Sunday, November 14, 2010

Comments from Lyle Mowery

Lyle Mowery or “The Mow” (rhyme with now) as generally known by the Ko-Op crowd:
     I (Lyle speaking) really enjoyed working at the Ko-Op and most of my collegiate friends and colleagues worked at the Ko-Op or hung out there. Most of the core group in the 1964-1969 time frame lived above the restaurant, as well as worked there. Mongoose (Gary Cook from Dupo) and I lived in the southeast penthouse room commonly referred to as “The Bahamas” due to the extreme heat which could only be regulated by opening and closing the windows. We also had transient roomies from time to time, including Ken 'Peanuts' Lowry (Strasburg) and Russ 'the Blob' White (Peoria).
     I could talk for days about the life and times of life in and around the Ko-Op, but I will limit this entry to one of my favorites. During one quarter (winter 1966-1967, I think) Johnson 'Johnse' and I opened the restaurant at 6:30 a.m. and made the pancake batter, prepared the salad, set up the steam table and cleaned up the crap the night shift left. When the quarter started, we only had one or two customers and generally cranked the juke box while we were working. I remember two songs we especially enjoyed were "Let’s Spend the Night Together” by the Rolling Stones and “Gimme some Lovin'" by the Spencer Davis Group.

     While we were working, we danced to the music and generally screwed around a lot. Our morning antics brought in many customers, most who came in for ”The Morning Show” rather than “2 over light with ham.” One of our regular customers was a female grad student who wore a green Hawaii sweatshirt and was very quiet. She read her text book and tried to ignore our antics. One day Johnson said “Mow, go over there and get that girl to enjoy herself." I walked out from behind the steam table over to her table and started dancing to the cranked juke box. I eventually danced up the booth and started a craze they now refer to as a 'table dance.' Hawaii, as we called her, began to get into the morning show and generally had a wonderful time for the rest of the quarter.
     Some of the Ko-Op group I remember: Richard Funk- all state basketball player from Decatur Eisenhower, Bob Warnsley, all state basketball player from the Stephan Decatur runnin’ Reds, the star tennis player - Jack Worthington (California), Tom 'Hair Ball' Baylis from Paris, and Al Yoder of Arthur. We all worked hard and generally were good friends. Much better than a fraternity, I think.
     At some point we should talk about the Ko-Op groupies, including Dianna Miller (Effingham) and Diana Roper (Decatur) - 'Dee and Di', Linda Christie also from Decatur and her own clique (Believe that Linda was from Rantoul?), Willy (blonde who dated Warnsley and started the multi-racial dating program), Vicky McDonald (Anna), Sonny 'the Fox' Greco (Springfield) who lived upstairs too, Sonny’s roommate - a quiet guy whose name escapes me (Duane Harms, now lives in Sarasota, FL), the 'Sarge' who tried to keep us under control but after a year with no supervision, and an overnite visit by his girlfriend - - he generally got blackmailed into keeping quiet. Brad Latvaitus (worked at Walt’s), Jerry Burtis from Hoopeston, Mary Ann Grooms (Sullivan), Julie Citch and her friend, Wendy Harder - (both from Chicago region). I may think of more later. Do you remember who used to go to Champaign with us to drink at Kam’s and other college bars? – Mongoose and Whitey have scars on their arms to prove it!"
     "It was great talking to you. Let me know when you are in the area and especially if you and your wife come in to visit Ames."
Your friend always,
(Plant Manager, Carriage House Foods, Inc., Ames, IA)

I remember making the trip to Champaign once or twice. First trip on a Saturday, I was the designated driver for return back to Charleytown. You were sleeping and pretty much snockered. Your car's fuel pump began to leak (the '62 blue Chevy), and we made it almost back to Charleston. Tank ran dry a couple of miles north of town on Rte 130. It was 3 or 4 a.m. I hitched a ride to the Ko-Op, borrowed my roommate's car, came back to pick you up and got you home. The next day I'm working the Sunday lunch crowd shift, when you came downstairs wanting to know where in the hell your car was? (8-) lj
Spencer Davis Group singing 'Gimme Some Lovin'