In August of 1943, my great-grandmother went to see “Deanna Durbin” in Her’s to Hold.” (It was very good, she said, if you were wondering). Then she walked up Tremont Street to meet what I can only assume is her mother (called Nannie) and had a soda at Huyler’s. That recount made her remember to tell my grandfather that she was happy he could have ice cream (first) and milk (definitely the afterthought in the sentence). My family hasn’t changed in four generations – ice cream first. Even during war. For perspective, the Germans were about to take over Florence. Same month.
Anyway – the problem with this was that I couldn’t for the life of me figure out the word Huyler’s from her handwriting. Tyler’s? That made sense but nothing was coming up. Hylers? Still nothing on the internet. What in the WORLD is that letter?! I started scrounging for old pictures of Tremont in the 40’s. I added myself to Boston facebook groups (you should join too if you like old photos!) and I sent out SOS messages for help to anyone that would have better or more connections to figure this out than I did while I’m stuck in Tuscany – where some people don’t even know that Boston is a city that exists.
I learned all of the most popular soda shops in Boston. Baileys being the most well-known that kinda sounded like THylers, but there was no way it was a B. More searching. I looked for old video, documents. Other people drew up other guesses from memories, no, maybe I wouldn’t find it. But then, Janet, glorious Janet from the facebook group, came to the rescue and offered up “Huyler’s” and gosh darnit we have a winner.
I found a Huyler’s menu with a Tremont address – just across from the Common and it must be it. Great Grandma just forgot to put the “u” in there, and 76 years later, threw her great-granddaughter into a two-day scavenger hunt with a bunch of internet Bostonians. Thanks Gram! It was fun.