This building may not look like much from the outside, but if its walls could talk, boy, could they tell some stories. For most of my life this building housed some type of restaurant. Owners may have changed along with menus and genres, paint colors and customers. But one thing that never changed is the memories and history held within these four walls.
My mom owned this restaurant for much of my first 14 years of life. The name of the restaurant at that time was The Mill Inn, named after the old working mill that used to be just down the street on Blue River. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time there. Mom used to tell about sitting me in a playpen in one of the front windows. She said everyone who came in commented on my curls and wanted to play with me but I just wanted to be left alone to play. I can't say that I remember those days.
As I got older I helped out as much as I could. I loved spending time there because that's where all the kids hung out. We had a pinball machine, a jukebox and of course, the famous Mill Burger, the best hamburgers in southern Indiana. Mornings all the local regulars gathered for coffee. I can remember from the time I was little one of the men who always came in for coffee carried Juicy Fruit gum in his pocket and never failed to ask me if I wanted a piece. At lunch, all the local business people came in to eat mom's home cooking. After school kids came in to play the pinball machine, listen to music, talk, do their homework and eat - hamburgers, fries and lots of ice cream. And the joint really got to jumping after the home basketball games. Everyone in town attended home basketball games and nearly all of them showed up at The Mill Inn afterward. It was great!
Among some of my favorite memories are buying 45 rpm records from the jukebox man for a quarter whenever he would come around to change them. Also, learning to drive in my early teens after we would close the restaurant late at night. My dad would let me drive the car out the road and back before we went home.
Mom sold the restaurant around the time I was 14 and she and I both went to work for the local drive-in restaurant out on the highway. After that it changed hands several times and changed from The Mill Inn to Blue River Cafe. Unfortunately, a couple of years ago, this beloved building so full of history and memories, burned to the ground. The current owners rebuilt and last summer opened the new and improved Blue River Cafe just back of the original spot. The new decor is beautiful and the food is delicious but in my mind it will never compare to The Mill Inn. Even though the building is gone memories will last a lifetime and I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the old corner hangout.
Until next time...that's my view.