CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

October 25, 2011

Parkfront Diner & Bakery in Gallipolis, Ohio


CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

PARKFRONT DINER & BAKERY

IN GALLIPOLIS, OHIO

     Silvery, black, and pink accents. Photographs of Marilyn Monroe scattered about on the walls. Records—45 r.p.m.s, created a border where the wall met the ceiling.

     Although we were in Gallipolis, Ohio, researching the 1790 French 500 settlement of the second European community in Ohio we found ourselves folded into the 1950s era at the Parkfront Diner & Bakery, a local diner where we stopped to eat breakfast.

     Musical notes from speakers enhanced the mood. Words of the songs I was familiar with, Tell Laura I Love Her, floated through the air.

Laura and Tommy were lovers
He wanted to give her everything
Flowers, presents,
But most of all, a wedding ring

He saw a sign for a stock car race
A thousand dollar prize it read
He couldn’t get Laura on the phone
So to her mother, Tommy said

Tell Laura I love her
Tell Laura I need her
Tell Laura I may be late
I’ve something to do, that cannot wait

     Along one wall is a row of booths with naugahyde covered seats and backs—black with an upside down triangle of pink. A row of black wrought iron ice cream tables with round tabletops and two chairs, their wrought iron shaped into hearts, lined the center of the room. Picture a teen couple sitting at a table sharing a root beer float and puppy love. The girl would be wearing a poodle skirt and saddle shoes.

     Along a silver counter top were silver stools with pink naugahyde covered seats, inviting one to sit at the counter and twirl around while listening to the song spin out its mournful story.

He drove his car to the racing grounds
He was the youngest driver there
The crowd roared as they started the race
Around the track they drove at a deadly pace

No one knows what happened that day
Or how his car overturned in flames
But as they pulled him from the twisted wreck
With his dying breath, they heard him say

Tell Laura I love her
Tell Laura I need her
Tell Laura not to cry
My love for her will never die

     Pictures of James Dean, Lucille Ball and Arnaz, Fred Astaire and Gene Kelley…Monte found it surprising to find Fred Astaire and Gene Kelley together in a photograph together.

     “I didn’t anticipate them getting their pictures together. I thought they might be friendly rivals, so I didn’t’ anticipate that. It wouldn’t be surprising to have a photo of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers together. After all, they danced together. 

Now in the chapel where Laura prays
For her poor Tommy, who passed away
It was just for Laura he lived and died
Alone in the chapel she can hear him cry

Tell Laura I love her
Tell Laura I need her
Tell Laura not to cry
My love for her will never die

Tell Laura I love her
Tell Laura I need her
Tell Laura not to cry
My love for her will never die

     Behind the counter was a shelf that displayed cakes capable of destroying serious dieting. Instead, though, since it was early morning, we both ordered scrambled eggs and toast. The food was quite good. 

     While we ate Monte suggested I take pictures of the 45 rpm vinyl records that formed a border where the wall met the ceiling. He hoped to be able to read the labels on the records, to see what music they contained.

     A jukebox was located on a back wall.

     The song Tell Laure I Love her was followed by Laura’s mournful response, Tell Tommy I Miss Him:

 Tommy my sweetheart is gone now
He’s up in heaven somewhere
So little star high above
If you see Tommy tell him of my love.

Tell Tommy I love him
Tell Tommy I miss him
Tell him though I may try
My love for him will never die.


He drove his car in that stockcar race
To win money so we could wed
He wanted so much to make me his wife
Now our love lives on though he lost his life.

I’m so lonely without him near
Oh, how I miss his warm embrace
I’ll love no other I want him to know
Oh, little star please tell him so.

Our time was running out. We had a special appointment at the Gallipolis County Historical & Genealogical Society,, just around the corner.  

Tell Tommy I love him
Tell Tommy I miss him
Tell him though I may try
My love for him will never die.

Although he wanted to give me the world
Why did he do such a reckless thing
Little star he should have realized
I was richer than a queen when he looked into my eyes.

Tell Tommy I love him
Tell Tommy I miss him
Tell him though I may try
My love for him will never die.

Tell Tommy I miss him.
Tell Tommy I miss him…

     As we exited the restaurant I glanced across the street at the park on the Ohio River edge. This was the site of a fort and rows of huts were built to house the French 500, émigrés who were the first settlers of Gallipolis. They arrived on October 17, 1790, almost six months after setting their feet on American soil in Alexandria, Virginia.

 

     If you find yourself in Gallipolis might I suggest you eat at the Parkfront Diner  & Bakery. You won’t be disappointed.

ADDITIONAL READING:

The Start of Marietta and Gallipolis in Ohio

The French military in America during the American Revolution Part 1

Native American Warfare on the Western Frontier

ALEXANDRIA, D. C. (Virginia) IN THE 1790s

1790’s PAMPHLETEERING VERSUS 2000′S BLOGGING

From the Bastille to Cinderella

Madame Rosalie de la Val: A Character Sketch

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