Morningside High Celebration

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     I moved to Los Angeles in 1982. Consequently I’ve missed four of my five ten-year reunions. That’s why I was so personally impressed with this event that I covered this past Saturday afternoon. It was about as close to a class reunion as I am ever likely to share.

     The members of the gathering were all on a mission to honor a gentleman that they all genuinely loved, admired and respected. Of course as we always do, any mission is likely to take on an aura not unlike a party, or in this case, a class reunion among old friends, and as we all waited for the man of honor to arrive location descended into boisterous laughter, hugging and fist bumping, as age old memories filled the air.

     The group welcomed me into the crowd as if I was an orphaned classmate, which little did they know was appropriate because as I soon discovered, I was in the company of a bunch of underclassmen, all of whom, as best I could gather amidst the merriment, their average graduation year was the class of 1976, at Morningside High School, while I hailed from the class of ‘72, which made me a senior.

     Walking through the door, I was met by a lovely young lady that introduced herself as Melissa. She told me that everyone should be onsite in a few minutes, and within minutes the lobby of the location was filled with the well-wishers that I told you about. Madam Dionne Faulk, District 4 Inglewood City Councilwoman, broke through the crowd and welcomed myself  and my photographer. I later learned that she is a member of my sister’s beloved AKA Sorority. As the senior representative of the city, she excused herself and was soon whisked away.

     I had previously spoken to Mr. Gregory Johnson, the Vice-President of the Morningside High School Alumni Association, and he brought the gathering together, convening the business at hand. In short order, he introduced some of the group VIPs and offered an overview of the history of the man of the hour, Mr. George Davlantis, owner and co-founder of the Brolly Hut.

     Mr. Davlantis and his brother, the late Jim Davlantis, opened The Brolly Hut in Inglewood in 1970, in its present location, at the northwest corner of Crenshaw and 111th, just north of Imperial. The building is impossible to miss, during by you will notice the distinctive 40 foot, iconic figurine of a Brolly, perched high above the landmark pole, in the front of the building. Brolly is an old English slang for the word umbrella, that dates back to the late 1890’s, and is depicted in the carving that brands its namesake long serving restaurant.

     Among the reasons the Mr. Davlantis is deserving of the honor and the beautifully crafted plaque is his dedication to the surrounding neighborhood, families and customers that have supported the business for 53 years. He provided jobs for youngsters as they came of age, looking for part time work. Most of the attendees to this presentation ceremony  were jocks and their sports loving Morningside classmates. They spent the minutes preceding the presentation reminiscing about their time spent piling into “The Brolly” after games, and any excuse after a school related event. They bantered  graciously about how the staff treated them with respect even when they became loud and rowdy, as kids often did and probably still do.

     After the amazing ceremony, this gathering of old friends culminated in a round of gracious selfie-taking with George, for future memories.

     I treated my daughter/photographer to a Brolly Hut Burger and Fries, and next week I apparently have to take her twin sister over there to sample what she came home raving about.

     Congratulations for your honor, Mr. Davlantis, your family and your staff. Thank you for your service.

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