Thursday, September 5, 2013

Your Mothers Away From Home

If we didn't know this saying well before we came to Vanderbilt, we sure learned it once we got here. But fortunately for us, there were two women in the Vanderbilt community who helped us find our way when we needed a little guidance (or maybe something to eat or a check cashed).

Evelyn Rotier along with her husband John, ran Rotier's Restaurant on Elliston Place near campus. While she is retired now (and Mr. Rotier is deceased for several years), the family still operates the business, dishing out delicious food, especially those cheeseburgers which remain rated the best in Nashville year after year.

In a tribute to her in our senior annual, THE 1973 COMMODORE, Mrs. Rotier made these comments about her relationship (and her husband's) with students:

"We've been in business for 28 years (now 68 years)...the children are still basically the same except in looks and dress...but long hair doesn't bother me any more than flattops used to...I look for what's inside anyway."

"There are some mighty fine kids over there...good and bad..some are real high class and some are just typical kids...some are really devoted to education and some are here to know, you get that in any group of people."

"Rotier likes the children...he has a genuine affection for students...he likes to talk with them, and he likes the teachers who come by...some of them come back to see us years after they graduated."

Indeed, Rotiers remains a reunion magnet for returning VU classes, and inside, it really hasn't changed much at all 40 years later.

On a personal note, Rotier's was a favorite place for me long before I attended Vanderbilt. My father was a good friend of Mr. and Mrs. Rotier and I spent many nights there (and even Sunday mornings before they were supposed to be open) with my dad drinking beer and me having a coke or a hamburger or a piece of chocolate pie.

To me it was like a second home as I went to high school just up the street at Father Ryan and I even had one of my first jobs in high school at the Hurry Back Market which the Rotiers owned further down Elliston Place...

But it wasn't just the Rotiers that made so many Vanderbilt students feel warm and welcome (and fed) over the years, the students who came here got help too, especially cashing a check. No wonder these students from back in the day who look so happy.....

It was Mrs. Claude Mize who ran the place. She too was profiled in our1973 COMMODORE. Here's her photo from that page and some excerpts from what she had to say. Dig it out your annual read it all again yourself!

"Vanderbilt has been very good to me. I depend on the Vanderbilt student. Even when my son went to Alabama to college, he always tried to get me to root for Alabama, but I always root for Vanderbilt...I helped one student pay his tuition and he sent it back to me eight months later."  

"I get invited to lots of parties and affairs at Vanderbilt. I did go to one big party and they made me feel better than President Nixon at his re-election. They all yelled: "Hip, hip hooray, hip, hip, hooray, Mrs. Mize."

"Homecoming is usually my best time. I get to see all the old fellows I haven't seen for years. And some of them are the top Nashville people now. You know, celebrities."

"I appreciate the fact that girls are coming in now. They know they're free to come in and that they'll be taken care of just like everyone else. I enjoy this very much."
Mrs. Mize is now long departed although The Southerner is still there on Church Street. If you've got stories to share about her or Mrs. Rotiers, please leave them below or on the Class Facebook. It was good to have someone a little like Mom when we were at school. We were blessed.

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