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A modern-day throwback

McGuire’s Drive-In celebrates its 45-year anniversary

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McGuire’s Drive-In employee Jennifer Haskins waits on customers Saturday during the establishment’s 45-year anniversary celebration.

By ANTHONY SYLOR
Staff Reporter

In 1961, a man working for a McDonald’s restaurant told Jo McGuire that a drive-up ice cream stand on Route 13 in East Homer would never make it. Forty-five years later, McGuire isn’t sure where that man is, but boy was he wrong.
McGuire’s Drive-In had cars lined up outside the restaurant and down the road Saturday afternoon as it celebrated its 45th anniversary with employees, customers and longtime friends.
“Well, Charlotte, our daughter, was in school so was we decided to start it so she would have a place to work and make a little money,” McGuire, 83, said.
The restaurant mainly served hotdogs, hamburgers and ice cream when it opened. The staples remain.
“My mom ran it for 29 years and I worked for her. Then she retired and I took it over in 1991,” Charlotte Haskins said of her family business. “Not much has changed. I have increased the menu quite a bit. We have daily specials every day, but basically everything else is the same.”
To celebrate the milestone, Haskins, 61, set up a tent outside the restaurant with live music and drawings set up for customers all day long.
“We have prize drawings every half hour,” she said. “We had Paul (Albro) and Jake (Young) playing at 1 p.m. and now Jeremy Benedict is going to play. He said, ‘When they start leaving I’ll quit.’ He’s just going to sit right there and play. He just loves it. He’s been playing at a few places around town and he’s just trying to get his name out there.”
The restaurant gave away a window and a TV later in the evening.
“Later tonight we’re giving away a vinyl window, installed, and at quarter to eight we’re giving away a color television for our grand prize,” Haskins said.
The event drew loyal customers, as well as old friends who Haskins said she has lost touch with.
“People have come that we haven’t seen in years that have heard about this,” she said. “It’s just nice to see everybody.”
For 88-year-old Rosie Spicer of East River Road, the day wasn’t any different than any other.
“I came in the first day they built the place,” Spicer said. “My husband and I saw them building this place so when they finished it we were one of the first ones to come in and I’ve been here ever since.”
While eating a chocolate and vanilla soft-serve ice cream cone, which she jokingly called her afternoon tea, the trim and peppy Spicer explained that coming to McGuire’s is part of her daily routine.
“I just live down the road and I would say on average I have probably been in here three times a day,” she said. “I’m an ice cream eater. I’m one of those people that eat five meals a day.”
McGuire’s has been a place where many local teens have worked their first job.
“Most of them start at 16 and a lot of them have never worked,” Haskins said. “It’s their first job and you see them grow. I have one adult working with me now during the day, then the kids work nights and weekends. We’ve had a really good bunch of kids here.”
Stacy Breed, 21, has been an employee at the restaurant for four years and said that she has learned to do everything the business has to offer.
“I do everything. I waitress, draw ice cream, cash everybody out, do dishes and clean everything up,” she said. “I love it here. My boss is awesome. I love the people. More than half the people are older people and I love the older people. I don’t think I’ve had a bad day here at all.”
Although there are no plans of closing, McGuire said that she doesn’t know how long the drive-in will stay open after her daughter retires.
“She’ll (Haskins) be retiring pretty soon, then I don’t know what,” she said. “Our grandson says he would like it but I don’t want him to have it because he’s got a good job with lots of benefits. I’d rather he stayed where he is.”
McGuire added that throughout the years there have been more memories of employees, friends and hard work than she could recall.
“Memories, lots of them,” she said when asked what she will always recall about the years. “My husband had asthma terrible and some nights I would have to leave work and go home and milk the cows and then come back to work.”

 

 

McGraw dries out, cleans up after heavy flooding

By ANTHONY SYLOR
Staff Reporter

McGRAW — Many McGraw residents spent a humid Saturday afternoon assessing flood damage and beginning to clean up their soggy, mud filled homes after flooding Friday left many properties covered in sand and water.
On East Academy Street, 7-year-old Denver Kenney was in a pair of shorts and winter boots scraping mud off the sidewalk in front of his family’s home. Behind the house, a maple tree that the family said they sometimes tap to make syrup had split in two and fallen on top of a mini van during a thunderstorm Thursday night.
Denver’s mother, Carrie, said that Friday’s storm flooded their basement with between 5 and 6 feet of water, which nearly reached the first floor. The storm dumped between 2 and 3 inches of rain on the area.
“We’ve been fortunate the last couple of floods, but this is probably the worst one we’ve ever had,” she said. “We lost our furnace, which is also our hot water heater. It’s one of the combined units, so until we got a new hot water heater we’re going to be without hot water”.
With the help of the McGraw Fire Department the family had four water pumps working to keep the water level down, Kenney said, and now they are left with mud everywhere.
“Everything is covered in mud,” she said, as she pointed around the basement. “There is still standing water over here but we have it down to 4 or 5 inches. Later today I need to come down and scrub the cracks so we don’t get mold.”
Outside of the nearly 100-year-old house, Kenney pointed out cracks in the foundation, which were caused by the water. She said she has tried to contact her insurance company and FEMA, but isn’t having any luck.
“It ripped open our foundation,” Kenney said. “We’re a little disappointed about this because obviously it will be a large amount of money for us. I’ve called my insurance agent and left a message on the answering machine, but I don’t expect to hear back before Monday. I did call FEMA and got their information line. They want insurance to come first. They said they would only cover things that would affect the basic safety of living in the house.”