From the Sears Catalog
Millions of people consider Halloween to be one of the high holy days of the year, and not just the kids who collect candy in the neighborhood. Dressing up in costumes hasn’t interested me for years, but that doesn’t stop the Halloween industry.
In the thirties the industry hadn’t gotten off the ground, and from Louie’s stories there wasn’t much need for buying costumes. The neighborhood kids figured out everything they needed to do. A couple of months ago Louie had another letter about his Halloween pranks. This one tops the windmill story.
What fun it would have been to be a fly on the wall when Bob came home that night. There’d be no hiding what fun took place earlier that evening.
Back in the “Good old days” when we didn’t have indoor plumbing we utilized the old reliable “outhouse”
These were to the rear of each home, usually two seater, in case you liked company I guess.
Each also usually had a Sears and Roebuck catalog available for convienuant (sp?) use, whatever. Some people have a saying, one day at a time – this was one page at a time.
On halloween night the mean game of the local neighbor was to play “Tip-the-can” or tip over the outhouse. Continue reading
Louie is on the left. After throwing a left.
Louie was big into sports, especially football. Somewhere along the line he took a short detour into boxing. This letter takes a two sentence trip into the Golden Gloves experience, and there is one photo in his collection that shows him boxing. It’s not clear just where the match took place, but there were almost fifty people watching in just the corner we can see. There must have been hundreds cheering from ringside.
Later in life Louie would still watch boxing on television. He also enjoyed football, which was his true passion in high school and earned him a scholarship to Jamestown College. I knew very well that football was his game. I knew his coach, too. Ernie Gates. Mr Gates coached my dad and taught PE in the forties, and he did the same in the sixties when I came through high school. Though he never actually said the words, I could feel his disappointment when this budding football star couldn’t even do a push-up. Let’s just say that there’s not enough money or glory in the world to put me in a place like Louie’s in the picture to the right.
I think that I have mentioned the Kist family before, but the one that sticks in my mind is the boy named Leon.
In grade school, at the Franklin school, Leon and I were in the same grade. He loved to catch me on the way home after school and as the old saying goes “beat the living be-Jesus out of me.”
Louie at the Jamestown College Football Stadium
Louie has a way of making extraordinary events seem ordinary. This letter has two extraordinary (to me) stories.
First is the story about the neighbors who had milk cows. It’s not clear to me exactly how they accomplished that, because they lived in town. On town sized lots. There were no barns and no pasture. These days some people get excited if there’s a chicken next door. Cows? Probably won’t happen here.
The second is the picture Louie enclosed with this letter. He was a little self-conscious about sharing that picture, but he was proud of it at the same time. He was in the prime of life, playing football for Jamestown College.
Louie’s photo album does have a later re-creation of this picture, taken in the early fifties when he was serving in Korea. You’ll see that one later.
Nick-names, that seems to be something that will go on forever.
My first nick name was “Snuffy.” I got that in an unusual way, learning to milk cows by hand. The Dengates, our next door neighbors had some milk cows and of course you had to milk them twice a day. If you didn’t the cows would bellow loudly to let you know it was time to milk.