Fast food, fun times: Restaurant memories spur warm feelings

When my older sister Chris was a teenager, she worked at the Bunny Bread factory on West Washington Street. It was warm in the area in which she worked, she told us, and it, of course, smelled of bread. That’s about all I remember about her actual job.

When she worked there, I was probably 6 or 7. The reason her employment stayed in my mind at all, most likely, was because it was a summer job and some nights, when my brothers drove the 10 miles or so from our house to the factory to fetch her home, they let me ride along.

Not always, mind you. Some nights she was permitted to take the family car and drive herself to work but on a few of those evenings, when her shift was over at 11 p.m., my older brothers would give in to my whining and let me be part of the trip.

The most exciting part of this was stopping at Sandy’s – which is the only fast food place I recall from my early youth. We’d all throw whatever money we had together before we left the house and when we got to “the big city,” we’d pull in to the lot, which if memory serves, is where the Burger King now stands, and we’d drive away with a hot, salty portion or two of french fries or perhaps even burger or two.

We would then pick up Chris at Bunny Bread and the four of us would dig into the rare treat.

All of which amazed some young friends when we had a discussion about fast food recently. Fast food has been a part of their lives forever. For people in my age bracket who lived in Marquette County, it has been an evolution of sorts.

First, in relating my memories, I had to explain that trips to Marquette from my home were not done frequently for mom or us kids. My dad might have headed there more often but because we had one good car and then my dad’s work truck, wheels weren’t always available to us.

By the by, my dad’s work truck was pink inside, not from the manufacturer, but because he drove it to work at a mine property at which the dust was red and plentiful.

Second, my recollection is Sandy’s didn’t have any counterparts, for our household at least, other than the seasonal A&W Root Beer stand along U.S. 41 in the city of Negaunee. So getting “fast” food just wasn’t typically a consideration high on the list of probability.

In fact, the first time I ever went to a McDonald’s, it was on a family vacation to Connecticut. My cousin Kathy’s grandma Helen Collins, who we were visiting, was a bit astounded I didn’t really know what McDonald’s was when she asked if we’d like to have lunch there.

Eventually, fast food restaurants started appearing on the local landscape and when I myself was a teen, it was considered cool – groovy, even – to grab a burger at one of these places.

To younger generations, fast food is not a big deal as it is so prevalent, it seems a given that you’re not that far from one of these restaurants at any given time.

But me, I miss Sandy’s and the A&W and a few other iconic spots of my youth, like the Airport Drive-In Theater. Attending a drive-in movie is something the Netflix generation may never get to experience, but I wouldn’t trade the memories of those old-fashioned days of the speaker on the rolled down car window and the concession stand staffed by sisters Lois Sarasin and Betty Oja who were adorable and fun and funny.

The Sandy’s girl is part of the signage of Pasquali’s in Negaunee and I drive by it almost every day. Sometimes I look at it and smile thinking back to those hot summer nights when I’d ride home with my siblings, munching on fries and thinking times like that would last forever.

Wonderful memories, for sure.

Editor’s note: Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 240.

Fast food, fun times: Restaurant memories spur warm feelings

When my older sister Chris was a teenager, she worked at the Bunny Bread factory on West Washington Street. It was warm in the area in which she worked, she told us, and it, of course, smelled of bread. That’s about all I remember about her actual job.

When she worked there, I was probably 6 or 7. The reason her employment stayed in my mind at all, most likely, was because it was a summer job and some nights, when my brothers drove the 10 miles or so from our house to the factory to fetch her home, they let me ride along.

Not always, mind you. Some nights she was permitted to take the family car and drive herself to work but on a few of those evenings, when her shift was over at 11 p.m., my older brothers would give in to my whining and let me be part of the trip.

The most exciting part of this was stopping at Sandy’s – which is the only fast food place I recall from my early youth. We’d all throw whatever money we had together before we left the house and when we got to “the big city,” we’d pull in to the lot, which if memory serves, is where the Burger King now stands, and we’d drive away with a hot, salty portion or two of french fries or perhaps even burger or two.

We would then pick up Chris at Bunny Bread and the four of us would dig into the rare treat.

All of which amazed some young friends when we had a discussion about fast food recently. Fast food has been a part of their lives forever. For people in my age bracket who lived in Marquette County, it has been an evolution of sorts.

First, in relating my memories, I had to explain that trips to Marquette from my home were not done frequently for mom or us kids. My dad might have headed there more often but because we had one good car and then my dad’s work truck, wheels weren’t always available to us.

By the by, my dad’s work truck was pink inside, not from the manufacturer, but because he drove it to work at a mine property at which the dust was red and plentiful.

Second, my recollection is Sandy’s didn’t have any counterparts, for our household at least, other than the seasonal A&W Root Beer stand along U.S. 41 in the city of Negaunee. So getting “fast” food just wasn’t typically a consideration high on the list of probability.

In fact, the first time I ever went to a McDonald’s, it was on a family vacation to Connecticut. My cousin Kathy’s grandma Helen Collins, who we were visiting, was a bit astounded I didn’t really know what McDonald’s was when she asked if we’d like to have lunch there.

Eventually, fast food restaurants started appearing on the local landscape and when I myself was a teen, it was considered cool – groovy, even – to grab a burger at one of these places.

To younger generations, fast food is not a big deal as it is so prevalent, it seems a given that you’re not that far from one of these restaurants at any given time.

But me, I miss Sandy’s and the A&W and a few other iconic spots of my youth, like the Airport Drive-In Theater. Attending a drive-in movie is something the Netflix generation may never get to experience, but I wouldn’t trade the memories of those old-fashioned days of the speaker on the rolled down car window and the concession stand staffed by sisters Lois Sarasin and Betty Oja who were adorable and fun and funny.

The Sandy’s girl is part of the signage of Pasquali’s in Negaunee and I drive by it almost every day. Sometimes I look at it and smile thinking back to those hot summer nights when I’d ride home with my siblings, munching on fries and thinking times like that would last forever.

Wonderful memories, for sure.

Editor’s note: Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 240. Her email address is rprusi@miningjournal.net.