Hard Times at the Claypool Courts

Many years ago, the Claypool Courts Hotel, located on the Monument Circle, in Indianapolis, Indiana was one of the finest hotels in state. The coffee shop was very first-rate. In this story, the hotel was the central location of the events that follow.

The weather was extremely cold, below zero and early in the morning of this particular day, a fine glaze of ice and hoar frost was on the landscape. My wife, Helen, had gone to Shreveport, Louisiana to visit her family and had taken my youngest son, Kevin, with her. Kevin, who was under five years old at this time, often stood behind the bus driver on the trip from Shreveport to Indiana. Kevin would tell the driver that he was going home because his father was missing him.

It was a Sunday and there was a strong sun out which was dissipating frost and ice. The bus was to arrive in Indianapolis around noontime and Rosemary, a woman from my work and friend of the family was with me. We had left early in the morning, taking time to avoid any mishap because of ice that was still in many places on our route. We arrived almost two hours before the bus was to arrive so I parked the car on the circle near the Claypool Courts, and both of us went in and entered the coffee shop and for some coffee and sweat rolls.

An hour had passed and we decided to go to the bus station, which at one time was Indiana Urban electric traction terminal, to check on the bus arrival.

cigsOn first entering the Claypool Courts on our arrival in Indianapolis, the weather was still below zero, and when we took a breath, the mucus in our nostrils froze a little. At this time, I was smoking menthol cigarettes and I knew that going outside in the extreme cold would cause a coughing spell. I had just lit a cigarette upon leaving the coffee shop and not wanting to smoke on the way to the terminal, I was looking for a place to extinguish it. The entrance to the hotel was a revolving door. Near the entry door were two elevators, which had a cigarette urn between them. I stopped at the urn and put my smoke in the sand.

We walked to the bus stop that was one block away, and I went to the dispatcher window to check on the arrival. The dispatcher told me that the bus would be late by one hour because of the road conditions. The bus terminal was really not a place to spend an hour; it was much cluttered with debris, dirty, and was not heated. Because of this, the two of us decided to return to the coffee shop.

On re-enterring the hotel, we saw two couples waiting by the elevator. They were dressed nicely, and being a Sunday, there appearance was more than proper. I also noticed that my cigarette was still in the urn. Therefore, when Rosy and I were abreast of the elevators, I stopped between the two couples, stepped between them and said, “Excuse me please,” and retrieved my cigarette.

Rosy was extremely embarrassed and continued into the coffee shop, leaving me way behind her. In a way, I do not blame her.