Christina Hotchkiss

Christina Hotchkiss worked at the Casino Bar at three different time periods. She found her quirky boss Don Padesky to be quite the character, and she learned things from the clientele despite the fact that they could be intimidating.

This interview comes from the UWL Oral History Program at Special Collections Murphy Library.


Location: 304 Pearl St.

Hotchkiss: Ah, this is Don Padesky, owner of the Casino Bar. Don is crazy. I was the manager of the Casino and that added responsibility is insane. I would shop for the bar – all the soda – well anything that the bar needed that came from the grocery store – I went and got. Including the peanuts. Peanuts. If I went to the store, I had to sift through the peanuts so there weren’t any empty shells. If I brought back a bag, and there were empty shells in there, he would call me and yell at me. “I didn’t pay you for the shells Christina.” When you’re the manager, you might as well be his child. And he can boss you around like your dad. He would call me at one in the morning on days that I didn’t have to work, “Christina, get down here. Change the soda tank. Nobody knows how to do it.” You know. “I’m sleeping. I’m not even on. Use a two liter.” He’s a character that’s for sure. Seventy-six years old. Sits on an oxygen tank and refuses to leave the bar. And then gets mad at people for smoking in the bar when he doesn’t have a non-smoking bar. Plays his little slot, his little gambling machines, his trivia.

Wheeler: How long did you work at the Casino Bar?

Hotchkiss: Five years?

Wheeler: Part time or full time?

Hotchkiss: Both, including three quits. Three times I quit, three times I came back. When I look back on it, bartending was one of my favorite jobs. You’re just sitting back there slingin’ drinks. Everybody’s there to have a good time. I mean, sometimes people get out of hand or they get crabby at you or they get crabby at their friends. But really, everybody’s there to have a good time. And the crowd the Casino draws too, are the same people that I kind of look at and go – I’m intimidated by you and I also think maybe you’re a little pompous. So, I know you know more than me, but please don’t tell me that you know more than me. Because then it’s intimidating.

Wheeler: But you find them interesting?

Hotchkiss: But I find them completely interesting. Yeah. So I mean, although I didn’t hang out at the Odin and I didn’t hang out at the Satellite, and I didn’t participate in the Open Air Players, I worked at the place that drew all those people and I could listen to them when they were talking to their friends and not talking to me, so I didn’t have to feel like I didn’t know enough.

This interview comes from the UWL Oral History Program at Special Collections Murphy Library.