I have always been a history buff. I could point out every dead relative for 7 generations at the family cemetery by the time I was three years old. That is probably why my grandmother made me promise to get the family history in print before she passed and why I spent the next ten years doing just that.
It doesn’t seem to matter what my current interests are, it doesn’t take long before curiosity gets the better of me and I find myself digging through old records for what Paul Harvey called, “the rest of the story”. Riding has followed that pattern and I seem to be almost equally happy on the road as reading about the women who shattered the stereotypes of what proper women did during the first half of the 20th century by climbing on their motorcycles and heading down the highway.
I spent years writing books and magazines on historic foodways until the Great Depression, Round Two, destroyed the small businesses in this country and book sales tanked at just about the time magazines stopped paying writers – even those like myself who had written regular columns for them for years. I now have a “real job”, but I still have to get my history fix so writing took the form of two blogs, Vrumblesramblingbikerblog and TheHistoricFoodie, both on wordpress.com.
I get especially excited when I can combine multiple passions into one post, and trivia on the Motor Maids never fails to disappoint.
Some Motor Maid members living where Old Man Winter brought icy blasts that lasted longer than in other parts of the country consoled themselves after bedding down their motorcycles for winter with a visit to the city (New York) every year. In November 1965, twelve members and four guests “threw away their diets” and dined at the Meadowbrook Dinner-Theater in New Jersey where they enjoyed a performance of the Flower Drum Song.
The Meadowbrook was about half an hour from Manhattan. It opened in Cedar Grove, New Jersey in 1923. It was restructured as the Meadowbrook Dinner-Theater and re-opened as such late in 1959. Carl Sawyer, who is credited with its resurrection as a dinner theater, died in San Francisco at the age of 85. In his obituary, it says that the Meadowbrook was the first dinner theater in the U.S. He went on to open similar facilities in numerous locations, all of which were quite successful.
The Flower Drum Song was a musical with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, II. Those distinguished gentlemen joined forces in 1943 to create the dynamic duo of Rodgers and Hammerstein. The first musical they created together was Oklahoma. The Flower Drum Song was based on the 1957 novel by C. Y. Lee, and was the eighth production of the team of Rodgers and Hammerstein. Stage productions suffered after the story was made into a film directed by Gene Kelly in 1961.
The hostess for the Motor Maids’ Christmas party surprised them by presenting a blazing Cherries Jibilee after which Janet Nixon, “recited a very ‘motorcyclish’ poem patterned after The Night Before Christmas”. You gotta love a “biker chick” that can turn out a killer Cherries Jubilee, and wouldn’t you love to get your hands on a copy of that poem? – American Motorcyclist. March 1965.
Ride safe, my friends. – Vrumble