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The Nuntius & Our Community, Vol. 4, No. 12, December 1973
File 004
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The Nuntius & Our Community, Vol. 4, No. 12, December 1973 - File 004. 1973-12. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. March 2, 2021. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/2793/show/2771.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(1973-12). The Nuntius & Our Community, Vol. 4, No. 12, December 1973 - File 004. Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/2793/show/2771

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

The Nuntius & Our Community, Vol. 4, No. 12, December 1973 - File 004, 1973-12, Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive, University of Houston Libraries, accessed March 2, 2021, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/2793/show/2771.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title The Nuntius & Our Community, Vol. 4, No. 12, December 1973
Contributor
  • Frank, Phil
Date December 1973
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 28912012
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive
Rights No Copyright - United States
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 004
Transcript 'Mamma $wa-tjtf SSwe MOMMA KVA 3ob Cappell Anybody who was Gay and alive ten years ago in Dallas, just coming out or whatever, met this wonderful woman named EVA when she first started working at what was then called Ken's Kitchen at Lemmon and Mckinney. Now called the Trio Coffee Shop this place was home to hundreds living in the area. Gays, normally unhappy without friends, and many disliking their own home-cooking found a touch of both here and in due time this became the place to go. Not just to eat, but to meet. Back at that time, the curfew for bars was 12 o'clock and when the bars emptied, there was little else to do, or for that matter nowhere else to go. And so, at some times this coffee shop was literally orrun by Gays. Management viewed this with alarm and did its level best to limit the number of us at one time, but insults and slow service had no effect on many of us, and instead of diminishing our number it slowly increased. Not that we were in love with the spot it was just that there was no where else to go most times, and for the many younger gays without a car it was the ONLY place within reach by foot. During this early period, the management had problems with the waitresses who refused to serve our kind, and these poor gals had good reason....think a- scending on this coffee shop at 12/1 o'clock in the morning, all demanding IMMEDIATE SERVICE and camping, cutting up, grab- assing, cussing-discussing,etc., ...well it freaked these poor gals right out of their thin little heads and they would quit one right after another. To help the problem, a portion of the coffee, shop was designated for Gays, this as a consession to us at the time, and it looked as though that would work. Bringing us to the real beginning of our story. MOMMA EVA was assigned to handle this 'dangerous territory'. And with the courage of a line- back, Eva encountered the Gays. At first the queens parlayed bets on how long Eva would last, and set out to 'wreck' her by talk- of love affairs, etc., you know the bit; while Eva firmly planted herself before the tables and waited to take orders. Along with the orders, she took abuse and insults....for slow service, wrong orders, etc., not really her fault but never managed to lose con trol of her temper. Usually at the hour of madness, there was only one cook and eveings, the only business came after the bars would close. And at this hour, after the bars had poured many drinks of the empty waiting gullets, rank and filthy language was used against the coffee shop and personnel, including Eva. But none of that worked. At least Eva refused to let the kids know how she felt about it. In stead, she set about on a plan of her own....to win these kids over. And for all the abkse she took, she returned her warm and cheerful smiles, camped back and through her passive attitude won first our respect, then our love. The management was uohappy with cir business, and afier she tamed us down a little, harassed Eva each time we became un ru!\. but you could hear a pin drop in that place whenever her boss called her over for a talk- ing-to...and lots of stoney glares hit the owner between the eyes for many minutes after, believing he had Eva on the carpet for something we may have done. The owner was more concerned for the tranquility of the three or four straights in the place than the fifty or sixty of us. So Eva's first yearx at the coffee shop weren't easy one. As time wore on, however, Eva won for herself a certain place in our collective heart, a certain rapport or karma, if you will ancT^became the mother to us all! And we her brood. And by this time, the only person we would tolerate service from was Eva. On the night each week she had off. the place was like a mortuary. Momma Eva treated her broode with love and understanding, often listening to problems which went way beyond her comprehension at first, but listened patiently anyway, knowing that 'talk' was the most important outlet to a lot of us, and she wanted to listen, and help, if she could. As time passed, she began to know each of her patrons by name and had coffee ready when they hit the front door...for the kids who preferred nick-names, she called them by these. She knew her brood, and often times, when the restaurant was overflowing with a capacity crowd and the Gays were forced to sit in another section of the place, Eva would slip over to the other side where 'hostile waitresses' were serving us and make sure all went well. Parenthetically, let me say this right now. Eva wasn't going after TIPS...she was going after her KIDS! Hardly a bar operator missed dropping by to meet and see this wonderful woman, and as the bar scene grew, and petty squabbles would break out between some of the owners, Eva never took sides. She would only admonish the operators for not getting along. But left this to be the only place in town where competitors could go and find no favoritism. And in some few cases even arranged for one or two feuding operators to meet there for coffee to discuss tne problem and perhaps even resolve it. Eva heard a lot in that place, too, but never used her mouth to 'tattle' on anyone. Lovers looking for missing lovers would come in search of their mate, and there would be Eva to console. BUT... if that other party had left not five seconds ago, she would never tell. That's her style. I don't know how Eva managed to survive in that period...what little salary she earned she used to bring up her family. From lousy little tips, she gave most of that away to the teeny-boppers who were always broke. And to the, Gays who'd lost a job, or to hot check writer to keep him >iii of jail, u..d i»i * hundred rther reasons. But dear Eva was ilmust always good for a 'touch', we never will be able to count he number of tabs she was forced lo pick up when kids who were too broke to pay for the meal and too proud to ask for help just upped and left without paying...many of these times, Eva was faced with her own financial burdens and at no time did she ask any of us for help. SOMEHOW she managed to find the money, pay the tabs, and go on about her work. Eva was always there. Even when she had serious problems Aith her legs and feet, and the cruel pain virtually crippled her, she went to work every day, never complaining, delivering service as though nothing was wrong. She couldn't afford to quit working as her doctor had ordered, and besides, who'd look after her Gay • ->n And while she was trying , j uve on probably less than in a week, she still managed . ui enough Up money to con- foelp support the many rung (.ays who needed a 25<HERE wung kids who needed a 25£ here or 50< there, or help paying rent. And in a way, it was good that the more affluent Gays tipped Eva well....it gave her more money to help her kids. Veeery little of those loans repaid. And while swarthed in bandages from ankle to hip, Eva still made time to sit and listen to our petty gossip and what, in genuflection, seems like very petty problems. But to Eva, our problems were quite important. She is one of those remarkable women who must have been borne of sainted stock. A woman with a heart made of pure gold. A lady bred in poverty but styled for silk and lace. A woman whose true love for life embraces everyone she meets. A pioneer and a loud voice for gays LONG before it became 'fashionable' to know a Gay. When it soiled others to be with us, eva somehow made 11 seem clean. The Trio Coffee shop is sim there in Dallas, today, and ever\ day, Eva reports to work \ littie more tired than she one*- noKet1 but her age ha-- in* &.. he, more poise and grace. The lines in her face show signs of sadness only at moments but the winning smile seems to cause these to vanish and instantly you sense the real woman behind her smile. Her son has grown up and is married; she is the proud grandmother of three beautiful young ones. These three children will never know the love Eva has given us, but they will somehow sense the legacy Eva leaves with them, and I'm certain without a quiver of doubt that Eva's son, daughter- in -law, and the grandbabies, will have somehow inherited the love for people Eva displays. Eva remembers the Gay underground days in Dallas, when it was fashionable to laugh at the 'fairies' and it wasn't safe to go to bars; and past those hostile years MOMMA EVA brought up her brood, many to be successes in many fields. And the wonderful thing is, she hasn't forgotten one of her .kids. I've seen her eyes swell vwtn tears wnen wc .older-ones come back to say hello, and watched the pain in her face show when she waves goodbye. Eva is only a waitress at that coffee shop, but somehow, when you're there, you're enveloped in the feeling it's her own home. One interesting footnote, is the sweatshirt floating around town, in large quantity, displaying an illustration of Momma Eva, worn by many people proud to be a part of her brood. It was a shock to see the first one, but not really surprising. For my part, a monument should be risen in the shop parking lot with her likeness atop, inscribed...I'm straight...but I'm for GAYS...because they're people too...this has been her credo. All along. It would not be true, perhaps, to say that without Eva or the Gay people, there would not be a Trio Coffee shop. But one thing IS certain, without Eva. therepro- babaly wouldn't be any Gay people thereeither. This woman must surely be the most loved and respected in Big 'D' AND IF LOVE CAN EXPRESS ITSELF WITH LONGEVITY, Eva most certainly will live to be the oldest woman in the world. She will probably remain at that coffee shop as long as she is physically able. We can all hope she remains happy there. But we can also band together to remind her that wwelove her too, by patronizing what must be a very understanding employer, and see that her position there remains secure for as long as she desires. I may be wrong, but I believe that as long as Gay money is spent in that establishment, Eva will remain there. And the establishment deserves our patronage. DDI'm proud to have known thi; beautiful and courageous lady all these years. And if Dallas Ga,\ Life has one precious gem for all the world to view, it is the story of MOMMA EVA...a love story. Page 3
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