Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cloverdale's Pink Motel

In 1942 Clive and Madge Sniffer moved to Cloverdale from the Other World. In those days Cloverdale was missing several of the finer amenities one would expect from a village along Highway 1. For example, back then Cloverdale didn't have a Dairy Queen, a motel or a coin operated laundry. Any community expecting to be included on a road map should have those three things. They compromise the basic standards necessary for a village to call itself a community. They are the three pillars modern civilization is founded upon. Can you imagine anything better than stopping at a Dairy Queen for a Chocolate Dipped Cone and a burger after a long day on a lonely stretch of highway? Further down the road you discover a nice roadside motel with joining laundromat. You leave the village the next morning with clean clothes and rested from a comfortable night's sleep.

In 1942 Cloverdalew was missing a Dairy Queen, a motel and a laundromat. Visitors to the village had a choice of either staying in one of the Kicking Donkey’s three private rooms above the Bar or Mrs. Lather’s Bed and Breakfast. Each location had favorable points and each had certain qualities not usually thought of as positive. The rooms above the bar were noisy and lacked clean linen. There was also the issue regarding connivence's. Overnight guests at the Kicking Donkey had to use the pub’s public restrooms located on the ground level.

Guests at Mrs. Lather’s Bed and Breakfast had access to private toilets. What they didn’t have was privacy. Mrs. Lather was a lonely widow and enjoyed three hour talks with her guests. Now I say talks only because she did all the talking and you did all the listening. Wo be to anyone caught in her web.

In addition to the hours of memories, her guests had to contend with the cats. She loved cats and took in all strays. Cat hairs covered every possible square inch of the B and B, including the linen and your meals.

On a warm day in August, 1942, an old Buick drove into town carrying the Sniffers. The back seat and trunk were filled with luggage. Clive was discharged from the American army with a war wound. He took a bullet in the tongue. Its a story never told. Clive was 19. Madge was 16. They looked for a motel to spend the night on their way to Tamworth on Tide. They ended up at Mrs. Lathers. The following day they were in the village office filing papers for a building permit to build Cloverdale's first motel.

One year later, after using all their savings and a generous loan from Madge’s parents, the Sniffers opened The Pink Motel. Folks from as far away as Dibley in the Downs and Fernwood on the Moor came to see this history making event. Many booked evening accommodations.

The Pink Motel’s reputation grew through word of mouth advertising. It was known for clean, tidy rooms - all nearly tastefully decorated in pink. Pink was the theme and Madge was very creative in its application. Guests received complimentary pitchers of ice cold pink lemonade at check in. Instead of leaving chocolate on guest's pillows the Pink Motel’s maids left a handful of those pink butter mints usually found in tiny paper cups at weddings.

As the Sniffers aged the Pink Motel fell into a state of disrepair . Today the Sniffers are in their 80’s and don’t get about much. Their son and daughter in law handle the daily operation of the motel. Last year yellow was introduced into the room’s decor. The new managers claimed it brightened up the place. Today there's talk of adding blue curtains and white walls. The Pink Motel isn't so pink anymore.

The changes are more than the Sniffers can handle. Just last night while enjoying a pint of his favorite Cloverdale bitter, Clive was overheard at the Kicking Donkey Pub saying he and Madge were thinking of packing up the Buick and continuing on their way to Tamworth on Tide. That is where they originally wanted to settle when they first came to the Confederacy in 1942. Those of us that love the Pink Motel are wondering what they'll decide to do.

I’ll be sure to keep you updated.

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