Summer 2002
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TCU Magazine Feature

Recollections of Ol' South

Eddie Murphy once stopped in for a 4 a.m. bite. Patrick Swayze has sampled the fare, too. Golfer Fuzzy Zoeller swears by the German Pancakes, which he enjoyed every time the Colonial was in town. Now, he drops by before fishing trips. And Van Cliburn once told an international piano competition audience four nights in a row to stop by for some coffee and a late-night snack.

Our call for stories about Ol' South, which turned 40 in April, garnered many tales, including giggles about Pauline Berg, a famously popular waitress at the restaurant through the 1990s who entertained her guests with renditions of "I'm a Little Teapot" and "The Beaver Song." Last year, Berg passed away, but her songs live on. We hope you enjoy the stories. Oh, and Happy Birthday Ol' friend!

I just remember the Beaver Lady who had a beaver finger puppet and would sing the Beaver song if you asked her to. It began, "Beaver One and Beaver Two," but I don''t remember the rest.

Kelly Melhart '98

Ahhh, flashbacks!!!! I just remember Pauline singing the "Beaver Song."

Beaver one, Beaver all,
Let's all do the Beaver Call.
Beaver two, Beaver three,
Let's all climb the beaver tree.
Beaver four, Beaver five,
Let's all do the Beaver Jive.
Beaver six, Beaver seven,
Let's all go to Beaver Heaven.
Beaver eight, Beaver nine,
Stop! It's Beaver Time!

Ginger Richardson '96

My most fond memory is the time it snowed so hard we had classes cancelled in January or February 1963. We "borrowed" cafeteria trays from the TCU cafeteria, put on overalls, winter caps and gloves and went Benbrook Lake to slide down the dam. After we played in the snow and totally wore ourselves out, we went to Ol' South and ate pancakes and enjoyed winter like other people do up North. The group included Ellee Denton, Bobbi Gilpin (Schlidt), Angela Dern (Castleberry) and J.B. Ballinger. That was our freshman year and life was good. We bowled at the bowling alley, ate pancakes and enjoyed the friendships back in 1962-1966 while we attended TCU.

Phyllis Ballinger '66

I used to bowl at the bowling alley and then visit the Ol' South Pancake House. Last year I married my husband Dennis at midnight at Robert Carr Chapel. Following the wedding, I had my reception at Ol' South. We parked the limo outside, toasted with champagne and proceeded to the party room. Most people ordered German pancakes (my very favorite).

Linda Houser Ferdinand,
Institute of Behavioral Research

The ballroom dance clubs meet there informally after dances about once or twice per month, starting about midnight. We are dressed in our tuxedos and fancy dresses and mingle with the cowboys and other characters of Fort Worth. It's quite a contrast.

Clayton Brown,
History Chair

I remember that Ol' South was the first place that I ever heard of "buttermilk" pancakes, back in the late '60s. These were definitely not my mother's pancakes. I was surprised at how beautifully golden-yellow and perfectly round they were. In my boyish way I clearly understood why they were called "dollar" pancakes, because they brought to mind the big dollar coins that all my Western heroes tossed onto saloon bars. Cautiously, I put the first small bite in my mouth, and that sublime moment is when Ol' South Pancake House found a permanent home in my soul, for not only were the pancakes delicious, they were made with the grossest drink I knew of and that was pretty darned "neat-o" for a boy like me. In time, Ol' South would also introduce me to other delicacies, like the perfect accompaniment to dollar buttermilk pancakes—eggs scrambled with cubed ham. But even today, when I go to Ol' South it never fails that dollar buttermilk pancakes are the first things I look for on the menu, whether it's morning, noon or night.

Chuck Dunning,
Career Services

When Chris Sawyer (current TCU faculty member) and I were students at TCU in 1979, we would go to the upstairs area above Ol' South to the bowling alley to play a video game called "Tank." We probably sank $100 worth of quarters into that game during the year.

Paul King '80,
Speech Communication Department

I do remember bowling upstairs and basking in the glow of one of Pauline's puppet shows just before she dressed out my German pancake. But my most fond recollection of Ol' South was eating there three times in the 24-hour period prior to my wedding. After a rehearsal dinner at Jons Grille and a long night of carousing, we finished off with a late-night snack at Ol' South. The next morning my family attended a special intentions mass at St. Andrew's, and then it was back to Ol' South. Finally, later that afternoon, I treated my groomsmen to an all-they-could-eat at ... you guessed it, Ol' South. Each stop was certainly not by design, it just seemed to be the place to go in each instance. I've been married 10 years now, and my family still frequents good old Ol' South when we can.

Chuck Mooney '90 (MLA '92)

I have such a vivid recollection of my time spent studying at Ol' South in the wee hours of the night. I studied there regularly with friends from 1979-1982, and I still remember my favorite dish: Neptune crepes. Why would I remember that, when I haven't been there for 20 years? Ol' South obviously made an impression on me!

Karen Lind Scott '82,
Director of International Admissions

When we were in school in the '70s, Ol' South was the only establishment open 24 hours. Hence, it rapidly became our stopping point where over German pancakes and caffeine we would solve all the world's problems as only idealistic youth of the Vietnam Era could. Upon returning to Fort Worth in 1997 after 13 years in the Midwest, I couldn't wait to get to Ol' South. I settled into a booth and was greeted by my eternal Ol' South waitress. Only their names and faces change, you know. Their smiles and good humor never vary. With flourish, my waitress presented the plate, squeezed lemon juice into the pancake, stirred the lemon-butter-sugar concoction to the edges of the pancake, carefully folded the pancake into a neat square, gave it the traditional crisscross cut and slid it under my nose. Aaahhhhh, such perfection! With the very first bite, I was in heaven and transported back to those wonderful days when Ol' South was THE late-night haven of TCU students. When my daughter graduated from her Indiana prep school and joined me in Fort Worth to begin her own undergraduate career at TCU, I introduced her to the Ol' South tradition—and to German pancakes.

Dr. Gay Wakefield '74,
director of the Center for Professional Communication

I'm sure you have gotten several mentions of this one, but there is an older lady there. No one I know even knows her real name, we just call her the Beaver Lady. She has a little beaver finger puppet and sings a song. I can't recall all the words, but the gist of it is:

Beaver one, beaver all,
Let's all do the beaver call
Ffft-ffft-ffft, ffft-ffft ffft
Beaver one, beaver two
Beaver says, I love you,
Ffft-ffft-ffft, ffft-ffft-ffft.

Etc., etc., you get the idea. She brought the house down so much I think they made her stop doing it. My days at Ol' South were limited after that disgusting display of censorship.

Walker Johnson '96,
TCU Campus Police

My only recollection was the time Barrett Jackson hid a dairy creamer container in his hand, held it over his eye and stabbed it with a knife, creating the illusion of a massive, self-inflicted eye injury. Disgusting, juvenile, but we laughed our butts off. Also, I think I learned that trick where you can stand a salt shaker at an angle at Ol' South. Great bar trick.

John J. Lumpkin '95

I have a vague recollection of an impromptu "contest" that started up during a late-night study session. A number of students from the Brachman Living/Learning Community were studying there, and it had something to do with how many whole silver dollar-sized pancakes you could stick in your mouth at once. The Ol' South study crowd was legendary. You could study there all night there without disturbing your roommate.

Kerry Kreiman '84

Growing up in Fort Worth, Ol' South was an institution! Many times we ended up there after dates for some German pancakes or a full breakfast. The senior girls at Paschal High School kidnapped the senior boys and took them to Ol' South for breakfast my senior year (1968). Back then Paschal had high school sororities (called charity clubs), and it was a favorite "rush" activity to kidnap us in our PJs and take us somewhere for breakfast. The tradition continues. Thirty-six years later we kidnapped my daughter and her friends on her 17th birthday and took them—in PJs—to Ol' South!

Nancy Madsen,
Donor Relations

A group of retirees, known as the ROMEOs (Retired Old Men Eating Out) meets there once a week. They say women are welcome, but who wants to dress to go to breakfast at 7 a.m.?

Wanda Penix '49

I was a student at TCU from '71 through '75 and remember when Ol' South was in a little building under the railroad overpass. During Finals Week, we went there to study. Football games were usually followed by a stop at Ol' South. Other times, we went there in the wee hours for snacks after playing bridge all night in Brachman Hall. Friends with little or no cash either had a Dutch baby or mixed syrup in their water for a cost-free, flavored beverage. The move to the "new" building with the bowling alley seemed a little strange, but all the regular employees moved, too, and we could still get those great German Pancakes, so it worked out OK, even though the decor still feels just a bit too modern.

Cathy Hutcheson'75,
Instructor in the Intensive English Program

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