Monthly Archives: November 2013

The day America grew up

John F. Kennedy (photo courtesy of

John F. Kennedy (photo courtesy of

Some events are so monumental that they cause you to remember where you were and what you are doing when they took place. One of those was the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.

I certainly remember where I was and what I was doing when I received word that President Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas. I was a 14-year-old ninth-grader at the time. It was early afternoon, and I was sitting in my American history class at Williams Junior High in Davenport, Iowa.

The teacher was Ralph Knuth. He was standing at the front of the classroom and a female student teacher — I think her name was Miss Moore or, perhaps, Miss Mohr — was observing class. She was seated near me at the back of the classroom.

Sometime after 1 p.m. CST the public address system speaker, located above the chalkboard at the front of the classroom, came to life and interrupted class. It began relaying the audio portion of CBS-TV coverage of what was taking place, and we learned the president had been shot and wounded.

“Oh, this is serious,” the student teacher said.

Initially, no condition reports on the president were available. The class sat in silence as news reports continued to be broadcast. We heard what we had been dreading most at about 1:38 p.m. when news anchor Walter Cronkite read a report from the AP News ticker: From Dallas, Texas, apparently official, President Kennedy died at 1 p.m. (CST), 2:00 Eastern Standard Time, some 38 minutes ago.

Everyone was in shock. Not long after that we were all sent home. Those of us who rode buses to and from school went to the cafeteria to wait until our buses arrived. The atmosphere was subdued, and some students were crying.

As I look back on it now, the Kennedy assassination (and other events) ended America’s innocence. Who can now imagine having our president ride along a well-publicized parade route in a open-top car?

As a newspaper headline today noted, November 22, 1963, was when America grew up.

Copyright 2013 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises.


Posted by on November 22, 2013 in Uncategorized


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The Snelling: my kind of motel



IMG_2611I’m not a fan of the motels where you haul your suitcases through the lobby, then a quarter mile down an interior hallway to your room. And you pay well over $100 a night for the privilege. I prefer the moderately priced motels where the doorway of your room opens onto the parking lot, and your car is just 10 feet away.

That’s what I love about the Snelling Motel, 5346 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis, Minn. 55417, phone (612) 721-4841. (The Snelling is pictured above; photos by Phil Roberts) You park right outside your room, and rates are reasonable. We paid a total of $160, tax included, for a recent two-night stay in a comfortable room with one queen-size bed.

I’m sure many of its customers stay at the Snelling because of its proximity to nearby Fort Snelling and a Veterans Administration hospital. But we like it because it’s close to some relatives we visit regularly in south Minneapolis.

The Snelling (, which appears to been built in the 1940s or so, is well-maintained and clean. There are 32 air-conditioned units, and each has an in-room refrigerator and microwave oven, phone, free Wi-Fi and cable TV. There are both smoking and non-smoking rooms.

The light rail system is very close and offers access to the airport, sports arenas and the Mall of America.

Copyright 2013 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises.


Posted by on November 22, 2013 in Uncategorized



Good for Von Maur!

DAVENPORT, Iowa, Nov. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Von Maur Department Store announced today that it will again be closed on Thanksgiving to ensure employees have ample opportunity to spend time with family and friends over the holiday. For more than 140 years, Von Maur has remained closed on all major holidays, including Easter, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

“Some things are sacred, including spending time with family and loved ones on Thanksgiving and other holidays. We profitably run our business during the remaining 358 days of the year, so we don’t have to sacrifice tradition for the sake of sales,” said Jim von Maur, president of Von Maur. “Our family-oriented focus has been the cornerstone of our culture since 1872, and that is never going to change.”

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Posted by on November 20, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Main Street Diner is small but good

You may have to wait a few minutes for a table, but if you are willing to do that you’ll be treated to a fine meal and good service at Main Street Diner, 315 Main St., Saint Peters, Mo. At least that’s what we experienced during a recent visit.

The suburban St. Louis restaurant is open only for breakfast and lunch, “so we can enjoy our families in the evening,” notes its website,

Our party of five was there for breakfast on a busy Saturday morning. We parked right outside the front door — a sign said there is also a parking lot in back — and waited only about five minutes for a table to open up. There is also counter seating.

While we waited we looked at old photographs and other nostalgic items on the walls.

The menu was much more extensive than we expected, and breakfast entrées ran between a very reasonable $3 and $7 dollars. I ordered a No. 4 ($6.29), which included two eggs, country fried steak and either a biscuit and gravy or choice of a potato. I opted for the biscuit and gravy.

I also ordered a single pancake on the side for $1.49 more. But that was a mistake because I was already full by the time I got to it.

Lunches at Main Street Diner run between $4 and $8, and there are daily lunch specials. Main Street Diner also has fairly extensive children’s menus for those age 10 and under at $2.99 for breakfast and $3.99 for lunch.

Copyright 2013 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises.

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Posted by on November 7, 2013 in Uncategorized


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