David's Reformed Church Congregation

David's Reformed Church Congregation
Congregation of David's Reformed Church, Montgomery Co, Ohio, Circa, 1900

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Those Places Thursday - Howard Johnson's Motel



My Dad, My Brothers, and Me at the Howard Johnson's
 
When I was almost 4 years old, we took our first, and biggest, family vacation.  It was a road trip to Alpena, Michigan and it would require a couple of overnight stays in a motel.  I can't tell you in which city we stopped, but I do have some strong memories about a Howard Johnson's motel.  Since I was so young, they are just fragments of remembrance, but I can close my eyes and see them clearly.  This was the first time I ever had one of those tiny, single serving boxes of cereal that they served for breakfast at the restaurant that was always attached to the motel.  After that trip, I begged my mother to buy them for me at home! The roof was bright orange, the doors to the rooms were alternately green and orange and there were machines that dispensed ice in the hallway.  We took pictures outside the motel before we headed farther north, everyone smiling and clearly having fun.  Within a few years,  we would spend nights in another Howard Johnson's.  This time in Lexington, Kentucky where we went to see my brothers working together as an evangelistic team.  On this trip our group included my grandmother, sister in law, and my brother's girlfriend.  I was older this time and could appreciate the comfortable bed and free stationary!  Each occasion we would have to travel, we would usually look for a Howard Johnsons because it was a name we knew we could trust. 
Mom and Dad in Lexington at Howard Johnsons
In the 90's, of course,  Howard Johnson's Motels decided to change their image and they became Hojo Inns, which I thought made them sound cheap. Even though they were not elegant places to stay, we never had one complaint about a stay in one of their motels.  I can't say the same about some of today's hotel chains.  Whenever I see these pictures, I have to smile remembering that special place, the Howard Johnsons Motel.

3 comments:

  1. An excellent post, as always. I love the way you weave together your memories with the photos. It might be because we have similar memories. I hadn't thought about this in quite some time, but my family took several 'camping' trips to Estes Park in CO shortly before I was married. A lot of great memories - now if I can dig up the photographs to go along with the story ... thanks for sharing, Lori.

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  2. Great post, great photos! I remember Howard Johnson's for a different reason. There was one several miles from our house with both hotel and restaurant. Sometime in the 1960s my father learned that they served all-you-can-eat flounder on Friday nights. He hesitated to take us thinking that they would make you feel terrible about asking for seconds. Someone (probably a co-worker) finally persuaded him to try it. It became a family tradition for a few years to eat there on Friday nights. Later they began serving sole on Wednesday nights. I doubt we went out to eat both nights in a week but chose between the two. Wonderful memories. Thanks for reminding me.

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  3. I love the photo of the neon sign. Classic.

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