Not So Super Sam’s

On the morning of Saturday, Sept. 10, 1977, there was hell to pay. And Dad let me know it in no uncertain terms.

Energy was high the night before, when I drove Mom’s car—the Dartillac—to the big high school football game against Buffalo. All the moreso when the guy riding shotgun, heavyset Texas kid Vince Marshall (pictured at left in May 1977), bought us two twelve-packs of beer at the Mound municipal liquor store on the way.

I couldn’t have been too wild and crazy that night because the diary reports I later shuttled baby bro and his friend Steph to an after-game party, while I joined my classmates for food and drink at the Soda Fountain. Our school trounced Buffalo that night 19–6, so there were a lot of out-of-town jocks glumly stalking our streets. A couple of them stopped by the Soda Fountain where, the diary states, “they dented Mom’s car.”

Eventually I had to retrieve Brian and buddy from the party and figure out a way to explain the damage to the folks. That’s when Dad laid it down the next morning: I was past due getting a new job. After school and weekends, whatever it took.

I’d considered my job as co-editor of the high school newspaper employment enough, but not for Pop. It had to be a paying job, so I could reimburse Mom for the damage to the car. Two days later, on a trip to Ridgedale shopping mall with her, I picked up an application to work as a line cook at a locally owned and operated burger joint called Super Sam’s.

Apparently Steve got similar heat from his parents, as he applied at the hot dog stand across from Super Sam’s, Koney Island. After school on Monday, Sept. 19, we drove to Ridgedale to take the new employee tests and await the results. I had mixed feelings about rejoining the restaurant industry given memories of Lafayette Club’s long day’s journeys into night.

Meanwhile, back at school, new duties as co-editor to fellow senior Jeff Elmer were underway. We had a staff to run, so we held organizational meetings. New sophomore faces filled the ranks; I’d even gotten a note via Shannon Mattson from a shy brunette named Darla Hagberg, who asked if she could help with layout of the Smoke Signal. Absolutely!

On Tuesday, Sept. 20, a freshly minted Smoke Signal staff bussed it to a high school newspaper conference at the Minneapolis campus of the U. Darla and I sat together during the keynote session at Coffman Union, then later we joined Jeff, Scott, Kristi (pictured below, center, with the marching band), Julie, Shannon, Liz and Andrea over the river for lunch downtown. We were feeling all urbane and street-wise and goofed off until we had to catch the bus back to Mound around 3 p.m.

You see, I’d noticed Darla before: at school, at the mall, or walking home to her parents’ place in Spring Park. Three days before the conference, I was driving home from the 7-11 and spotted Jeff Taylor’s car parked in front of Darla’s house. The bastard had beat me to her! The diary tells the rest: “I rushed home, carved a potato and stuck it in his exhaust pipe. But knowing his nine lives, nothing happened.” Skulking back home, I ran into Skeeze and Pete coming out of the Soda Fountain. We walked back up to the 7-11 and hung out, talking until 10:30 p.m.

The last week of September was Homecoming Week and drama was high between friends, old girlfriends and new ones. Darla and I sat together during the homecoming coronation on Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 27, 1977.

That was also my first night working at Super Sam’s, which I later described in the diary as “a grease pit.” Along with coworkers Dawn and John (and Steve and Chad over at Koney Island) we “made it, well, a working evening.”

~ by completelyinthedark on June 23, 2012.

3 Responses to “Not So Super Sam’s”

  1. You have the BEST photos and stories man!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wondering when you were gonna chime in, dude. Do you…uh, recall any car trouble around that time 😉


  3. Great to see a picture of Vince (my stepbrother) – thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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