It opened on Valentine’s Day, and Down Memory Lane, featuring Mosey’s Cafe was certainly loved by those who came to Heritage Hall in Slater to celebrate.
The Slater Area Historical Association (SAHA) held a gathering last Thursday for an exhibit that blended photos and most of all, memories and stories about the community’s past. Mosey’s Cafe was run by Thelma and Stan Mosey for 40-some years, from 1923 into the 1960s.
The Hall was packed with people who upon arrival were served homemade pie (just like what was served at Mosey’s in the day). As they enjoyed their pie, a program started and featured several speakers and many fond memories.
One of the speakers was Myrna (Gibson) Harmon, who, along with her sisters, Elaine and Marcia, worked at the cafe during the 1950s. Harmon read and talked about memories she had gathered for the Slater Centennial book that she brought along.
One memory was of the huge iron heat register which was right in the middle of the floor when customers came in the door… “penny candy case to the left, counter and ice cream case to the right, and cigarette and tobacco case straight ahead and behind them Mosey’s kitchen.”
“Mosey” was not only the last name of Stan and Thelma, but also the nickname for Thelma, who was praised by many who remembered her for her incredible cooking and baking abilities, which made Mosey’s a wonderful place to eat.
“I remember Mosey wrapping her legs before starting another day,” Harmon read, about the beige cotton strips, similar to an ace bandage, that Thelma used for strength and stability, I suppose knowing she had a long day ahead of her. “She’d made at least five pies every morning, cooked a beef roast and another kind of meat, peeled and mashed potatoes, made a Jell-O and lettuce salad, heated a vegetable, made gravy from the roast drippings and cut butter to be served with the sliced bread.”
The cost of a Mosey’s meal sent a little chorus of hushed whispers through the crowd. A meal of meat, potatoes, vegetable, salad and a beverage was 77 cents with tax.
“If you wanted pie, it was 82 cents, and 87 cents if you had ice cream on the pie,” Harmon said.
She remembered running to Daggett’s, Pautvein’s or Christianson’s grocery stores if the restaurant was out of something they needed. That’s right, there were once three grocery stores in Slater.
Wayne Rimathe had dressed in farmer bibs for the presentation because he remembered how having dinner — what they called the noontime meal, he emphasized — at Mosey’s during a day of shelling corn was a real treat. He also shared memories of being a kid and getting treated to a “nickel Pepsi” in a bottle.
“I’d keep my lips together so it’d last longer.”
Harmon said pop was cooled in a cold water pop cooler, and each bottle had to be dried off before it was served.
Don Rimathe told about a little John Deere tractor toy, part of the display, that he’d once bought at Mosey’s, where there were a few on hand at the exhibit; and he also knew a little bit about the antique cash register that was being displayed.
It’s unknown if the cash register is the exact one that was in Mosey’s Cafe, but many heads nodded that it sure looked familiar.
Don Rimathe said it was given to the SAHA by Kay Finch, whose mother Marcia had purchased it at an auction a year ago that was held next to Daggett’s Grocery. It had been sitting in the Finch’s basement near Kelley, and when Kay was loading it up, he was upset that it seemed to be broken.
“The drawer wouldn’t open and the 7 was sticking up,” Don said.
But, remarkably, after hauling it to town in the back of his pickup, Don reported, “by the time we got it here, it worked.” He said the cash register seems to ring up to the highest amount of $1.99.
Another memory shared by Wayne Rimathe during the program was how some kids wised up to the fact that if they went in for an ice cream cone when Thelma was the one serving, they got more ice cream on their cone. “Stan was a little chintzy,” he said.
During the program, many names of people who once lived in Slater came up, like Mr. Lee, the shoe man who would sit at the last stool on the north to eat dinner every day; Mr. Hammond, the town cop, who kept an eye on the restaurant at night; Ralph Pirkey, the railroad man, who tried to convince Harmon that coffee was the best thing to drink on a 90-degree day; Mrs. Lande, who ran the drug store and always looked very nice; and more.
Stay tuned for more programs about Slater’s history. You can follow events on the Slater Area Historical Society’s Facebook page, or on its website: www.slaterhistory.org.
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