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The Scooters Club has its final weekly meeting at MCL Restaurant in Westerville. 

MCL Scooters Club final meeting

Eileen Dauge, who started the Scooters Club at MCL Restaurant in Westerville 20 years ago, died two weeks ago. Some members suggested that her death is the reason the restaurant closed.

The club held its last meeting Wednesday night in a room at the restaurant in Westerville Square Shopping Center just a few doors down from the new Walmart.

The group of about 50 people began gathering at the restaurant shortly after it opened when Dague invited a few friends to join her after work for dinner so they could talk over a meal. One of the first to join was Walter Robinson along with Dague’s husband, Jim. The group evolved over the years as it added new members and older members passed away.

“Scoot Over”

The club’s name refers to Dauge telling new members that “we’ll just scoot over to make more room for you,” not three-wheel electric scooters that some people associate with most member’s ages.

Wednesday’s dinner was slightly larger than normal forcing MCL to open a sliding panel to expand the meeting room into an adjacent unused area where a large U.S. flag hung on the wall.

One wall of the meeting room was covered with photos noting Westerville’s history in the prohibition movement. An adjacent wall held two pieces of poster board with photos taken during the 20 years the group had been meeting at MCL.

Everyone in the room received a series of Christmas gifts of chocolate, candy canes, cards, and tree and table ornaments. They sang happy birthday to Jim Dauge whose wife will be buried this week. The restaurant’s manager gave the group a large sheet cake declaring “Merry Christmas Scooters Club. Farewell MCL.” In the corner of the room was a green gift box filled with extra tips for the servers who worked the last night.

A large crowd gathered in the serving line where MCL’s Chief Operating Officer Jesse Feil spent most of his time sorting and filling the dessert offerings and serving warm bread to diners. The wait staff of three women filled requests for more food and drinks, carried serving trays to tables for some of the older diners, and posing for photos for the last time with people who had become their friends.

There were tears throughout the evening as friends said goodbye without knowing where they might be able to gather in Westerville. MCL continues to operate in Whitehall and Upper Arlington and Scooters was told they are welcome in both locations. Members say no other restaurant in the city has the ground floor meeting space, the wide menu choices, and easy parking for the group. Westerville has been their home for 20 years and moving their meeting place out of the city isn’t something most members look forward to. 

Dauge was 93 when she died. Robinson attended his last meeting when he was 101. The youngest attending Wednesday’s meeting was a pair of teenage twins.

 

About The Author

Gary Gardiner

Former newspaper and Associated Press photographer. Instructor at Westerville Center for Photography. Owns SmallTown Stock, the Reasonably Rights Managed stock photo agency. Founder and Director for The American Scene Project, a heritage project dedicated to exhibiting and preserving photography of everyday American life.

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