Nostalgia Kills: The True Story of Beth’s Cafe

Photo: Luca. CC-BY-NC

I remember 30-odd years ago when
Beth’s was the go-to Sunday brunch joint
for an odd mix of Greenlake yuppies,
bikers who had become family men,
and Aurora Ave street people.
The great thing was you could smoke there–
I don’t think there was even a ‘non-smoking’ section!
Even though there were ashtrays everywhere,
people still put out their cigarettes
in their cold, half-eaten egg yolks.
You don’t see that anymore, but
THAT WAS WHAT AMERICA LOOKED LIKE THEN.
People would bring their toddlers there,
where they would happily sit in their baby trays
and color with the two million broken crayolas
always on hand.
It was hard to make out what they were drawing, though,
as the gray fumes reduced visibility to the point
where the menu in front of you was hazy.

All those kids are dead now.

But their memory lives on in all the nicotine-stained pictures
taped on Beth’s walls.