Daybreak....every day

an ice-covered Daybreak kinda' day
Recently an old archi-buddy's birthday popped up on Facebook, so I wished him well and asked the Canadian native where he was and how he was doing.  Ottawa and well, he said.  Then he taunted me by saying he had been back in Berrien Springs and had even dined at the Daybreak.
Ah, the Daybreak.  It was our time at the Daybreak that brought the most exchange of ideas and probably the greatest education experience during those college days.  The Daybreak was a somewhat dank little diner in downtown Berrien Springs that became the hub for architecture students who did not live on campus, and often supplied us three meals a day.  I can still remember most of what I would order.  Breakfast was ham and grits (a little soupy as Donna the waitress would say) and brown sugar.  Lunch was usually a mushroom or olive burger and fries.  Supper would be a selection from their specials menu.  Every meal was accompanied by coffee, and lots of it.
There were times that we would close down the place.  Literally.  We would vacuum the carpets and clean the tables for Lacey in order to have a scoop of ice cream.  One friend, Chad, was convinced that the owner-Bernie-was raising his prize poodles in the basement.  That idea nauseated me.  Some of the guys tried to get me to shift our business to the Dam restaurant on the other side of the dam...I think they just liked the name.

Because so many of my colleagues would also dine there, often with smokes in hand, we sort of had “our table”; it was a round table right in the front corner of the dining room where we could watch the world out the large windows.  Friends would come and go from the table as class schedules dictated, and I recall on at least a few occasions staying behind from the car that we came in for breakfast and having lunch with the consecutive crowd and going back to the studios with them.

We talked about broader issues of community that included politics, faith, education, and of course architecture.  Those were good times sitting around the table and clutching the coffee mug as the days and weeks, and years passed.  The Daybreak is still there.  It is still open for dining, and discussion.

I became really tight with a number of friends in the architecture department at Andrews.  I’ve been blessed to have maintained a few of those friendships post-graduation.  I know a good part of it was the work we did together for the program and the subsequent “generations” of leadership that came after.  I would sometimes drive across the border to see these guys the year following graduation before I was married.  Then they moved-to Illinois, Washington, and later Florida.

Facebook has its faults-but I do appreciate being able to stay in touch.  The Daybreak's webpage is

And tell them I sent you.


Jim said…
What an awesome story. Isn't it amazing how an everyday place can become special when it's filled with friends?
Anonymous said…
When I worked in Michigan right out of college. I ate every lunch in a similar little diner/bar....and almost everyday I had braunschweiger on toast with mayo and lettuce, a bag of barbeque chips and a Dr. Pepper. I could never bring myself to order the smelt, which was a popular item in Michigan.
Roland said…
It would be great to have a reunion there one day! Nothing like a good breakfast to start the day! Good times!
hoosier reborn said…
Yeah I miss those times buddy! A reunion would only be right, but I bet you never make it back to the midwest.

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