye American Pie
On Tuesday, September 6, 2016, we'll be waving goodbye to an iconic piece of Americana. With business fading away like memories of yesteryear, the Howard Johnson restaurant in Bangor, Maine will have served its last clam strip roll with fries and cole slaw, Eggs Benedict and coffee frappes. And with this, the last Howard Johnson's restaurant in New England, will forever leave its once busy counter and booths sitting empty with its thousands of stories of family vacation trips and Sunday drives.
Kathe Jewett, a 50 year waitress, manager, cook, ice cream scooper of 28 flavors, dishwasher and maintenance wizard, told the Boston Globe's Brian MacQuarrie, customers arriving on Tuesday would be the last to enjoy a piping hot stack of pancakes, served with a pouring of nostalgia.
Like other icons of years past, business had dropped off and times have changed from the days when Howard Johnson restaurants and motels dotted the American landscape and turnpikes. "If all these people had come before, we'd still be in business," Ms. Jewett said. From a personal perspective, my wife and I know the exact sentiments of that comment because our 1950's landmark Shawmut Diner suffered the same kind of loss. For us too, business started to slowly fade away, like the culture of the once kinder, gentler generations.
Just one Ho Jo's remains in America. For this last one in New England, there will always be unforgettable memories behind our goodbyes to the orange roofs. Looking back, the only time goodbye is painful is when you will never say hello again.