Monday, April 11, 2005

A&W People

As a kid, I remember joyous trips to the A&W to grab a frosty mug and some kick ass onion rings. As far as I was concerned, they had no burgers. Orange fire glazed tile and brown paneling, it had a classic look. This was also the place to grab your DC Comics super hero collectible glasses...of which I still proudly have a few. We typically always went inside to eat although quick trips to a tee ball game required maneuvering through the drive through lane and past the scary A&W people.

Officially called the A&W Family, they were used to classify what type of burger you would order. There are five members of the A&W Burger family: Papa Burger, Mama Burger, Grandpa Burger, Baby Burger, and Teen Burger. Each burger you would order came with a foil wrapper with that character on it. I'm sure many high school macho dudes had an affinity to the less filling Mama Burger but were too afraid to admit it. I'm too young to remember which character had the ultimate burger, possibly Grandpa. Either way, several A&W's (including the one where I grew up) had statues out back of the restaurant depicting the family. For some reason, the statues freaked me out. This is your basic roadside kitsch in classic form but memory serves that the statues proportions were towering. Each family member oddly sized and their cold, glassy stare indicated some strange soul locked inside. To cement my fear of the family, I recall one trip to a nearby town where, on the way, someone (possibly some high school kid) had taken a Family figure and tossed it over a bridge. There it sat unphased in the tall weeds looking up as my mom and dad's Oldsmobile passed by.

For years to come, I would wonder what happened to all the A&W Family members. Finding info on them or anyone who paid enough attention to remember them is an arduous task. Somewhere out there, a cement Family waits.

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