by Otto Ringle
Here we are in Fountain Hills, Ariz., but my thoughts are about home. When one approaches 90 years gone past, memory begins to fade away.
Today I am desperately trying to recall the name of the store that was where Walker Bay Coffee is now. Eighty years ago I was a paperboy on the main street of Walker, and I should remember.
Let’s see; if we begin at the corner of Fifth Street, on the south side of main street and head west, today there is Lundrigan’s, which used to be Dick Lundquist’s Gamble Store. Next to Lundrigan’s today is H&R Block; then Walker Cleaners; then the coffee shop.
Ed and Mabel Lundrigan bought Dick Lundquist’s building and expanded their store, as the original Lundrigan’s used to be where H&R Block is now. Hanson’s Meat Market used to be where Walker Cleaners is now, and Cliff Coomb’s Radio and TV used to be where Walker Bay Coffee is now. Hooray; that’s it; the Radio and TV shop;.
Seeing those words on paper brings back memories and perhaps you as readers might recall those mainstreet businesses and have stories of your own to tell.
However before we talk about Walker Bay Coffee, permit me to tell you a little about those other businesses as I remember them. Dick Lundquist was a great guy; always friendly, congenial and benevolent, and he always gave me a big tip when he paid his weekly newspaper bill. Ed and Mabel Lundrigan were great friends of my parents, Otto and Clara. Ed and Otto played golf together and both were very active in Tianna country Club. Mabel and Clara were both very active in the Walker Garden Club and also with their annual flower show, held in the Community Building, where the post office is now.
Harold and Anita Hanson had a son named Dave, who was a classmate of mine in kindergarten 84 years ago. Dave and I are still very good friends and recently celebrated our 70th class reunion from the old Walker-Hackensack School. Hanson’s meat market was one of six groceries in Walker. However, Harold very intelligently kept up with all that competition by putting [food] lockers in the back off the store.
Those were the days before electric refrigerators and people had ice boxes to keep their food fresh. I can still see the water dropping from a huge block of ice, as Joe O’Connor carried it through our living room to place it in our old ice box.
I not only delivered newspapers to Cliff Combs but I was a very good customer of his, as he also sold 78 rpm phonograph records in his shop. As soon as a new record came out, I was the first to use my paper money and buy it. Eddy Howard’s rendition of “To Each His own,” “The Gypsy,” song by the Ink Spots, and of course Ol’ Blue Eyes singing, “Five Minutes More.”
So Walker Bay Coffee is where Walker Radio and TV store used to be about 80 years ago, and since I am not a coffee drinker, I asked my good friend, Alice Groth (who goes there for her daily latte), to tell me what she knows about the owner ,Diana Pratt. Alice described Diana as “a very loving, spiritual, caring person,” but went on to tell me that I had it all wrong!! Diana Pratt does not own Walker Bay Coffee. Deb Holloway owns it! Diana’s only connection to the popular place is that she and Alice go there every Thursday morning to, in their words, “lift each other up.” Alice went on to tell me that Diana is very active at Calvary church and every Tuesday morning, leads their women’s Bible study. This is not surprising, since Diana came from a missionary family back in Iowa.
Although I had it all wrong as to the owner of Walker Bay Coffee, I once received a very nice email from Diana Pratt. She wrote the following:
“I just want to say how much I really enjoy your column. My husband and I moved to Walker in 2011 and prior to that, we vacationed on Cass Lake. So in terms of most of the people who live here, we are still newbies. I love to hear stories of Walker that you tell in your columns. You are a word craftsman, and I can see in my mind what you describe in your columns. I was wondering if someone has put all your columns into some kind of a book. I would love to purchase a copy if there is one I have learned so much from you about the beautiful place I now call my home. Keep writing, my friend. I can’t wait to read your next column, Kindest regards, Diana Pratt.”
Thank you for your kind words, Diana. It just so happens, such a book was published, and Diana was one of the first to receive a copy. Also my sincere apologies to Deb Holloway, who was the correct owner of Walker Bay Coffee. Deb recently sold her coffee shop and we all thank her for her many years of service to the coffee drinkers of our little town. Good luck, Deb, in your future endeavors, and Godspeed!