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View Street Diner closes

August 31, 2000

View Street Diner closes



By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer

Dottie ThompsonAfter 31 years in and out of the restaurant business, Dottie Thompson closed her View Street Diner in Hagerstown on Thursday and is retiring.

The booths are being tossed out and her son's hobby shop is taking over the dining room at 800 View St.

But just in case she changes her mind, Thompson is keeping the kitchen in working order and putting the tables in storage.

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"I can always buy chairs," Thompson said.

Assuming Thompson, 71, stays retired, Thursday was the last day that meals would be whipped up in the diner.

"I'm going to miss all these wonderful people," she said.

Over the years, Thompson has leased the restaurant several times, she said.

Many of her customers said they, too, will miss the diner. Thompson and many of her regulars are on a first-name basis, and some occasionally spend hours sitting in the booths chatting.

"This is like a home away from home," said Shurl Bussard, 52, of Williamsport.

"You're welcome to eat and spend two to three hours here," said Bussard's mother, Mary Vaughn, 70, of Hagerstown.

"I don't want them to close up. I'm going to have to cook every day," Vaughn said, adding that she'll also miss the friendly atmosphere.

"If you walk in a stranger you don't walk out a stranger," she said.

Jim German, 71, of Halfway, said he'll miss the "good home cooking."

"I'm going to miss the convenience, and most of all the companionship. But she deserves to be able to retire. She works hard here and we wish her nothing but the best," said German, who with his wife Betty, ate at the diner almost every day.

Thompson said she decided to retire because of the stress of not being able to find and keep good help in the kitchen.

"Hard work won't hurt you, but the stress will kill you," she said.

Thompson said if not for her daughter and daughter-in-law, she wouldn't have been able to stay open as long as she did.

"They have been my right hand," she said.

Thompson's daughter Fran Clingan said she, too, will miss the customers most of all.

"With some people you see them coming and plug in the waffle iron," she said. "They're not customers. They're friends."

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