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My Sincere Appreciation to Car Hops

Kenneth Avery is a Southern humorist with well over a thousand fans. The charm and wit in his writing span a nearly a decade.

Ahhh, the 50’s. What a grand time to be alive with the many iconic events and people who went though our lives in this blessed era. Elvis; Little Richard; Buddy Holly and Patsy Cline were only a few, (and I must emphasize ‘few’) because there were lots more historic events and the people who laid the foundation of our lives today.

Sure, I am getting corny. I couldn’t care less. I love being corny, but only if it is necessary and folks, today, it is most-definitely necessary. All folks of my age, honestly, were too young to seize those good memories because we were merely kids, but at least we were blessed to hear them. The now-late Dick Clark, American Bandstand, Nino Tempo and his sister, April Stevens, with their award-winning hit, “Deep Purple.” To be transparent, I have never understood everything about this smooth sound, but enough to make me happy. That is all that matters.

When Elvis was putting his pelvis into high gear, kids of this precious time, had one thing in common: hunger. Yes, hunger. Good things must be put into their stomachs. Eat with the parents. Are you losing your mind? You eat where the hamburgers are greasy and the fellowship is great, sometimes, because more than one, a few fist-fights broke-out thanks to jealous boyfriends. But we did not see jealous girlfriends who wanted to claw the eyes out of their rivals. My point: females, even then, had more class than the males.

The late Beatrice Colen, probably the most-famous carhop ever.

The late Beatrice Colen, probably the most-famous carhop ever.

Carhops have been around since the first slice of ground chuck was placed inside a bun. A vintage carhop is seen in this video. I think that she is a doll. Speaking of dolls, the carhop seen on Happy Days was the now late, Beatrice Colen and did an outstanding job. After the show wrapped, I still wonder if she got any other sitcom or dramatic parts.

Sadly, there was this time when folks, mostly guys, thought of carhops only as a sex symbol. Sure most carhops in the 50’s, did wear skimpy skirts and their hair teased so much that a strong wind could take her from the ground, but the carhop that I want you to see are those in the videos seen on this hub, Beatrice Colen included, meant one word: class. And they displayed the sharp adjective on each shift that they worked. And make no mistake. Some carhops were as tough as some bullies who wanted to tease them to get a rise from the girls on wheels. Yes, some carhops were tougher than the bullies that seem to show up just like a head cold. Who could blame them for standing their ground?

Just like a passing dream that we’d do our best to keep in our memories, carhops, like the restaurants where they worked, somehow vanished away in some foggy night while we were sleeping. One week to their passing, I, like my buddies, would park in the crowd of cars and trucks who were doing the same thing and catch-up on daily life with our friends. But when “that” one carhop came to deliver our orders, all talk ceased and our eyes went into gear. Hamilton, Ala., where I live, had three restaurants, but only one had carhops.

Golden memories.

Golden memories.

I sat in the car with a buddy of mine and she came out to take our orders and just the soft scent of her perfume was pure dynamite. 100,000 volts of lightning volts up and down our spines. She was that good looking. She was friendly, but not to the point of flirty. Not that she was unable to flirt, it was as we all thought that we feared her and that smoldering temper that lay behind her pretty skin.

Another sad fact that I uncovered was even back in the early days, carhops did not make that much for their work. Mostly barely made fifty-cents and hour and a stern percentage of their orders. How much money they carried home did depend on their attitudes and personality.

The carhop that we met had them both. So much so that we would save our scratch and head to her job site every Friday night. But it took us two Friday night’s to realize that she had left to take a better job. We almost cried. But jumped for joy her to be a big success.

This isn't Beatrice Colen, but a look back into history.

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© 2022 Kenneth Avery

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