Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Our Day Trip to Warrenton and Wentzville

If you get off at Wentzville you'll learn pretty quickly what they think of Chuck Berry.  They even named the county after him.

And that's not all-- they want to elect him, too.

Not 100 yards from these signs I figured out where he might have found that marker for Berry Park-- the Wentzville Monument Company!

Which is right across the street from what used to be The Southern Aire Restaurant.

It's some sort of college now.  When Chuck Berry was a teen, he and his friends had to purchase their food at the back door.  I'm glad he wound up buying the place.

I figure if I ever want to move in to Wentzville myself, there's a turn key operation for me.

When we were looking around town, we saw a police officer and asked how to get to Highway Z and Buckner Road.  He told us.  He told us that he'd once stopped Chuck Berry, but that "it wasn't anything serious" and he didn't give him a ticket.  He said it took a moment looking at the license to realize that "Charles Berry" was the living legend.  He told me he went to school with one of Chuck's relatives, but didn't know it until Chuck Berry showed up at graduation.

We eventually found what we were looking for.  Here I'm with my sister-in-law Liz.  One thing made me pretty happy.  In some photos I've seen, the word "Welcome" is covered by duct tape.  The tape's gone now.

About 32 years ago I stalled my car about 75 yards up this driveway.  (It was a Fiat, on a hot day.)  I had to push it back to the road.  I was probably the reason they had to put up a gate.  Sorry!

This was actually my third visit to Wentzville.  I went in 1978, and before that in 1964.  I was only eight, and rode with my mother and five of my sisters and brothers from Sacramento, California to Warrenton, Missouri, a town about 15-20 minutes west of Wentzville.  My brother Paul was in a seminary there, studying to be a priest.  Here he is in front of the seminary with his wife Liz.  The priest thing didn't quite happen.  My other brother Stevo once told me that "No Particular Place to Go" was a big hit on that ride, but that my mother and sisters thought it improper.  According to Stevo, they'd argue about whether or not to turn the volume down.  (My sister denies any such prudishness.)  I was in the far back seat of a 1963 Impala station wagon, facing backward, getting teased by another brother, and so far from the radio I wouldn't have known.  What I do remember is that I learned to swim at a motel in Warrenton.  Also that the nuns at the seminary served ice cream to us in rectangles cut with a knife.  For an eight year old, rectangular ice cream is very memorable.

One thing Paul has in common with Chuck Berry, is that they both made lakes.  Paul and his fellow seminarians built this one by damming the southern end with a tractor and shovels about 50 years ago.

If I'm not mistaken, Bob Lohr also has something in common with Paul, since both are lawyers, and both have spent time in Warrenton, Missouri.  I think I remember Mr. Lohr saying he goes to court there from time to time.  Paul, alas, misses the old courthouse he saw as a child.  Only the cupola and four pillars remain from the old courthouse.

If you go to Warrenton, we all recommend the cobbler at a restaurant called Brewski's.  And I'm happy to say that we got the recipe-- but we'll carry that secret to our graves!  (Enough of that cobbler, and we'll get there sooner than we'd like-- but we'll die with smiles.)


Anonymous said...

Peter, And a picture of Chuck's geese!! I was trying to get a close picture of them out by the front fence when all of a sudden I got to close and they took flight. Now there was probably about 80 geese honking for all there worth around 10 o'clock in the morning!! They fly to the north then circle back and land near the house all stirred up and making noise. I figure Chuck's still in bed from the late night concert and all, and I figure the same lady that scolded you was going to come out and give me the what for!! So I hop in my car and head on down the rode hoping I didn't disrupt anyone in the house!!
CB Forum ID - Busseybootlegger

Anonymous said...

Your stories in pictures and words are so fantastic. Every morning i wake up there is something new to read about here. I'm so happy that you are doing this and so happy you made this trip. I must have missed Chuck's geese. It was very very hot in August 2007 then we were there. I wish you a wonderful evening at Blueberry Hill.


Anonymous said...

I hope you're bringing the cobbler recipe home!

Peter said...

Yes, but it is now MY secret recipe.