It's amazing what you can find in the forgotten corners of the Internet if you poke around long enough.
Here's a photo of the room in which a woman accidentally burned me with the tip of her cigarette some 45 years ago:
I included the story of the woman and her cigarette in the entry I posted back on Dec 21. I won't repeat it now.
That entry also included a good shot of the outside of the windows. Here it is again (just because it's so easy to do):
About 25 years separates the inside photo and the outside photo. Is it obvious?
Just for the record, the first photo above appeared in the Toledo Blade back on Feb 3, 1942 (exactly 69 years ago yesterday). It was part of a large ad that the Moose Lodge took out to announce the opening of their new Toledo headquarters. You can see the entire ad for yourself here. I'm guessing that the "10 Reasons Why You Should Be A Moose" had a great deal of appeal back in those pre-TV, pre-Medicare days. And you could get a full membership for just $14 a year! Of course that's the equivalent of about $185 today, but still... a pretty small price to pay for a guaranteed burial benefit of more than SEVEN times as much. (I wonder how many people joined on their deathbed?)
For what it's worth, this is one of those rare cases where the room I knew as a child actually looks to have been much larger than I remember it as an adult. Even allowing for the fact that a bar area with counters and stools seems to have been installed in the back left quadrant by the time I came along, the room seems much less intimate than I recall.
I also have no idea why the ad refers to it as the Blue Room. What looks black in the photo was shiny jet black in real life. The lighter streaks between the black bands were a metallic golden yellow - what mother-of-pearl might look like if it were crossed with gold coins. There's certainly a name for that slick, glassy covering. Vitrolite maybe? Anyway, it was kinda pretty - but definitely *not* blue.
Had this newspaper photo been taken at the right time, it might have captured the instant that cigarette tip met tender young flesh. If I had to guess, I'd say that the meeting occurred about one inch up and one inch over from the lower right corner of the shot....
I can't recall the jukebox - but I can recall the windows. As neat as frosted block glass may have seemed to my young mind, I was more than a little disappointed that I couldn't look out and survey the scene. The windows faced south and I thought that if they weren't frosted I'd be able to see the Maumee River, and maybe even the ships that used it to bring in coal or take away grain. Ha! Fat chance of that. The river was 6 blocks away. And each of those 6 blocks were studded with buildings of their own. I would have needed X-ray vision and probably binoculars to see the river. No matter. My young mind focused on the immediate problem of the frosted glass. Had I been left unsupervised, I probably would have tried to bust one out with a hammer, then blamed the results on a passing bird if asked.
And not that it matters, but... I think the door that one can just barely see in the far back wall is the one my guardian for the afternoon and I went through to deliver the liquor to the President's Private Office. Judging from the number of liquor violations that other old newspaper stories tell me the Moose was hit with in subsequent years, cheap liquor may have been a more successful membership lure than even burial benefits.
Of course I also came across a few gambling investigations, too. In one, the Moose people tried to pass off the slot machines as unused decorations - as proven by the dust on them. Oddly enough, the investigating officer couldn't recall seeing any dust at all.
Another investigation turned a bit ugly when an investigator allegedly tried to shake them down for some cash if they wanted to avoid a citation. Apparently state officials from Columbus had to be brought in to settle the matter. Alas, the exact nature of the settlement doesn't seem to be part of the online record. I read enough to know that Moose officials seem to have been active leaders in the local Republican Party, though, so maybe politics played a role. Or simple moral hypocrisy. It's hard to tell with stories that get printed now, let alone decades ago.
Our schools really ought to do a better job teaching us to read between the lines, don't you think?
Suffice it to say that at the time I had no idea I was visiting such a Den of Iniquity and Sin. Or such a socially responsible club, as the case may be. I just liked the moose logo. And the atmosphere of the empty ballroom.
And who knows? Maybe someday I'll even completely convince myself that I really couldn't have seen the river no matter how crystal-clear the glass in the windows may have been.
It's convincing myself that I actually survived Reagan's eight years as president that's gonna take the *real* heavy lifting....