Adding some letters from Nancy Johnson and I received some feedback about the Christmas decoration column and have asked the e-mail writers for permission to post, and received frp, these friends, Martin Schuster, Pam Bodenhamer, Nancy Johnson, and Richard Grefrath. Pam’s a childhood friend of mine who’s family owned the drive-in on W. Fourth Street. Enjoy! BTW I made the Santa house pictured above from a refrigerator packing box for a bunch of school kids, 30 years ago!
From Richard Grefrath: Good morning Karl,
I continue to find your witty columns so delightfully informative that I hesitate to single out one in particular, but your piece on the Food Shop brought back pleasant memories.
When we moved here in 1978 we adored Reno from the very beginning, but did find it lacking in a few aspects of note for displaced East Coast immigrants. You couldn’t get a decent bagel, there was no fish sold in the supermarket (just flounder/sole, if you were lucky – we had to travel to a specialty store – Blue Bounty – to buy fish), there were no ATMs (indeed, I had a faculty colleague who was fond of saying “I’ll never get money out of a wall,” who cashed checks for pocket money at the Coney Island), nobody drank coffee with cream and sugar so there was never any on the table in a restaurant (I have a theory called the Wagon Train Hypothesis which explains this), and so on.
Most significantly, the only place that The New York Times was available for purchase of which I was aware was the Food Shop, and a vending machine at the corner of Virginia and First, in front of the bank building. There was no home delivery of The New York Times at all. So while I never purchased food nor liquor at what we called “The Food & Liquor Store” (since that was the only sign outside which seemed to identify the establishment – no “Bob’s Market” or anything like that), I did swing by many times, especially on Sunday, to snag The New York Times. They also had an impressive selection of out-of-town papers too, including the L.A. Times and the Chicago Tribune. This was all before Barnes & Noble.
Now we have The New York Times delivered 7 days a week. We sometimes look askance at progress, but that to us was a big improvement!
Keep up those wonderful columns, Karl. You are a true local treasure. [Awwwww….KB]
From Martin Schuster: Hi Karl,
Thanks for bringing up the Christmas Home Decorating Contest. It was
in the moth ball section of my brain.
In about 1962-63-64 era, my mother built angels and candles and maybe
a Santa Claus or two for the contest. She started with bare chicken wire
and built the skeleton and then layered on papers soaked in a white
solution (paper mache). It was my job to paint them and install the
lights. The angel had a lighted wand and the candles a long bare bulb ,
maybe yellow in color. It was my job to install them on the nice porch
we had at 443 Roberts Street and connect the juice. The porch was elevated, so they really stood out after being attached to the wood over the porch with wires. I think there was “gold dust” on the angel also.
We ended up in the paper a couple of times as winners, but definitely not
first or second. Probably honorable mention, but I don’t remember. The
angel was probably over 3 feet high and a real pain to take down and store
in the basement, at least for a teen age punk kid.
My memory seems to tell me the area around Virginia Lake had some real nice outdoor displays and put ours to shame. But it was all in the spirit of Christmas. I don’t think that the real spirit exists today and can’t imagine someone taking the time to build displays from scratch. Heck, you can’t just say “Merry Christmas” anymore to a general audience, otherwise someone is offended. Poor progress and getting poorer each day it seems. Thank you.
I wrote Martin to thank him and get permission to use his e-mail, and got a little bonus with the OK!:
Not sure it is worthy to be on the website, but you surely can.
Haven’t thought about Uncle Happy for years. Seems he was on Channel 8 with Betty’s show in the PM.
Took my daughter to see the Mapes going down and we didn’t expect to receive all the grit that came our way. The image of it going down is burnt in memory and also the birds taking off as it blew. I’m a ’47 model and believe the Mapes also is, so it definitely hurt my feelings they took her down at age 53. I bring up Uncle Happy and the Mapes because you mentioned them today and
it jars my memory of times past, when things were simpler and more sincere.
So, keep it up!
As a side note, I won a trip to Disneyland once, selling subscriptions to the Nevada State Journal and think it might have been a National Newspaper Boy Convention.
Walt Disney gave all of us paperboys a talk about hard work and how it had helped him when he delivered papers as a boy. Probably around 1962-63 and I still have the in-house booklet the Journal used to put out. My boss was Packy Inch and he wrote about everything we did, except for seeing Walt Disney. Maybe I didn’t mention it to him either. I think another kid also won the trip, but not sure if he worked for Packy or not. As I look back, most certainly the highlight of the trip was seeingWalt Disney in person. He was on his way out and passed away in 1966. So, your article triggered a very warm feeling about seeing Walt Disney. Thanks again.
Martin, ’til I who thank you. Packy (Pat) Inch was a contemporary of mine. Here’s an e-mail from Pam Lee Bodenhamer. BTW, if you e-mail me about a column with good dope like Martins and Pam’s give me permission to use it on this web! KB