Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wimpy's - A Diner Experience

Nostalgic moments come when least expected, often by way of surprise packages. They turn out to be either instantly heartwarming, or sometimes only so-so. 

When one grew up watching Popeye cartoons in the sixties, it isn't difficult to know, even today, that the character "Wimpy" was a heavy set man who adored eating hamburgers - the more the better. 

One can also (with ease so many years later) his famous request to all his friends, and when his work payday was...

"I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
~ Wimpy 

When actively pursuing an activity for our usual "family day" recently, we wanted to surprise our children by trying something new, something fun, and something very obviously different to all - if only just once. 

"Wimpy's Diner"

"Wimpy's Diner" is apparently a type of food chain equal to something like "White Spot" in the west, only Wimpy's walls are filled with a sensorial spin of decades old memorabilia from the 50's and 60's.

The food fare naturally encompasses the famous "Wimpy" hamburgers, though they do serve breakfast, other luncheon items, and dinner. Apparently they are also famous for their homemade pies.

Prompted by our waitress to stick to a smaller meal due to incredible size portions, we all ordered a junior burger, and were so happy that was all!

It had a HUGE meat patty, and all so very filling!

We really had no idea what fun awaited us there. Forget the children (though they loved it there), it became such a roll back experience for my hubby and I. 

Who had more fun? 

The adults or the children? 

I'm not entirely sure...

Mom, what is THIS THING on the wall? 
(grin, grin)

For a few moments it felt as if an embedded memory wave suddenly hit me hard on my head, when I too noticed the metal device on the wall after taking a seat on my booth. There was a good old jukebox!

My hubby and I slowly began browsing some of the titles from the metal pages of musical entries. Giving us a fun and great pleasure was watching our children do the same, not able to recognize one single song title themselves. But there we were my hubby and I, able to fondly recall almost every single one of them! (Yes, we're that old I suppose!)

For a quarter per play, I quickly chose one of my favorite super oldies, "All I have to do is Dream" by the Everly Brothers

Ahhhh, yes, it was a solid music hit for many years, one which played over the speakers every Sunday when our family went for our ice skating sessions, and a song that became wildly popular once again when I was an adult. 

Sharing song play air time with other patrons in the restaurant, it took a few moments for "our song" to come on, and then our children were perplexed over our selection of choice, especially after I had to hit the buttons A-8 to to sync it for play. 

Nostalgia definitely does come in waves. 

What a blast, especially when my hubby and I began singing quietly together, instantly remembering all of the lyrics, and our children over in the next booth just stared back towards us with quizzical looks, and stunned expressions on their faces.

We could tell what they might be thinking;

"What are they doing?"

"Shhhh, you're going to embarrass us!" 


Our children were very obviously quite taken aback by this unknown, timeless, "decades-old technology", not really sure just what to conclude from the scene before them, that of their crazy parents singing a "vintage" song by memory so many years later.

(Pretty good if you ask me)

For another quarter, I chose P-2 which made me smile BIG, flooding me with memories of a few childhood (lifelong!) friends, the ones I would upon occasion accompany to a local diner where one of these exact same jukeboxes were installed in every restaurant booth. 

Though I wasn't exactly a country music lover, I was introduced by one of them to "Tammy Wynette's - Rose Garden song", and for a nickel we could play it while we splurged and nibbled on our shared plate of fries. 

For us, this was NOT just some simple ordinary song you know, for one had to sing along with a southern twang in our voices, and "twang-along" we did as we attempted to perform for one another over and over again.

Those are such warm and wonderful memories, 
... jukeboxes in a small restaurant diner. 

More visual nostalgia located on the walls offered quizzical looks by younger children.

Those vinyl records we adults all know about, though our children have no clue. Seeing the 45rpm smaller records really made me smile. 

Ever remember the Top 40 lists in record stores where one could buy just two songs on one of these?

Never mind the full 33 1/3 rpm albums, we had 45's with special storage boxes, metals racks and centerpieces to transform our record players for using these. 

Fun memories....

Oh, and REAL milkshakes! 

Remember the real way to have a milkshake, made from using those stainless steel hand devices to create one shake at a time? 

Oh yes, we insisted part of the experience was having our gang order their own shake, a real shake that didn't come from a pouring dispenser on a metal piece of machinery like today at fast food restaurants. 


One word of warning;

Forget the single portions of food, the shakes came first and they were almost full bellied already once they downed them! (A box came home for big brother to have as a snack when he was finished his work shift for the day.)

It was just way too fun here, an adult (or child) dining experience to be sure. 

We all agreed it's not the type of place to travel and go to often, but it is one for offering nostalgic appreciations that have proportional abilities to send grown and middle aged adults back in time, even if only during a lunchtime meal all together with family.

Thank you "Wimpy"!