Behind the Counter

At the age of eleven, Marcie Willows began her first job in a restaurant in Glenfield.  Her duties were washing dishes and waiting tables.

Not long afterwards her parents, Edward and Fern Willows, went into restaurant business in Glenfield and later McHenry.  Marcie worked for them for some time and then came to Cooperstown in about 1950.

Her first job in Cooperstown was at Marquardt's Cafe.  Otto and Belle Marquardt had a small restaurant in the Lende building at the time and Marcie was their waitress from 9 to 5.

She was married to Richard Therkelsen not long after coming to Cooperstown.  During the years when her children were small she sometimes worked at Stone's, and as time went on she helped with cooking as well as doing waitress work.  She worked at the Windsor Hotel when Helen Sharpe was cooking and remembers that Sarah Sandvik and Thelma Dahl also worked there at that time.  Later she worked at the Crescent Lanes Cafe.

She worked the same shift as Vernon Auren at the Coachman Inn restaurant when Duane Miller had it

A widow now with six grown children, she has worked eight years at Andy's Cafe, owned by Andy and Joanne Hagle.  She also worked briefly at the Moline Cafe, owned by Mike and Lillian Sorbo.  Andy's was closed for a few days and Lillian, who is Andy's sister, was ill and Marcie helped her out.  About the only restaurant she didn't work in was Orpha's Cafe, she says.  Her sister Mary worked there for a while.

The work in restaurants hasn't changed much in the time Marcie has been employed.  "The important thing is to remember who wants cream in the coffee," she says.

Prices are the big change.  She remembers selling two-cent candy bars, nickel a cup coffee and two for a nickel cookies.

Restaurant work is a family tradition.  Daughters, Alice Flaagan, Janice Therkelsen and Jeannette Myers, and two of her sons, Gary and Ron, have all done some kind of restaurant work at some time.  Of Marcie's children, only Eugene has never worked in a restaurant.

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial Page 142

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