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Mary's Diner

Posted: Sun Sep 21, 2003 3:45 pm
by anthrochick
I am in need of any information regarding Mary's Diner and the life of Mary Edmunds. I am a novice writer and pre-service educator doing a research paper and would appreciate any stories, anecdotes, or biographical info about Mary.
Thanks so much for your help.

Re: Mary's Diner

Posted: Sun Sep 21, 2003 7:55 pm
by Catfish
Mary had the greasiest diner I had ever been in. Even tho your elbows stuck to the tables and the last person's lipstick was still on your coffee cup, eventually you found yourself in Mary's with a large group of people searching for that last bit of social life, as all the bars were closed. Mary's was the only game in town at that hour. Many wondered why the health department didn't hassle her, but she only opened after they were all in bed. Even tho the crowd after bar closing was rowdy and foul mouthed, Mary would NOT ALLOW any swearing in her diner. She did rule her roost. When she came to your table for your order and their were about fourteen people packed around it she she never wrote the orders down. People used to try to confuse her with special combinations of condiments and individual orders of fries and soup and whatever, when she cam back with it she put it directly in front of the right person. At the pay counter it was the same. She would see you approaching and tell you what you owed without it being written down. Tips were definately NOT ALLOWED. She would not accept a tip and if you persisted she would rip you a new one. If you came in 6 months later, only after being there once before she remembered your name and usd it in her hello. Near as I know, nobody got "tomaine" poisoning (spelling?) May God rest her soul, she was ONE OF A KIND. She will be in many peoples stories for generations. Where's the grease now late at night??

Re: Mary's Diner

Posted: Sun Sep 21, 2003 8:20 pm
by JFlosum
I can remember when Mary was working at Arnie’s Grill as a waitress before she opened Mary’s.

She was indeed one of a kind.

If I’m not mistaken, her husband drove a cab in Tomahawk before he passed on. This was after losing his arm in an industrial accident

Re: Mary's Diner

Posted: Sun Sep 21, 2003 11:09 pm
by anthrochick
When my parents first got married they lived in an apartment (the house on the corner of Somo and 4th) above Mary and her husband. I knew she had been a waitress at Arnie's before opening her own place. From what I understand, the place she had originally was about where Dr. Barr's office is located. Did that burn down? I was told it was like walking into a basement because the building was so low.
After that, I think the Hiawatha School was the only other place. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
I remember her thick socks that she would roll down below her knees. She would also keep senior and military pictures in the glass case at the place on Muskellunge Rd.
The first time I walked in there I think I was about 15 and I had snuck out of the house. Mary knew exactly who I was even though she had never laid eyes on me before.
My future husband, although I didn't know that then, gave Mary a snowball from the very first snowfall in the fall of '91. A short time later he left for the Navy. In '96 when he was discharged, we went to Mary's after a welcome home party. That woman smiled when he walked in. Before she came over to take our order, she diug in the freezer and pulled out that **** snowball which she had kept in a freezer bag. I think that was one of the sweetest things I had ever seen.

Re: Mary's Diner

Posted: Mon Sep 22, 2003 6:38 pm
by Old Scout
I may be mistaken, but I thought the first Mary's Diner was in the area where the Auto Stop is now, on the NE corner of the stop lights. I remember going there when I was in High School in the 60's. :)

Re: Mary's Diner

Posted: Mon Sep 22, 2003 7:19 pm
by anthrochick
Perhaps that is where my Mom thought it was. She too was in high school in the early 60's. Thanks for the info.
Feel free to post any other memories.

Re: Mary's Diner

Posted: Mon Sep 22, 2003 7:21 pm
by Brian
I remember her being there too, Old Scout. That was her first location. Dad would take me there sometimes when he'd pick me up after Cub Scouts (early to mid-60's). Catfish has provided a very accurate description of Ol' Mary's - at least in the later years. One other thing that I would add regarding her legendary memory skills is that if she kicked you out you STAYED kicked out and it wouldn't matter if you tried coming back ten years after the fact. More than once I saw her turn somebody around right at the door and tell 'em to git. They don't make 'em like her anymore...

Re: Mary's Diner

Posted: Mon Sep 22, 2003 7:31 pm
by anthrochick
In the last place she was on Muskellunge Rd. (from where I am consequently familiar with her), she had signs that said, "No Cash, No Hash" and other stuff. Did she have that at the first place too?

Re: Mary's Diner

Posted: Tue Sep 30, 2003 9:16 am
by jimbo71
Mary and her husband came from Chicago with the Solar Permanent Co. Solar mfgrd. stainless steel cookware and bulk milk coolers. Name was later changed to USI Permanent. Moved out in 1954. Mary's husband was a mail courier for the company till the company shut down.

Re: Mary's Diner

Posted: Mon Oct 06, 2003 5:36 pm
by anthrochick
thank you jimbo! Everyone PLEASE keep the stories and comments coming.

Re: Mary's Diner

Posted: Mon Oct 06, 2003 7:22 pm
by Ali
I am not sure but I dont think they moved out in 1954 as my sister and my husband worked there. my sister graduated in 1959 so I know for sure it was later than 1954..if I am not mistaken it some time after 1962 that Solar closed down.

Re: Mary's Diner

Posted: Mon Oct 06, 2003 7:26 pm
by Ali
Antrhrochick, FYI Mary had one child, a daughter her name was Barbara. When they moved to Tomahawk they lived in the back apartment above whatwas then Romans Restaurant. Nice people they were.

Re: Mary's Diner

Posted: Thu Oct 09, 2003 2:17 pm
by jimbo71
Solar did move out in mid 60's. I was one who left them in 1964 'cause I saw the handwriting on the wall. MY error, I confused it with the old corrugated box plant that was housed in the building before Solar came to town. :confused:

Re: Mary's Diner

Posted: Fri Jan 30, 2004 8:29 pm
by John Beiler
I believe that the last time I was there was in 1984, how long after that was she open? It was after our 20th class reunion.

Re: Mary's Diner

Posted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 11:40 am
by ski_lover
I remember many times visiting Mary's in the early morning hours. Get a bowl of her chile and you couldn't see the chile for the grease. It was like parting the Red Sea to get to the real chow. How I wish I had a bowl of it now.

Re: Mary's Diner

Posted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 3:57 pm
by Hanson Sign Shop
Originally posted by anthrochick:
I am in need of any information regarding Mary's Diner and the life of Mary Edmunds. I am a novice writer and pre-service educator doing a research paper and would appreciate any stories, anecdotes, or biographical info about Mary.
Thanks so much for your help.

Re: Mary's Diner

Posted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 4:16 pm
by Hanson Sign Shop
Being originally from "Hatchetville" we would visit Mary each summer that we vacationed around Tomahawk at different resorts. Mary's Diner was on Highway 51 for the longest time and later further down the road at the old Hiawatha school, which we attended as kindergarteners. At Mary's if you ordered a fish sandwich, you got the real thing; a locally caught panfish filet on a bun. Mary never had to write an order down, as she committed everything to memory. She was the waitress, cook and dishwasher; an efficient one woman show. Mary was jovial, witty, and never forgot our family. When we visited, we would all go in as a group and begin to sing what we deemed her theme song. "Everytime we come to Tomahawk we eat here; it's the finest diner any time of the year. Dinner in the diner, nothing could be finer, than to eat your ham & eggs at Mary's Diner. (Sung to the tune of Chatanoga Choo-choo) Mary would say "Oh you kids are embarassing me," but secretly she loved it. Mary and her Diner are forever etched in our memories of growing up in and returning to visit our home town.

Re: Mary's Diner

Posted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 10:02 am
by pot-belly-perch
Originally posted by anthrochick:
Perhaps that is where my Mom thought it was. She too was in high school in the early 60's. Thanks for the info.
Feel free to post any other memories.
ok i am not from that area live ed year around but in upstate new york by utica& syc..

Ok if you want to find any history go to a old folks home & spend time with someone there they will tell you everything about anything & you will find happy.ness because you spent time with a lonely person hope it helped you & you will feel needed & so will they briten up there day

Re: Mary's Diner

Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 3:27 pm
by Tomahawk Leader
Kathy's Kolumn in the June 30, 2015, Tomahawk Leader led to the resurrection of this thread about Mary's Diner after Kathy saw a link and message posted to You Tube by Josh Brunker, noting that it was the 15-year anniversary of Mary Edmunds' death (June 18, 2000.) Perhaps others would like to remember their visits to the unique diner.... and/or Mary herself.

In fact, a reader has since contacted us with stories about their friend. Verdella says they knew Mary so well her kids called her "Grandma Rudy." Her husband Russell used to eat at the diner after working into the wee morning house, and he and another man helped finished building Mary's house after her husband died. Verdella remembers taking Mary, who was diabetic, to the grocery store shopping. Once again the woman never wrote down a list, but sometimes she couldn't remember what she needed and she was too proud to explain anything further, so would then go without. In a surprise, to her and us, she said, after Mary's death they asked her son about the habit and learned that Mary – obviously a very bright woman - never learned to read or write so that's why she never wrote anything down.

Re: Mary's Diner

Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 10:37 pm
by Renee class of '80
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfpIVn0YbBM

Great little video found on youtube on Mary's Diner. :D

Re: Mary's Diner

Posted: Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:17 am
by Old Scout
Mary – obviously a very bright woman - never learned to read or write so that's why she never wrote anything down.


Just watched the video and it made me wonder, if Mary couldn't read or write, who made all the signs she had all over the place. :?