Flashbacks from late 2012 inspired readers' reflections about last-minute holiday shopping; the new book "Lost Orlando"; retired journalist Jean Yothers, who recently celebrated a birthday; and Orlando's Marks Street school.
Attack of the Ronnie's sundae
"I used to be a last-minute shopping guy. Also, my wife and I used to shop at Jordan Marsh and the other stores in Colonial Plaza. Ronnie's, with those towering sundae treats, was a favorite stop after the prom. I was there when one sundae toppled into my date's lap. Others at the table got a hearty laugh, but I had to try to keep a straight face!"
Warren and Jeanne Chase, Orlando
Note: The menu for Ronnie's (1956-1995) in the old Colonial Plaza featured a full page of sundaes with names such as the Rollins Special (hot fudge and vanilla ice cream, served in a cream-puff shell), the Pinecastle (crushed pineapple and marshmallow on vanilla ice cream), and the Route 50 (nuts and marshmallow on chocolate ice cream).
But the one that topped them all was "The Mogambo Extravaganza"— which, the menu advised, "should only be served to two or more people. If you are alone, hesitate to order it." The Mogambo featured seven flavors of ice cream and sherbet on pound cake, with five different toppings, banana, whipped cream and a cherry.
"I remember when Orlando's Orange Avenue downtown had Woolworth's and McCrory's stores, as well as a J.C. Penney's and a Cadillac dealership (it's a paint store now). I saved my money from my part-time job as a grocery-store bag boy to buy albums — vinyl albums — at Southern Music, also on South Orange.
To me, the most disturbing thing about the 'new' downtown Orlando is the absence of a bookstore."
Wes Pierce, Orlando
Jean Yothers' special style
"I enjoyed your column on Jean Yothers. I worked with her in the Sentinel newsroom in the early to mid-1970s. One of my favorite Yothers columns involved Jean's account of a dog that answered the telephone. At least, the dog would knock the receiver off and bark.
Jean's next mention of the family who lived with the dog lamented that their phone number had to be changed because of the many calls from Jean's readers who wanted to hear the dog. Gotta admit, I was one of them."
Dennis Beal, Washington, D.C.
"I always laughed at Jean referring, in her column, to her mother as 'Ada B.,' as in Bumby, and the Municipal Auditorium as 'Muny Aud.' "
Molly McElroy, Orlando
"I worked with Jean in the Sentinel's Women's Department in the early 1970s. She was such a hoot. Last week another co-worker, Maxine Bowers, and I ate "al fresco" in honor of Jean. She always loved that word."
Carolyn Gardner, Orlando
Marks Street memories, reunion
"Your article about Orlando's Marks Street School brought back memories. I attended the school for all six grades from 1938 to 1944. My parents lived on Marks Street, and I walked to school every day.
My mother, Roberta Kimble, used to be a substitute teacher. Later, she went back to full-time teaching and retired in 1977 from Blankner Elementary.
In your article, you never mentioned the principal, Mrs. Ethel Conwright, who was, as far as I know, the only principal the school ever had in its 40-year existence."
Elvin A. Kimble, Apopka
Note: Frank Alexander and Mary Carlisle report a good response to their idea of a Marks Street reunion; the date has not been chosen. "We've been trying to keep on top of everything in order to keep the information organized," they write.
Write them at Marks 2013 Reunion, P.O. Box 607418, Orlando, FL 32806. Or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org, Mary Carlisle at email@example.com, or Frank Alexander at firstname.lastname@example.org. Frank can also be reached at 407-299-9284 (a business number) or 407-491-1771. Call Mary at 407-761-5382.
Joy Wallace Dickinson can be reached at email@example.com or by good old-fashioned letter at the Sentinel, 633 N. Orange Ave., Orlando, FL 32801.