Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lunch with a 99 Year old

Not being raised in Birmingham, I knew nothing about The Club, until recently when Peter and I were treated to a nice lunch out at this swanky place. Situated high up on Red Mountain overlooking downtown, The Club is a paragon of prestige and old-Southern traditions. The sort of place I didn’t grow up going to. So how did we end up at this place? Well, that’s a whole ‘nuther story all its own.


Meet Mr. Jack. One of my readers (and now friends) Kaye from KK’s Creations (who also did the giveaway with me at Engraved Euniques), lives in TX and she had told me that her father-in-law, Jack, lives here in Birmingham and has for many, many years. Since 1935 we found out. That’s certainly a long time. Kaye mentioned that she would love for me to meet Mr. Jack and that since he and his wife were moving to a new garden home, could perhaps use my decorating help. So, I called up Mr. Jack and we talked on the phone. He invited Peter and I to lunch and this is where he took us. Mr. Jack is 99 years old, which is remarkable in itself. He’s so spry, witty, and personable and we had a delightful time having lunch with him and listening to his very interesting life story. He still drives, but Peter and I drove to The Club.

Oh, and the best part is, when I first talked to Mr. Jack on the phone, I asked him if he knew Peter’s grandfather, also named Pete. He did, they were friends for many years, in Kiawanis together and had a lot of friends in common, which was really cool. They were very close to the same age. Peter’s Pappy passed away a little over a year ago at the age of 97.


Now, apparently the club was built in the 1950’s. Can you tell that from this sign. :) You can imagine just from the shape of the building what it looks like inside. This place would be a great movie set. A throw-back to simpler days, a dinner club, a place to play cards, a place to dine and dance. Like stepping back in time to the 1960’s. Apparently Peter’s other grandfather, known affectionately as Big Daddy (Grandma Eleanor’s husband), used to take him to The Club when he was about 8 years old. Peter grew up in Mountain Brook from the ages of 2-9 and then moved away from Birmingham after that. And now we are back.


So there you have The Club. Oh, and they pronounce it THE Club, like V Club, that’s how it sounds when you hear it. I had to laugh at that. I was calling it Tha Club, but apparently that is not the way to say it. A couple of my friends who had been there before also told me that and I noticed that’s the way Mr. Jack said it. And another thing, you have to wear a coat and tie for lunch to sit in the special section. Needless to say, Peter wasn’t wearing a jacket, so we were escorted to a nice section, just not the best for the viewing. But, that was OK, it was great anyway. There was a ladies fashion show going on when we arrived and I didn’t take any pics of that or the inside. They might not have wanted their picture on my blog. So, we had a terrific lunch, with the best orange rolls I’ve ever tasted in my life. I had 2 of them and was raving over how good they were and Mr. Jack had the waiter bring me a whole pile of them in a to-go box before we left. Oh yeah!

Orange rolls

We ate on them for about 3 days. They were great with my morning coffee. Just got a link for the recipe for these fabulous rolls, if you'd like to try them at home. I think I might have to break down and actually cook something with yeast now. I usually avoid cooking anything with yeast at home, just cause I have never done it.


After lunch we walked out to the large patio and took in the enormous view of the city from this prime location.


Birmingham has a beautiful downtown.


And there’s a great angle of Vulcan (hello heiny!), our tribute to the steel industry high atop Red Mountain. There are many radio and TV towers up here too since this is such a high altitude.


We heard they have done extensive remodeling in recent years to bring it up to date. I didn't take pics inside, but it's very nice. Ladies were sitting around tables playing bridge that afternoon.


I really enjoyed seeing it. Hopefully, we’ll go back to THE Club another time.


Kaye shared this pic on her blog of Mr. Jack and offspring. She calls this pic the 4 Jacks. All 4 named Jack, 4 generations. I think this is the sweetest pic. They all look alike!

Mr. Jack still works and has multiple engineering degrees. Graduated from the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!) and still draws and works with his son in town. Now, that is remarkable! We all could only hope to still be as active as he is at that age.

So, if you get a chance to have lunch with a 99 year old, do it. These wise old souls are a wealth of knowledge and history and we’d all be smart to listen to them. Kaye said she will invite us to Mr. Jack's 100th birthday party and I'm looking forward to that next January.

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Robin @ My Blessed Nest said...

Hi Rhoda, I had so much fun at your thrifty party...only wish I had more cool stuff to bring. Maybe next time!

I enjoyed reading about The Club...and I'm so glad you informed everyone about the pronunciation!! I have been there a handful of times (wedding showers, high school reunion, and a dinner or two). It is a nice bit of our history here in B'ham.

Thank you for sharing the good side of B'ham's past. We seem to usually get only bad press, but it really is a great place to live!

Would love to get together with you and other B'ham bloggers some time...sounds like a lot of fun!
Blessings, Robin

Susan said...

This is my first time commenting (I adore your blog!), but I wanted to share a bit of The Club trivia...did you happen to go into the main dining area? The lighted floor in there is the inspiration for the iconic dance floor in "Saturday Night Fever". John Badham is a Birmingham native--there's even a framed poster on the left as you enter.

The wonderful thing about The Club is that it is definitely a time capsule. It has looked the same way since my grandparents went up there to dance in the '50s, and it will probably look the same someday when my grandchildren take me lunch there for my 99th birthday!

And yes...the orange rolls are addicting. I could go for some right now!

PamperingBeki said...

That is so sweet!

Orange rolls sound delicious.

Joanie @ The Bright Side said...

Just discovered your blog and I love it. This post about Mr. Jack and THE Club is wonderful. I love going to places like that where you feel like you are stepping back in time. Love the picture of the 4 Jacks, too. Thanks for sharing.

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Sounds like a great outing. Great photos - thanks for sharing.

Melissa Miller said...

Hi Rhoda,
Thank you so very much for visiting my blog and your kind invite. I will most definitly join in on a party or two very soon!

What a wonderful looking place "The Club" is.
It looks so nostalgic and alot of fun.
My sister lives in B'mingham and is a teacher at VHHS. They just adore the city and the downtown are is so nice.
Blogland is a small place sometimes isn't it?

I look forward to getting to know you better.
Have a good evening.
~Melissa :)

Mrs. C said...

I did it! Remember the spray paint I bought after reading your post? I tackled my project last night. Come check out my pics, if you'd like to see how they turned out.

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

Well there must be something special in the B'ham water...sign me up for a few bottles (cases!)! :-)

How nice that you got to visit The Club with Mr. Jack. And the photo of the Four Jacks is just...awesome. What a lucky family.

Richella said...

Oh, Rhoda, I love this post! I lived in Birmingham for several years (in Liberty Park), and I just loved "The Club." We were not members, but several friends who were members took us there. I always thought it was like stepping onto a Hollywood movie set. And I loved how people pronounced it "Thee Club." Thank you for the connection to my old hometown. :)

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Susan, thanks for commenting. We were in the main dining area & the fashion show was on the round dance floor. I didn't know about the Sat. Night Fever part though, that's really interesting! Loved the place.

Anonymous said...

That was such a sweet story. I bet Mr. Jack enjoyed dining with you and your hubby. What an inspiration-99 years old-wow!

Pat in Chicago

P.S. I always love reading your blog Rhoda. You ALWAYS have something great to blog about. Keep up the good work.

Linda/"Mom" said...

* I just FELL IN LOVE w/ Mr. Jack! (And I SO miss my dear Grampa & Dad). Next time you see this precious, intriguing man, will you please give him a GR888, BIG, HEALTHY n' HAPPY HUG from me (AND my family?!) all the way from Arizona?????~~~

Thanks for the UPPER!!!!

Linda *

Nancy said...

Loved the story about Mr Jack.
Best orange rolls ever!!
Robin it would be great to get
together with other B'ham folks,
can I come even if I don't have
my own blog? I love reading them!
Do you know about the Ann George
books that are about B'ham and
surrounding areas, great reads,
mystery books, funny, one about
The Club and orange rolls and
Vulcan's Behind Mooning Homewood.

Betty Jo said...

How fun that must have been. I looked up the rolls and found a recipe. You can make them at home:

Susan Lang @ Designing Your Dream Home said...

Rhoda, I loved reading about Jack... what an inspiration especially after I just attended a seminar on nutrition, exercise, anti-aging! Thanks for the photos of The Club ...and the orange rolls and the view of Birmingham.

Also, thanks for visting my blog and commenting on my post.

southerninspiration said...

I'm with linda, in that I've fallen for Mr. Jack!! haha...what a sweetheart of a man. I love stories like this...and what a treat for ya'll!!


Tami said...

What a precious story.....and such a beautiful opportunity. Just to be a fly on the wall to hear all those wonderful stories!!


The Quintessential Magpie said...

Wonderful story, Rhoda! And what a dear, sweet man. It makes me miss all of the seniors in my life SO much. I have always loved being around older people, and Mr. Jack looks like a doll. Glad you got to meet him and have lunch at THE Club.


Sheila :-)

Blondie's Journal said...


I loved reading about the lunch with Mr. Jack at The Club. He looks and sounds like a wonderful man. The picture of the four "Jack's" is incredible, they look so much alike!!

You can't go wrong having a conversation with someone older, they have so much to give that we sometimes overlook in our frantic lives. I was once "best friends" with a 76 year old man and I have never learned more from anyone since.

Thanks for sharing this with us!


Cindy said...

Sure wish I could see the interior of THE Club! And, I just love talking with the elderly. They always have such neat ways of talking and phrasing things! Not to mention, the best stories!

Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) said...

Rhoda...what a wonderful story! I truly admire Mr. Jack...if we could only stay that active is right! I truly admire someone who keeps their mind active and going...no matter the age! Thanks for sharing the pics...I especially love the one of the 4 Jacks. :-)

Jill said...

Awww... Mr. Jack is precious. It's so sweet that he had the waiter bring you a box of orange rolls to go. What a great new friend!

Judy said...

Been to THE Club on several occasions. When my sister's MIL lived in Mountain Brook, we were treated to dinner there on several occasions and her SIL had her wedding reception there as well. Sister still belongs and they take her MIL there on occasion. Glad they told you about the emphasis on "THE" Club!

Do read the Anne George books, you'll get a hoot out of them and especially the "hiney" on the Vulcan.

I hope I find the time to visit before the summer ends....if things don't slow down for me, I'm going to start charging for my time and services! (ha)


Rona's Home Page said...

You Southerns have it all. Great tasting food, intriguing people and of course great hospitality.
Thank you for including us in your lunch date.

Gina @ The Shabby Chic Cottage said...

Sounds like a yummy time with great company!

g.suzie said...

How amazing is that, still driving, working, and worrying about his surroundings. . .I love that he is still so active, that really isn't the norm for most soon to be centurions. . .I will have to try out your recipe too, thanks for sharing!

Ashley said...

What a great story. I know Kaye personaly, I am also from that small town and she is a class act! There are few hearts as good as Kaye's.

What a fun and memorable story, what an honor to have such an amazing afternoon with such great people.

Thanks for your blog, I really enjoy it!

Thanks again,

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

I'm so glad ya'll are enjoying this story. It was too good not to tell!

Nancy & Judy, I have read Ann George's book, at least one of them. It was funny to hear the B'ham references & Vulcan.

Lisa said...

What a delightful story, and you definitely need to bake the orange rolls at home. Working with yeast isn't difficult. Power tools, which don't phase you, scare me, but yeast, no biggie! :)

KK said...

Thanks for sharing this story and pictures! He is one of the most 'gentle' men I've ever known and he does have the memory to tell all about his 99+ years of life and loves telling them!
Thanks for sharing your time with him. He enjoyed getting to know you and your husband so much as I hope to have that same opportunity one of these days.
Blessings always,
Matthew 21:22

Brandi said...

What a great story. The pic of the Jacks is cute. The pics of B'ham brought back memories. We haven't been back in over a year. . . everyone wants to come visit us instead. Thanks for sharing. :-)

midnight macaroons said...

Very cool! I love architect dating back to the 50's. I'm sure "The Club" was fantastic and a neat experience. The orange rolls look delish. Mr. Jack sounds like an interesting man and by his picture you can see he has a kind spirit. I love the picture of four generations together.

I enjoy spending time with my elders. I once chatted with an elderly man at a restaurant years back. He was a survivor of the USS Indianapolis. It was one of the most fascinating conversations I've had in my entire life.

Glad you had a wonderful time!

Marla Taviano said...

How fun that you got to meet Mr. Jack! I've never met him but heard all about him from Mr. Jack Jr. when we stayed with him and Kaye last month. LOVE the picture of the 4 Jacks!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Mr. Jack sure doesn't look like he is 99! He is amazing! Did you happen to ask him his secret for longevity?

We lived on Red Mountain many years ago when my husband was a student at Samford.

Joanna said...

Ahhh memories...Thanks for sharing! I miss that big city! I remember going to see Vuclan several times and even seeing the fireworks around him years and years ago (when I was a little girl).

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Awesome post! I loved the pictures. I had lunch with a 98 year old on Sunday. My Nannie celebrated her 98th birthday last week, and like Mr. Jack, she is still on the move. They should meet up. ;) THE Club looks fantastic. :)

Jenny said...

What an awesome day that must have been. Mr. Jack looks great and I would have never guessed he was 99! Go Mr. Jack!

HeathahLee said...

I love this post. LOVE it. I wish my granddaddy had lived to be 100 (May 9th he would have been 100...he died in 1995). I know I would enjoy a talk with Mr. Jack, too.

And that picture is so great! They do all look alike! : )

Linh Chin-Lai said...

Hi, I'm not sure how I stumbled across your blog, but I sure love it. I am amazed at how a can of paint can make something drab into fab.

I've never been to The Club, but have friends who have. They rave about the orange rolls, but have never brought me any! Thanks for posting pics of The Club.

I need to go to yard sales with you! :)

Melissa Wertz said...

We love The Club. D-FIL took DH there for lunch not long ago. Our after dinner rehearsal was there.

Back when Ed's mother was alive and we went there all the time. There was an elderly couple who were there every Friday night. We called them "Fred & Ginger" because they stayed on the dance floor almost the whole time and they danced so beautifully. We have not seen them in years. Come to think of it, I do not think I have been there in a year or two. (FIL will generously loan us his membership from time to time.)

Glad you got to go there and hope you get to go again! Evening is a great time to go as well.

Rose said...

Oh my goodness Rhoda how awesome! Man how I would LOVE to do something like that. My Aunt Bessie lived to be almost 101 and I dearly LOVED being around her listening to her. I think this is the coolest thing! The Club looks like a really neat place to hang out. I really really enjoyed this post!!!! What a man Mr. Jack is! Yessss just hope we're blessed to be this active at his age! What a man!!!
And those rolls look like they're to die for! lol
Already fixing to print out the recipe!!!

BeautifulWreck said...

Great post about THE Club and Birmingham. I bet Mr. Jack was a fun person to have dinner with!

Shannon said...

I just wanted to thank you so much for leaving me one of my very first comments on my blog earlier today. I know you probably didn't even realize it but it was a great surprise for me tonight. And it was such a bonus that it was actually from you! I love reading your blog. Thanks so much!!

Kathi said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful day! I can see that you had a great time! Glad you were able to capture the fun with your photos too!

JoyNtheJourney said...


What an awesome post and what an amazing gentleman you have become friends with! I just love to meet and talk to those 'old souls', as you describe them. They DO hold a wealth of knowledge and have such great stories to tell. My dear sweet grandmother will be 96 years old next January. Until last year, she was so active, just as you described Mr. Jack. However, she fell and fractured her pelvis and has had a very hard time recovering from that. I doubt she ever will. However, she is still so great to talk to even though she has a hard time remembering things like she used to. I would encourage everyone who has elderly loved ones to talk to them as much as they can, while they still can. They are such a joy and a blessing from God.

Rhoda, thanks for sharing this with us. May God shine His Love on you as you continue to bring us these inspiring stories and wonderful information through your blog!

Faithfully serving Him,


Mandi said...

It sounds like you had a fantastic time at "The Club". I am very blessed to still have my great grandparents living, almost 90 now, and get to spend time with them fairly frequently. Their stories and wisdom amaze me. Mr. Jack sounds exceptional, and so did those rolls! Thanks for sharing.

Bonita said...

What an inspiration! I love hearing stories about people who live longer than the average Joe and are still active in mind and body. I hope to be the same way one day.

The picture of the four Jacks is awesome. It's amazing how much they all resemble one another.

Thanks for sharing your trip to THE Club.

Kristi said...

That is so neat. Conversations with older folks are great. And, the pics of B'ham were great!

Celia said...

Just curious Rhoda...what is the population of Birmingham? Looks like a pretty place! Jack sounds like a remarkable man!

Stacey said...

It looks like it was a real honor to meet Mr. Jack. How fun to step back in time in such a place. Glad you got to go!

Mary said...

Rhoda, I enjoyed this post so much, it encouraging to hear about Mr. Jack, 99 and active as ever.(I'm happy for you that you had the opportunity to meet and share lunch with him.)
I love the picture of the 4 generations and I copied the recipe. Don't be afraid of yeast!

Renae said...

Wow...what a fantastic story of an adorable Gent. How fun for you and your hubby to meet such an interesting man, I feel certain you have a new friend!

(thanks too for your comment over at the Katillac Shack!)

Debbie said...

That is so awesome. I remember having to dress up to go places. Stores being closed on Sundays. Now you can go in jeans to just about anywhere. I just love old men dressing up and especially wearing hats.
Enjoyed your post very much.

blessdtwice said...

Awwh, Rhoda- I wish you would warn me before posting something like this! I lived in Bham for 8 years and I miss it! sniff sniff! And yes, the orange rolls at *THE* Club are to DIE FOR!

sigh...oh well...thanks for the walk down memory lane. And Mr. Jack is precious! (but I *do* have to say War Eagle! I'm so sorry- it's a sickness! If you were raised in alabama, you would understand!)


How fun was Jack! My great grandmother lived to be 102 before she passed, and had lived in her own home! The neighbors said she was on a latter cleaning the windows at 99!

Cathleen :)

Stacey @ The Blessed Nest said...

Rhoda, it sounds like you had a delightful afternoon!! What a special time!

Rose - The Center of My Self said...

What a fantastic story and what a fantastic time it seems that you all had, Rhoda! I love 50s architecture and just about everything about that period. There was a lot more class and politeness about that period; I feel there's more coarseness today (just watch a reality show). I've always loved having older people in my life, too. Mr. Jack is a treasure!

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Wonderful place and what a fabulous story about Mr Jack!

Francie said...

You have a fabulous blog! Love all the decorating pics, recipes and such. I think your blog will quickly become like "The Pioneer Woman" She has a huge following.

too Blessed to Stress said...


What fun the thrifty party was! looking forward to more fun linky dyas. hmmm I may just have to buy some burlap to join in later this month!

Just wanted to thank you for stopping by "too Blessed to Stress" and commenting last Monday. I appreciate the encouragement and sweet words.

Stop by any time! I look forward to seeing you at "too Blessed to Stress"

Blessings, Emily

Anonymous said...

Mr. Jack is 99 years old? Seriously? He looks way younger and is VERY handsome.

I'm glad you had a great time. We need to learn from our previous generations. There's lots of sage wisdom being wasted.

Enjoy the sunshine!

The Milams said...

Thanks for taking my Grandad to lunch. I'm glad you found him to be as amusing as I do. Isn't he just great?!

Christy said...

Thank you so much about all the wonderful things you had to say about my Grandfather. I did a poston my blog (about your post) and linked to yours because I wanted to share it with all my friends. He is such a delight and we do NOT get to see him enough!!!Maybe we'll meet in person next January at the 100th birthday party where he will surely be 'cutting a rug' on the dance floor!

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Celia, I just looked up B'ham's population & the entire metro area is just over 1 million. It's a good sized city.

kelley said...

okay, I am totally crying! We just moved from B'ham to Texas and we were members of The Club...still get their newsletter here in TX! This post made me so homesick!

Rachel said...

Fun!! I went to THE Club a few times in college for honors banquets and stuff. . . it really was like stepping back in time. I'm glad you got to experience a piece of Birmingham Lore!

jennifer said...

Although I haven't been to The Club, that view is so wonderfully familiar! Love Red Mountain.

Were the Orange Rolls as good as the ones at All Steak in Cullman? Regardless, I know they were delicious!

Have a lovely weekend Rhoda.

Tammy said...

What a wonderful post! I have actually been to THE Club a couple of times in my life. The atmosphere and the food were fabulous! And let's not forget the view.

Helen Joy said...

What great memories this post brought back to me! It was my first trip flying by myself at 13. I went with my best friend and cousin Kathrine to visit her Grandmother. She took us shopping and we took forever getting ready to go THE CLUB. We were perfect young ladies that night and were treated to yummy orange rolls and all sorts of grown up things. It was one of my favorite memories! Thanks for sharing your experience there!