Saturday, February 20, 2016

Rediscovering HoJo

When I was little, during one of our drive-cations, my family made an ill-fated stop at a Howard Johnson's. I've alluded to this story before but never told it, and its time has come.

Most of the really outrageous stories worth retelling in our family revolve around either food or a spectacularly awful hotel. Sometimes, unfortunately, both. This, by the way, is why I'm a bit of a travel princess now, in case you thought that attribute was somehow my fault.

It is not.

The problem begins with my dad's digestive system.

It is made of some unusual material which makes him 100% immune to food-borne illnesses. It should be studied, because I believe an E. Coli. vaccine could be developed that would change life on this planet.

M. Night Shyamalan, could write a dark superhero epic about the man who could not be felled by food.

No matter what dark drive-in we stopped at on our journeys, where both the building and the employees (there never were any other customers of course - they were already long dead) looked like the inside of a Stephen King novel, no matter how old the food, or how dirty the restaurant was, my dad was the only one of us who didn't spend the next three days barfing.

The maddening result of this, of course, was positive reinforcement for him, and so he continued to choose poorly on a regular basis, happy as a little lark, getting the remote control all to himself while everyone else was lying on the floor of a bathroom in a hotel in Arkansas.

So one day, we go to a HoJo. I do not remember what god-forsaken town we were in, which you will soon understand.

HoJo was, back in the day, sort of the McDonald's of road warrior restaurants. You could generally rely on their consistency and kid-friendly menu. They had something called an orange freeze, which my brother and I LOVED - it was an orange sherbet milkshake of sorts. I think it even had a little lime sherbet in it too. It was delightful. They sold taffy too. All the food groups a child needs.

For the most part, we lived through eating their food until this fateful day. On this day, I ordered spaghetti and it was quite decidedly OFF. So I stopped eating it. I got yelled at and told I had to eat it, which should really be against the law, or considered terrorism. I was so miserable and it was so awful that my sister finally took pity on me and tasted it.

All the blood left her face as she informed my parents that there was definitely something wrong with that spaghetti, at which point they of course felt bad for making me shovel it in. We left soon after, and my dad put me up on his shoulders on the walk to the car to try to cheer me up.

I barfed all over his head.

I still to this day will not eat spaghetti with meat in it, and it took me until my late 20s to eat even meat free spaghetti.

I will say, however, that I still love two things about HoJo.

I'd have an orange freeze right now, if that germ-infested franchise rose from its ashes and once again sprang up on America's highways.

And I LOVED the color scheme of their buildings.

Classic late 50's orange and aqua beckoned you from the highway, much like Whataburger did in the same decade.

The 50s loved orange, and I loved the LOOK of this iconic chain. I think visual brands are just better - and they most definitely perfected the visual brand. Der Weinerschnitzel was another one in this category - just genius.

I find myself drawn to this combo a lot - especially when I can find a good, deep, reddish orange - almost a poppy color. All that warmth with some cool aqua is just flat out perfection, and I didn't realize until I was making this card today that it is classic HoJo.

I guess, in the end, the inspiration is worth the spaghetti.

This card is made with some leftovers from this month's My Paper Pumpkin kit, which is ADORABLE.
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Heck no I wasn't leaving that there!

I used Delicate surface Frog Tape and covered all those pieces up with two pieces of tape. Then I carefully removed the tape, with all those pieces stuck to it, and put them down onto my beautiful marbled paper.

The tape is so delicate I just easily peeled it back and all those pretty little petals were stuck on my card!

If you don't have Frog Tape yet, you need it.

Then I used the Beautiful You die from Concord & 9th to finish my card off. Love that scripty font.

So now I have three other cards I can make with those leftovers and my beautiful HoJo color scheme of Tangerine Tango and Soft Sky.

I have another idea with this kit I will experiment on and see if something fun comes of it.

I hope you have a fun, crafty weekend ahead. I'm plagued with some chores and other non-stampy things, but hopefully I will grab some crafty time too. Maybe even recreate an orange freeze.



  1. Oh heck no..... This explains a LOT! So we won't be going to eat at the Old Spaghetti Factory either?

  2. I don't have frog tape yet, but I do have Glad Press & Seal and I used it in the manner you described for my orange leftover flower bits. It worked, but I had to really make sure the pieces were firmly down before gently lifting off the press & seal.

  3. Oh my word! I laughed so hard that Kate had to come from the other room and see what was so funny! Parenting definitely isn't for sissies! : ) Great card, btw!

  4. Your card is fabulous of course and I think our dads went to the same school of parenting. I had to eat everything no matter what. He took me on a road trip to Yellowstone and back and one day when we stopped to picnic (which his funny as his wife now would NEVER camp or he got the pickle loaf (I know) out of the cooler. The container had leaked and it was WATER logged. He made us sandwiches anyway. I choked mine down because he was eating his and I KNEW I'd get yelled at if I didn't eat it or complained. I later said something about how bad it tasted and he admitted his did too but the thought it was just him and if he said anything I wouldn't eat mine. I don't know how we both aren't dead.....

  5. Hysterical! and awesome tip with the frog tape - and I will also try the using up the Glad Press & Seal that I HATE, thanks to the Unknown Poster.

  6. Wonderful card and thanks for the laughs this morning on a long drive from Ohio to wonderful, warm Texas!

  7. OMG, do I ever remember Orange Freezes...Hojo was famous for them and I took full advantage. No, I never ate there, just had the freeze. If you figure out how to replicate it, let us know. Sorry about your Dad's head and your queasy tummy, though.
    This is really an adorable kit. Can really see why you are drawn to the negative bits.

    1. You are such a great writer. This post was too funny. Ah, nostalgic memories are always future "food" for postings, I guess, lol. What was it Nora Ephron's mother told her? "Everything is copy". Oh, yes, and I really like orange and blue together. Great card. (I really didn't ever like orange until the last few years. Now, I love it.)



  8. I enjoy reading your stories but this one I absolutely LOVE - thank you for the laugh and awesome card idea!

  9. Aaaahhh memories. Orange freeze. And HoJo had the best ever peppermint ice cream with the chunks of peppermint. I'm getting hungry. And I love your card.


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