Family Affair: The Blue Bell

She’s the one on the left. No idea who that guy is on the right…

Continuing the saga that is the life of my family, here is my sister Mandy. She’s the 3rd oldest (or, as she would prefer, the 4th youngest) and this is her memory of my parents’ “family-owned” restaurant. I put “family-owned” in quotes because it was REALLY owned by my parents…but we say “family-owned” because we all peeled potatos & washed dishes there at one point or another…

The Blue Bell was the restaurant that our parents owned during the 70’s and early 80’s. It was located right on the town square in McConnelsville, so it was a fairly popular place. Well, at least it seemed that way to me. I remember the “cafeteria line” for people who just wanted to quickly get whatever the day’s special was, and the candy counter near the register. How mom ever kept us out of that I’ll never know.

There was a big round booth towards the back of the restaurant, which was perfect for fitting all 8 of us when we would eat dinner together. I remember how Frank used to put ketchup on everything, and one day when he was probably 5-6 years old he ordered a “hot beef and gravy” (open faced roast beef sandwich) because that’s what I always got, and he dumped ketchup right on top of the gravy. Yuck!

I also remember the “party room” upstairs, where they would host banquets or rotary meetings. On the days when mom couldn’t get a babysitter (this was before Alan was old enough to be trusted to lock us out of the house (editors note: HEY!)) she would bring us to work and just let us play in the party room for a few hours. We would play red-light-green-light and all those games, and inevitably mom would have to come up and tell us to quiet down when we got too loud. There was also a room connected to the party room that we were never allowed to go into. Mom used to tell us that it was dangerous or haunted or something, but it turns out that was just where she hid our Christmas presents (which she bought all year long, since there were so many of us to shop for).

During the summer, we would walk around the block, and play on the “lions” that decorated the steps of the dentist office next door. We would also run back and forth across the street (which we young ones were not allowed to do), just to prove that we could do it. As we got a little older, dad put us all to work back in the kitchen. Alan may have gotten paid to wash dishes (editors note: somehow I doubt it), but the rest of us never saw a dime for the thousands of potatos we peeled! Kathy & I (ages 7 & 8 or so) used to race the employees to see who could peel the fastest and strangely we always won. Hmmm…

Dad made the most awesome homemade ice cream for the restaurant. Every time he made a fresh batch, we would all gather around to get a little bowl of it while it was still soft. C’mon Alan, you have to admit that stuff was even better than your beloved Graeters! Or Chunky Monkey for that matter. 😉 (editors note: yes…it WAS pretty good! But no chunks! The secret is CHUNKS)

Well, mom & dad sold the Blue Bell and “retired” when I was in 4th grade. Dad tried to keep occupied cooking us pancakes and experimenting in the kitchen, but they must have gotten bored pretty quickly because a year later they decided to start running Mickey’s.

And that is where THAT story ends and another one begins. Who wants to write about Mickey’s? Frank? Amber? Kathy? Anyone? Hmmmm…I’ll give it some time and then I might have to write something. Wouldn’t want to leave you hangin’…

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10 Responses to Family Affair: The Blue Bell

  1. Amber says:

    Kathy should do Mickey’s, she knew it best. Some of my first and favorite memories are in that party room upstairs. Also, it was in that booth for my birthday party that I found out that I would never be the same age as my best friend because she was a couple months older than me. I was so upset! I wanted us to be the same age soooo bad!I also remember catching gummy worms from a fire truck when the parade came through. And the dime store, that never wanted to charge us for anything, but mom always paid because she wanted us to learn that you can’t just take things. We had such a great childhood! Thanks Mom and Dad. I think I am getting inspired…

    Yeah…I’m getting inspired also! And I agree…Kathy SHOULD write about Mickey’s!

  2. Mmmm. Chunks ! Every time I read your posts
    I get hungry. There is always talk of restaurant,
    or a picture of grub. I think your blog has been
    adding inches to my waste. You need to start
    another page, and call it “The Food Dude”.

    Funny thing is…I can’t cook a lick!

  3. Whoops… I meant inches to my WAIST.
    Well… I guess “waste” works as well…
    But in the most horrible way imaginable.
    🙂 LOL !!!

  4. RUTH ANN says:

    Wow I remember all that like it was yesterday. I remember always sneaking up to the third floor and always wondering if the floor was gonna fall in. LOL

  5. kat says:

    Does anyone remember when we would go through the cafe line that dad would be at the register and he would add up what we kids “owed” ? He would always charge like 2 hugs and a kiss:) I just loved that… he’s so sweet:)

    Nope. Don’t remember that…

  6. mandy says:

    The reason it took so long for me to submit my “memory” to you was because I KNEW you were going to post a gosh-awful photo with it. Couldn’t you have used one of the one’s from Ruthann’s wedding or something? Preferably the one that I look skinny in? Yeesh.

    Well…I wanted to put a picture of the Blue Bell on there…but I’m on the road and didn’t have one. Which was also the case for having any other pictures. So…I was stuck. I only bring so many and I have a few more with you in them…but this one worked! If you would like…I could post some more pics! Let me know! Love you! 🙂

  7. Amber says:

    Are you kidding Mandy? When he gets mine he’s gonna post the corn picture again, I just know it.

  8. Mom says:

    I LOOOVE reading this blog!!!!!

  9. mandy says:

    C’mon Alan, ever heard of the “internet” thingy? Here’s a picture of the Blue Bell for you (albeit a bit changed from the way it looked in 1984).

    Blue Bell

  10. mandy says:

    Amber, I know! I knew it was either going to be this (awful!) one of me, or else one of the “yoga” pix where I’m standing on my head 🙂

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