A small, but significant part of my childhood has passed away. Connie Marker died at the age of 87. Connie was the proprietor of the Richmond Greek restaurant, “Connie’s House of Marker.” And, to me, Connie was the grandfatherly man in the front room of the restaurant sitting in a comfortable chair, watching TV, and smoking a pipe.
My parents were regulars at Connies. They went there most Wednesday nights. They’d leave the phone number to the restaurant out so that we kids could get in touch with them if we needed them. I still remember that number (966-2016). On special occasions (e.g. celebrate good grades), they’d take us too. The Greek salad was one of my favorite foods ever, and they made a mean fried chicken. I recall some pleasant nights slurping down coke after coke as my family sat around a big round table. I remember my Dad’s sketched picture on the wall with many such pictures of the regulars. I remember my folks having their own custom mugs at the restaurant. And, one of my most vivid memories of my Meemaw (who died when I was 10 or 11) is her and my Dad having a friendly but earnest battle over who was going to pick up the check.
Connie himself was a son of Greek immigrants and proud of his heritage; a devoted Shriner; and a professional boxing referee. In any event, his restaurant was just a unique place in Richmond, and I’m glad to have known it and him.