Howard Johnson’s, in later years known as just HoJo’s, will soon be just a memory. Out of 1,000 HoJo’s in the ‘70’s, there will be only one remaining, and that will be in Lake George, New York.
Maybe you, as I, recall the jingle “Howard Johnson’s 28 ice cream flavors sure are great!” That ice cream was the first quality ice cream available on a large scale, and out of those 28 flavors, everyone seemed to have a favorite. I had two: chocolate chip and peppermint stick. My Uncle Sam favored frozen pudding and my Uncle Speedy loved pistachio, even though he never could pronounce the word.
Howard Johnson’s wasn’t just ice cream. There were items for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They also sold a few canned items such as clam chowder and, my favorite: Indian pudding. My mother would steam it, and then top it with , of course, Howard Johnson’s vanilla ice cream.
The Howard Johnson’s of my teen years was also a social gathering place of which I have many fond memories. There was a Howard Johnson’s at Wellington Circle in Medford, and that is where, at 16, I had my first cup of coffee. There was also one in Medford Square, and that is where a group of us often ate on Sunday nights between youth group and evening church. We would crowd into a circular booth, sometimes pool our money, and enjoy hot dogs, hamburgers, clam rolls, and once or twice a shared banana split.
But the biggest Howard Johnson’s fan of all was my mother-in-law. She liked Howard Johnson’s in general but she LOVED their orange sherbet in particular. I don’t think she ever passed a HoJo’s without stopping for orange sherbet, and when she visited, someone would always have to make an orange sherbet run. The night she died, at 89, I was feeling melancholy and said to my son, Orrin, “ Don’t you wonder what happens? The person is here and then they’re not. Where do they go?” Without missing a beat, Orrin replied, “Grandma’s gone to Howard Johnson’s.
Dorothy C. Judd © 2016
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