Michael Robert Reilly

An Autobiography

    My life started as many did in the 50's, in a hospital, specifically St. Joseph's in Milwaukee on March 30, 1952. My parents, Robert Emmet Reilly and the former Marie Rose Miller of Lannon had gotten married just nine months before. The doctor had told them that I was to be born on April 1st, but I fooled them and was born two days earlier. Fortunately for me, I didn't choose to arrive any sooner than that. Dad told me later that he thought I had a little Upper Michigan and Minnesota in me since part of their honeymoon was spent there; probably the best time of their life was creating little old me.

    We lived on Water Street in Menomonee Falls in those days (March 1952 - Summer '55), the river right in our backyard. The Falls didn't have Community Memorial Hospital back then. That's why I, and later brother Dan, were delivered in Milwaukee at St. Joseph's. After I was born, Mom continued to work at Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company in downtown Milwaukee and I got shuffled off to Grandma Reilly's care over in Fussville. This continued up till the time when Mom became overly pregnant with Dan and had to quit. I had a baby-sitter at times but I don't think she liked me much because I remember her filling my pants full of water with a squirt gun.

    I also have vague memories of being out on the river ice when it froze over during the winter with my mother or father. One of the most important things to happen to me during this time was the discovery of Bosco chocolate milk and the TV commercial that sent shivers of excitement through me. I was in some kind of walker on wheels then and every time that commercial played I'd make a beeline into the room and park myself in front of the TV to watch it. At the time we lived upstairs that only had a toilet and sink, no tub or shower. Dad told me that it was here that I pulled down the Christmas tree. After a couple of months we moved downstairs that was larger and had a tub.

   Sometime after I was born in Menomonee Falls, Dad got some carpentry/electrical employment working on new housing, I think north of Pilgrim road. I think Mom's brother Johnny Miller got the work for him. Around that time Dad worked for Badger Meter on Brown Deer Rd. on Milwaukee's north side.

    We spent a couple of years in the Falls before moving off to an old farmhouse (probably early 1955) outside Grafton (about three miles out on Hwy O, past a golf course, a strawberry farm, then over railroad tracks and up a hill) just before sister Ann was born. It's there that I confronted the Boogie Man in a window , more like hid from him. Somehow I'd heard about this character and one night I saw his face staring in from outside the window. You didn't catch me looking out dark windows anymore.

   

    Ann almost didn't make it here for my mother, brother Dan and I were involved in a terrible car accident near the Falls on the new Hwy 41 and Water Street (at that time, there weren't any overpasses). Dad had gotten a ride to work that day, and Mom wanted to go visit Uncle Bill and Aunt Mary in the '49 Mercury they had just purchased  (They were able to buy it because of a little inheritance money from Salty's estate.) We got broad-sided by another car and Mom was thrown out and slid along the road and gravel. Dan and I were badly shaken up with a little bleeding. I remember getting out and seeing Mom lying there and not moving and looking over to the other car. It looked like a younger person was coming out of it with a very bloody face. We were first transported to St. Joseph's in Milwaukee, then moved to St Alphonsus in Port Washington. This must have August 1 or 2nd, 1955.  Later in the hospital Mom gave birth to Ann on the 2nd; the doctors didn't even realize that Mom had a broken arm when she delivered her. Again, I remember the image of Mom standing on a stairway with her arms all bandaged up holding my almost newborn sister. Ann developed nice curly blonde hair which Dan and I decided to remove by cutting some off with a scissors.

    From Grafton we moved to another old farmhouse (around 1957) on the outskirts of Saukville on a short Hwy X. The house had been converted into a duplex with upper and lower living quarters. We lived downstairs. The place had two bedrooms, kitchen and living room. It was heated by one large central floor register that was located between the kitchen and living room. The reason I mention this is because at times the stove didn't work and Mom would cook us meals over it.

    Dan and I had bunk beds along with a single bed for Ann. The three of us slept in the bedroom off of the living room. It was in here that rats would crawl up an old boarded-up window from the basement and get into our room as we slept. Dan or I would wake up and lift Ann to the top bunk where we sat yelling for Mom and Dad to help us. Dad hated those rats and did what he could to keep them from coming in. I remember him nailing a rat outside the house with a stone and then shot it with a CO2 powered pellet pistol, making sure he didn't kill it right away. Later he bought a BB rifle that we used to shoot rats at the old dump that existed just on the property's edge. They would scurry through the rocks and old trash and we would plunk them.

    When we first moved here, Dan and I had to first cope with the silo giant. Even though we had probably seen silos before, this one, a tall, all concrete with a concrete cap stood all by itself. The barn that had stood along side had fallen, with most of the rubble lying inside the stone crumbling foundation. It looked plenty scary and for some reason we believed a giant had to live in it. We would crawl on our bellies through the tall grasses and weeds, hiding behind rocks and bushes to catch a glimpse of him, hoping he wouldn't see us first. Our fears were gone one day when we entered the silo through the barn ruins and found nothing. We both climbed the metal rungs on the silo but it was only Dan who had the courage to climb to the very top and crawl into it when it had been filled with silage by a local farmer. We didn't realize until later when we told of our exploits, that we learned of the dangers of suffocating and dangerous gases. Those barn ruins were our playground many days, sometimes pulling out old wooden spoked wheels to roll them around the concrete floor.

    I think danger was our business back then. Dan and I would climb the fruit trees and once a branch broke on the pear tree and I got cut from the waist up to practically my right arm pit. We climbed around the rim of a huge water holding tank (neither of us knew how to swim then) that was a mile or more from our house. We also sat on the sandy lip of an old abandoned gravel and sand pit looking at holes that had been bored by nesting birds. How we managed not to fall into the bowels of that pit I don't know. The road that went past our place went up to that pit and plateaued out for a distance. Up there we would ride our bikes as fast as we could and come barreling down the hill going ninety miles an hour or so it seemed. It was lots of fun until one day I lost control and ran my bike into the neighbor's yard, through the crotch of a v-shaped tree growing there. I went head over heals and landed up against their house some twenty feet away. Except for my crotch hurting and a little bump on the head, I wasn't too bad for the experience. Dan had done worse by just riding his bicycle into the side of the garage that dad had built. He had forgotten about the brakes.

    The other dumb thing we did was with the neighbor kid, Rusty Turk. The three of us went hiking through a cow pasture and ended up confronted by Hwy 57. Now mom had told us not to cross any highways by ourselves so we decided to cross under it through a culvert. We just had to see what was on the other side. Upon entering the culvert we soon realized we were going to get a little wet for there was standing water down in it. What we hadn't planned on was the amount of mud and cow manure that was also there. We were determined to cross it but by the time we got to the center the muck was over our knees and we were afraid of getting stuck there. We literally pulled each other along through that smelly, sucking muck to get out. We were exhausted after emerging and very wet so we thought of sitting up on one of those highway billboards to dry off in the sun. It wasn't too long when we spotted Mom driving the old black 1950 Lincoln down Hwy 57. We got a good scolding but she was also happy we hadn't drowned in that culvert.

    Things that happened that turned out all right. One winter there Dan and I were out playing down near the old chicken coop when Dan suddenly disappeared from sight. There he was down in a hole filled with water. I didn't know it at the time but he'd fallen through the rotted wooden cover of the septic system. I knew he was in trouble and that he needed help. I ran up to the house yelling "Hi Ho Silver" all the way there. I don't remember if Mom saw me or heard me but the next thing she's doing is pulling him out of that hole. Why I kept yelling that particular phrase escapes me but it saved Dan's life. The unfortunate thing for Dan was that the water had frozen in the house and Mom literally scrapped the septic contents off of his body to clean him. Another time I ended up being pretty lucky. Dan and I were out walking on an ice covered field when I broke through the ice and was standing in chest deep water. Dan took off and ran home not bothering to tell anyone what had happened. As I watched him run into the house I noticed a figure approaching from another direction. Here it was Mrs., Turk from next door. She'd been watching us from her house, she liked to snoop on us, and saw me fall in. She jumped in her husband's waiters and drudged out to me. She yanked me out and got me home where Mom not knowing anything had happened was horrified to hear the story. I think Mrs. Turk was much closer to me after that episode.

    We weren't always getting into trouble or mischief. Dan and I had our "secret hideout"; a large lilac bush or series of linked bushes that grew high and wide. In this mass, we wove a maze of trails, some you could walk through, others you took to crawling through. For us, it was the best place on earth, nobody could get to us there. This isn't the only place we crawled around in. The farmhouse sat on a slight hill over looking the road and an embankment sloped toward it. It was fun for a while to play on. That was until we discovered poison ivy. From head to toe, Dan and I were covered. Mom washed us with a brown foul smelling soap and covered us with calamine lotion to soothe the itching. Before this happened, Dan had fallen down that hill and struck his eye. With a towel pressed against his eye, not knowing if he had lost it, Dad rushed him off to St. Alphonsus in Port Washington. Fortunately the cut was around the outside. (In a later interview Dad said that Dan had fallen off his bike onto the gravel driveway and injured himself.)

    Between the house and the chicken coop rose a huge mulberry tree that we would sometimes climb up into. Dan was the braver or more reckless, depending on how you looked at it, climbing up as high as he could. Actually climbing in this tree provided us with rich rewards. When the mulberries were ripe, Mom and Dad would lay out white sheets beneath the limbs and we would go up and shake those mulberries loose. Mulberry pie was a tasty treat for us and the berries weren't bad eating all by themselves. This wasn't the only pie that Mom made. A patch of rhubarb grew near the field and for several years she harvested the stalks and made rhubarb custard pie. This is still my favorite to this day.

    That big old mulberry tree also provided the setting for my boxing lessons. One day Dad decided that I needed to learn how to box, why I didn't know (I did get picked on by older boys at school, being bigger for my age), but there we stood. He showed me some basics and then put his "dukes" up and told me to try hitting him in the face. He wanted to show me how to ward off thrown punches. I told him I didn't want to hit or to hurt him but he egged me on, with little fear I would do any damage. The first punch I threw hit him in the mouth and caused some bleeding and a very surprised look on his face. That ended my lessons forever.

    One thing you have to remember is that up to this time, I was maybe in first grade. I don't actually remember being driven to school in Saukville and perhaps I didn't start until we moved into town, but I'm getting ahead of myself here. Besides that silo giant and the rats, the thing I feared next were the swarms of dragonflies that came in the summer. One minute you were minding your own business and the next you were surrounded by thousands of them, big ones too. Before running into the house for protection, we usually put up some resistance by picking up handfuls of gravel from the driveway and flinging them at the horrors. We satisfied ourselves by seeing some of them drop out of the sky, hopefully to their deaths. Speaking of that gravel driveway, it and the gravel on the road's shoulder spelled repeated agony for Dan and I as we learned to ride our first bicycles. Those bikes were "fixer-uppers" that Grandpa Reilly made for us complete with big balloon tires. I remember them being a tad too big for us, one of the reasons we fell off so much. And where did we always seem to land, but in the loose gravel. Picking out gravel stuck in your skin was never a favorite thing to do. Dad told me later that he bought the two of us brand new bikes at the Western (?) in Saukville, but I don't recall that.

    That field where I could have drowned was also the spot where Dad planted a mighty nice garden. Stalks of corn and digging potatoes is what I remember of that, but I also recall Dad buying me a packet of carrot seed to plant on my own along side the big garden. I tended that carrot patch for weeks and was rewarded with the taste of my own home-grown produce. They tended to be a bit small because I didn't wait for the entire growing season to begin eating them.

    The flooded field also brings back memories of other flooding that occurred in the area. During the spring thaw our road would flood out in several places and sometimes make it impassable. One day I recall driving into Saukville and watching a man row out to a stranded car that had stalled trying to get through. I heard later that the woman sitting on the car's roof was pregnant and they had been on their way to Port Washington to deliver their baby. If it hadn't been for that kindly neighbor and his boat, the child may have been born or died there. This yearly flooding brought on another event, that was to receive typhoid fever shots from the community. The Milwaukee River flowed straight through the town and there was fear that the drinking water would become contaminated. I don't remember the first time being too eventful, but the second time when I was in second grade and living in town, the shots were made too strong. For many, including myself, whose right arms were swollen, stiff and painful just putting on a coat was pure hell and required the help of an extra set of hands. Sometimes two of us that were affected, struggled to help each other get dressed or undressed. This condition lasted for over a week and although there were apologies all around, very few trusted them the next time around.

    Before those spring thaws came the Christmas's. The Christmas of 1958: Dad brought home a female boxer puppy as a family present. Unfortunately for me, I came down with the mumps during 1st grade Christmas recess. I couldn't play with the puppy inside the house because of my sickness. All I could do, when Dan and Ann took it outside to play in the snow, was to sit by the kitchen table, look out and cry. If that wasn't bad enough, when I got over the mumps Mom made Dad give it up. Brother Russ had been born just two months earlier, November 1958, and with the new baby, tending to a young pup was too much for her to handle. What else about Christmas? How about sitting on the floor around the big console radio and listening to Billy The Brownie. This radio also provided us with entertainment in the form of The Shadow and The Green Hornet. Did we have a TV? Dad said that our first tv one was an old GE model, and that he traded that one in for a Sylvania Halolight (?) from a place in Saukville which he never really liked.

    Though I don't remember them being very elaborate, I did receive at sometime, an Erector set, a boy's set of tools ( and not the plastic stuff you see now), and a small green howitzer (Christmas of 1959) that actually fired (by spring loading) yellow wooden shells. Why do I remember this toy? Well you would too if you shot down some Christmas tree ornaments (well, at least one) and hid the evidence in your pants pockets only to be found out when we moved into the village of Saukville that spring of 1960. Mom wondered where those pants had gone to after discovering them deep in the dresser drawer. My howitzer disappeared shortly after.

    Other forms of entertainment at Christmas was of course going to Grandma and Grandpa Reilly's home to celebrate with the Reilly clan. Besides the usual hugging and kissing from the aunts we also put up with Uncle Dennis's (or Uncle Dinty, as most everyone called him) home movie taking. Back then you ended up with a sunburn after a round of posing. Uncle Dennis had this small camera that must have had a three foot long bar of flood lights attached to the top. Every time he'd light it up you'd think that the sun went nova and of course you couldn't see straight during the filming nor after for a while. The highlights of the evening were a sit-down dinner at their big dining room table, followed by Grandma or one of the aunts playing Christmas songs on the piano. Of course everyone sang along and there never seemed to be a sour note in that crowd at that time of the year. Sometimes us youngsters were even treated to one of Grandpa's famous haircuts in the basement. He had a big cardboard barrel that we'd get set up on and then he went to work. It wasn't too bad except for the times he had a few "Old Fitzgerald's" too many and a nick or pulled hair was fairly common. At times he'd give you a razor cut trim. He'd pull out that straight razor and sharpen it on a long leather strap in front of you. Times like this you didn't fidget much.

    I had gotten the mumps during Christmas school recess (so I must have been in the 1st grade then) and never got the chance to enjoy the time off. Dan and Ann developed the mumps shortly after that though. I'm not sure, but we all may have contracted the chicken pox around this same time too. When we were a little younger but still living here all three of us kids, Dan, Ann and I got scarlet fever. I recall the doctor coming to our home to check on us, I think his name was Dr. Silo ( no relation to the silo giant). As a result of this illness, Dan may have developed the heart murmur he has today.

    The farm house we lived in was on a road that that started from Hwy 57 on the south end, went up a hill, then down for about a mile until it met up again with Hwy 57. Once or twice Dad took me along in the car and I sat in his lap steering it down the hill, along the road and up the driveway. Dad of course controlled the gas and brake pedals.

     I must have been driven to school for the first grade though I don't remember it. The school I attended was in Saukville, a Catholic one called Immaculate Conception  (I believe the church went by the name St. Mary's). I was a big boy for my age and I recall having to sit in the back of the room in a single desk that was probably used in the higher grades. The other desks were joined together in a row and had desk tops that lifted up. Mine had a compartment under the seat where I would put my things. The classroom contained both first and second grades, so I think the following year I didn't have to move at all. I made my First Communion that year and somewhere there may be a picture of it. I remember one girl, Gail Grasse (?), sitting there in her white dress and long bowed, crossed legs in the picture. The Grasse's (I don't know if this is correct.) lived on the other side of that field where Dad had the garden, along old highway 57. I guess I kind of liked her back then. This was after my first big romance with next door neighbor, Peggy Turk. Those meetings in our chicken coop didn't last long and of course nothing happened.

Mike. Ann, Russ and Dan, Spring 1959

Life was tough on Mom at times when we lived there, if it wasn't us causing trouble or getting sick then it was Dad winding up in jail. He and Mom were returning from Milwaukee one evening when he was pulled over by two Ozaukee Sheriff Deputies for weaving down Hwy 57. They wanted to take him in for drunken driving and the trouble began when they insisted on hand-cuffing him. He didn't want any part of that, and Mom pleaded with them to let him be and he would come along peacefully. They persisted and he took a swing at them. He was sentenced to six months in jail under the Huber Law. With that, he could drive or be driven to Evinrude Motors in Milwaukee each day but had to return to jail after work. Each weekend he was allowed to come home to his family.

    I think though that in retrospect, this was perhaps one of the best times in my life. Not Dad being in jail but the freedom of living that Dan and I enjoyed.

    In late spring of 1960, we moved into town to what my Dad thought was going to be larger living space. It actually was smaller. The house was near the southwest corner of old Hwy 57 and 33. Actually there was a gas station on the corner next door. Our house was the fourth one east of the Milwaukee River that flowed through town. I remember this because when the river flooded the water only came up to the third house. Across the street to the east was a small grocery store and to our north was a hardware store. To the northwest, I think there was a restaurant.

    Having the river so close provided Dan and I with countless hours of adventure. Fishing was the main concern, but our early attempts at catching those bluegills and sunfish weren't too successful. Our best fishing spot was on the west side of the steel bridge, right underneath it. When you're dangling a piece of string with an unbaited safety pin down in the water, you can't expect to put a fish dinner on the table. We learned though. Somehow we acquired a little money and went over to that hardware store to buy some new fishing tackle. With our limited funds we had to get the most and best available. So we settled on a couple of fishing hooks that Captain Ahab would have been proud to use. Needless to say our catch didn't exceed the posted limits. The need for bait also dawned on us and some where we learned that minnows were a good choice. Trying to catch them by hand proved fruitless until we learned the art of putting cracker or bread crumbs in a large jar and setting it in a shallow river area. When some minnows swam in to feed, we'd upright that jar and capture them. Once you have the bait though you have to learn how to properly use it. Sticking the hook through the minnows lips never tempted those bluegills much and we lost a lot of minnows with them wiggling free. I think Dad showed us the proper way to put the hook through the minnow's back so it could swim around. After that we were catching fish like crazy but I think the majority of our catch ended up fertilizing the small garden Mom had out in back of the house.

The bridge Dan and I would fish under. 

The bridge still serves as the gateway to "downtown" Saukville and the area where most of the homes and business places have been built. The bridge itself is steel truss construction and is the last such bridge in Ozaukee County that is open to traffic. The bridge was built in 1928. There has been some talk about replacing it, but that won't happen in the near future.

The bridge crosses the Milwaukee River about a block west of C. T. H. 'W', which was State Highway 57 until I43 was built. When I 43 opened in 1976, Highway 57 was routed over the new highway. The traffic flow through the village was then greatly reduced.

     On February 20, 2006, I traveled to Saukville and found that the bridge above had been replaced. No longer were steel girders in place but along the sides was stonework. This must have been done within the last couple of years; my last visit there the steel had remained. It was saddening to see it not there.

     The little house across the street where we lived was torn down a number of years ago. Only two houses yet stand beside the river on the east side. That little house was gone since my last visit, about 10-15 years ago.

     On this most recent trip I showed Kris where the farmhouse still stands. Getting there we drove along C. T. H. W, as last time until we turned right onto Foster Road. As a child my memory was that the road was further from the village, but not so. There are only the same three houses along the east side of Foster Rd., the same three as in my youth. But they don't seem the same, especially the old Turk house. Before I continued on past the old farmhouse I turned right onto Cottontail Lane, and drove down less than a mile where the road ended at a waste treatment plant. This must have been where Dan and I walked around the rim of the huge holding tanks years ago. Today they're covered over with concrete, if they're even the same tanks.

     Returning to Foster Rd. I stopped by the mailbox of the old farmhouse; the address was 2682 Foster Rd. Whether it was Foster Rd.  when we lived there I can't recall. Again, what seemed as a child a steep driveway up to the house and the embankment Dan and I climbed on, were only gentle rises. We continued along; the giant's silo still standing, but someone had built a steel (?) storage building over the old barn foundation, something that wasn't there my last visit. There also appeared to be a much newer home in the background, beyond the farmhouse and silo but not far away.  Maybe someday I'll stop and say hello. We continued up that hill Dan and I raced down on our bikes, and it too wasn't so steep. At the top I saw no sign of the quarry we explored but perhaps from I-43 something could be seen? Mike Reilly 2/20/2006

 Yes, that river held many adventures for us. Like the discovery of the largest crab in the world. One day while out minnowing, we got scared right out of that river when we saw this huge monster-sized crab swimming by. It was probably a foot long and we watched it head for a sunken tree limb in the shallows. We figured that was it's home, and later when we gathered our courage, we took tree branches and prodded under that limb to attract the crab's attention, Well we did, and ended up scrambling out of the river again to avoid it.

    One foolhardy thing we attempted was to ford the river. We picked out a spot to try and made it about two-thirds across when we realized it was getting too swift and dangerous. We barely made it back and never tried that again. As a result though we found another fishing spot that was south of our house. There was a path going down to a sandy clearing that we thought would prove worthwhile but all I remember catching was a large snapping turtle. By this time we both had cane poles and here I had this turtle with my hook swallowed on the end of my line. As we stood there, the kid who was our paperboy and a couple of his friends came down and offered to help. Well he went over to that turtle and cut my fishing line with a pocket knife he carried. Then he held onto the piece that was still attached to the turtle and said to his buddies, "Watch this." He yanked the turtle's head out of his shell and used his knife to cut through it's neck. Here's these kids laughing as that poor turtle was stumbling around and bleeding. Both of us were horrified and probably felt sick to our stomachs seeing this happen. I know I never liked to see that paperboy again and never went back to that fishing spot.

    One event that even Ann remembers is Dan and I running out in the street behind the farmer's tractor drawn wagons, overflowing with freshly picked peas, and picking up those that fell off, sometimes with our help. Cracking open those pods and eating those sweet peas were a special treat for us and worth the risk.

    While we lived here, Dad owned a Nash Rambler and at least one time he went to Florida to visit his brother Bill in Tampa kind of leaving us stranded. I remember Mom being upset with him, maybe not so much that she couldn't go along but that she was left tending to us kids. One thing she did with us a couple of times was to take us to the Hwy 57 drive-in movies. This was probably the first time we ever saw a movie in color. The first we saw was The Ten Commandments. That movie left a pretty good impression on us young kids but a later one gave me nightmares for many nights. You wouldn't think that Darby O' Gill and the Little People, a Walt Disney movie, would have that effect but it did. That banshee chasing them around really scared the daylights out of me. It wasn't until we moved to Milwaukee that another movie had such an effect.

    While living in town, I went to second grade , Dan was in the same classroom but in first grade. We would walk maybe six blocks to school, through the center of town. There in a central park like area stood a white bandstand. At times we listened to bands playing there or when it was unoccupied, we would get up on it and look around. Back at school we had this pile of dirt out in the back that was used to play "King Of The Mountain" during recess. Now the nuns usually frowned on us playing this and generally forbade us from climbing on it but I managed to get in a few games. As a second grader, I was probably the only one that ever made it to the top and was "king" for a short while. I was just as big as many seventh and eighth graders back then and they didn't like it one bit that I could work my way to the top. Several times they would run me off and chase me around the playground. We also had swings and a tall slide to play on. From the top of that slide, Dan managed to fall off the top and end up on his head on the ground; he apparently didn't suffer any major brain damage. (Note: Because we spent the Christmas of 1959 at the farmhouse - either we moved during my 2nd semester Second Grade or just after school was out - so I'm not sure if we walked to school. I do remember that the spring thaw caused the Milwaukee River to flood and the water reached the third house from the river; so I must have completed school by walking there.)

    Back in school we went through the daily ritual of getting a milk and taking a goiter pill (wife Kris thought it was an iron supplement). This was a small chocolate tasting chewable pill that everyone had to take. In late spring, most likely May, the school children assembled outside around a grotto like area that had a statue of the Blessed Virgin in it. Each student formed one of the beads of a rosary and when it came your turn, you had to recite the prayer that your bead position represented. This was done more often than the students cared to do it but it was expected of good Catholic children to participate in ceremonies as this without question.

The Move to Milwaukee, The Big City

1960-May, 1968

    Sometime during the summer of 1960 we moved from Saukville into Milwaukee. There at 2757 N. 27th Street we spent the next nearly eight years of our lives. The house we lived in was a two story flat with a large attic that had been converted into additional living space by the owners. There the Baers lived. Leon was the husband but I don't remember his wife's name. On the second floor lived the Bearen's (Dad said the father was a big heavy set man with two sons and a daughter - much older than we were) and our family occupied the first floor. The Baer's were an elderly couple and Leon was a recent retiree from the Pabst Brewing Company. They were very good to our family though we were expected to do certain yard work around the house, perhaps in exchange for a reduced rent. I know that I had to mow the lawn with one of the old type of reel mowers. It wasn't too bad except for the front that had a hill going down to the sidewalk. During the winter months we had to keep the walkway between the houses and the sidewalk cleared of snow. Once in a while I had to clean out the ash pit. This was a concrete structure with a metal lid and a side cleanout door that served to hold the weekly garbage. Originally its purpose was just that, to hold the spent ashes from wood fires. The garbage truck would come down the alley and empty the "pit" of garbage but some always fell out and it needed to be swept out. Every so often I'd find mice or snakes inside when I cleaned it out.

    I remember there being a small vegetable garden next to garage running along the walk to the back alley. I don't recall whose garden it was, the Baers or many Mom started it. (Ann remembers plum trees growing in the back yard.)

    Because Leon worked for Pabst, even as a retiree, he was entitled to go down to the brewery once or twice a month and buy "short fills" for a reduced price. A lot of times I went with him to pick up the several cases he could get, and of those, some he sold to my Dad.

    When we first moved in, Mom took advantage of home dairy delivery service. There was a milk chute or cabinet located next to the side door entrance. The dairyman would open the outside chute door and place the milk and orange juice we ordered on a shelf within. All we had to do was to open our back door, which lead to the rear enclosed stairway, walk down a couple of steps, and open the inside chute door to retrieve the glass bottles. This only went on for a little while. Mom found it was probably cheaper to send one of us older boys down to one of the local grocery stores and carry back one or two gallons at a time. Jim had been born several months later after we moved in , and with five kids now, we went through a lot of it.

    There were two grocery stores that we went to. One was just a small Mom & Pop operation on the next block up that we bought those glass gallon jugs of milk from. Dan and I spent more of our own time there to buy Hostess Cupcakes, Twinkies, Snoballs, Suzie Q's, and various fruit pies, my favorite being cherry. Back in the sixties, these could be bought for 10 to 12 cents a package. The store where we did most of the family grocery shopping was the A & P located at 28th and Fond du Lac. I remember having to lug grocery bags home after shopping with Mom. I think that sometimes we were able to push the shopping cart home down though that brick/concrete lined alley that separated our block. This isn't very easy when the alley surface is broken up in places and your cart wheels are getting stuck in holes and the entire cart is jostling around. 

    It was in that A & P store that I got caught trying to steal a Milky Way candy bar. One time prior to this, I had taken an item of little value from the corner 5 & 10 store (Center and 27th Sts.) and had gotten away with it. This time I had just slipped the bar into my coat pocket when I turned around right into the store manager. He made me put it back and told me never to come in the store again. I was real happy that he didn't call the police or tell my parents. But my worse fears materialized when a couple of days later, Mom had me go to the store with her. I watched everywhere for that store manager while we were there. When I did see him I turned and went down another aisle. I don't know if Mom suspected anything, but we managed to leave without the manager seeing me. At least I don't think he saw me.

    As time went by, I was able to go there without further concern of being "caught". That incident stopped my petty shop-lifting dead in its tracks and I don't think I even thought of the possibility of doing it again ever. As I got older and got involved with the music of the day, Dan and I would go to that A & P to buy "generic hit" 45 records that were sold by the store. I think they were cheaper and once in a while they may have been performed by a no name artist or group. 

    I just remembered that we also went to a Kroger (?) food store near 26th and Fond du Lac Ave. There I believe Mom usually drove to do shopping. While on the subject of neighborhood stores, that 5 & !0 (it might have been a Ben Franklin) was my favorite. There seemed to be no end to the treasures and delights one could find there. Kiddie-corner from the 5 & 10 was a drug store. There I bought my comic books; Superman, Sgt Fury, the Flash, Hulk, and the Green Lantern. Sometimes walking out with one and a new taste treat, the Bonomo Turkish Taffy bar. I'm sure they did wonders for our teeth. When I found out it was cheaper to buy the comic books through mail subscription, I saved my money and sent away for a year of Action Comics and then anxiously waited each month for that brown sleeved marvel to appear in our mailbox. When Dan and I couldn't always afford to buy new copies, we discovered the second hand shop up on North Ave (?) that would trade you one for every two you brought in.

    There were two reasons I hated to go to that drug store. One was that Dad smoked. At that time it was all right for an adult to write a note allowing the store to sell cigarettes to minors provided it was for the adults use. So Dad would send me down for his cigarettes. But the most embarrassing thing was Mom sending me down to buy her Kotex pads. I hated to buy them and hoped that no one I knew ever saw me with them.

    Other businesses in the area we went to were Pete's Pizza, around the corner from 27th on Fond du Lac. There was a hall across the street from there and down a half a block that had a couple of bowling alley lanes. I bowled there a couple of times but believe the equipment was pretty old. There were two barber shops on 27th that Dad took us to when Grandpa Reilly or he couldn't cut our hair. The later one he took us to cut your hair in five minutes or less for a much cheaper price. The haircut quality I couldn't swear by. Next door to that barber was a George Webb's. The original greasy spoon and home of the gutbomb burger. They used to run a newspaper ad where you could buy 12-14 hamburgers for under two bucks. I carried a lot of bags home from that place.

    The best business of all for us was the Oasis theater. It sat on Center St. just a half block east of 27th. Remember how scared I was of that Disney movie. Well the first movie I remember seeing there, at the Oasis,  was "THEM", a sci-fi about huge killer ants; talk about nightmares. The Oasis was also the scene for my first date, if you can call it a date when the girl is screaming to the top of her lungs about the BEATLES in A Hard Days Night and couldn't care less about you.

    Sometime in the mid-60's Dad bought a 1935 Oldsmobile from an fellow about three doors south of us on 27th. The guy had it in his alley garage sitting up on blocks; original tires stowed away. I think Dad paid him $300 for it; it wasn't a junker by any means. It was big, black and beautiful after getting a hand wash & wax job.  It had a problem with sustained highway driving; you could get it up to 70 mph in a hurry but driving that fast caused it to over-heat [Dad might have gotten this repaired ?]. 

    The car did provide some headaches for the family. Dad drove it one night, had too much to drink and ended up in Fond du Lac. He called Mom saying he was lost and didn't know how to get home, then she and I drove up in the other car [Don't remember the make?] By the time we arrived, he had sobered up enough to drive the car, with Mom and I following behind. After a long drive we made it home.

     Dandelion Park was the location of several Evinrude family picnics. The Park was located on Muskego Lake, and it had various amusement park rides, including an old wooden roller coaster, and the Wild Mouse. Wild Mouse was scary; it was a small roller coaster type ride with a twist. At the corners, the cart you rode in continued to point ahead while the wheels did a left turn, then the cart suddenly shifted left to line up with the wheels. It seemed as if you were going to tumble over the edge. There was another ride called the Hammer; one carriage on the end, the other end weighted. It swung you back and forth then would go upside down; it was great.

    Anyway, the reason I mention this now was that on one such visit, Dad drove us there in the 1935. On the way home, the brakes failed going down Forest Home Ave. Instead of stopping and getting assistance [Though it was a Sunday], Dad continued on using the hand emergency brake to stop or slow down. One time he pulled too hard and the car [and us] did a 180 in the middle of the street. somehow we got home all right.  I don't remember when Dad sold the 35, or how much he got for it? I'm sure Mom had something to say about getting rid of it.

    The family went to Friess Lake several times; once or twice it was because of some party, Dad's work or reunion ? There was a resort that no longer exists, with a place to buy refreshments. First wading into the water then jumping from a wooden pier, never head first though, we'd heard stories of accidents that happened. I remember opening my eyes under water and thinking how dirty it was.

    For a number of years we'd drive down to Niles, Illinois and visit Mom's brother, Uncle Bill and family. It was at one visit, my cousin Paul took me to a coin shop where I purchased a 1909VBD Lincoln penny. Somewhere along the line I had started collecting coins, Paul's influence ? Maybe it was from the money I collected from the paper routes? I just remember the penny set, which I still have today, but not in the old blue Whitman coins folders. 

    Back in the days of our paper routes it wasn't unusual to get a lot of silver coins, but we didn't think much of them.

    Uncle Bill wasn't always the most cheerful person, especially after his first (?) stroke. Aunt Florence and Dad didn't get along too well, personality clashes I guess. We probably went down for birthdays or something special. I think we ate or messed around in their basement, at least one time. Before Uncle Bill had the bad stroke, he, my cousin Paul, Dad and I would go golfing. One time I remember us at Scenic View  Golf Course, near Ackerville, off of what was then Hwy J. Paul and I were well off the 4th or 5th tee to the left, behind Uncle Bill who was teeing off. As he swung through, he heeled the golf ball and it came right over and hit Paul smack in the arm/shoulder, and you could tell it hurt. 

    Once in a while during visits to Grandpa Reilly home near 43rd, south of North Ave, we were allowed to treat ourselves at the local ice cream parlor. My favorite was a banana split! Later we would walk from 27th St. there. I believe their was an ice cream parlor in a drug store (?) on the northwest of 27th and North we discovered, but don't remember eating there.

        While living in Saukville (? - maybe not until Milwaukee) we learned how to catch "small" crabs [probably by Dad] using a piece of living tied on the end of a string. You would throw the liver in the water near a rock where a crab might be hiding under, then wait to see if it grabbed the meat with its claw(s). The trick was getting the crab to follow the meat as you slowly pulled it near the river bank. Then you gave it a quick pull to get it out of the water. Later on in Milwaukee's Washington Park lagoon, we used a small net [purchased or made] to increase the likelihood of a "catch". We'd bring the crabs home and Dad would pull their tails off; of course he showed us how to do it without getting pinched by their claws more than once or twice.

    Dan and I loved to walk to Washington Park. It was a place my Mother [and Father?] took us when we were younger to visit the zoo there. Before my grandparents lived on 56th St. They were closer to the park/zoo, and we could walk there during visits. From 27th St. we walked there in the early 60's to catch crabs, in the lagoon, to use their tail meat as bait for perch fishing. One day we were being harassed by a bully and several of his friends. Instead of fighting, we were out-numbered, we left for another area of the park. Before long they came upon us again. This time I was so angry, I grabbed the bully, yelling in his face to leave us alone. Before I knew it I had him backed up against a tree, and Dan telling me to let him go. I remember the scared look in the bully's face; I hadn't realized what I had done. They left us, and we went back to catching crabs. The irony of the whole incident was that they went and complained to the park guard that WE were harassing them. The guard found us, and though we voiced our innocence, he told us to leave the park. What a day of injustice!

    After our initial lessons learned about fishing in the Milwaukee river, Dad took Dan and I to Port Washington, in the early 1960's, to fish off the government pier on Lake Michigan. We would drive thru Port and before St. Mary's church on the hill, we would turn right to the pier. There was a tavern, bait shop located by the parking lot. To get out to the main pier section which was steel on both sides, filled in with huge flattened rocks, we had to walk along an I-beam loaded with rounded rivets. At first there was no hand-hold; you had to carry your fishing rods and gear, and just watch your step. Once, while way out on the pier, a storm came up and we had to quit fishing. Because of the wind and rain that caught us, we crawled along that I-beam with the fishing gear on our backs, otherwise we found have slipped into the lake waters.

    We would alternate fishing at Port with going down to Milwaukee's lake front park, McKinley Beach where we'd use the breakwater pier to fish for perch. In those days, you could catch what were called "jumbo perch", and at Port, that tavern/bait shop had contests for the longest and heaviest fish. I had one entered at 13 inches but didn't win anything. Over time these were fished out and you were lucky to hear of them being caught. Those crab tails came in handy as bait; at first we used worms, either we'd dig for them or Dad would buy some. The tail meat seemed an ideal bait at times, but fish are fussy, and one day it was worms, another crab tail. If we ran out of bait we'd cut up a small perch, and use its meat. This Dad said was illegal, but we did it sometimes. 

    One of the first times out fishing, Dan, I and Dad were at Port. We hadn't mastered the art of baiting a hook yet (remember we used safety pins and whale hooks) so Dad spent most of his time baiting them for us. That day Dan and I caught 54 perch in one hour! We had a couple of stringers full and it was hard to carry them off the breakwater pier.

    When Dad wanted to fish he got us up early, sometimes he would get little to no sleep those mornings (he worked 2nd shift all his life). Many times we'd go to George Webb's for breakfast, across the street, south of us on 27th. We or Mom would pack us lunches, at least a sandwich at times. Every so often in Port Washington, Dad would stop at a tavern on Main St. near the railroad tracks. I don't remember if it was just for a beer, but he also was able to purchase old 78 and 45 rpm records from the owner when they got a little worn in the jukebox. 

    One fishing day in Milwaukee had me catching what they called a "mud puppy". I was fishing on the harbor side when I pulled up the ugliest thing I ever saw on my cane pole (all we ever used). A black man came running over and said he wanted it, but too late, I had the fish over the water and it fell off. He was disappointed indeed. 

    Jumping ahead, Dad bought a 14 ft Alumnacraft boat with a 35 HP Johnson engine from Howie Turk after we moved to Menomonee Falls. Mr. Turk was our former neighbor (and also worked at Evinrude) in Saukville's old farmhouse. Dad and I went out to his house to pick it up, and Howie insisted we try the boat out first. Well the nearest body of water, other than the Milwaukee River, was Lake Michigan in Port Washington. We put it in at the municipal boat landing in the harbor. The three of use motored around in the harbor area, then Dad and Howie told me to take it out alone. Well I handled the boat all right, until I took it out on the lake beyond the breakwater. Anyone who knows better, knows you don't take a small boat like that out on THAT lake. I ran into problems right away with steering; and trying to turn insanity. I'd get down in a trough between waves and their tops were over my head. I was scared to death I'd capsize and drown. Very slowly I maneuvered the boat in a wide circle, heading both south and out to sea, so to speak. I got close enough to a commercial fishing trawler to see the men on deck. It seemed to take forever, but I made it back. I climbed out and actually kissed the ground. I don't remember Dad nor Howie making much of it. That Alumnacraft had an aluminum rib spanning the center of the boat which made it a pain to get around in, but we used it for several years. Later, we bought a 15 ft Duo with a 50 HP Mercury. I remember going with Dad to a tavern down on Water St., across from the funeral home (where Mom and Dad laid some years later) and meeting with the seller. Dad, Dan and I bought the boat, but not sure if we sold the old one out right or traded it and paid additional cash. This cost us $1,000 and years later, about the mid-1970's we sold it for the same price.

    I don't remember Dad hauling the Alumnacraft around and us going fishing with him in it, but with the Duo, we took it up north to Lake Lucerne where for several years Dad rented a cottage, but I'm getting ahead of myself on a new topic - family vacations.

    Besides visiting relatives and the occasional Evinrude party, we didn't seem to do much else as a family, but we did have some vacations up in northern Wisconsin. The first place I remember is a cottage on Seven Mile Lake near Eagle River, Wisconsin. I think we went there two years. There Dan and I would use the cottage row boat and go out and fish the lake (probably our first such time). I got a small Northern, and Dan caught a good sized small mouth bass, which he lost down the fish cleaning shed drain jus t about the time he was finished scaling it. He was upset! Dan and I practically rowed across the lake one day it was quite and mirror smooth. 

    I got to go up in a seaplane a fellow owned for sight-seeing around the Chain-of-Lakes area, I took some b&w pictures, but don't know what happened to them. Some were mostly of the plane's wing or strut. It was exciting to land on the water. Years later my good friend Juris Peterson told me of his father, a couple of brothers and him getting snowed in on an Alaskan lake, and a crazy bush pilot coming in to get them out, more about that sometime later.

    One thing I didn't like was Dad meeting up with a guy (at the resort bar) who had a ski boat, and between them I got taken out on the lake to learn how to ski. It was a huge embarrassment. The guy had one or two real pretty daughters with him, trying to get me to take off at first from the beach standing up on the sand. That didn't work, so they took me out on the water and we tried it there. No way! And to make matters worse, I couldn't climb over the side of the boat to get back in. I think they pulled me to shore, I wanted to hide and never be seen, especially by the daughters. Of course Mom got peeved at Dad for drinking at the bar.

    The next resort we stayed at was on the southern end of Lake Lucerne, near Crandon, Wisconsin. The resort was called LuEd's, I believe. The first time up there, our cottage was probably the farthest from the swimming area and once there, you had to swim/crawl over rocks to get out to water deep enough to swim in, plus there was a raft you could get up on. Well Dan and I didn't like the swimming arrangement so since our cottage was near the water, and there was a sandy point coming out from the shoreline just in front, we decided to do some redecorating. All the weeds were pulled out, and the rocks were neatly piled on the sandy point. there was soft sand left and prime swimming all for ourselves. The owners were pleased about what we had done, and encouraged us to return every year.

    At some point in time, maybe the old Saukville farmhouse or as a Milwaukee Christmas present, brother Dan and I received BB rifles. At the Saukville farmhouse, there was a farmer's dump west of the silo/barn where we'd shot at mice/rats. Maybe this was Dad's Co2 BB pistol? On 27th St. we'd shoot the rifles in the basement; lining up plastic soldiers, cowboys, and Indians and take turns knocking them down. One such sporting event somehow produced a hole in a storm window stored in the basement. While it wasn't intentional, we had the guns taken away. Darts were also played with. 

    We might have had a baseball dart game; maybe Dad was on a league (?). Anyway, Dan, Ann and I were out in the back yard one day when Dan threw one up in the air and it came down on Ann's head. Kind of stuck there a bit and boy did she scream. No permanent injury, though the darts were off-limits for a long time. 

    Roller skating in Milwaukee - We had the type of skates that fit on the underside of your shoes. In those days, no one wore tennis shoes except for tennis or basketball. There was a locking mechanism that fit around the outside of your leather shoe. It didn't always keep the skate on. We would skate down the sidewalk trying to avoid cracks and where the concrete slabs didn't butt up well. Hitting any of these would send you flying down onto the sidewalk, street, or the hilly front lawns (which was preferable).

    Ice skating - During one or more winters, Dan and I would walk to Auer Ave. School where they flooded part of the playground area for ice skating. We didn't have our own skates so we rented them from a guy who worked in a shack near the ice rink. Maybe we got a pair for Christmas one year? Got into some crack the whip sessions, ending up crashing into a snow bank, or on my backside.

     Some of the outside toys we played with that were the rage then, were the hula hoop, yo-yo, and a thing that attached to shoe heel. This latter item had about a three foot plastic (?) rope from the heel ending in a plastic ball for weight. The idea was to swing the ball around with your leg and jump over the rope with your other foot.

    When we were a little older in Milwaukee, everyone had to have a rubber band gun. Depending on the materials you had available determined the size of "ammunition" used and how far it would shoot. Most were hand-held, and old bicycle inner tubes were sometimes cut into strips. One guy living on the southwest corner of 27th and Hadley built one using a long 2x4, and mounted it on a tripod arrangement. From the alley behind his house, he would shoot stones over a block away. One time we heard the bank alarm going off on Fond du Lac Ave. after he "fired" one off; think he broke a window.

    In Milwaukee, we began going to a dentist's office on 27th St. between Fond du Lac Ave. and Center St., on the east side across from the triangle park. His name may have been Dr. Silo; and I know we hated to go. Pain the all I remember from those few visits. Just before I was starting my senior high school year in Menomonee Falls I had five teeth removed by an oral surgeon and getting a partial made. We ate too much candy growing up, much of the money we earned going for it and comics. There was little control or limits placed on what we could eat and how much; and certainly no regular dental appointments.

    During my mid to late elementary schools years, I had to have my tonsils removed, and 4 of 5 of us children went in at the same time to have it done at Doctor's (St. Luke's ?) Hospital. there we were in an 8-bed ward with 2-3 colored women; why, I don't know? Now a lot of people are familiar with Bill Cosby's comic routine about getting his tonsils out (but I heard it several years later), so we we heard that we could eat lots of ice cream, this was going to be great! Uh-Uh! I was reminded of this life-event years later when I underwent the following surgery for sleep apnea:

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is a procedure that removes excess tissue in the throat to make the airway wider. This sometimes can allow air to move through the throat more easily when you breathe, decreasing the severity of obstructive sleep apnea. The tissues that are removed may include:

    It was very much like having your tonsils removed, maybe more painful.


    I don't know how many times Dad was laid off from Evinrude and the union went on strike, but it was never a pleasant time for the family. He was off work for several months one time, and he sought other employment. Once he sold furnace cleaning door to door, but quit when he found out that the repair men would go in and damage a customer's furnace, then claim they needed expensive repairs. He may have sold vacuum cleaners? 

    Though Dad was a drinker and at times a womanizer, he tried hard to provide for his family. One time he found work setting pins at Capitol Platinum Bowling Alley [Not sure of spelling]. It was near 27th & Capitol Driver, by the Evinrude plant. Dad got 10 cents for each line he set up. They didn't have automatic pin setters there; after the 2nd frame, he reset the pins by hand. To save money, he often walked home, which was a hike. One day a city bus driver stopped and told him to come onboard; Dad declined saying he was all right. The driver told him no cost; evidently he had seen Dad a number of times making that long walk home and thought to be charitable. Well, after that, Dad got several free bus rides home.

    During one of the last strikes, after Dad got off picket duty, he was at bar near the plant on 27th, when Mom got a phone call from a friend of Dad, saying there was going to be trouble and she should try to get him out of there. So Mom and I drove there. After we walked in the bar, Mom went to Dad to talk him home, meanwhile I had taken a couple of steps, then noticed a hand sweep up behind me. I turned and saw the hand had caught a pool cue stick before it had a chance to hit me on the head. I think the fellow just said to get him, my Dad, out of there. I never found out who kept me from being hit. 

    When the lay-offs or strikes dragged on, we had to get county relief/aid. Mom and I would drive down to some Milwaukee County building and bring home tins of margarine and peanut butter, 10 lb blocks of cheddar cheese; boxes of powdered milk and probably flour and other essentials. The margarine came uncolored; but there were packets of red coloring that I helped stir into the margarine to give it a yellow color. The peanut butter had to be mixed up because the oil was all at the top. cheddar cheese was used to make cheese sandwiches, both cold and melted. I hated powdered milk; it was barely drinkable when it was cold. Mom did a lot of baking to substitute for items we couldn't afford to buy. I never liked to go get the county food, standing in line with others, feeling needy. 

     Several years later after moving out to the Falls, Dan and I had to get Dad out of Otzelberger's Tavern one day. We walked in and I had to pull a guy off Dad who had him pinned down on a pool table. We managed to get him out without much trouble.


    One of my jobs at 27th St. was mowing the lawn. This was done with a manual push reel mower. This wasn't too bad if the grass wasn't too long; the worst part was the front yard. There the grass sloped down abruptly to the sidewalk. It took a lot of effort to push the mower up and down. I don't remember getting paid to do it; may have had something to do with our rental agreement. 

    Before we had "real" jobs, Dan and I would save/collect newspaper and cardboard and haul it to a junk yard on our wagons to get spending money for candy and comics. The junk yard was some distance away and it was tiring to pull those wagons all that way.

    There were two small grocery stores that we would frequent for candy; one, on the east side of 27th St. just before Locust St., and another on the southeast corner of Hadley and 25th (?) St. The Hadley store had a candy counter to the right when you walked in, and there you could buy a handful of sweets for mere pennies. The 27th St. store had steps you walked up to enter, and had the check-out counter immediately in front of you. Here's where I often carried home the glass gallon bottles of milk, but it's also remembered for the Hostess Cupcakes, Twinkies, Snoballs, Suziecues (?), and fruit pies. These were only 10-13 cents each. about the milk, sometimes I had to carry two gallons home plus other groceries. I held the two milk gallons by a plastic [metal?] ring secured around the neck, similar to today's, in one hand, carried them more than a city block. Doesn't seem a long ways to go but the weight cutting into my hand caused me to have to set them on the sidewalk once or twice to ease the pain. I didn't want to drop the glass bottles.

    The first jobs Dan and I had was shoveling snow. We had to do it at the house, but we decided to canvass the neighborhood and get some clients. We found a couple, but one was a lot of work for the pay. It was a corner lot; the northwest corner of 26th and Hadley Sts. We learned the hard way that the customer also wanted his driveway cleared as well, which was almost as much area as the sidewalks were. We shoveled this property a couple of times, then told the owner we quit.

    The first real job Dan and I had was delivering the daily evening Milwaukee Journal newspaper and its Sunday morning edition. The first route we had started midway up 25th St., north of Center, then went up to Auer Ave. The route had some zigs & zags to catch customers often a block or more out of our normal delivery area. These also tended to be the crabbiest ones to deal with. Paper routes were purchased from the former delivery boys (no girls worked our station); usually paying what the carrier made in tips in a week, though this varied somewhat. Lucrative tip paying routes were a premium payment.

    Before our Sunday morning paper route started, we had to walk past a bakery on Center St. The aroma of bread and sweet rolls baking spewed from a vent fan. Though most of the time pleasant, at other times, it took will power not to gag before walking past, the bakery smell was so overwhelming. A couple of times the bakery was open early and we stopped and bought a sweet roll, which didn't necessarily sit well in our stomachs.

    The Journal station was in an alley near 25th and Fond du Lac Ave., we usually cut through the Kroger store parking lot to get there. Sometimes we continued on down and passed by a local tavern. Normally this was ok but on Sunday mornings going to "sub" papers at 1 or 2 A.M., there were drunks about and once or twice we witnessed fights. There was one stabbing where the station captain called the police.

    "Subbing" newspapers was a royal pain, sometimes fun (and educational, street-wise), and and once dangerous. The station captain was a good guy but in order to get your newspaper early, you had to do your share of subbing. Subbing is putting all of the newspaper sections together, and there was a routine you developed to speed the process. During these early morning hours at the station, you shared in the stories, the joke telling, but as a newbie, you listened, smiled and laughed a lot. This was our first exposure to the real world. The station was often visited by former carriers who were in a gang. This gang on occasion brewed "Panther Piss" and melted lead on the station's pot belly stove. Hollowed out baseball bats were filled with the lead and used as clubs; shorter versions, a type of nightstick. One night the gang put together a bazooka out of pipe. They fired it, off shooting out various ammunition at a heavy wooden steel-clad garage door down the alley. It dented the steel!

    One of their activities was to go to Port Washington to drink, then go (pardon me) "nigger hunting". Then happened a couple of times until one Sunday morning they came running into the station and told the station captain to lock the door. Before long, we heard long banging on the building's walls with taunting and jeering (lots of swearing) coming from outside. The gang had been set-up and ambushed by a larger black gang, and chased to the station. The Captain had to call the police to disperse the rival gang outside.

    Saturday night was my father's night out, and a couple of times he showed up with the car, in various stages of intoxication, to take us on our route. Once we refused, him being very drunk, but he made such a scene that we relented. Down the side streets we went, with him steering the car into one parked car after another. What a way to deliver newspapers, we stayed out of the car as much as possible. On the way home, I had enough and grabbed the steering wheel. Dad slammed on the brakes, and got out of the car, saying if I could do better, then I could drive it home, and off he went down the street.

    I got behind the wheel and slowly drove the car home, parking it on 27th St. outside our home. Our first route had a number of problem customers, one in particular was difficult to collect from. Outside the house there were always a number of children playing. They'd tell us that their mother wasn't home or didn't want to be disturbed. Twice they hit us with plastic Gasper clubs, or threw stones. I learned later that she was (maybe?) a prostitute. There was another house along the route that was a "red lighter".

    One night I woke up, or was in the living room in Milwaukee when I heard a commotion in the kitchen. I went out and saw Dad's face all bloody. He was a wild man; talking about how someone blind-sided him at a local bar while sitting on a bar stool. Mom tried to calm him down, while hiding all the sharp kitchen knives. I don't remember if he went back to the bar or if Mom got him settled down enough to not return there.

    We wanted to get a better route, losing too much on the first, due to none payment, poor tipping. We bought another that started north of Hadley St. on 28th. The neighborhood was better but it was further from the station and more customers. Early on we'd use a coaster wagon for transporting the Sunday papers. We had the canvas newspaper bags that slung over your shoulder (probably one reason for one leg being shorter than the other, and back problems in later life). The bags were ok during the week but Sunday papers were too heavy, especially with over 80 customers. In the winter, the wagon couldn't be pulled through the snow, so we had to carry the papers. We often stopped to rest, then got up and trudged along; every delivered newspaper making the load lighter.

    This second route wasn't without its peril; the kid who sold the route to us, held us up the second week after collecting from customers. He and some friends came along and demanded our money. Since he still hung around the station, we couldn't turn him in. We had to make up the stolen money out of our earnings to pay the station bill that week.

    Delivering newspapers, especially the Sunday morning one, was physically taxing during the winter. You'd get so heated up, then cool down, that some mornings after delivering, we'd get home and fall asleep in front of a heat register in the living room. We'd sit there shivering together, probably in a stage of hypothermia.

    One night of collecting was an interesting encounter. I walked up a back flight of stairs, and knocked on the door. It opened to reveal a heavier set woman, standing there in a night gown with one breast hanging out. Before I realized it, I said "Collect!". She did return with the payment, never adjusting her gown.

    We had our adventures, and one of us was getting sick, and it became too much for the other to handle, we gave up the route.

    After delivering newspapers, somehow I ended up interviewing for a caddy position at ? country club on Milwaukee's north side. I think I was accepted but the distance I would have to be driven (or ridden by bike) was too far. Instead, Dan and I got caddy jobs at Bluemound Country Club. Which wasn't much closer - 7 1/2 miles one way. Doesn't sound like a lot but do it after spending a long day carrying double bags around a golf course, especially pedaling up the North Ave. hill near Nicolet High! One day my bike had a flat tire when I got done caddying; I had to walk my bike home the whole distance.

    Another time coming down the Center St. hill, east of 32nd St., going 90 miles an hour, and I looked down to see no front wheel nuts holding the wheel in the spokes, and wondered if it would pop loose before I could slowly come to a stop. That was scary!

    There was one woman golfer named Dotty Hollenbeck, wife of a doctor, who liked to wear low cut blouses when golfing (probably anytime). Anyway, all of the caddies wanted to caddy for her just for the opportunity to see one of her boobs fall out. I had heard stories and wondered until the day I was selected. Behold on one green, she bent over to examine her ball, and out popped the right breast. As if nothing happened, she calmly slid it back in place, as if it was an everyday occurrence.

    I had one golfer that blamed his poor game on the caddy, and I was his target once. Nothing I did was good or fast enough; then he gave me a poor rating after we got in. It was a long hot round, and getting further abuse from the Caddy shack jerk, I thought about my lunch. Problem was I had stuck the brown bag lunch consisting of a banana & peanut butter sandwich in the man's golf bag when we started the round. We didn't have any place to store our personal items, so it was carry them around, or for lunch, buy some snacks at the caddy shop for outrageous prices. At first lamenting my lunch loss, I suddenly hoped he wouldn't find that lunch bag for sometime; would serve him right to have to throw out days or weeks later.

Scouting

    On May 28, 1961, I joined Cub Pack 32 meeting out of Clark Street School on 28th St. I went through the then normal rank movement; Wolf, Bear, Lion, and Webelo. I remember only having one Den Leader, a fellow who worked at Evinrude Motors (my Dad knew him). This fellow would invite Dan and I over on Saturday mornings to do projects and always have candy/sweets ready for us. My Dad told me years later that this guy was convicted of child molesting sometime after we had left Cub Scouts. I never felt comfortable around the guy, especially on Saturday mornings.

    March 1, 1964, I bridged over to Boy Scout Troop 32. The ceremony was at Clark St. School, the room darkened with only many lit candles burning.; Mom was there for me. I started out as a "Tenderfoot", and got my 2nd Class ranking, but by February 28, 1965 I had dropped out of the troop because of nasty confrontation with my Scoutmaster.

ADD MORE

Schooling

3rd Grade 1960-1961- My first year at St. Leo's Catholic school on Locust St. and  24th St. All I remember is at Christmas time, the song, "The Little Drummer Boy", heard on a record the num played. 

4th Grade 1961-1962 - No recollections

5th Grade - Don't remember much except I think we were on the third floor.  I wanted to take piano lessons, and Mom talked to the Sister who taught them, but Dad said no - we couldn't afford it.  Seems there was this kid in class that didn't like me for some reason, and one day when leaving for recess (?) he turned around and raked my nose with one of his fingernails. He peeled a strip of skin from the bridge to the nose tip and there it hung. Hurt like crazy, and I ran after him, just to be stopped by the nun as she walked into the room. I think we both got punished.

6th Grade 1963-1964 - Believe I had my first lay teacher, a Mrs. Kauer (?); biggest event was listening to PA announcement that President Kennedy had been shot. This was the year that I became friends with Pierre Serafin, trouble was he also had a friend named Richard Mensch (?) who didn't want his friend shared. I was walking down the stairway, maybe going out to recess, when Richard turned around and punched me in the stomach. Out on the playground, I got even by smacking him in the side of the head with a four-square rubber ball. Now, although he was shorter than me, he was strong and built like a bull, and that ball really nailed him. When he got his senses, he took one look at me and charged. I simply stepped aside, he never touching me; this happened a couple of times until I got my arms around him and just held on until he calmed down. I let him go and from then on we also were friends; he, Pierre and I doing stuff together.

The playground we had was all covered in asphalt and at times we played touch football, which ended up being tackle at times. The nuns put a stop to this after a few injuries. Not sure if this started in 6th grade or in 7th.

8th Grade Graduation Picture

    7th Grade 1964-1965 - Sister Mary Lourdes, was the teacher and I had a crush on her. Once in a while you could just see her blonde hair under her habit. This was the year of the Talent contest, and Pierre, myself, maybe Richard, and ? formed a quartet to sing Peter, Paul & Mary songs. Sister allowed us to practice in the room and I think helped to coach us. One song, "Lemon Tree" was not allowed, by the sisters, due to its suggestion of drug use. I know we sang, "If I Had a Hammer". Thought we were pretty good but came in second place. 

    Also the year of Dovy Jones, the first black girl I can remember being in one of my classes. St. Leo's in those days was just on the boarder on the "core" are. Dovy was a pretty girl, though a bit wild, and caught the eye of several of us boys. She was in trouble a lot with the nuns. A new friend this year was Richard Hevier (?). Richard was Cuban and lived around the corner in an upper flat on 25th St. (?). He and I became good friends and was somewhat welcomed into his family. He had a lovely cousin living with them named Maria, but try as I did, couldn't catch her attention. Either in the 8th grade or soon after, his family moved up near 42nd St. (?) and we eventually lost contact. 

    Took on a new responsibility, became a crossing guard, which also included playground patrol. This meant that I had to rush home, eat lunch and get back in time to prevent others, who went home for lunch, from entering the playground too early (until the nuns came out to supervise). This of course didn't go well with the students wanting to get out there and play. I got to wear a white belt that went around the waist and over the left shoulder; and it came with a silver badge. Crossing guard assignment was usually the two main intersections on Locust St. In 7th or 8th grade I became "Captain" of the crossing/playground guards, giving assignments, etc. 

    This was the year I was confirmed, taking the name "Michael Robert Paul Reilly". We had to select a confirmation name, and for some reason I chose Paul. It was probably at this ceremony, my cousin Nanny came. I was a favorite of hers and she had cerebral palsy. I remember being in line outside the church, and some of my classmates were making fun of her movements. I looked them down and said that she was my cousin; no one else said a word after that. 

    8th Grade -  Had a very old nun; not very friendly, and a stickler for obedience. It might have been an earlier grade, but a classmate, Mike Worthington, managed to get his mouth washed out with soap a couple of times. I was in charge, at times, of getting the soap dish, Ivory soap bar in a small aluminum pan, out of the broom closet and getting it soften up in a bubbler out side the classroom. One time I actually told Mike I was sorry about getting the soap ready for him. He'd have to stand near the broom closet door with the soap in his mouth for a while. Others who come to mind were the Starr brothers, Michael and ?; both were in the same grade, and what was unique about them was that they were Indian. About 33rd and Center Sts. there was an Indian community that could be just as dangerous to get caught in as was the "Core". Up to this time, I hadn't experienced the Southside Hispanic gangs. There was another "interesting" new girl, Jody; she transferred in, and to the nuns' displeasure, wore make-up, nylons and a bra. She was totally unlike any other girl in school.

    This was probably the year Father Vogel appointed/voted me President of the Altar Boy Society (of St. Leo's). Brother Dan followed in this capacity the next year. Fr. Vogel was it turned out was charged with molesting boys at a parish he was at later. I never heard all the details, but he never touched me or even hinted at anything indecent. Other priests there were Fr. (Raymond) Winkler, and Fr. Glitsch (?)

    9th Grade 1966-1967 -  I probably attended the only elementary school in Wisconsin that had a 9th Grade yet. This was common years ago when grade schools went thru the 10th grade then students were either considered graduated or they went on to another high school  or Normal School for higher education. St. Leo's had a 9th Grade, and both Dan and I attended. My 9th grade recollections are limited to listening to Bill Cosby records (which the nun provided) at noon lunch break, and being on the school's basketball team. First time we ever had a sports team, and it was coached by a nun. Mom couldn't afford to buy me tennis shoes, so the first two weeks I ran up and down the hard stone (?) court in my stocking feet. This led to developing blood blisters on my foot soles from heel to toes. Somehow my parents got me my first pair of tennis shoes. Unfortunately my basketball career was short-lived. We had challenged another school to a match-up in our school gym; they never showed up so we declared ourselves the winners. Shortly after that, the team was dissolved, for reasons unknown. 

    10th Grade 1967-1968 - The summer of 1967 produced the civil riots in Milwaukee and other major American cities, and things barely cooled down when it was time to attend my first public school, Washington High School on Sherman Blvd., one block south of Center St. I had to take the Milwaukee transport bus from Center and 27th Sts.; there I'd find various racial slurs and slogans. At school, we had to evacuate the school many times due to locker fires, or someone pulling a false alarm. My class thought we'd be safe at Stueben Jr. High where we were bused every afternoon for classes, but trouble followed us there as well. Stueben was used due to over-crowding at the main building.

    I don't remember many classes I took that year, nor the teachers. At Stueben, the was an older gentleman, that a number of students heckled, calling him " Cerebral Paul". His first name I gather was Paul, and he had cerebral palsy, he wasn't one of my teachers, but I felt he deserved some respect. The one teacher I remember was a young Jewish woman who taught math, perhaps geometry. She was good looking, and the guys all stared as she moved about the classroom. One day she sat on the front of her desk, and crossed her legs; she wasn't wearing any panties, and several guys sitting in the back row who were tilting back on their desk chairs, fell over backwards. That ended the staring from the guys who were a bit embarrassed at falling over. The second semester, we were introduced to trigonometry or trig. One of the fellows in the class and I became friends, though I don't remember his name. The teacher then, a male, told us about a contest to tri-sect any angle with only a compass (not the type for telling directions). After much trial and error, we presented a method to the teacher who promptly discredited our attempt. I often wondered what he did with our materials? 

     Back at the main building, I thought about or tired to join the weight lifting team, but I think I was too late. when Spring 1968 came around, I signed up for the golf team. I was promising, or my coach told me, so I received extra lessons from a semi-pro at some driving range. Somehow the coach found out that my family intended to move from Milwaukee, so I was dropped from the team. One minute on, next minute off; it was a sad day carrying my few clubs home on the bus. Those clubs were truly an odd assortment. My Dad took me around to different Goodwill, Salvation Army stores, where he purchased wooden shafted clubs for me to use (I wish I had those collector pieces today). This had happened several years earlier. What prompted the purchase was one of the most embarrassing days of my life. Dad, a couple of his friends(?) and I went to Brown Deer Golf course; I was just going to tag along and watch, but the Starter wouldn't allow me on the course without my own clubs and bag. So Dad and I went into the clubhouse and he rented a set for the round. I'd never played before, and really didn't know what to do. Everyone else teed off, then me. After about 15 strokes, I finally got off the tee, amidst the laughter, and spiteful comments from the Starter (who used his speaker to announce every muffed swing). I don't know why I continued to play the game after that day. 

The Riots (The Civil Disturbance)

Summer, 1967

    The 1967 Riots (or Civil Disturbances) in Milwaukee were one of the most memorable events in my life. 27th Street was the western boundary of the perimeter set up by the National Guard and police force. Capitol Drive, Wisconsin Ave. and maybe 1st St. were the other limits. We lived on the west side of 27th with a front porch where we sat and stood, listening and watching to events transpiring. We could heard gun shots, see smoke rising from several blocks away, and see police cars with their windows broken. The squad cars had their windows taped so the glass wouldn't spill all over inside. 

    Convoys of Guardsmen would travel up and down (north and south) 27th; I even saw a tank heading south east on Fond du Lac Ave., messed up the street some with its tracks. The convoys had troop trucks and jeeps. The jeeps had 50 caliber machine guns mounted on them. One day, as a convoy traveled north, a black couple, who lived across the street in an upper flat, walked out on their porch and startled one of the gunners. He swung the machine gun towards them, and you never saw two people retreat back inside so fast as they did. 

    My sister Ann would sometimes sit out on the porch during a convoy move. She was thirteen years old and some of the soldiers would whistle at her. I was walking up the street towards Hadley (probably to get to the small grocery store) one day when the Guard stopped a young white man and asked him his business. He must of given them some lip, because the next thing that happened was him being pulled down on the street, in the middle of the intersection, and subdued. They weren't in a mood to take crap from anyone, regardless of color. 

    Another day, Father Groppi, a prominent Milwaukee Catholic priest civil rights leader, marched south down 27th, surrounded by his Black Panther friends, and a mob of people, white and black. For the most part it was peaceful, except that some of the marchers would climb up the house steps and walk along people's front porches, banging on doors and windows. Dan and I grabbed butcher knives and crouched below the front windows (with the shades drawn down), waiting to see if someone attempted to smash their way inside. We were just a little scared. 

    A curfew was in effect for several days, and grocery stores were either closed or you couldn't travel to get to them. With a family of seven, Mom and Dad needed to get food. Dad's folks lived out near 56th and Washington Blvd. which was way beyond the trouble but stores were also closed out there. Grandpa Reilly drove out towards Menomonee Falls to get groceries for us; they weren't under curfew. To get them, Dad had to break the curfew. He got the car out, and Dan and I traveled along with him as look-outs for police or Guard. He drove the side streets with no headlights on to avoid being seen. We got to Grandpa's, got the groceries and returned home the same way. It was scary, but also kind of fun to break the law doing this. 

    Dad had put up with enough incidents over the years in Milwaukee to prompt him to seek a home away from the city. Dan and I had been held up by black and white gangs. Dan, Ann, and I had been harassed by black gangs on the way to school a couple of times. What Dad and Mom all experienced is not known.

    During my second semester high school sophomore year, about early April 1968, I was playing tackle football with Dan and a number of others at Esterbrook Park. Since I was bigger than anyone else, the opponent team had a hard time trying to tackle me to the ground, I pretty much dragged the whole team with me. This went on for a while until they got my team to jump on top of me too. I ended up at the bottom of the pile with my left leg twisted. I rode my bike home pedaling with only the right foot; did this for several miles. I don't know why I wasn't sent to a doctor, but I limped for two months.

    I mentioned that Dan and I played football at Esterbrook Park with others, once or twice we took our fishing tackle [somehow we carried the poles, bait and whatever on our bicycles] to the park. I don't remember if we were fishing for something in particular? Milwaukee River flow through the park? One time Richard Hevier came along and we were accosted by a gang of blacks. Richard took off on his bike, leaving Dan and I to surrender some of the money we had in our pockets. I don't think they did anything to our fishing gear; just wanted to scare us some. The football injury incident probably happened after this, because I believe it was the last time I went back to the park.

    I had a savings account, originally opened at a Savings & Loan on the southwest corner of Clark and 28th Sts. Before I started at Washington High, the savings & loan was purchased and closed; the nearest branch was a number of city blocks south of Washington High school. One day Dad asked me to loan him $500 to help with the new house down-payment, almost all of my life's savings! I walked to the savings & loan during lunch period, closed my account, and stuffed $500 plus dollars in my pant's pocket. I was in total fear, throughout the rest of the afternoon and riding home on the bus that someone saw me with the money or knew what I had. I was glad (and sorrowful) to hand it over to my parents. The family moved from Milwaukee out to Menomonee Falls at the end of May 1968, probably Memorial Day, the hottest day of the year so far.

Back to Menomonee Falls 

June, 1968 - March, 1973

    The 1967 riot was the last straw for my father; moving out of Milwaukee was a necessity to him (though maybe he felt  that it best to just get-out-of-town to start his life over?). The  house he chose was in a very familiar place - Menomonee Falls. The man who owned it was also known to him for some time, a Walter (?). The house was also several doors to the south on Appleton Ave. from where his parents had lived for a short time (This house was either recently torn down or already part of a new parking lot when we moved in.). 

    The final price for this two-story, five bedroom, 1 1/2 bath house was $18,500 in 1968.

    We moved during Memorial Day weekend in May, 1968; one of the hottest holiday weekends I can remember. I don't recall much of the actual moving process, except for sweating a lot. Nor do I remember how we all slept those first weeks in the first house my parents owned - you see, much of the upstairs was in poor shape. The prior owner basically lived downstairs. Wall and ceiling paper was peeling off the walls upstairs and the wood under-flooring was all there was. Three bedrooms up, and two down; full bath between the two lower bedrooms, and in the basement, a dirty toilet and sink which sat out in the open. 

    Dad got to work remodeling the upstairs; which meant that brother Dan and I basically pulled and scrapped off wall/ceiling paper, and generally were the cleanup crew. Dad never allowed us to help him in any way in the actual remodeling process, that is pounding  nails in or any thing else. I always felt bad that he never included us in on that, but he was a perfectionist. If something didn't look right, he'd tear it down and start all over, no matter if no one else would even notice the defect, he knew it was there, and was never satisfied. He swore a great deal during these times. 

    I got the small bedroom on the 2nd floor at the far end of the hallway, over-looking Appleton Ave. Mom and Dad slept in the room to the right and sister, Ann, to the left. Downstairs, Dan slept in one room downstairs, and I believe Jim and Russ shared the other room.  I'm probably mistaken about the original arrangements, since Dad did some more remodeling afterward. The one bedroom downstairs towards the rear was done in purple paint, similar color schemes were found throughout the house. I think Dad once said that the former owner kept pretty much to his self and few people ever visited.  (Note: When we first moved in, I slept in a 1st floor bedroom, the purple one, for awhile. I remember this because of having to lock myself in during an uprising from my siblings whom I was baby-sitting for. I also remember being extremely interested in astronomy while there.)

    One of the first things I did was get a job, and that was to become a dishwasher at North Hills Country Club, several miles south of our home.  I worked week nights, weekends, and during the day; even when school began, I often worked after school until after midnight or most of the weekends. At first my basic transportation to work was my broken 3-speed bike, though at times, Mom, or sometimes Dad, would take or pick me up when the weather was bad. It was Dad who got all upset with having to take or pick me up, so when he finally repaid me the money I loaned him, the two of us went down to Stark Olds and bought my first car, a 1963 Ford Galaxy, of course after I had completed Driver's Ed that first Summer there. It was held in a very warm classroom at the old Lincoln High School building which had become an annex building of the main Menomonee Falls High School behind it. 

    Before I say more about my time at North Hills, let me say that taking that Driver's Ed course was especially scary when the actual Behind-The-Wheel section began. I had no experience driving a car, other than a couple of times in Milwaukee when Dad was drunk (and that was only a short distance). Plus I really didn't know my way around town much, and most of the time I was thoroughly lost. Most of the other students had gotten their "temps" way before class had begun, and had some practice with someone from their family. I had none of this. Needless to say, it wasn't one of the most pleasant times in my life. After course completion and a little help from Mom in extra driving time, I went and failed my first test attempt. It was for something I thought rather silly - I was driving down Menomonee Ave. when I drove over a construction ditch filled with gravel. The gravel gave some and of course the car shook as I went over it. The Examiner failed me for failure to slow down for a potential hazard. My next attempt, I passed. 

    My job at North Hills Country Club was like working with a new found family. Juan Tolentino was a Philippine chef, quite a character at times; Ann Suhocki, was his assistant, generally gave work directions to the dishwashers; and there was shy Sandy, who made the salads (and who I tried to teach how to swim at Pike Lake). There was a brother and sister who helped with basic preparations, salads, and some grill work. There were waitresses (from very young to some over 50), busboys, and bartenders. 

    There were at least 6 different dishwashers to handle the work load (we were basically open 7 days a week, breakfast, lunch, and supper; not to mention all of the specials parties and wedding receptions that went on. Being a dishwasher back in 1968 commanded a starting salary of $1.10 per hr (minimum wage then). You basically had two duties, work the main dishwasher assembly line, or wash pots & pans by hand in a stainless steel sink; sometimes you did both. Usually the busboys would bring the trays loaded with dishes, glasses and silverware in and pile them high on our incoming counter; sometimes the waitresses brought them in when no busboys were brought in or the workload got too great. Our initial jobs were to unload the trays as quickly as possible, scraping food off the plates, bowls, and emptying the remains of glasses into a large metal garbage can, lined with a plastic bag. When the garbage can became too full, you either dragged it across the kitchen floor or got someone to help you carry it out to the dumpster outside. There you had to pick up all that weight and dump it in; there was no way you could lift out the plastic bag. If you weren't real busy, you'd grab the hose and spray the insides of the can to remove food that had spilled, inside and out; otherwise, you brought it back in and put another plastic liner in it. We generally had two of these garbage cans, so that at peak times, we could pull the full one out and put the other one in. The dirty dishes got a hand-spray rinse and were then placed in washer racks. When full, you slide it into the washer, where hot steamy jets of water washed and sanitized the items. The rack came out the other end, where you emptied it as quickly as possible onto a rack full of trays for bar and water glasses, or after you stacked up a quantity of plates, bowls, etc, you carried them over to cabinet shelves for reuse, if necessary. The plates, glasses, and silverware were very hot and your hands usually ached from touching them. If it wasn't busy, we generally let the rack sit for a few minutes allowing the dishes to cool a little. Believe me, at times, especially when normal  supper was going on plus a party besides, you worked your ass off, and you ached. 

    Washing the pots & pans was no picnic either, especially when the cook was demanding the use of one of them right away. You had big, heavy aluminum stock pots to small fry pans, and the utensils the cooks used to wash, scrub, rinse, and dry. Of course you had to put them all back in their proper storage locations. 

    When you weren't busy with dishes, you generally helped out making salads, making hor d'oeuvres, and other chores. Saturdays were usually reserved for giving the garbage cans a good washing, and the other fun job of cleaning the wooden slat mats in the parking lot. These were made of wood slats attached to heavy rubber strips on the under-side. These are what the dishwashers and cooks stood on all day and night. Food and grease that were dropped ended up on the tile floor between and on the slats. Unless they really got bad, Saturday was the time to roll them up (they were 10 to 12 feet long) and carry them out to the lot. There we unrolled them, got out the hose, a pail of soapy water and scrub brushes, and went to work cleaning and rinsing both sides. When they dried in the sun, we rolled them back up and laid them back down on the tile floor that we had scrubbed clean before bringing them back in. It was a job that everyone hated, and tried to get out of. 

    As I mentioned earlier, working at North Hills was like working with family; some yelled at you, others watched out and took care of you. Many times we to each other's homes to eat, went water skiing and swimming, and did other things. I had more friends here than I later had when attending MFHS. 

    In September, 1968, I started my Junior year at Menomonee Falls High School. The school was just a block away  from our home and we walked thru the alley to get there. My first day I was late for 1st hr class because I didn't know my way around. It got better but here brother Dan (he was a Sophomore) and I were thrown into a situation where most of these kids had gone through grade school and their early high school years together. We were outsiders, and I gravitated towards others who also seemed lost in their environment. Juris (George) Peterson was one of them that became my closest high school friend. 

 Mike's Christmas Memories 

    We lived on Water Street in Menomonee Falls from early 1952 until the Summer of 1955), the river right in our backyard. The Falls didn't have Community Memorial Hospital back then. That's why I, and later brother Dan, were delivered in Milwaukee at St. Joseph's. I have vague memories of being out on the river ice when it froze over during the winter with my mother or father. One of the most important things to happen to me during this time was the discovery of Bosco chocolate milk and the TV commercial that sent shivers of excitement through me. I was in some kind of walker on wheels then and every time that commercial played I'd make a beeline into the room and park myself in front of the TV to watch it. At the time we lived upstairs that only had a toilet and sink, no tub or shower. Dad told me that it was here that I pulled down the Christmas tree. 

    After a couple of months we moved downstairs that was larger and had a tub. Just before my sister Ann was born, we moved to an old farm house in Grafton, then we moved to another old farmhouse (around 1957) on the outskirts of Saukville on a short Hwy X. The house had been converted into a duplex with upper and lower living quarters. We lived downstairs. The place had two bedrooms, kitchen and living room. It was heated by one large central floor register that was located between the kitchen and living room. The reason I mention this is because at times the stove didn't work and Mom would cook us meals over it. The Christmas of 1958: Dad brought home a female boxer puppy as a family present. Unfortunately for me, I came down with the mumps during 1st grade Christmas recess. I couldn't play with the puppy inside the house because of my sickness. All I could do, when Dan and Ann took it outside to play in the snow, was to sit by the kitchen table, look out and cry. If that wasn't bad enough, when I got over the mumps Mom made Dad give it up. Brother Russ had been born just the month earlier, November 1958, and with the new baby, tending to a young pup was too much for her to handle. What else about Christmas? How about sitting on the floor around the big console radio and listening to Billy The Brownie. This radio also provided us with entertainment in the form of The Shadow and The Green Hornet. Did we have a TV? Dad said that our first TV one was an old GE model, and that he traded that one in for a Sylvania Halolight (?) from a place in Saukville which he never really liked. Though I don't remember them being very elaborate, I did receive at sometime, an Erector set, a boy's set of tools ( and not the plastic stuff you see now), and a small green howitzer (Christmas of 1959) that actually fired (by spring loading) yellow wooden shells. Why do I remember this toy? Well you would too if you shot down some Christmas tree ornaments (well, at least one) and hid the evidence in your pants pockets only to be found out when we moved into the village of Saukville that spring of 1960. Mom wondered where those pants had gone to after discovering them deep in the dresser drawer. My howitzer disappeared shortly after. 

    Dad worked at Evinrude Motors in Milwaukee, and several times he took us to the Evinrude Christmas Party (the kid's version). At least two of them were held at a movie theater on Milwaukee's north side, probably near the Capitol Dr. and 27th St. plant. One year I remember watching the movie "Toby Tyler"; this movie premiered in 1960, and we may have seen it that Christmas. Another time a magician was on stage performing magic tricks. I also recall seeing the movie "Dumbo", which may have been at this same party. "Dumbo", made in 1941, was only 64 minutes long, while "Toby Tyler" was 96 minutes. After the entertainment the children filed up to the stage to receive their presents from Santa(?).

    Other forms of entertainment at Christmas was of course going to Grandma and Grandpa Reilly's home to celebrate with the Reilly clan. Besides the usual hugging and kissing from the aunts we also put up with Uncle Dennis's (or Uncle Dinty, as most everyone called him) home movie taking. Back then you ended up with a sunburn after a round of posing. Uncle Dennis had this small camera that must have had a three foot long bar of flood lights attached to the top. Every time he'd light it up you'd think that the sun went nova and of course you couldn't see straight during the filming nor after for a while. The highlights of the evening were a sit-down dinner at their big dining room table, followed by Grandma or one of the aunts playing Christmas songs on the piano. Of course everyone sang along and there never seemed to be a sour note in that crowd at that time of the year. Sometimes us youngsters were even treated to one of Grandpa's famous haircuts in the basement. He had a big cardboard barrel that we'd get set up on and then he went to work. It wasn't too bad except for the times he had a few "Old Fitzgerald's" too many and a nick or pulled hair was fairly common. At times he'd give you a razor cut trim. He'd pull out that straight razor and sharpen it on a long leather strap in front of you. Times like this you didn't fidget much.

    Unfortunately I don't remember any other Christmas at home from 1960, all the way through 1974. I had moved out of the house in March of 1972, but always came home for Christmas, but I can't recall a single detail of any of them. I know that maybe some years we may not have had a tree or many presents. With lay-offs, union strikes at Evinrude, and other reasons why Dad didn't have Christmas money, a number of Christmas's were probably pretty bleak.

    Not until after the Christmas of 1975 when I brought Alice, and her girls, Tammy and Anna, to the house do I recall any new memories, and these could be from any year from 1975 until the 1983 Christmas, the last one Mom was with us. Actually the only memories I have are brought to mind from several photos of Tammy and Anna all dressed up, and Anna being offered a rum (or bourbon) ball. A framed picture of my parents, near my computer, has a Christmas tree lit up behind them. During the time I was married to Alice, Christmas Eve was usually not dull. After the girls went to bed, the job of hauling out the presents from Santa began. Of course Santa didn't always deliver presents fully assembled, so one Christmas Eve last until just two hours before the girls woke up, another was an all-nighter without any sleep (finally getting to bed early Christmas Day night). Tammy and Anna always had a lot of presents, and Alice and I went through extra work just in the presentation around the tree (and most of the living room) to make it look wonderful to them. Until the Christmas of 1985, things were pretty good, then I went shopping at K-Mart one night, and found that my credit card was over the limit. Fortunately I had enough cash to cover the presents on the cashier's counter. I found out later that in an all out effort to make that Christmas the best, Alice had run up several of our credit cards. Though the girls had a great Christmas, the next couple of months were extremely harsh. In mid-1986, Alice and I separated. I spent the Christmas of 1986 in a one bedroom apartment, but I put up a real tree, with some decorations; this was mainly for the girls. I probably took the girls over to my sister's house, since Ann had taken over having Christmas after Mom died.

    Thinking back though, after Mom's death, Dad sold the big house on Appleton Ave. and moved into an apartment in the Falls, so either 1984 or 1985 may have been spent with him there. 1987, I had met Kris in September and I shared part of her family, Thom and Natalie, and her relatives Christmas activities that year. The following year we married and 1988 was a beautiful Christmas with a new family. Since that year, Ann and I have been trying to alternate having Christmas at each other's home; not always the easiest thing to do, especially trying to accommodate extended family needs - one year Kris and I had at least five different family Christmas parties to attend or host.

    This year, Christmas 2001, we're having my Reilly family over on Sunday the 23rd; then for us, it's over to Kris's brother's house on Christmas Eve afternoon. At our house presents aren't opened until Christmas morning, then in the afternoon, we're off to Kathleen and Louie Schmidt's (Thom and Natalie's grandparents) home for a nice meal and more gift opening. Happy Holidays to you and your families, Mike


More Topics

 having to row the duo across lake Lucerne because of no shear pins, Dan ruining prop on sand bar/getting too close to shore, Russ taking nose dive and Dad rushing him to Rhinelander hospital, don't remember why Rhinelander and not Eagle River hospital, maybe because it was larger, better equipped?, Ann and her frog, Uncle Dennis and Aunt Mary visiting, crossing over the lake stones to raft, at Lu & Ed's on south end of lake, golfing near Laona, trying to water ski, the last time in 1972 and working at Square-D,

ancient grandpa's,

tastee freeze on North ave and Humbolt ave?, walking/riding to lakefront, Bradford beach 

Sears Roebuck, mom working there, and at Oster, hands bleeding 

buying our first bikes from a SuperAmerica gas station, Dan getting his stolen 

dad working as carpenter/helper/electrical work in Falls; Uncle Johnny Miller providing in?

Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation (TENS)

Pain is the body's warning system. It is a way of letting an individual know that something is wrong. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulations (TENS) is a safe non-invasive drug-free method of pain management. It relieves pain by sending small electrical impulses through electrodes placed on the skin to underlying nerve fibers. TENS is believed to work by two different mechanisms. First, electrical stimulation of the nerve fibers can block a pain signal from being carried to the brain. If the signal is blocked, pain is not perceived. Secondly, the body has its own mechanism for suppressing pain. It does this by releasing natural chemicals called endorphins in the brain which act as analgesics. TENS may activate this mechanism. By effectively managing pain without drugs, TENS allows many people with chronic pain conditions to resume daily activity.

You can not strain or sprain your muscles by overworking them with your electronic muscle stimulator system because the feeling is more like a pleasant tingling sensation than a shock or jolt.