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By Graeme MacKay – Saturday August 15, 2015
Homage to the Paper Placemat
The Hamilton Spectator recenly put out an appeal for people to send in memories of their favourite local restaurants. After the results came in and the eateries were tallied, Spec reporter Saira Peesker was tasked to write the story, Librarian Tammie Danciu researched and dug up old archival photos, and I was called on to draw some kind of map. Afterall, I am a self confessed map-maniac. Maybe it’s my own experience with greasy spoons that an immediate visual lit off in my head at the mere mention of the words “map” and “diner”, was the simple often under-appreciated image of a paper placemat. While at age 46 I’m too young to remember many of the locations on the map, the experience is quite familliar eating in similar retro establishments common all over North America. As a kid, I loved poring over the neat little drawings on paper placemats, particularly on road trips to the beach. I’d be totally in my element with my family, in a restaurant booth somewhere in northern Florida waiting for my order of chicken & fries in a basket while anticipating in the excitement that laid ahead gazing upon a welcome to state paper placemat map. It was a complete delight to use those memories as inspiration to come up with this map.