I came across this website, check out the photos from the 30th Stone Balloon Anniversary. (Gone but not forgotten)
The Balloon brings back fond memories and a few fuzzy ones. In 1975 I graduated from the Crescendo in New Jersey where the drinking age use to be 18 and Delaware at the time 20 and I made my first visit to the Stone Balloon. Here was this fairly young guy Bill Stevenson who owned the Stone Balloon standing on the stage at last call telling people, “ Please drive careful and if you feel you can’t drive I’ll provide you with a Taxi and your car will be safe in my parking lot.” I use to frequent the Deer Park, Crescendo, Mariners, Way Out Inn, Tally-ho, Brandywine Club, Alley, Odyssey and let’s night forget the Park (Richardson Park). I don’t remember managers or owners of any of these other places stepping up like Bill did. Bill may have fallen from grace but in the mist of it all he took some sense of responsibility before the war on drinking and driving and MADD. This guy cared enough to consistently remind his customers not to drink and drive and that he would provide a Taxi if needed.
Somebody might pop in here and throw in he was just protecting himself from lawsuits. However, back in those days that wasn’t the game. If it were, surely all the other bars would be doing the same. This was at a time even the police would let you slide!
Let’s get back to that Crescendo! OMG, talk about sex, drugs and rockin roll! This place was where Disco and Rock got married! I honestly think the idea for the second Delaware Memorial Bridge can from some drunken engineer returning to Delaware after a night at the Crescendo. I mean, the trip over you would see and drive over the one existing bridge. However, on the way home after a night at the Crescendo a second bridge seemed to pop up! I had it down to an art and always pick the bridge (vision) on the left.
True story! It was the spring of 1973 and I owned a 1963 Ford Galaxy convertible. I was driving home from the Crescendo drunk doing about 85 miles an hour on I-95. I was approaching the exit for Newport and heard this scratching sound. I slowed down and it seems like it went away but I still faintly hear it. From where I was at, it was about 5 minutes from home. I got home and park the car. The next morning my mom asked with go buy her some cigarettes. I got into my car drove about 500 feet and the left front tire fell off! The axle also known as the spindle snapped!
Here’s the thing, we’re only talking a 5 minute timeline from when I heard the noise until I parked the car. If I would have left the Crescendo a few minutes earlier or was delayed on the road the odds are very great that the axle could have broken while I was driving 85 miles and hour in a convertible with no seat belt on. We’ll I guess I was blessed and Red Clay was cursed! From that day on my drinking habits changed. I still would go to bars and get a bit trashed however; I would drink a little more early in the night and stop drinking well in advance of last call. I enjoyed dancing and pretty much spent the night doing that. By time it was time for the bar to close which in most cases it seemed like it was about 1 am I was pretty well sober. (Brandywine Club about 4 am)
I have to watch my potty-mouth here as I don’t want to disappoint by blog guardian angel trying to reform me (that’s a good thing). However, staying relativity sober came in handy when meeting a young ladies.
Alcohol does make you feel good and gives you that little boost to get up on the dance floor. However, if you drink to drown your sorrows the answer isn’t in the bottom of that glass or bottle. I had many sorrows in those days and still do but just find other ways to fill the empty holes. The pain and sorrows never go away and feeding yourself alcohol to treat the pain will only bring it all back.