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The rest of the birthday story

The meatloaf was stellar. Mom made two meatloaves, actually. (Meatloafs? No, that would be a certain 70s rock singer and his doppelgänger.) One was "plain" and one was Mexican—it contained red and green peppers and some other seasoning. The cake was good, but I will have very pleasant fantasies about the ice cream, which was Stroh's brand Sanders Bumpy Cake: vanilla ice cream with bits of frosting from their locally famous chocolate butter cream frosting cake. I may have to go visit my mom this week. Frequently.

(Yes, the beer Stroh's. Stroh's Ice Cream was founded by the Stroh's brewery founders in 1919 to tide the company over during Prohibition. [link])

We also did get to take the telescope out, we being me, Mom, my nephew, and Wolf. It looked doubtful right up until sundown, but the skies cleared. My nephew set up the 'scope on the hill behind Mom's apartment complex, and we spent about 45 minutes aligning it and trying to look at stars. We ran into two roadblocks. One was our inexperience, which made us fumble a lot with the controls on the telescope. (It has lots of them, and a sophisticated remote unit to operate them). The other roadblock was all the ambient light from the surrounding suburbia. Sirius was bright, as were some of the bright stars in Orion, but Polaris was very dim, and we couldn't even find Saturn which I think is still supposed to be visible. It was fun, though. Next time we'll do better, I'm sure.



( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 28th, 2006 01:29 am (UTC)
Good God! Stroh's ice cream? I had no idea you could still get that. OMG, I need to visit southeastern Michigan again. I haven't been there in 13 years, and the last one was just for a funeral and right back home. Before that it must have been something like 1978 or so. Yeah, that would be about right.

Vernor's we have here now, if we hunt for it a bit. Sanders I get by mail order. But Stroh's ice cream! My mom used to buy that in pint containers. Not like the little round Ben and Jerry's or Hagendaz ones, these looked like today's one pound margarine box. Flat and square to fit into the freezer compartment in those old 1950s refrigerators that really only had room for two ice trays in there. It wouldn't stay frozen, but would keep for a couple of hours, so she would make a special trip for it just before starting dinner and we'd have to eat it all that night. Not hard to do, the pint got divided four ways: Mom and Dad, older brother, and me. Younger brother was too small to know the difference yet so he got pudding or something I guess.

Probably compared to some of today's premium ice creams, or the really good stuff I've had at places that make their own, it wouldn't be much, but jeez, what a nostalgia trip.
Mar. 29th, 2006 12:24 am (UTC)
I think Stroh's Ice Cream is owned by another company now. I'm not sure. They probably don't market it outside metro Detroit, or maybe Michigan and possibly the Toledo, Ohio area. Sure is good, though. I think it's priced like most of the premium brands here.

Stroh's, Faygo, Better Made.... a lot of the good stuff is still here. :)
Mar. 29th, 2006 01:16 am (UTC)
Faygo was more funny commercials than anything really good in my opinion. And in lieu of Better Made I'd take Krun-chee or New Era, both of which are long gone.

Is there still Stroh's beer too? Not that it was that great, but the name was certainly Detroit.

Probably we'd have had some cheaper kind of ice cream, like maybe Sealtest, but the Stroh's came in a suitably sized box to fit in that ice compartment of the Philco refrigerator. I can remember those funny boxes very well.
Mar. 29th, 2006 04:20 pm (UTC)
Stroh's beer is still around, but it's hard to find. You'd think with Anheuser Bush behind it, that wouldn't be so, but I think they're more interested in pushing their national brands.

New Era... sigh... those were the days. But I think Krun-Chee is ... no, I'm thinking of Krunchers, which I've seen at the 7-Elevens lately.
Mar. 28th, 2006 03:57 am (UTC)
damn i miss sanders, my gramma used to take me there once a month when i was little. did you ever go to the one on houston-whittier n kelly? oh and that little diner in kresges. omg, all of a sudden i feel old.

yeah huh? that reflective light has to go and ruin everything.. night before last out here in cow town was as if you could pluck a star right from the sky with your fingertips. shooting stars everywhere. i think your telescope calls for a road trip. go find you a good spot up north a ways.
Mar. 29th, 2006 12:28 am (UTC)
We're thinking (well, I am, I guess) of just heading north either to Port Huron or up Van Dyke Ave. (M-53) up into the Thumb. Then we'd pull over on a dirt road and set up the telescope there. I'm not quite sure if that's the best approach, but the problem with parks is that they tend to close at 10, and in the summer the sky might not even be dark by then. I'll probably have to take a "dry run" drive first to get an idea of good locations. Good thing I like driving.

We didn't go to Sanders stores much. I know we got their ice cream toppings and Bumpy Cakes, but I guess either Dad went and brought it back or we got them at grocery stores. They just opened a new Sanders store in downtown Grosse Pointe, and there's one at Oakland Mall. I don't know if the one at Houston-Whittier and Kelly is still there -- that would've been the one we went to if we did go, because I think it was the closest one to where we lived when I was a kidlet.
Mar. 29th, 2006 01:21 am (UTC)
Heh. Now *I* can remember the downtown Sanders store, right next to the J.C.Whitney Building I think it was. The candy store was in the storefront and downstairs there was a diner with a huge marble counter that ran all the way around, encircling the waitresses in the middle except for one little aisle that went back to the kitchen. Boy, did that ever get busy at lunch time. People would line up behind your seat, waiting for their turn.
Mar. 29th, 2006 04:26 pm (UTC)
I remember hearing about the Sanders lunch counter from some older former co-workers here when the office was located downtown. I think I missed out on it, because I didn't start working downtown until 1985 (mom and dad never took us downtown, for some reason).
Mar. 29th, 2006 07:13 pm (UTC)
My memory corrects itself. "David Whitney" building. "J.C. Whitney" is a Chicago-based seller of automotive parts.

My mom took us downtown fairly often. She had worked there herself when she was younger, so was very familiar with the way around the narrow one way streets and such, and had shopping places she favored there such as the old J.L. Hudson main store. She had worked as a dental assistant for two different dentists both of whom had offices in the Whitney building, I think.

Anyway, I just barely remember some occasion when she had an appointment for something down there around lunch time, and dropped me in Sanders with a couple of bucks and instructions to get myself lunch and meet her afterward. Crowds have never been my favorite thing, but I survived it.
Mar. 29th, 2006 01:39 am (UTC)
oh, do this quick, check this out... http://astro4.ast.villanova.edu/ar/april012006.htm

look what it says about april fools day:)

theres a cool pic on what it should look like:)
Mar. 29th, 2006 04:24 pm (UTC)
Wow, that's really cool :)
Mar. 30th, 2006 12:35 am (UTC)
Happy Birthday!
Thanks for the info on that cake and Stroh's ice cream. Fascinating.

I linked to you on my blog. I'm sure beer-lovers everywhere are plotting how far away Michigan is.

Apr. 4th, 2006 04:30 am (UTC)
Re: Happy Birthday!
Hey cool. Thanks! Glad I could help. :)
Nov. 1st, 2006 03:21 pm (UTC)
Stroh's, Saunders, Vernor's
I was born in Detroit but lived in the burbs for a few years. Boy do I remember Stroh's ice cream, the bump cake and Vernor's. 30 years ago while working in N California a bakery started carrying the bump cake and I thought i had died and gone to heaven. Only see Vernor's in LA. The mention of the Saunder's lunch counter brings back old and good memories. Like my American Flyer train set.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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