I remember watching the fire drills on a Sunday afternoon. And I remember Pappy Vellier and I would like to know much more about him. I worked for Harry Miller through high school. Arnum Sorlie, Ward Miller and Danny Nitz were also working there. When I was a pre-teen I used to go through those old cars and look for change in the seats. I learned to smoke in a barn behind Millers Garage. Mark V used to purloin cigarettes from his grandfather and we would smoke them in the barn. Perry Enger was quite the fellow. Some of the kids would take advantage of him and steal the candy that was behind the counter. This usually happened after he "fell asleep" in the back. I think that a Snedeker may have run a bowling alley in that old store many years ago. Later, my mother had a cafe in there. I also remember that I met some old fellow who had pretty good luck catching catfish and I asked him what he used for bait. He said camel liver and that I could get it at Smiths Lockers. Off I went to the locker, I think that Gib Smith is still laughing about that one. Later Brett Crumb and I trapped and we stored our catch at the lockers. Gib said to make sure that we covered the animals well with garbage bags so that his customers wouldnt complain. I also recall when the old implement building and between the liquor store and Millers Garage burned to the ground. I think that it happened on a Sunday morning. My brother Mike still bemoans the fact that he lost his favorite bicycle in that fire. He had left it in back where Ward Miller did service work. That fire got so hot that it had the tin popping off the roof of Harry's building. It is a wonder that we didnt lose the whole block as the building was huge. It was a testament to the ability of our volunteer firefighters and neighboring volunteer departments.
I remember the flood in the mid 1960's when the water almost reached town and we later caught fish out of the potholes in the road.
I also remember when my dad had the blacksmith shop and he was doing some welding on a wagon tongue during a rainy day. He was sitting on the tongue with his feet in the water when he recieved a pretty good shock. It threw him off of the wagon. I can still remember the smell of that shop and everytime I get around some old grease, memories come flooding back.
I remember venturing into the tiny old houses that lined the east side of the railroad tracks and finding old letters, magazines and newspapers from the turn of the century. Many of the old houses still had furniture and clothing in them and it appeared that someone had just got up and left and never came back. I had quite a collection of portable kerosene stoves that I took from those houses. Do any of you remember the itinerant dealer that would travel through town a couple of times a year to solicit for antiques? I believe that I sold him an old picture frame or two that I found in those homes.
I remember shooting rats at the town dump which was located on the Iowa side of the Big Sioux. On a quiet day you could hear the rats moving garbage all over the dump. Occasionally you could even find something worth taking home.
I remember Fullenkamps Drugstore and Soda Fountain. You could find me there every Saturday morning drinking a chocolate coke, cherry phosphate or cherry sour. I would pay for the soda and then spend an hour or so reading the comics. All of my mothers day and birthday gifts were purchased from that store. Bud & Mary were very kind and I think that they really enjoyed having us kids around. I later used Bud as my first reference to get into the Army and after that for my first civilian job. What he saw in the long haired kid, I dont know.
I also remember the Rogness Hardware Store and being greeted by him when I stopped in to buy some fishing hooks or sinkers. Marvin had a large garden next to our house when we lived in town and he always shared a little with us kids. My dad said that he remembered watching television through the hardware store window in the late 40's or early 50's. I guess that, that was a big treat back then. I have a phonograph that my grandfather purchased from Marv's in the late 40's. My mother used to take me to Torkelsons Clothing store to purchase a couple of pairs of jeans for the school year. I always had to be careful in my school jeans and take change out of them as soon as I got home. We didnt have dozens of pairs of jeans like kids have today.
Us kids, had a great time swimming in Roy Rollings gravel pit after the city took over maintenance of it. The water was clear and we had an actual sand or perhaps gravel beach.
I remember when many of the men got together and cleaned it up. Too bad, the state doesnt take any pride in it. They have a chance to make the pits into a really attractive place to hike, swim and fish in. I was really surprised by all of the water in the extreme north end. It is a neat wetlands environment and could really use a little management and a trail or two.