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Sunday, September 03, 2006

R.I.P. Billy

Chuck & Billy's was one of our favorite hangout spots when we were Howard undergraduates in the mid to late 1990s. It was a down home, old school, totally unpretentious jukebox-type bar and grill located right across the street from the school of B. It was an always-entertaining mix of folk, everyone from the retirees of Chuck's Cussin Club, to federal judges and prosecutors, to students, professors, bootleggers and anyone else the wind might blow in from gritty Georgia Avenue. We had musician friends who used to sit in on the live jazz band on Wednesdays nights. The fried chicken was slammin'. The rum and cokes were the strongest in town. Best of all a cute but broke coed could have their pick of willing drink sponsors(:
Naturally, it inspired the Natalies very first writing collaboration, an article about the past and present of the bar and its two owners, Chuck & Billy, which we published in the Hilltop, Howard's student paper where we were both editors. We gathered there to celebrate when Nat M.'s sister Megan decided to come to Howard. When we got ready to graduate in 1998, Chuck & Billy sponsored a special Happy Hour for us and our friends.
This picture of us below the marquee they made especially for us "Congradulations Natalie-Chana-Natalie-Erin & the HU Class 98" is one of our prized possessions. This morning, we learned that Billy Banks passed away at age 85 after a long struggle with lung cancer. Thanks so much for the memories, Billy! May you rest in peace.
As for you Chuck, we are sorry for your loss and you know we'll be back to see you and the rest of the regulars when the book tour stops in D.C.


SoutheastScholar said...

NO!! I had no idea! I was so sure Chuck and Billy were invincible. Who else could make such killer rum and cokes but immortal superheroes? I have no doubt that Billy lived a full and fruitful life. He can be sure that he and Chuck's namesake will live in infamy in my heart.

mz.pimpin said...

i'm to hear about this... my dads name was Billy he passed away when i was 8 and that was about 1998 i was just getting to know my father but now i'm 15,i still remember all the good times that me and father had so i'm not having any bad thoughts aout my father.... all my thoughts are very good about him... but anyway this is all i wanted to say was i'm sorry to hear about this...