In 1981 high school classmates Ray Fortini and Ed Pothast invited me to an all you can eat Friday night spaghetti dinner for something like $4.00 at the Elks’ Club in Ossining. The members had taken a beautiful spacious mansion overlooking the Hudson River and converted into to their club; an all white working class club. When the two white teens and one black one entered the Elks club nobody made in hostile overtures but the regulars looked surprised to see me. My appetite pushed me through the uncomfortable stares to tables with delicious smelling piping hot pasta with homemade sauce and mounds of warm garlic bread. We enjoyed several plates of incredible food and made small talk with the older men and women who served the food. After that I became a well received regular on Friday nights. I don't know If I had broken the clubs color line but I never saw another African American in the place and never inquired about anything more than when the next patch of great pasta and garlic bread would be ready.
More Ossining Stories and Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Ossining
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Back Story's History of the Mississippi River [Listen Now 52 min and 1 sec]: http://backstoryradio.org/shows/that-lawless-stream/