Doris Mickle was Marando’s longest-tenured dinner waitress. She worked there from 1955, through the transition to the Country Manor, and retired around the early 1990s.
I caught up with Doris recently, and memories of the old restaurant are still as vivid now as they were during the club’s 1950s and 1960s heyday. A spry 90 years young, Doris currently resides in Moline.
Decades ahead of her time, Doris has the entire package: an infectious attitude and smile, coupled with terrific looks — and the uncanny ability to make customers feel uniquely special. Doris is an exceptional representative of the night club – and led by example. She knew that when a customer received good service from someone who genuinely enjoyed what she did for a living, it made the experience one worth returning for and an experience they likely passed along to friends and family. And, her memory was like a steel trap. Customers became “regulars” after the very first visit because that’s all it took for Doris to remember your name – qualities that are timeless.
“I had more fun working there than our guests – and they had a terrific time,” Doris recalls. “It was a special time, a special place. To have entertainment like that was great for everyone.”
Doris worked for a time at Glenn Moore’s Tap, a quaint Moline bar and eatery at the corner of 15th Street and 6th Avenue, then Short Hills Country Club in East Moline before joining Marando’s the day before the club opened the Milan Room back in 1955. “They had just finished expanding the club and the Milan Room was one of the many additions,” she recalls. From Clyde McCoy and Bob Crosby to Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians, Doris was there for all the headliners. She’s pictured here with funnyman George Gobel the afternoon before a 1965 appearance. (That’s Don Leonard of the Freddie Joy Trio to her right, along with club owner Jimmie Marando).
Carmen Cavallaro, the crooning pianoman, played Marando’s on at least three occasions. But it was this 1962 photo that Doris remembers best – Doris’ niece Sandy giving Carmen a peck on the cheek prior to a performance. “Those moments – you never forget them,” Doris says. “And that was one of many.” (Pictured at left, the surprised young lady is Denise VerBeke).
They were called waitresses back then, but the food service and front office staff in this 1961 photograph included (top row): Don Leonard, Grace Vaila, Cathy (front desk hostess), Doris, Joanne, Vivian Whiteside, Dorothy Geilmann, Marge DeLue, Delores Leonard, and GM Charlie Spates. Bottom row: Mary Hoover, June Spates, Beuhla Elmore, JoSue Coleman, Joan Kennedy and Sam (last name unknown).
Doris has spent nearly her entire adult life in the Quad Cities. She raised her nephew, Bob Mickle and niece, Sandy Leenerts, from the time they were infants. Her eldest daughter, Ginny Lynn Christian, is a Registered Nurse in Kansas City. Bob played football at United Township HS, and also for William Penn University/Oskaloosa, Iowa. He passed away two years ago. Sandy currently resides in Silvis and is an operating room technician at Moline orthopedic clinic.
Doris Mickle is truly one of the many treasures that graced the Quad City restaurant landscape during a time when Friday and Saturday nights were special nights out on the town. We should have all been so fortunate! – M.M.