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Fans of nostalgia, burgers gather one Mo time

October 04, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

SHARPSBURG -- The Mighty Mo and the Orange Freeze -- Washington, D.C.-area treats from decades past -- were served near Sharpsburg this weekend, with a side order of nostalgia.

The Mighty Mo is "two hamburgers, crisp lettuce, melted cheese, special dressing, dill pickle slice, sesame seed roll."

But to those at the Mighty Mo Reunion, the stacked burger is more than the sum of its ingredients.

The annual reunion for people who remember food and fun from that era is held at Jim Kehoe's Antietam Gallery on Md. 34.

Kehoe, a 1964 graduate of Northwestern High School in Prince George's County, Md., said the Mighty Mo burger was served at Mighty Mo, a restaurant of the same name, and at Hot Shoppes.

Mighty Mo, the restaurant, was a 1960s version of a fast-food place, where people ordered from their cars and food was brought to them.

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Rose Mary Dempsey of Mount Airy, Md., said her first job was at Hot Shoppes in Langley Park, Md. She was 16 years old.

A drive-in sign board from that same shop, rescued from a trash bin, was set up at Antietam Gallery this weekend. The Mighty Mo cost 55 cents then; an Orange Freeze drink cost 30 cents.

This weekend, costs were higher -- $6 for a Mighty Mo, $4 for an Orange Freeze.

Jim Halstead, who attended Northwestern High, said his sister drove him in a 1962 Chevrolet Nova to get a Mighty Mo.

Fran Speer remembered going to Hot Shoppes in her 1969 GTO -- "and that thing ran, let me tell you."

In recent years, Antietam Gallery has commissioned what Kehoe called a "Maryland Nostalgia Series."

It includes Hot Shoppes, Tops Drive In, the Beltsville Drive-In and the Peter Pan Inn in Urbana, Md.

In the Hot Shoppes and Mighty Mo paintings, artists Doug Quarles added pennants from other high schools in that area -- the Blair Blazers, the Peary Huskies, the Richard Montgomery High School Rockets and the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Barons.

Kehoe said there's still great interest in those cherished memories. He knows of one person who drove from the other side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to be at a Mo reunion.

"When you combine the food with the nostalgia, it's a winning combination," he said.

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