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All In

Do you know what "all in" means?

I always thought it meant exhausted, bushed -- whew! I'm all in.

The only reason I've ever thought about it is that my grandparents' club* had the name All Inn (see photo of Kitty Mom, about 1938). And from the depths of my memory floats the notion that the tavern they owned in the 1940s was also called All In (or All Inn?). The name never had much meaning to me and no one in my lifetime referred to the All Inn. It was always "the club" or "Castlewood," which was the name of the township. The tavern was always "the tavern."

Flash forward:

Last week I was listening to an old episode of CSI. Someone died shortly after he pushed all his chips to the center of the table and said, "I'm all in." Later the CSIs referred to his "all in bet."


I looked it up:

All-In: When a player bets all his/her chips. Usage: In table stakes games, a player may not go into his pocket for more money during a hand. If he runs out, a side pot is created in which he has no interest. However, he can still win the pot for which he had the chips. Example: "Poor John - he made quads against the big full house, but he was all-in on the second bet."

Did Kitty Mom and Ewald make an all-in bet when they bought the club at Castlewood or did it have that name when they bought it? What's the story?

This brings up all kinds of family history details that only my mother can answer. Which came first, the club or the tavern? Was Ewald in on the purchase of the club or did Kitty Mom buy it before they got married?

Maybe my mother can put together a chronology and help me get my facts straight...

Added 11.24.05

From my cousin Barbara: Well, the way my mom told the story was that back then all the club houses in Castlewood had names. This was how you would know who was stay at who's club house.. They named it "all in" because after being out that evening and returning to go to bed. They would say "is everyone all in" meaning everyone is home for the night... The story I got was that when my mom use to go to Castlewood for a fun weekend, Kitty Mom decided to buy a place there because every one had such a ball out there. I think it was just after Prohibition... Check with your mom about that. Your mom (Kathleen) was a young girl say 10,11,12) in that age. My mom was in her 20's and she and Kitty Mom enjoyed whooping it up and having fun... My kind of girl... I wonder I got like that?????? Oh those were to good ole days...

From my mother:

The club was named All Inn when they bought it. Yes, Ewald was in on both, the Club and the Tavern. I'm sure Ewald was aware of that statement "I'm all in" since there was a lot of gambling in Castlewood during Prohibition. Then the name just carried over to the Tavern. There had always been a confectionery in that building and at that time Mother had leased out the grocery store to a guy named Winters. Then when Bill and Bob [her twin sons] were old enough, the lease was over and she took back the store. I can't remember which came first the Barrett's Mkt or the All Inn.

The little old lady that had the confectionery had died and she also lived there. This was about the time Mother had the back steps fitted with a contraption where we could lift the stairs to get to the basement. Before that they had to go out the back door.

And later from Mom:

The club was bought because Mary was going out there with a bunch of young people. The boys had a club but the girls had to come home. Mother bought the club so that they could come there, up the hill, from the Bobolinks, the boys club. I had to be quite young because I have a picture [to left] taken with Mary and Lester and I looked to be about 8? That brings us to 1933 and I think that's when she bought it.

The tavern was much later. I'll have to think about that. I guess maybe Bill and Bob were 18 when the store was taken back. It was after that when the tavern opened.

Bob didn't stay with Bill very long. Bill was the business man and Bob was the talker and musician. He'd deliver groceries and talked to all the people or he'd get bored and go downstairs and play the piano. That evidently irked Bill so Bob decided he couldn't stay any longer. He went to work at Carter Carburetor, a defense plant at that time. Then was drafted into the Army.

The tavern went into different hands before closing and that's when Bill took the space up for his storage room.



*In the rural area outside St. Louis, summer places used to always be called "clubs" or "club houses." In other places they might be called camps (Adirondacks NY) or cabins. Today they might be referred to as summer cottages.