Hard Times call for Hard Hats!!!

June 12, 2008

These hard hats were sent to us through Emily Priddy from Mike, a friend of Route 66. After reading the blog, he saw we were in need of hard hats and promptly mailed us additional hats (6 in total). Alexis, Paul, and I decided we would decorate our hard hats! This is so great as we are having a cleaning crew come Sunday evening.  Several of our Stroud teenagers will be helping to clean out the Rock.  We have a total of 9 hard hats with the two Emily and Ron donated and the 1 my mom found at a garage sale. Today we removed several Rock and the hats were awesome.


We created an assembly line to remove the rocks. We made piles of big rock, small rock, and mortar. Ha we aren’t sure why we are keeping mortar but thought people may like to have a piece of it since we intend to mortar back our life here. 

Casey Longacre, my nephew, was my guest help today. Paul was showing him around the site and how things operate.

This is Lex taking a break and doin what teens do. The funny thing about today is that Alexis and I have been working so much up here that when we got ready to go to the site today we both had long socks on. Small pieces of debris was getting into our shoes and it was very painful. So we both just laughed today when we had not discussed with each other but we both had big ugly socks on. Mine were halloween themed and hers were all the way above her knees.

It seems I end all of these with a Thank You. But goodness it seems that mankind has certainly come to our rescue and I couldn’t be more thankful for it. I can’t wait to make the biggest thank you dinner ever and have everyone over for a big ole’ heaping bowl of yummy gratitude.

Saturday’s Pink Lemonade Stand

June 12, 2008

We love our small school system in Stroud and our children seem to excell here. They both are very active in sports and academics. The adminstrators and teachers are very active in knowing your children. Alexis is a Stroud Middle School cheerleader something I support but with much guideance on how to handle a school career. Meaning not to place too much in the importance of cheerleading but also put your all into the sport if you choose to do it. So without boring you with the long version of that story, Alexis usually pays for her uniforms and such with the money she earns at the Rock Cafe. This year she hasn’t had the ability to completely pay off her cheer debt. HA

We’ve decided that for the next two Saturdays and maybe some in between she will have somewhat of a pink lemonade stand with maybe some cobbler or bread pudding set up at the Rock for tourists to have a cold drink and speak to us about the rebuilding. Its very inpromptu and shouldn’t be anything people should run over to do. But we thought it would be one way for her to earn her camp money.


Small Business – Corporate Business

June 12, 2008

Meet Joel.  He is my food supplier for all the wonderful meals we make at the Rock. He sells for Ben E. Keith. (Small Paul Welch took this picture. Its very well done for a 7 year old)  For insurance purposes, he was kind enough to bring by all my reciepts for May.  Since the originals burned in the fire. Joel was on my short list of phone calls the night of the fire.  We had a food truck coming the next day and I wanted to be sure it was canceled since there would be no reason for the delivery. I was able to make this phone call late late at night because Joel as become part of our Rock Cafe family.  He has been exposed to Beverly and I’s bad tempers when things don’t go well getting our food orders.  He has very funny sayings like “mayday” and “o that didn’t go very smurfy” that seems to do one of two things;make us laugh or more mad. The point of this entry is that so many people try to divide small business from corporate business. I’ve always believed there is room in the world for both. I hope that anyone who operates a small business can learn how to use the corporate world to their business’ benefit. Certainly, in our case we have been able to take utilize services offered from our corporations. Walmart, Target, Ben E Keith, Home Depot, Sears, Hot Topic(we had a cool sticker on our bathroom door from there), Tyson, McCormick,Disney-Pixar and so many many others have all had a hand in making my small cafe a success for different reasons. I would just like to take this time to say thanks to Joel and all the others who have chosen to work for corporations but have also injected their own moral values and personalites making me feel like an important buyer, even though I am only a small piece of the pie.


It takes a village!!

June 8, 2008

This is an older picture of a trip that was taken during a trip to Washington DC. It was a voyage to let the government know how much we appreciate their support of Route 66. Its road, business, and landmarks. It certainly makes me proud to be American. Despite all of our important issues, America has found a way to support our history as it is known through Route 66. It also makes me proud to be a part of that in a small way. I have always considered The Rock Cafe belonging to the bigger picture rather than just its ownership to my family. Being one of the first to recieve a matching grant to refurbish the Rock, it was even more clear to me that the Rock was belonged to all Americans and those who come to visit from all around the world. Its difficult to explain this, but I didn’t shed a single tear until I made the phone call to Kaisa of the National Park Service in New Mexico and told her the news and to ask some questions. It was the feeling of failure to take care of Americas investment toward saving this landmark that became overwhelming to me. I know that unexplainable things happen but to not be able to answer why this would happen and then express my desire to rebuild this monument that had been entrusted to me was too much for me to handle. 

So my message today is that not only are we all invested in this project. So is the state and national governments.  My gratitude for their expertise is more than I can express. Melvena, Catherine, Harry of the State Historic Preservation Society have always walked me through my lack of knowledge for handleing  this property and always made me feel at ease.  Mike and Kaisa of the National Park Service have taken on the large task of handleing all of us who love our business’ and road on Route 66 helping us through the red tape of how to make our little pieces of the puzzle seem like the most important. Recently, Daniel and Wendy with the National Trust for Historic Preservation have proved to be invaluable for helping make decisions during the most dire time in history for this building. I feel like these people do so much with so little recognition and that is why it is so emotional for me to speak with them because they have been so important in my life and so many in helping guide us in keeping these areas safe from further harm. Today, when I was digging through the rubble I found a few Dr Pepper bottles. The funny part of this is that they were Indiana Jones bottles. A promotional item for the movie that I am now to poor to take the kids to see. Ha. But the funny thing is, that I feel like I’m on my own treasure hunt and that these above mentioned people are my Indiana Jones crew. They are on this adventure with me. I could not have a better recovery team than them. I am so thankful for them.  And I know I’ve forgotten some names and please understand that you are so appreciated!!

Indiana Jones Dr Pepper Bottle

In 2001, the National Park Service awarded me a grant and once finished. Mike and Kaisa presented me with this bronze plaque to commerate the event. It was always my intention to have it mounted on the building. It was the first thing I pulled from the rubble. We kept it on the fireplace mantle so I knew just where to look for it. It is going to be a great honor to be able to put this very plaque on the  Rock facade.

God bless America and our ability to come together as a village when it need be!!



Pondering History!!

June 4, 2008

As me and the kidos head off to work at the archeological site today, my head is still pondering the possibilitys presented myself with this fire. I have thought for days and days about just how much historical integrity is left at the Rock Cafe. If my history teachers had ever told me that I would grow up to fret about the historical integrity of a building much less that of Route 66, I’d have thrown my book at them. Now it is all I think about.

So as I dig and dig, ever so carefully.. looking for pieces of my history. Is it really only mine? How many will care about my little treasures. And how important were the things lost in this fire? How much of history was lost in Atlanta, when it was burning during the Civil War? How many must have been digging for there pieces of history? For me, its easier to deal with crisis in my life by thinking about all the stronger people through time who have had it worse and came out better for it. And certainly those who rebuilt their lives after the Civil War, had it worse. And as a whole, Atlanta restored its historical integrity to that of before the War. Its known today for its Southern Charm and Hospitality. With this, I forge forward.

We forge forward. Today I had several people stop by to help. Two specifically, Ron and Emily Priddy, who have really invested their time, money, and hearts for the historical integrity of Route 66. Today for several hours they helped clean debris and look for treasure to help in the effort of restoring the Rock Cafe to its former glory. Its a hard hot job! But here for nothing but the guarantee of a decent meal(meatloaf sandwichs and mashed potatos with sweet tea) they poured their heart and soul into the job. Including donating the hard hats to the cause!!

Above are Joe Carpenter and Beverly Thomas, my sister in crime at the Rock Cafe, also helping!

So as we break for a mid morning snack, of cold pancakes and flour tortillas(Young Pauls snack choice carried to site in a Cars lunchpale), I again have restored faith that everything is going to be better at the end of the day. And each day will bring a clearer vision to me and the others who have taken on the responsibilty of making sure this piece of history retains its “Historical Integrity”! Will the Rock be different…Probably..Will the Rock be the same .. Certainly!!! Still serving up good food with a flare and hometown charm known worldwide on a Road that will always be known as the “Mother Road”.

Ha!! This is Alexis after she picked up a shovel and started filling up the pickle buckets. What she didn’t know is that I had taken the easier job of shoveling and she was doing the harder work of hauling them to trash can and dumping. LOL. Thats what she gets for bragging on how strong she is.

This is todays work crew tired and headed for siesta. Thanks again for all your support! I’m headed to the State Historic Preservation Conference to get some additional insight as to the path ahead.

A penny for your thoughts!! Really any and all of your comments or ideas are greatly appreciated as we rebuild! This of course is another awesome pic taken by Alexis!!


How the clean out works!!

June 2, 2008

This is us ready to dig in!! Not pictured is Hannah; our sudo daughter!!You can see the white 5 gallon pickle buckets!! They are coming in very handy for easy carry out of debris.

The above pictures are the crew hard at work!! We now only have about 700 of our 800 square feet to remove. The five of us worked for about 2 hours Sunday night. It was hard but noone complained! Thank goodness for great children and hubbys!

The chas, our nickname for the kids, sat down once we cleared booth 1 and tryed ordering some food!

This is me at the bar trying to figure out what happened to the rest of my Coke bottle..

..and the roof!

Fred and Paul surveying the other 700 square feet!

These are the treasures from the dig today. We have a Sparks America flyer, an old orginal coffee pot, our bell for when orders are ready, a small ring that was in lost and found, and the coke bottle opener which I believe can be used again!!

We are all very tired. May not be much going on tomorrow as I will be dealing with phone calls and paper work. I hope this helps many of you understand where I’m at currently. I am so happy that the Stroud and Route 66 community has been with me in heart through this tragedy. I can’t tell you how much it means to have your support. As soon as the building is in a safe place, we will have some sort of event to celebrate the new beginning! I will keep you informed…

The Grill!!

June 1, 2008

The grill is safely under the vent hood system and appears to be in good condition. Since this is the orginal grill to the cafe, it would be a great thing if this item survives the fire. We have high hope that it will be okay!! It is the best cooking surface I have ever used!!

More Pics taken by Fred!!

June 1, 2008

These pics also taken day after fire!! You can still see big fire hose!

This picture is from the back wall of the bathroom. This bathroom used to be entered from the back of the building and this is the doorframe behind the back wall of the bathroom. Funny it would take a fire to reveal the old door frame.

These two pictures show the cedar paneling that most of you have always known but behind it the painted paneling is the orginal wall coverings. In the second picture you can see the fireplace then the cedar paneling then the orginal wall covering and you can see the orginal height of the ceiling!!


The Next Day!

June 1, 2008

Another picture the next day from the West window looking out the East windows.

This is a picture looking in from the West door and out the front North wall.

These are the first small treasures found from the fire. My children are holding on to anything they can!!

Again, these pics were taken by Alexis!!

The second day it became evident that stablizing the building’s Rock walls was the most important thing. This task was discussed with Melvina of the State Historic Preservation, Harry the architect for the State Historic Preservation, and Kaisa of the National Park Service specifically of the Route 66 Corridor Act. After much discussion, I contacted a qualified construction firm, Maguire Construction, and they set the stablizing into motion. It was very close to Memorial Day and would be a few days before it could begin. We lost some of the top rocks during the weekends weather but they were in need of being reconstructed anyway.

Rock Cafe Fire May 20, 2008

June 1, 2008

My daughter, Alexis, who is the family photographer has a very good eye and is good at understanding when a picture needs to be taken and also is good under stressful situations understood the importance of taking this picture. I was numb and thought about taking some pictures or video but could not move. Fred is the standing in the town gazebo watching the fire. I stood much further away and far from people for obvious reasons.

This is a second picture she took and was taken after the roof fell in. We recieved a phone call from a friend around 11:20 pm and almost did not answer because we didn’t know the number and it was late and we had just gotten in bed. It was later than usual because the family was excited about the next day because it was the last day of school.  Fred and Alexis were rushing me and Paul to get into the car because they wanted to get there fast. Paul and I were not able to kick into gear as fast; and I didn’t know what could be done when I got there. Fred was speeding up there and I told him to slow down because he was driving badly which is unusual for him. He is drives like an old man normally. He didn’t even drive that fast when I was in labor with Paul. When we arrived it was evident the fire was fully enflamed.  We all sat helpless and watched for 3 hours as it burned out of control. The roof is a mop and tar flat top and when it fell in was like fuel for the fire. I was very proud of our fire fighters and equipment that fought the fire. I prayed the Rock walls would remain and had it not been for the ladder truck(a piece of equipment that had been thought unnessary to some in Stroud) certainly was a blessing! I had called Beverly, a best friend and faithful manager, and she immediatly drove to town with her family. For those that don’t know, Bev and I share all our family issues and our children all help at the Rock Cafe. If it weren’t for these two family’s the Rock would not be as popular today as it is. Once I saw Bev who was crying uncontrollably, we were inconsolable. I only made three phone calls that evening one to Bev, one to my Food salesman(Joel), and one to Emily better known to us as Fuzzy.

Around 3:30am, the fire was under as much control as possible. We began talking with the Fire Marshall, Jeremy, and we tryed to help put together any reason for the fire. After much discussion, we all decided to meet in the morning to continue the investigation.