Back in late 1984-1985 when I first moved to Fort Wayne, through the doors between the double pillars of what was then a Holiday Inn, was a very popular nightclub called “Chasers” that my friends at the time and it was our preferred place to go as there was never any cover charge (although they had a 2 drink minimum the waitresses pretty strictly enforced after we went out one night and were broke and ordered waters; our waitress reminded us she was a 30-year-old single Mom of 2 and could lose her job it drinks were not purchased) , drink prices weren’t as outrageous as other nightclubs in town and they had a great offering of live bands and a smaller but decent sized wood dance floor where we would dance the night away to covers songs by of Prince, Cindy Lauper, Loverboy, and other popular artists at the time.
We had more good times that bad times, found what we thought at the time was possibly love and went out to cheer each other up when it turned out not to be.
My best friend at the time was a Respiratory therapist named Mary, that I had met in the office I was working at the time. Sometimes went out with her friends Cindy, Ronna, and Corrine and sometimes I went out with her friends if she was one date. If we had enough money after going out, we would go to the Azar’s breakfast bar up the road (which is now Liberty Diner) that had an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet for $3.99. I know it is wrong and it is sad, but Mary and I would both sometimes take an extra sausage, bacon, hash browns or a biscuit a wrap then in a napkin to stick it in our purse for something to eat the next day as we were that broke. Found that two of the small round sausages traveled the best as it didn’t get our purses greasy, held it shaped and heated up nicely. If you are wondering why we just didn’t take baggies it would be because that would have been planned and wrong; we never went in with the intention of taking home any food, it was just that it was an all you can eat buffet, we were hungry and picked up more than we could eat and didn’t want to see it thrown out as it would have been because it was on our plate.
Probably the worst night was when Mary and Corrine both were flirting with and then fighting over a saxophone player and their feud lasted about two weeks, I think it ended after he didn’t call either of them after he said he would. The best band they ever had there had a slightly pudgy, curly-haired gal that was about 5 feet tall as the lead singer and she had a way of energizing the crowd, which is why they were probably booked more often than any other band. One time she even jumped on a table and did a few dance moves while singing Sammy Hagar’s “I Can’t Drive 55”. I don’t recall the name of the band, but a flyer they gave out one time showed they played gigs in Ohio and Michigan as well. Whenever they played, the dance floor filled up quickly and the place was usually packed.
Cindy had been married then divorced, to a Sherriff in a small nearby town. She didn’t say anything bad things about him but just not what he had seemed. About 10 years later after what I read in the paper and he resigned in disgrace. She was and LPN and did so well on the job the hospital she worked at offered to pay for her to get her RN, which she relished and appreciated. I last ran into her at Scott’s and didn’t recognize her as her hair was no longer a long platinum blonde and her lovely brown eyes were covered with blue contact lenses. She was living with a boyfriend and I was married; think it was around 1990. We caught up a little and exchanged phone numbers – but I couldn’t find her number when I got home and she never called.
Corrine was an Assistant Manager at a shop at the mall. It was not until we went out shopping one time and she picked up boy’s clothing that I found out she had been married to a man from Saudi Arabia and lived there for awhile. They had a son and at some point, she returned to the US and her marriage ended and she lost custody of her son after she was in a bad auto accident and her son ended up in foster care as neither her ex or her family stepped up to take care of the boy. She was trying to work her way up so she could get custody back. When I last talked to her, she had been promoted to management and gotten a small apartment near the mall and on her way.
Mary had been married before briefly and had been in a relationship with a guy named Tim for several years, but he never really committed to her and they broke up shortly after I met her. She took on a roommate after a guy knocked her door mistaking her apartment for the one next door that was up for rent. His name was Jim and I could tell from the moment I met him he was a jerk. Mary’s friend Ronna, who was a very sweet gal, fell for the jerk.
Jim never committed to Ronna. She heard he was seeing a stripper and asked for me go with her to check her competition out. She wanted to know what all women want to know when they are thrown over for another woman – what does that woman have that I don’t. I don’t recall what it was before now, but it is now the Harem House. When we went in there we were the only females and the “dancer” was dancing on a bar with a mirror behind her. Awkward. The manager came up to us shortly afterward and asked why we were there; usually, it was because one of the dancers were involved with their man, and he didn’t want any trouble. Ronna assured him there wouldn’t be, she was just curious. As soon as the women came out it was obvious it was not because she was not prettier than Ronna, but when she dropped her top it I told her was because of the gals “upper assets” and somehow she could dance to the Jim Morrison songs, albeit pathetically. She laughed. Mostly the girl twirled with long sheer fabric on top a bar that seemed to be doubling for a stage in her sequin bikini and odd off-white shoes that looked like sandals that would be worn at Easter. All of the “dancers” seemed to be wearing those same shoes. Maybe they got a group discount, but I found it creepy. 10 minutes was about all we could take of that place and left as the whole experience was getting a little too “Hotel California”.
I don’t recall what it was before now, but it is now the Harem House. When we went in there we were the only females and the “dancer” was dancing on a bar with a mirror behind her. Awkward. The manager came up to us shortly afterward and asked why we were there; usually, it was because one of the dancers were involved with their man, and he didn’t want any trouble. Ronna assured him there wouldn’t be, she was just curious. As soon as the women came out it was obviously, it was not because she was not prettier than Ronna, but when she dropped her top it I told her was because of the gals “upper assets” and somehow she could dance to the Jim Morrison songs, albeit pathetically. She laughed. Mostly the girl twirled with long sheer fabric on top a bar that seemed to be doubling for a stage in her sequin bikini and odd off-white shoes that looked like sandals that would be worn at Easter that all of the “dancers” seemed to be wearing.
Jim demonstrated what a jerk he was within a few months. Because he didn’t like her cat Roxie, that she had had for years, to work with him to get rid of her. After she was going crazy because she couldn’t find the cat he finally fessed up. The poor old kitty crawled up scared into someone’s engine where he worked to keep warm and ended up getting killed when the person’s started their vehicle. She said she forgave him, but I told her that was unacceptable and she should have kicked his butt out. Someone that would do that to an animal you care about, could do the same to you and not think twice about it. He put a real rift in our friendship as I could not stand the sight of him or even talk to him if he picked up the phone as I always felt a vibe I was in the presence of evil.
Jim’s nice friend Kevin asked her out and I did something I would never typically encourage someone to do if it is a guy’s friend: I encouraged her that Kevin seemed like a nice guy and they had a lot in more in common. It turned out they did. He liked to go canoeing and athletic things like she did and would take her out to do things in the light of day, not just meet up at a bar and buy her drinks. I lost touch after going out with Ronna and Kevin at Halloween, but I hope it worked out for them. I took a job in Indy that did not work out and ended up living back home and working a minimum wage job at the local truck stop just to try to keep my car and pay $25 a week to with living expenses as Mom was working there too.
The last time I saw Mary was when we met up at a club where the New Holiday Inn across from the Coliseum is at now in early 1987 after she gave my Mom her new phone# after I was married, but things were not the same. I think we spoke on the phone a time or two after that.
Back to the location, even when Marv and I went there in around 1987, although local legend “Disco Harry” was there with his wife were, but attendance was waning even then. The place went from Holiday Inn for many years (Kyle participated in “Our Celebrity Kids”) in around 2004) to closing due to bad management about 5 years later, to what it is now.
The next time I went to the Holiday Inn was in 2004 when Kyle participated in “Our Celebrity Kids”. When I peeked in the lights were up, there was a large pool table over by where the dance floor had been, but no one was in there; not even a staff member. It closed a few years later and only reopened in the last year or two. Now it looks like it is part of Suburban Extended Stay hotel and looks like it is being remodeled.
3330 W Coliseum Blvd. Fort Wayne, IN 46808