Time Capsule Dale: Laundry day at Duds N Suds

Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Meet LV’s newest columnist — a Gen X townie who goes to bed in the ’90s and wakes up in modern day IC/CR.

The early months of 1996 have been a whirlwind for Hawk fans. Carver once again proved to be a menace to Bobby Knight and his gang of Hoosiers on Sunday as Russ Millard repeatedly found Chris Kingsbury open on the wings while trouncing the General with a 26-point rout. Indiana’s good luck charm — a team meal at the Lark Supper Club in Tiffin — turned out to be just another steak night.

In celebration, we went hard Sunday evening and put an unholy burn on the pitchers at Gunner’z while some Chicago band played acoustic rhythms ‘til closing time. We kept the party going Monday at The Q Bar for Cup Night ($1 dollar starters with $.50 refills), inhaling a Big Montana from the Old Capitol Mall Arby’s and a pack of Camels.

I awake from my bed inside my apartment below the Head Hunters Barbershop, my orange cup from the Q hanging from my upper lip. I peel it away and head for the shower, lathering in some of that Short & Easy shampoo my former live-in left behind after a momentous argument. Odd, it feels so long ago.

I pull on some corduroy pants and a too-small CR-Lasalle football T-shirt, which means it’s laundry day. I round up the denims and the whites for a wash at Duds N Suds on Iowa City’s southwest side. It’s a Tuesday, so I’ll order some Old Style Light while I wait.

Heather, the bartender with a towering swoop in her bangs, knows me well and always says, “What the Dale Happening?” when I come up to ask for change. Sure, I could use one of the ample change machines, but I enjoy the interaction. After my cold pitcher, I’ll attack the Super Bar at the Wendy’s next door, relaxing in its cozy sunroom.

But something’s not right. I pull up to Sturgis Corner, and the Wendy’s has been replaced with a huge retailer selling a shitload of staples. How did I not get the news, and more importantly, is Dave Thomas OK?? At least the Village Inn is open; I can always eat there.

But Duds N Suds is gone, too! I’m walking through its entrance into what is now called Oryza Asian Cuisine. Irritated but admittedly hungry, I guess I’ll make the best of this while I try to put the pieces together. One day you’re flirting with a waitress at the Q as she empties your ashtray, the next you’re enjoying a hot bowl of Singapore mei-fun at your favorite place to drink and nap while your jeans get the Snuggle treatment.

Sure my belly is pleasantly full, but will I ever hear “What the Dale Happening” again? I feel the need to confide in the third-shifters at the Kittyhawk… maybe they can help me work this out….

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 316.