A follow-up note on the Worcester trip. When we exited the interstate we blew right past Holy Cross toward downtown looking for what some of my friends and I used to call a slutty breakfast. We totally scored as there, underneath the railroad tracks, stood the Miss Worcester Diner. Inside was a counter that ran the length of the car on one side and booth service (as advertised outside) on the other. The place was perfect following a night of Super Bowl revelry – everyone was talking football and the Boston accents were as thick as the cooking grease. A poke around the web reveals that the Miss Worcester dates back to 1948 and is Worcester Lunch Car Company #817. When still in operation, the Worcester Lunch Car Company was located across the street from the Miss Worcester which served as a model for the manufacturer. Poking around also revealed that, not surprisingly, there’s a whole trainspotting-type diner enthusiast culture out there. I wouldn’t necessarily label Elizabeth Thomsen as such, but I did come across her blog and her Diner flickr set. Her post on the Miss Worcester has links to some great articles on the diner and the history of Worcester diners. The photo above is hers, too, which she kindly shares under a Creative Commons License (respect!). There’s another photo on Panoramio taken by Coert Donker around the date we visited. I even ran across where the Miss Worcester was featured in the wonderfully absurd comic strip Zippy the Pinhead.
Halfway through my hash browns I was reminded of William Least Heat-Moon’s lonely journey in Blue Highways. Least Heat-Moon devises an “infallible way to find honest food at just prices” based on the number of calendars hanging in a café. Even if they weren’t all from 2009 (some commemorated past Red Sox and Patriots championships), the Miss Worcester ranks as a five-calendar café. It also has me nostalgic for some good old Cocteau Twins who titled their next to last LP Four-Calendar Café. It’s not my favorite (checkout Victorialand, Blue Bell Knoll, and Heaven or Las Vegas for that), but it’s still an inspired title. Embarrassing confession: for years I thought Elizabeth Fraser sung most of their songs in French. What’s up with that? She’s Scottish for crying out loud. Oh well, her voice was more an instrument than a lyrics-producing device.
Least Heat-Moon has a new one out about traveling the back roads called Roads to Quoz: An American Mosey. We don’t mosey enough, do we? That’s going on the summer reading list.