At the back of Canter’s, on the far left side, there is a wall of photos with stars, personalities, regular customers, family and friends. This is one of those pictures (Taken by Kev-O). That’s Jeanie with Mel Brooks.
Jeanie has worked here for 54 years.
I’ll give you a minute to comprehend that.
(Quick interruption here: it is now 7:19 and there are 3 patrons, not including me.)
Jeanie moved here with her husband and kids from Chicago a long time back. Her parents had already moved out here and they lived on Robertson and Cadillac which she called “West LA.” She had two babies at the time and needed to work so she started at Canter’s. Her husband (who passed away 13 years ago) had been a taxi driver in Chicago but got a job as a mail man here on LA. Both her kids and grandkids live in other states now.
Jeanie says the secret to her success is that she’s very friendly. “It takes a lot to make me angry.” She’s built quite a following and loves to kibitz around with her customers. She’s become good friends with many people you may have heard of, Michael Mann and Shotgun Kelly, as a couple of for-examples.
Her birthday was last Thursday and she worked on Wednesday night, which is when Shotgun (she calls him Shotgun) usually comes in. The Canter’s family got a big cake for her and Shotgun got up, grabbed a ketchup bottle and serenaded her with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday.
Everybody loves Jeanie. She’s famous and she says that everything she’s done, tv shows, documentaries, movies, newspaper and magazine articles, it’s all because she’s been here at Canter’s.
I hope some day I can say I’ve done something I love for 54 years.
If you want to meet Jeanie, she’ll be here until about 1pm today. We’ll be here until noon, blogging and collecting canned food and cash for the LA Foodbank.