Shoe Column: Scatter-gunning with Shoe
By Tim “Shoe” Sullivan
It’s time to do some “scatter-gunning”.
The term means, simply, writing about “this and that”; a little tidbit here and a small story there. Random thoughts.
I learned this from Bill Berry, the former editor of the Stevens Point Journal, and the late Joe Falls, sports editor of the Detroit Free Press. So here we go…
We’ll start off with a bummer. There are three movies that make me cry. Tom Hanks dies in two of them — “Saving Private Ryan” and “A League Of Their Own”. The third one is “Rudy”, although some folks say he was offsides on the play where he sacked the Georgia Tech quarterback.
It never hurts to ask a question. For instance, I’ve lived in Stevens Point my whole life and occasionally hear something about Moses Creek. Don’t take my word for it, but supposedly a creek or drainage ditch has been flowing right through Point for 70 years. I’ve never seen it, as it’s apparently underground. You can’t swim or fish in it. My neighbor Woody Keene said he helped build the pipe it flows through leading to the Wisconsin River. Supposedly, the spot where Moses Creek and the river met up was how Stevens Point got its name. Supposedly. However, I don’t have the slightest idea where this creek actually is.
One end of Moses Creek might be by that little pond just south of the bandshell at Pfiffner Park.
Here’s another thing I always wondered about. The water tower. It’s across the street from my house. It’s been there forever. Obviously, it holds a ton of water. But what’s the water used for? Do we drink that water? Do we water the lawn with it? Is it just there so we have some in case we somehow run out? Beats the hell out of me.
Again, asking questions is always a good thing to do. I wondered about that car I saw in town that had Minnesota plates. It claimed that Minnesota is the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”. Really? Do you mean to tell me that someone actually counted all the lakes in Minnesota and came up with 10,000 right on the head? Not 9,999 lakes or 10,001 lakes — 10,000 right on the button. And do they all have names? And who named them? And how long did it take to count them? It would take a year to count 10,000 marbles. Who’s gonna run around and try to count 10,000 lakes?
Several months ago, a lady in Amherst Junction was arrested for smearing a bunch of cars with peanut butter. She thought the cars were gathered for a pro-Trump rally. Rumor has it the cops got there in a jiffy.
A buddy of mine in Point shoplifted a calendar. He got 12 months.
I wonder if the cannon by the courthouse has actually ever been fired. Also heard that the Sherman House in Plover was haunted.
Does anyone remember going snipe hunting as a kid? You would go out into a field at night with your buddies and hold an open jar to catch the snipe. I guess if you caught one it would light up in the jar like a firefly.
I never actually caught one and nobody could explain what one looked like. My pals were always playing neat tricks like sending me on a snipe hunt.
I also spent a lot of time trying to find the keys to the batter’s box.
Scariest job I ever had as a kid was at the Frost Fly Factory by the courthouse. I would go around and shovel people’s snow off their driveways. One guy who I didn’t know gave me $5 (which was a fortune then). His name was Harold Frost and he offered me a job. I was to go into his Fly factory at night and go into the dark basement where they had a huge furnace. The object was to take a shovel and pull out the coal clinkers. That furnace heated the entire building. Scared the hell out of me every time. Down in that basement was the furnace, a million boxes of fishing flies (“Fish Fight For Frost Flies”), and me.
It was a really old building and Mr. Frost was a wonderful man. The job paid great, too. But geez when you were the only person in that building late at night and the upstairs floor creaked or something, yikes! Almost jumped right through the ceiling once.
Got a nice letter from reader Bill Jenkins. He wrote to tell me that he’s a 1966 grad of P.J. Jacobs. Some guys were mentioned in an early column and Bill knew all of them — Randy Wievel, Tim Siebert, Linky Saito, Jack Roberts.
As a kid, Bill spent a lot of time in Linky Saito’s tree fort in the neighborhood. He also said his grandparents were George and Edna Frost, owners of the Frost Fly Factory on Strongs Avenue. It was demolished many years ago.
Bill remembered going to the Blue Top drive-in back in the day and girls would roller skate up to the car to take orders. Mr. Jenkins recalled using the tube-testing machine at Clark Electric downtown. He also liked to put his foot in the X-ray machine at Shippy Shoes. Bill fondly recalled Westy’s soda fountain and thinks Point’s first traffic lights were at Main and Division. He joined the Navy in ‘66 and came back to Point in 1995. Bill now lives on old Wausau Rd., not far from Lakeside Bar.
I saw Bobby Vee at Lake Pacawa and Roy Orbison at the old Holiday Inn and Dottie West at the “Y”.
One thing I loved to do in my youth was take my little Johnny Podres baseball glove and walk over to Lincoln School. The school had a huge wall and a large parking lot. Perfect for spending hours throwing a ball against the wall and catching it. I started out with old tennis balls. Then it was on to real hard rubber balls. Played for hours on end catching “grounders”. Before long, then it was golf balls. Man, those things came back at ya like a bullet! And finally, the big switch to “super balls”; lights out if you ever got drilled with one of those. But it was great fun and fine exercise.
Jake Weltman was a nice old man and smart as hell. Bill Kolinski got a kick out of reading about peashooters. He remembered when a lot of Point kids made their own slingshots. You would find a wooden handle shaped like a “Y” and tie part of a rubber inner tube to it. Darn thing could shoot rocks or marbles a mile. You could also buy plastic slingshots at the downtown Five and Dime.
Carole Mattson Cassidy wrote to say that she graduated from P.J.s 60 years ago and met her future husband Pat Cassidy at the Indian Crossing Casino. Carole loves reading about Stevens Point gone by, and mentioned that the new sign at the airport is in honor of her uncle, who was the only jet ace born in Stevens Point; and the first jet ace in the state.
She also had nice things to say about Ray “PeeWee” Summers. Carole’s story reminded me of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Ed O’Hare had a son who was killed as a pilot in WWII. The airport was named after the son. Ed also was Al Capone’s lawyer.
Ed Clussman dropped by the other day, saying he enjoyed going down memory lane in Point. He made a chart of what the Stevens Point downtown looked like in 1957; man, that took some time. Point Bakery, The Ritz Tavern, Surplus Store, Rudnick’s Market (Sherman Rudnick worked there), Bob Ton Beauty Shop, Sherwin-Williams Paint, Shippy Bros Clothing, Montgomery Wards, Peacock Jewelry, Gamble’s, Mirman’s Furniture, Main Street Café, WSPT Radio, Ben’s Jewelry, Berens Barber Shop, Sport Shop, Smart Shop, Uptown Toyland (loved that place), Boston’s, Jim’s Popcorn, Wilshire Shop, Otterlee Jewelry, the Fox, Singer Sewing Center, Loop Bar, Parkinson’s, United Cloak Women Shop, the Lyric, Post Office, National Food Store, Schwartz Buick, Point Fish Company, Copps Cash and Carry, Artic Locker, Moose Lodge, Kremb’s Furniture, Gwidt’s, Barnaby Beauty Shop, Pasternacki Clothes Store, J.C.Penny, Badger Paint, Shippy Shoe’s, Kuhl’s Department Store, Shafton’s, McLellans Store 5&10 (bought a slingshot there, and plastic army men), Big Shoe Store, Citizens Bank, Woolworth’s, Campbell Dept Store, Hannon Pharmacy, Arenbergs Jewelry Store (we sure had a bunch of jewelry stores!), Westy’s, First National Bank, and on and on…thanks, Ed!
So thanks again to Ed Clussman, Carole Mattson Cassidy, Bill Jenkins, Bill Kolinski, and all the others.
If you have a Stevens Point memory you’d like to share with our Stevens Point City Times readers, go for it! We’ll put the word out for you.
And don’t take any wooden nickels.