Memory Lane...

Memory Lane...As a follow-up to our recent feature on Jo Stevens, who recently turned 102, we take a look back in time at the classy hostess of the Hideaway, circa 1962 (shown at left in a photo from her scrapbook). Stevens, whose perfectionism and elegance exemplified Ridgecrest’s favorite dinner house for four decades, was the only hostess the restaurant ever had. Known for its superb martinis and steak sandwiches, the Hideaway welcomed proms, weddings and gala events as well as visiting VIPs and a devoted regular clientele. When Bud and Louise Miller opened the Hideaway for business in 1952, a beautifully coiffed and gowned Jo was there to seat the guests, supervise the waitresses, make sure the drinks were perfect, even sew beautiful gowns for the wait staff — all the treasured services that earned her the name “the Spirit of the Hideaway.” In 1992, when David and Debbie Corlett regretfully closed the place, Jo was there until the last. Born an orphan in Kentucky, Jo had many homes — and many jobs — before she arrived in our state at the age of 15. She was working for a couple who told her she could come with them to Los Angeles if she learned how to fry potatoes and make gravy. So she did. Later Jo became a cowgirl, running cattle on Cuddeback Lake, among other places, and even appearing as a trick rider in rodeos until she hurt her back. She was working in Las Vegas as a rodeo promoter when she heard that the Navy was coming to our valley. She arrived in Inyokern in late 1943 and got a job at the ELK?Club (named for its owners, Escalante, Livingston Kellogg), then the Atomic Club and Pappalardo’s. Then came the Hideaway years. She found treasured friends and an even more treasured husband here. She and Ernest C. “Steve” Stevens were soulmates until his death in 2004. -- Photo courtesy of Maturango Museum

Story First Published: 2017-10-06