I don’t live in Chattanooga any longer unfortunately and haven’t for many years now, but when I did live there, I was more than a regular at Yesterdays. It was basically my second home….as it was for many, many of my friends and others that I may not have known their names, but definitely knew their faces. It was the “Cheers” of Chattanooga. It was the place that you could go to where you always felt at home. At least 50 percent of the people slam packed into the building knew your name.
You could show up alone if you wanted because you knew all of your friends would be there, the entertainment was always top notch and it was safe. The memories of those days at Yesterdays will always hold the most special place in my heart.
The most special aspect of the Yesterdays nights, however, was the Yesterday’s doorman, Denny Hennen. A night out at Yesterdays started and ended with Denny’s smiling, welcoming, friendly face. I don’t believe that I ever went to Yesterdays that Denny wasn’t there at the door (or most famously sitting on the corner trash can/ash tray (lol) smiling and talking with the customers….customers who really were friends….not just merely customers. Denny took care of us…all of us. I’m somewhat ashamed to say (even though I wouldn’t trade the memories for the world) that Denny carried me to a friend’s car more than once to help me get home safely. Denny truly cared for us. And we loved Denny…all of us. Denny was Yesterdays. Denny is so loved and is so special to so, so many of us that he took care of back in those glorious days.
I was just informed recently that Denny has been ill. Well, Denny, I want you to know that all of us are out here praying for you and absolutely hoping the best for you. I want you to know now how loved you are by so, so, so many. I want to thank you for taking such great care of me and all the others when we were young and vulnerable. I want to thank you for providing me with memories that will always be the best.
If you were a part of those “Yesterdays”, I think you can agree that it would be very hard to find better times than those anywhere on this planet. I’m so proud and happy to have been a part of those Yesterdays……and now I would like to take care of you, Denny and offer all my prayers and love to you. I know Denny though..humble and never wanting to be the center of attention…..please kindly accept these prayers and this love for you, Denny. I want you to know what a difference you made in the lives of so many and, above all, I want you to know just how much you are very loved. And yes..I will take the liberty of speaking for the thousands of us.
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Let me second you, and I wouldn’t doubt that I would recognize your face, Lori McClure. As I read your post, I kept thinking I could have easily written it as well as many of my friends, and all the words your wrote do apply to so many of us.
Denny did look out for and save many of us. I fortunately have gotten to see him after the Yesterday’s years, and I always got my hug, just like at Yesterday’s. And he never has changed – always the epitome of a solid, great man and friend.
Thank you for the trip down memory lane – those days will never grow old – and thank you and everyone else for honoring such a fine person – Denny Hennen.
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Well I won't just sit here and not proudly share that I spent many a night imbibing at the "Y." It started in high school when you could be 18 and get into a bar and get away with it. A lot of the time, the Hennens booked bands like Overland Express and the White Animals who masterfully played songs like "Brown Eyed Girl" or then racy stuff from The Kinks. Overland's guitar players (two great ones) would launch into something like "Secret Agent Man" and it was wall to wall screaming, jiving, sweaty hilarity with truck loads of hormones and a small mite of foamy spirits thrown in for measure. Other nights there were softer bands like Tumbleweed who played "Lyin' Eyes" and Crosby, Stills and Nash tunes. I fell in love with a two girl combo who played "Dog and the Butterfly" beautifully with their acoustics.
I honestly can't remember a night at Yesterdays when Denny wasn't either at the door or behind the bar working his tail off. He probably still knows what my bev of choice was for he had a very cold bottle waiting for me every time I walked into his place. When I got out of line, he'd scream something totally unreasonable like "GLASCOCK! Get off that table!" And then when I'd conjure up the nerve to go back and face him, he was always every time the friendly, approachable, affable and total nice guy that everybody loves.
He was skinny and I sometimes wondered what he could really do if things indeed went south in a crazy crowd like that. That silly notion was put to rest when a huge over-served psychopath started swinging fists one night. Out of nowhere, Denny had the guy out of the crowd and prone on the kitchen floor while an employee slammed the door shut. That's all I saw and the band played on. I had a friend who worked there and the next day I asked him what happened behind the doors. He looked me dead in the eye and said "Savage, listen to me. Never, ever mess with Denny Hennen." I stopped dancing on his tables after that.
Like the previous ladies said, Denny was at the door an awful lot. He regularly practiced sexual discrimination in that the girls got in free. Smiling as always, he said I had a choice in the matter as I could pay $10 to see the White Animals with every chickadee in Chattanooga or I could stay outside in the cold and listen from the street. He did say positive things about me to said chickadees which I greatly appreciated.
Honestly, I firmly believe Yesterday's night business was successful in no small part due to Denny. I went there because chewing the fat with him was part of the fun. He had a 260Z. I had a TR6. Really, the guy is part of my and hundreds of other young adulthoods when we loved Denny and going to Yesterdays. Though I've lost religion over the years, I still talk to God all the time and I believe. I am very much with the previous girls comments and I will humbly do my part. I'll do it for Denny and for all of the wonderful Hennen family.
If he gets to heaven before me or any of the rest of the Yesterdays crowd does, I believe Denny'd make a great smiling assistant to Saint Pete at the front door. God bless you Denny Hennen.