Remember Tony Kontos?
I don’t recall ever using poetry in the column, but this is too good to pass up. It comes from my friend, Chuck Powers, the retired library administrator, who tells me he found it in some old papers he was going through the other day.
Now I am afraid only the senior readers of this column will remember the New York Restaurant and its owner Tony Kontos. It was on Commerce at the right side where the Commerce Street Creamery is today, and let me tell you, it was the downtown social center. Tony carried it on for a half-century back in the early part of the 1900s. I believe he died in 1976.
This poem was written by Caroline Hoyt and I am not familiar with her name, but the Hoyt name is familiar. Anyway, let her take up most of this week’s visit:
“A Day at the New York Restaurant”
Somewhere between the hours of eight and nine The Restaurant doors swing open The coffee is ready and tastes just fine
The business day in Centreville has begun.
The Prices come in; Mayor El and Bob The Bills; Cross and Freestate. Fishing and boating are topics of the day ...
“How many did you catch? What did you use for bait?” Kate Everett comes in for coffee. Bob Brown wants a beer. This lady is selling fresh vegetables. Nice to see all the folks here. Where’s Bertha today? The question is posed.
I guess you might say “She’s indisposed.”
Julia’s out in the kitchen; Thelma’s working today. The little Greek will be down soon To see if everything’s okay. Very soon it is time for lunch. They all begin to congregate. Doctors, lawyers, druggists, nurses
Some come early, some come late. Judges, clerks, and salesmen, too. It looks like a list of Centreville’s Who’s Who.
Kader, Latshaw, Chanaud, Wood and Connor
Downs, Anthony, Yates, Elmer T. and Hackett Turner.
Whether its soft crabs or steak or corned beef and iced tea ... The orders are filled to perfection The orders are filled to a T. After lunch, life quiets down The help gets a chance to eat Then the run game begins once
But it still puzzles me that the two coins which must have been enclosed in hundreds, maybe thousands, of begging letters could not have been put to better use by these people.
••• THE OLD WYE MILL The latest issue of Shore Home and Garden, published by my old friend Ralph Hostetter, had a lengthy feature on the old Wye Mill with a number of pictures.
Now over the years, I have written quite a bit about the old mill and how it still grinds flour for customers the first and third Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. But the story’s author called it the oldest continuously operating grist mill in Maryland. I do not recall saying it was the oldest in the nation. Then again, my memory is hazy at this age.
But pick up a copy of the free magazine and read all about our grist mill that gives Wye Mills its name.
••• AN HISTORIC NOTE I always look at the THIS DAY IN HISTORY, a small feature in the Sun each day. The Sunday issue said that on that day in history in 1931 (May 1), the Empire State Building was dedicated in New York City.
It reminded me that John J. Raskob was responsible for building that historic structure, and he once owned Pioneer Point Farms, outside Centreville. I never got the chance to meet Mr. Raskob but did attend Boy Scout Camp Rodney one summer with one of his sons, Ben. Mr. Raskob was very kind to Centreville, he built Our Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church. Raskob was at one time chief executive at General Motors and chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The Raskobs had 13 children.