Shoe Column: A Memo to My Neighbor, Glen Reindl
By Tim “Shoe” Sullivan
So I’m outside raking the yard, when my neighbor Glen Reindl dropped by to chat.
Glen has lived in the house just past my backyard for several years. I don’t think he and his wife Jen are from Point, but Reindl, who teaches history at SPASH, said he “really enjoyed” reading my columns about the city’s history.
“I never knew all that history about Point,” he said.
Well Glen, I’ll share some more with you, starting with your own neighborhood, near the corner of Elk and Brawley. The Sprouse Family home was located there back in the ’50s and ’60s. There were three boys — Jim and Tim were members of the SIASEFI fraternity at UWSP, and the youngest one Fred became a attorney, who lives in Colorado.
Their mother, Janet, was one of my mom’s best friends, and many times my mom would walk across the street to discuss the news of the day with Janet and another neighbor, Jan Jensen. They enjoyed a little glass of “tea”, too, if you know what I mean.
Across the street from the Sprouse’s were the Jensen’s. The kids in the neighborhood used to play basketball in their driveway for hours on end. I could look right out of my upstairs window and see their backboard, so I always knew if a game was going on. Tommy Jensen and I played a lot of marbles, too.
The Jensen home is now a beautiful bed and breakfast place at 1100 Brawley St. — it’s Bill Maher’s Dreams of Yesteryear.
Glen, Jim Oliva lives near you. He’s the “Almighty Oz” of Trivia fame.
Another neighborhood family is Ian and Lisa Grasshoff. Lisa is from Rapids, and her second cousin is Jim Ryun, the Olympic track star at Kansas University — he was the first high school athlete to run a mile in under four minutes (I also did the mile in under four minutes, but I was in a Mustang and being chased by the border patrol at the time).
Here’s some more stuff about our fine city that you might not know:
Archie’s Cocktail Lounge was a dandy bar on the Southside. It was run by Craig (Archie) Hansen and his wife Sue They had great beer-battered chicken wings. Many a time you could walk into Archie’s and find Archie, Zot Pawlek, and Bill Berry playing on their guitars.
Across the street from Archie’s was Aldo’s Restaurant, which was run by Ron and Terry Kluck. It was right next to Skipp’s and had terrific spaghetti and meatballs and hot beef sandwiches. Bobby Nitka and my neighbor Ronnie “Minnow” Shimek both worked there.
The Big Moon Saloon was another bar on the square. They had beer served by Pete Marsh, which came in orange juice pitchers for around a buck. Bob Walczak was a regular there. His nickname was “One Time” because he always yelled, “One more time!” which meant he wanted his pitcher refilled, and he was a lot of fun.
We can’t forget Donny “The Bach” Bacher, an absolute legend who lived above Butter’s. He always had parties for all the bartenders on the square.
Then there was Cigel’s, a small grocery store right across from my house on Water Street. Harris always had a nice soda machine outside. The kids would put in a dime and pull out a bottle of Pepsi.
When I think of the letter “D”, I remember Donny Garski who bartended at about 10 different places. The letter “D” also brings to mind Brian Diamond — who’s currently making me some bobblehead shelves.
The letter “E” is for the late Ken “Big E” Eberhard, a railroader who played on many of my rec league basketball and softball teams. The Big E had a terrific hook shot and lived on the west side by Mead park.
The letter “E” is also for my buddy Jack Ellenz who was the marble king of the southside when JFK was president. Jack is a good pal of Wil Nichol, the former Pointer hockey player and coach. Wil “One L” played a lot of wiffleball with us and is now an exec with the NHL’s new Las Vegas team.
Then there was Frank & Ernie’s, a bar across from Kim’s Barrel Inn run by Frank Jurgella, who had the best fish fries ever. Today, I believe it’s Second Street Pub.
And we can’t forget Grin & Beer It, owned by Minnow’s pal Tom Meyer. It was legendary Pete Moss’s hangout. Right next to Joe’s Bar. The first Graffiti’s was also situated there before it moved across the square into Rudnick’s on the corner.
Glen, I’m sure you never heard of this next one — Amherst Junction’s Herman the Worm. True story: there was a guy in Amherst Junction named George Sroda. He owned a turkey farm and sold worm bedding. He died in 2004 at the age of 93. George was known in 1975 and for many years after as the “International Worm Czar”. He had a pet night-crawler named Herman, which supposedly could do tricks and shoot a basketball. George’s pet worm Herman became so famous that George and the crawler appeared on national television shows such as “The Tonight Show” and “The David Letterman Show”.
The letter “I” stands for Iverson Park, once the scene of a terrific softball diamond. The “Point Classic” used to draw so many people that cars were parked all the way to the Jefferson Street entrance. Some great softball was played at Iverson, and there were also fun Sunday afternoon teams like the Yacht Club and Buffy’s. The Lampoon’s men’s team, mostly SIASEFI members, occasionally wore dresses while playing.
JL’s Pub was a nice bar on the square across from Butter’s. A lot of my neighbors who played hockey for the Pointers hung out at JL’s. It’s now The Cabin.
The first name that comes to mind under “K” is the late Karl Pnazek. Karl lived just down the street. He played football at the University of Illinois and was on a few of my rec league basketball teams. Karl was a super guy who ran CAP Services and left us way too early.
Lincoln School on Water St. always stands out. The Rec Department used to run playgrounds for the kids at the schools. Kids were forever playing games and entering contests. I won a trophy for shooting caroms once. You never forget something like that.
Mickey’s was a great restaurant which sponsored many teams. It was kitty-corner from the Final Score and had the best pizza ever.
“N” stands for Northside IGA, which left its watermelons outside and was connected to Normington’s Laundromat, which had a dandy pop machine. “O” is for Otto Lepak who lived across from Pagel Mills. “P” is Pagel Mills which was on the corner of Water and Arlington Place. The Wisconsin River was behind Pagel’s, and you could always catch bullheads there — or you could go for northern pike. You’d put a penny on the railroad track and wait for a train to run it over. Then you’d drill a hole in it, insert a treble-hook and presto — you had a spinner.
Quality Beverage on the northside had the best soda pop. Ever. Especially that Orange Crush in the small brown bottles.
One of the really early hamburger restaurants was Robby’s on Division St., and Richard’s on the southside had some great food. “S” reminds me of Sorenson’s which gave you terrific flowers for all occasions. Dave “Nax” Nachman worked there for many years.
And “S” could stand for Steve Schuster of Kwik Trip. “Shoe” bartended at the old Unique and was a fantastic rebounder in rec basketball who usually poured in double figures without taking many shots. Tempo was one of the first big stores on the northside. The Unique was a great tavern we’ve mentioned before.
“W” is Woolworth’s, which was downtown. Most people remember Woolworth’s and the good-natured waitress Elanor.
“W” also brings to mind Wally Wendt. Here’s what happened: I was up in the score-booth announcing a state modified softball game. Green Bay’s pitcher was Hansen. Their manager is standing by home plate shouting up to the booth. He yells to me, “I’m taking Hansen out!”
No biggie. I yelled back down, “Who’s going in?” He replied, “Wally Wendt!”
That was music to my ears. I yelled back, “Where did he go?” The manager shouted, “Where did WHO go?” I yelled, “Wally! You said Wally went.”
He shouted, “Wally didn’t go anywhere! He’s right there on the pitching mound.”
I said, “Yeah, I see him, but where WAS he?”
He replied, “Where was WHO?”
“Wally!” I yelled back. “You said Wally Went somewhere”.
“Oh, forget it,” he called back. “We’ll stick with Hansen.”
Wally Wendt DID get in later and threw a mean knuckleball.
There also were bars called Zimmie’s and Ziggy’s. So Glen, now you know the rest of the story. True story.
And if you ever meet Wally Wendt, ask him where he was.