Today’s photo post is a particularly haunting photograph of my grandmother and her first husband. Taken sometime in the 1950s, I am distinctly intrigued by how unhappy they both look. So many questions are brought up: Why are they are so unhappy, for starters. Were they having an argument? Why did they consent to having their photo taken if they were so unhappy at that moment? Why not try to put on a fake smile? Why did they even keep the photo? (I’m super glad my grandmother did keep it. I don’t have too many photos of her before 1980.) I’m also intrigued by the location of the photo. They’re eating fried chicken out of a bucket in a diner with ‘Johnny’s Supper Club’ written on the glasses. They’re dressed up, pretty fancily, too.
After a bit of investigating, I found a ‘Johnny’s Supper Club’ in Raleigh, NC.
According to Karl Larson over at Goodnight Raleigh- an online magazine bringing the news and history of Raleigh through photographs of the city at night- Johnny’s Supper Club was built in 1948 by Raleigh businessman John W. Griffin. He also opened up Johnny’s Drive In Grill- ‘Raleigh’s First and Finest’ in 1948, as well as Johnny’s Motor Lodge around 1960. The Supper Club was sold in 1960 and renamed Black Steer Steakhouse, which caught fire in 1965.
After talking with my mom, I found out that my grandmother and this guy divorced around 1953. Perhaps they were on the verge of this breakup near the date this photo was taken? We’ll probably never know.
Larson, Karl. ‘Johnny’s Drive In Grill- Raleigh’s First and Finest, Raleigh, North Carolina.’ Goodnight Raleigh. 27 April 2012. Web. 28 May 2013