By Elizabeth Perry
Ingram resident Debbie Scribner is being named the first female senior member for the Tap Club in Stowe Township, a social organization that’s been a presence in the area since the 1930s.
Scribner, the owner of catering business Thyme Savour, brought back the weekly Sunday spaghetti dinner in 2018 after the tradition lapsed.
“I remember going there as a little girl with the family. If you wanted it to go, you had to bring your own pot,” Scribner said.
Scribner has been in food service for 40 years; as a teen, she worked as a server at the Tap Club. She’s worked at Brockway's Brunch, West Park Diner, Bard's Dairy and the former Sandwich Board. For 20 years, she was the corporate chef at Glaxo-Smith Klein and currently, she is the manager at Mama Lena’s Deli on Broadway Avenue in Stowe.
“My mother was a very creative cook, and I think I inherited that from her,” Scribner said.
The Tap Club started as a group of brothers out in their mother's garage, wishing they could afford a beer tap. Billy Savatt’s grandfather was one of the founding members of the club and his Aunt Mary was the person who originally cooked the spaghetti dinners.
The Tap Club began in the late 1920s early 1930s in Savatt’s great-grandmother’s basement at 21 Shaw Ave. The sons would get together, play cards, drink and dream about that beer tap.. The brothers got together and bought a house at 19 McCoy Road to have a bigger place to meet with their friends. In 1936, they bought an additional property called the Nixon Farm.
Mike Angelo has been a member since he turned 21. The 78-year-old no longer lives locally, but he is still a senior member.
Angelo’s father, Ernie Angelo was the first president of the Tap Club. Back then, most of the members were Italian, Angelo said, though they didn’t restrict membership to only people of that ethnicity. They did restrict the gender of members though – only men could join.
When Angelo was a child, the club was famous locally for its spaghetti dinners.
“I remember $1 for two meatballs, spaghetti and Mancini bread with butter,” Angelo said.
His favorite memory of the club as a kid in the 1950s was seeing a bunch of slot machines on the veranda.
“I was just amazed by the noise they made and how they spun,” Angelo said.
Savatt said his Uncle Agie used to live above the Tap Club and before they had a men's and ladies' room there, the women had to use the bathroom in his aunt and uncle's apartment.
Kathy Angelo, his sister-in-law, was the very first female social member of the club. Until her membership in the 1990s the club remained gender-restricted.
Savatt said Jeanne Hughes and Luanne Schippani were the other two women let in at that time, and their admittance was met with resistance by some members of the club. There are currently about 300 members on the rolls, and 125 of them are senior members. Like her male counterparts, Scribner now has the ability to hold office at the social club and vote, which female members couldn’t do before.
“Memories and histories have a lot of meaning. Just the fact that there is a senior female member is huge,” Scribner said.