Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Twenty Five Years: The Ironstone Customers

New Year's Eve Dessert 1986
These few pictures of our customers from the Ironstone days will only be a drop in the bucket from the albums I have accumulated over the years there.  Many I have given away to the subject, but there are a few that bring back wonderful memories of our years on Cannon Street.

We held three annual Events at the Ironstone: a winter Holiday Party for customers and friends, a gala New Year's Eve dinner, and our Anniversary Dinner held each summer.  There was a core group of New Year's Eve regulars (who were regulars all year long) who reserved a large table together, year after year.  For many years they wore black tie, or in the case of Clare and "Huppie" Hupfelt, pictured above, their best kilt.  Both of these wonderful people are gone now - Clare first, very untimely, and later Huppie, after a second marriage to the former Peggy Kane.  Mr. Hupfelt was in the meat business for many years, and always enjoyed a conversation with Kevin regarding sausages and hams.

Here is a picture of the whole group, which varied slightly year to year.  Here, from 1988, I can identify, from the left: unknown man, Nancy Dick, Gary Clark, Gerry Bristol, "Fenny" Johnson, unknown smoker, Jonathan Plummer, Jane Bristol, Mrs. Plummer's head peering over Mr. Hupfelt 's shoulder and Harrison Bristol.  The men in their tuxes made for quite the festive evening.

Another New Year's Eve, another group of celebrants.  1993 saw Gail and Dorsey Owings dining with Meredith and Caywood Hadaway and Betsy and Tom Herr.  This group, whose members have been cut in a very untimely fashion, have nonetheless continued the December ritual, ringing in the new year and celebrating Gail's birthday every year since (and probably started before), following the Ironstone Cafe to the Kennedyville Inn and onto the Brooks Tavern.  A bittersweet time is had by all, with all the memories of times past to carry on.

Also from 1988, this group is my parents with my Aunt and Uncle.  On the left you have my Uncle Jack Clendaniel and Aunt Frances, who is sitting across from her brother and my dad, Jay Silcox, with my mom Nancy next to him.  The table where they are seated was table number 22, which traditionally was one of the less popular tables in the dining room, but you know what they say: "Family hold back"!  Note the gingerbread house in the window beyond - one of my projects each December during the "early years".

This is a picture of my nephew Jay on a prom date in 1995, posing with Kevin in the Ironstone kitchen.  We played a joke on Jay that night, which he handled with great aplomb.  When the young couple was finished dinner, we presented the bill to Jay.  However, it wasn't their check, it was a tab meant for a party of six seated nearby!  This high school boy didn't blink an eye; he simply signaled to the waiter and got the right check.  Our joke fell flat, although I seem to recall hearing later that his stomach did do a little flip at the initial sight of the significantly larger bill he received in lieu of his own...

 Another group of Ironstone diners included Kevin and myself, as we "celebrated" our last days of Ironstone ownership.  Paul Hanley had bought the business in 1997, 18 months after we opened the Kennedyville Inn, and we were more than ready to let her go.  Sitting in the dining room was not Kevin's idea of a good time, but he was joined by good friends and plenty of champagne.  From the left: Kathleen Jones, Andy Goddard, my sister-in-law Harriet, Kevin, my brother John, yours truly and Geoff Reiffe. 

And here is a mystery picture for this segment: the fellow pictured here with Kevin was a customer from PA who resembled Kevin's late brother John quite a bit.  This photo from 1992 was an attempt to document that fact.  We didn't know at the time that John's "twin" was - and still is, as far as I know - a rather impressive figure in the military, and would later become one of our peers in the hospitality industry here in Chestertown.

Last week's mystery girl is Katie Mulligan Weddell, many years before she opened her physical therapy business, recently moved to Cross Street.

Next up: the Kennedyville Years.


  1. The Colonel? But I can't remember his last name!

  2. Is it General O'Dell?

  3. You win anonymous! Doug O'Dell, current owner of the Imperial Hotel.