Nov 29, 2011
Lunch At Allen
Up to the mid 60's, students at Allen High could leave the building for lunch. Scattered in alley's around the the school, garages had been converted into lunch shops and hangouts. The Hutch was in the alley between 17th and West Streets, in the unit block between Hamilton and Linden. Suzy's was behind the Nurse's Dormitory, between Chew and Turner. Another was across Linden from the Annex. They all had the same basic decor, a few pinball machines, a few tables and a small lunch counter. Most of the business was during lunch period, and before and after school. It's my understanding that occasionally a kid or two would skip school and hangout all day. Today these garages, turned into luncheonettes, have long ago reverted back to garages. Most of the current residents of West Park probably don't even know about this commercial history right behind their houses. I missed photo day at Allen for my yearbook, but if anybody has a picture of the gang from the Hutch, I'd appreciate a copy.
reprinted from February 2010
UPDATE: Back in 60's we had a few hoods*, but no gangs. Today the schools require staggered starting and dismissal time, plus security guards and city police, to establish basic safety. If that's not enough, we superimpose those discipline issues with a mandate to improve standardized test scores. Imagine allowing students in today's world to roam the neighborhood for lunch.
* not a neighborhood, but a Fonzi type non-conformist