Lou & Lucy’s Leftovers: Those were the days

  • The lunch menu from The Hotel Coolidge in White River Junction, Vt., from the 1971.

Published: 11/9/2019 2:00:28 AM
Modified: 11/9/2019 2:00:14 AM

I was at my friend Kathy’s house the other day as she was going through some old papers and books. She handed me a tattered and aged piece of paper, which had been tucked away in an old cookbook. She said it was a lunch menu from a restaurant in White River Junction called The Hotel Coolidge. She would go there during her stint in Vermont in the early 1970s.

I was somewhat astounded by the prices. Were things really that cheap? A cup of soup 25 cents. Or one could go wild and have the bowl for 45 cents. Or get the #3 special of fried scallops with tartare sauce, French fries, hot roll, ice cream, pudding or jello, coffee or tea for $1.65. Or add a dime and get the #4 meat loaf special, the only thing on the menu (I kid not) with something green — peas. Not a salad, a slaw, or a side veg of any kind to be found.

The apparently classically-trained chef liked to put his skills to use and would offer a “Gourmet Special.” The special for that Friday, Oct. 1, 1971, was a “Fresh Filet of Soul sauté a la Meuniere,” with boiled parsley potatoes, a hot roll, coffee tea, and once again, ice cream, pudding, jello all for a whopping $1.95. Pretty fancy for that price.

Interestingly, some of the a la carte offerings were more expensive. The sirloin steak came in at an extravagant price of $2.95.

All I can say is: those were the days my friend; we thought they’d never end, we sang and danced forever and a day, and ate Filet of Sole Meunière for $1.95. Oh, and filled the tank of my Corvair for $2.50. It’s all relative I guess, sigh.


I can just hear all those hilarious millennials screaming, “OK, boomer.”

They must think we are a bunch of fuddyduddies remembering when things were so much cheaper.

Of course, someday a millennial fifty years from now will stumble across a newspaper article about it not being too late to stop climate change but won’t be able to read it at night because electricity is way too costly for 99 percent of the world’s population. And gasoline? Just what was that?

By the way, that hotel still exists and has a cafe in it. I suspect the menu prices may have gone up in the past 50 years.

That’s OK, says this boomer.


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