Kim and I in front of Moss Hill.

Newly married to Kim Knickerbocker, I was all the more determined to not let my dream pass by surrendering to failure.  I appealed to the Small Business Administration for a business loan.  Working as a janitor and doing odd jobs I was able to support myself while awaiting the long and painstaking process of obtaining an SBA loan.  It took almost a year for the loan to be granted.  I reopened Moss Hill in Hinsdale in the Summer of 1973. 

Charley Hartley had recently moved his bicycle shop from it’s original home in the alley between Hinsdale Avenue and First Street and Washington and Lincoln.  It was the perfect location for the new Moss Hill and it was available.  I signed a lease for the space and soon construction began.  I designed the new Moss Hill to embody as much of the vision and materials Scot and I used to build the original.  It was even more beautiful than the first store and now I was actually in my own home town! 

Moss Hill attracted a parade of colorful characters to its unlikely alley location in the middle of downtown Hinsdale.  Wednesday evening pot luck dinners hosted a showcase of diversity where customers from miles around found fellowship, fun, and frivolity.  I would make a huge salad of vegetables fresh from the produce counter.  Guests would bring a vegetarian entrée to share.

We would all gather to eat together around a dining table in the large back room.  After our meal I would show a movie. These were the days before VHS.  I had a 16mm movie projector and would borrow movies on reels from the public library system.  I showed all sorts of documentaries including films about director David Lean, how to make a birch bark canoe, and George Burns and Gracie Allen shows.

It was a funky atmosphere dining behind the refrigerator compressors in the unfinished back room.  There were nights when a couple of dozen or more people were there and other nights it would be just a few.  Moss Hill was a place where young and old, the serious and the silly could come together and enjoy each other’s company without fear of judgment.

Back in the early 70’s the allure of eating natural foods was still associated more with the occult than it was to common sense.  Back then we used to drive an hour just to go to a restaurant that had a fresh salad bar.  We were pioneering something we thought was very important. 

I
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