Sunday, August 9, 2009

TAKE THIS TUNE... Sunday Morning Coming Down

This week, I didn't go to to music for my contribution. This week is about what Sunday morning was way back when...

Through my entire formative years I wished that I could have slept in on Sunday morning. This was especially true during my high school years. However, it was church and Sunday school just about every Sunday that I can remember from my childhood. It wasn’t all bad as the years rolled by… it was just Sunday.

When I was in the elementary school-age bracket, there was always a nice breakfast – bacon and eggs and sweet rolls. Then it was off to dress in our Sunday best, pile in the car and get to church. When we got home, the smell of a roast permeated the house. Mom had managed to get one prepared and into the oven while the rest of us fussed about our clothes. Dinner was served to the melodies of classical music coming from our new stereophonic record player in the living room.

In later years, this practice continued when we had weekend guest from Mom’s or Dad’s side of the family. Mom’s family lived in Schenectady, NY – about and hour’s drive to the west of us. Dad’s family lived near New Haven, CT – about 1 ½ hour’s drive to the south of our town.

BUT... on those weekends that there were no guests in residence, Dad would chose to stop at the local Friendly’s Ice Cream Shop for an after church luncheon treat. And back in the late 50’s and early 60’s this was the place to eat if you wanted a great burger and an awesome ice cream sundae. The store has since gone through many, many changes. It’s still a great place to eat, but has lost the intimacy of being a small, privately owned chain of restaurants.

Oh… here I go again… off on another tangent… I just never can tell where my thoughts will lead me… (big sigh)

The Friendly Ice Cream Shop (which was its name when I was a child so many years ago) was founded in 1935 in Springfield, Massachusetts by two young brothers… 18-year-old Curtis Blake and 20-year-old S. Prestley Blake. Their first shop only served double-dip cones for 5 cents. And, oh boy, did they make good ice cream. I guess they still do, but it’s not the same. In 1940, the Blake brothers opened a second Friendly Ice Cream store in West Springfield, MA and added hamburgers to the menu. Plain and simple… hamburgers and ice cream. And, oh, they were so good (according to my memory).

I was patriotically surprised to read that in 1943, Friendly Ice Cream closed its shops for the remainder of WW2.
By 1951, there were 10 locations throughout Western Massachusetts and Connecticut. And they started selling their ice cream in these restaurant/stores. Have I mentioned how good the ice cream was? Real ice cream with real high grade cream and chocolate or strawberries or black cherries or pecans or almonds or walnuts… well, you get the picture. In 1979, the Blake brothers retired and sold Friendly to the Hershey Food Corporation. At this point in the restaurants evolution, it became less the neighborhood Friendly Ice Cream Shop and more the restaurant chain Friendly Restaurant (if ya know what I mean) – a different quality food (not necessarily lower quality, just different). AND the menu was changed. Hershey took my absolutely favorite ice cream sundae off the menu – the Swiss Chocolate Almond Sundae. The menu became more complex. In 1988, Friendly became part of The Restaurant Company. In 1989 the apostrophe and "s" is added to Friendly, making the restaurant chain's name Friendly’s (prior to that it was simply known as Friendly Restaurant). Again more changes.

In 1997, it became a NASDAQ entity and in 1998 it began a franchise program. In 2000, Friendly’s arrived on the American Stock Exchange. In August 2007, Friendly's is bought for $337 million by private investment firm Sun Capital Partners. Changes… just too many changes. And, in my opinion, very overpriced. But the food -- and the ice cream -- is worth the price.

For today, I think it is too bad that the dream of those 2 young men turned out to be such a capitalistic venture. To some extent, they would probably disagree. Currently there are more than 500 Friendly’s restaurants in the chain which encompasses 16 states on the East Coast of the United States. In 12 states, you can buy Friendly’s ice cream in a grocery store.
It’s nice to have the Sunday memories of way back then. Sadly, my memories of today’s Sundays are not much different from the other days of the week.

Please visit more Take That Tune contributions here.
Thanks for stopping by... have a great week!


  1. I purposely didn't read anyone else's this week until I had posted -- and I love your entry! Two days ago I posted about Springfield, MA -- but I didn't know about Friendly Restaurant at that town! Wow...small world!

  2. Carol, This is perfect and why writing prompts work so well. You've created a slice of life from the past and tied it up beautifully to the present. Thank you for participating.

  3. How fun Friendly Ice Cream was in your youth. These are indeed fond memories indeed. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful part of your life.

    Have a terrific day. :)

  4. Funny how the Sunday morning prompt seems to take us back to our younger days when life was simple and so were Sundays. Of course, this was also back when pretty much no one worked on a Sunday and it was a designated family day. I sure miss those days myself!

    Friendly's has most definitely gone through changes over the years, even I can remember their original hamburgers being served on bread and not a roll. Good stuff! These days, their sundaes and all are still good but you're right - not quite the same - and the prices - holy smokes, don't get me started on the prices!

    Next time I go over that way I'll have a Swiss Mocha Almond Fudge Sundae for ya - they do have them still and they're one of my favorites!


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