by Jerry Kasperek
Ten cents for a cup of coffee — that’s highway robbery! — was the response Andy Butler got from his customers at the Green and White Diner when he upped the price of a cup of coffee from a nickel to a dime.
“I thought they’d run me out of town,” he laughed during our phone conversation a couple of weeks ago.
Andy was proprietor and chief cook of that old eatery that once graced South First Street in downtown Fulton. He began leasing it in the early 1950s and was there until the 1970s when urban renewal came to town. I contacted him per a suggestion from his daughter Jody (Rinker) who called me from North Carolina. She had read my column when I first wrote about it. Jody’s phone call was soon followed by an e-mail from Andy’s stepson Ted Romas, who lives in Oregon and who also read that particular column (The Valley News sure gets around!)
Andy Butler and his wife, Gladys, raised seven children together. Jody is their oldest daughter while Ted is Gladys’s son from an earlier marriage.
Known as Bud or Buddy by his siblings, Ted said several of them “still live in or near Fulton. Bruce, Colin and Kelly are all in the Fulton zip code. Middle sister Dana lives in Ontario, near Rochester. Brother Roger is in Florida.”
“I grew up around and ‘in’ the diner,” Ted said. Most days he walked from Phillips Street School and from Fulton High for lunch. He could also man a grill for a short order if need be.
He said the waitress in the picture with my last column he believes to be Vickie Ditzer. He remembers Mildred Dann, the diner’s dishwasher for years and years, and that Barbara Southworth (Pratt) was a long-time waitress. “She was a go-getter!”
“Andy and Mom Gladys both worked there hours on end. Unfortunately Mom passed away too young at 58. However, Andy is, as he often says, ‘still cheating ‘em.’ He’ll be 86 this August and still lives on the ranch on West River Road South where he and Mom and me and Brother Bruce moved to from the Pinnacle Road in the early 1950s.”
It originally was a fruit stand, Ted explained. It was very small to begin with, but as the years and more children came it was added on to and doubled in size because of the need for bedrooms! Dewey Pringle built the large addition and a big barn out back which housed ponies for the kids to ride and “a horse for Mom.” (More about that later.)
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