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Memories...of the Way We Were

The reappearance of the streamlined Super Chef sign on Colfax -- uncovered as the Walnut Cafe was making way for the new Emilio's restaurant -- reminds me of how I came of age eating two-egg breakfasts — with bacon, hash browns, wheat toast and jelly — in Super Chef's hallowed maroon-upholstered booths. It was 1972, I was barely eighteen and already temporarily a college dropout, stirring half-and-half into bitter coffee served by uniformed waitresses in sturdy white diner cups with saucers to catch the slosh. I then lived an uncertain life with my boyfriend, in a hippie house near Emerson and Alameda. While I slept in the blue back porch, illicit deals involving kilos went down in the living room; we lived on Wild Turkey and big pots of spaghetti, while Who's Next and Exile on Main Street played on the turntable.

Some of us worked at the old Country Fair greenhouse, which once stood on Josephine Street just north of Bromwell Elementary School, but our lives were really driven by a string of small-time adventures, one after the other: Southern Comfort-swilling trips in the back of an authentic Willy's truck to Tulagi's in Boulder; Greyhound voyages to New Mexico in the dead of winter; all-night parties; concert ticket-line campouts at the Denver Coliseum. Back then, day was night and night was day, and it all came together in the booths of Super Chef, where we'd reconnoiter in the corner booth over coffee, poured and repoured as Colfax's rich pageant stared us in the face.

How time passes, a faraway train in the night. -- Susan Froyd

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