I had no idea the Howard Johnson's restaurant chain was down to two restaurants in the entire United States. Come September 6th they'll be down to only ONE. I couldn't believe my eyes when I read that in this morning's Houston Chronicle.
I guess I should have realized since I haven't seen a Howard Johnson's in years. When I first moved to the Houston area in 1981 there was one on the Gulf Freeway, but I guess that's been gone for a number of years. I just assumed they still existed somewhere else.
When I was growing up in the 1950's we went to Florida every year for either Christmas or Easter. We drove from New Jersey to Florida and back again. My mother insisted that Howard Johnson's always had clean ladies rooms, so that was a regular stop along the way. I didn't mind one bit since I loved their hotdogs. Back then there weren't that many chains. No McDonald's, Burger King, etc. It was more of the Mom and Pop type places.
This slide was taken in July of 1954. I don't know exactly where, but I'm pretty certain it must have been somewhere between New Jersey and Florida. (You can click on it to enlarge for a better view.)
Of course, my sister and I were always dressed exactly alike...right down to our underwear I'm sure. In a lot of the old slides we are often dressed up. I think we must have gone all the way to Florida in dresses and patent leather shoes. My mother is often wearing high heels just like June Cleaver. Times sure have changed!
Although I'm now 70 years old I can still close my eyes and smell and taste a yummy Howard Johnson's hot dog. It was covered with grease and so so good. I always enjoyed those Howard Johnson's stops because it was a nice break from my parents arguing. My mother never liked the way my father drove and found it necessary to correct him. For the first day or so he didn't mind, but after that the arguments would begin. I'd watch for that familiar orange roof in anticipation. Yea! We could get out of the car!
According to the newspaper after September 6th the only Howard Johnson's restaurant in America will be in Lake George, New York. If it wasn't that far I'd sure like to go one more time for old time's sake.
I did find a couple of websites with Howard Johnson's memories.: America's Landmark: Under The Orange Roof and HoJo Land.
If you'd like to own some Howard Johnson's memories of your very own there's always eBay. I took a look and there are postcards, plates, glasses, matches, etc. up for auction. Perhaps you could use a Howard Johnson's ash tray? Click here.
Anyone else with Howard Johnson's memories? If so, you're probably over 60!