March 1, 2018 – the six-year-old kid, just woolgathering….


FearlessWalterVTClarkWell,  howdy folks, here we are on the slight bluff above University Terrace in northwest Reno, the “city of trees” as my friends Betty, Gordon, David and Willy Chism’s uncle Walter Van Tilburg Clark (right) called the city, and only one building stands above the trees – the Mapes Hotel, at 12 stories, that opened last year. It’ll probably stand forever…!

We moved from our little house on Ralston Street 740Ralston(pictured left) across from Whitaker Park a few months ago, to the corner of Peavine Row and Sunnyside Drive, southwest corner. While we were busy moving I got my little friend Don Hartman (below, left) to help me write a column, and he promised he’d write another one once in a while. There’s lots of kids in thie new neighborhood. Hank Philcox (right) is twoHankPhilcox doors away. Tommy Weichmann is down Sunnyside Drive, across from him are Ann and Hugh Barnhill, and across from Hank are the Foley sisters, Frankie and Susan. Don and Margie Schied. The six Metzker kids’ folks are building a house up the street, and Marlie and Elaine Hill are just across from our house. We can all ride our bikes back and forth, and the city is starting to pave Sunnyside, Peavine and Whitaker Streets now! [2018 note added: In response to a couple of emails, I’ll include that “Peavine Row” is now named Keystone Avenue. Now, back to 1948]:

DonHartmanI missed writing for a while because I was saddened to hear of a kid my age getting hit by a bike out in Sparks. I guess he’s going to be OK now but it took the fun out of writing. Dad says he hasn’t seen any update in the newspaper, but our local papers aren’t much on followup. [March 3 update: The child has been taken to Salt Lake City for long-term rehab.]

But I’ve got a lot of notes, kind of random stuff that I’ve written down. One is of my dad’s new insurance client, Mr. Shimkovsky. He opened an “army-navy surplus” store down  on Sierra Street north of the railroad tracks, where Plaza Street dead ends. World War II was over a couple years ago and the army can’t get rid of stuff fast enough. His new store, “Shim’s” buys all that stuff almost at what Dad calls fire-sale prices, and sells it around town. Every time he goes into Shim’s he get something for me and my buddies, and so far we’ve got gas masks, canteens and backpacks. It’s a fun place to go into, smells horrible but sure RayBanhas some neat stuff. Dad came home with a pair of dark glasses, “Ray-Ban Aviators” that the Army Air Corps issued to pilots during the war. Mr. Shim has a huge box full of them, and is selling them for a dollar each. Dad says that someday they’d be charging 25 or 30 dollars for the same glasses. Dad also bought a “toboggan,” a kind-of wooden sled that the Army used. ItToboggan would be in the family for 60 years! (Of course, I don’t know that now…)

I’m starting my new “gig” tomorrow, (that’s what Dad calls it, anyway) at the radio station. Mr. Ross who works for the Reno School District also works for KOH radio station down by the Truckee on Stevenson Street at First Street. They’ve started a “KOH Goes to School” program on the radio every Friday morning and I am one of the disc jockeys and commentators. Whatever that means. The parents in all five Reno School District elementary schools, and maybe Mary Lee Nichols Elementary on 8th Avenue in Sparks, (right; 8th Street to be renamed ‘Pyramid Way’ in 1956), NicholsSchoolBrown, Flanagan, Franktown, Galena, Huffaker, Verdi and any elementary school that can get KOH radio are giving radios to the schools and each Friday morning from ten to lunchtime we talk about news and kids. My first assignment is the Dolly Llama, some guy in China who’s our age and having a birthday. Mr. Ross won in the top five of a national contest sponsored by NBC for announcing, and went to Hawai’i as a prize. He’s a good guy, taught me a lot about radio work, told me to call him by his first name “Randall,” and took me out to his house on Watt Street, ‘way south of town by Virginia Lake.

He’s got one of the district’s three cars that they park at the Babcock Building on West Sixth Street – Mr. Ross has one, John Scott the truant officer has another, and OldAMradioMrs. Rothholtz the third. Mr. Scott just drives around all day looking for school kids that aren’t in school. Dad says he couldn’t find a dead fish in a phone booth, but he scares us so we don’t “cut class” very often. Mrs. Rothholtz – Adelaide – is probably a bit looney also but is the “homebound” teacher – she goes all over town teaching kids who aren’t smart enough to go to school, or who are sick for a long time. She even goes all the way out of town south of Moana Lane and to Sparks. She usually has about 25 kids sick at any time. She has a nice house on Court Street and some imaginary friends she talks to.

All the notes I wrote while we were moving seem to be about school, don’t they? Dad met a new teacher to Reno and sold him a house. He’s a nice guy named Mr. Liembec, I think; he moved in with his family from Palisade, Nevada, a long way out east by Elko. It was a little town that was built mostly for the Southern Pacific Railroad to supply special rocks for train track roadbeds, but that’s not what was interesting about him. What I liked that while he was graduated from some college in Colorado as a teacher, there is a rule that before a guy can teach in a big school district like Reno or Sparks, he has to teach for a couple years in some “cow-county” (another one of Dad’s goofy expressions!) school like Palisade, or another friend of Dad’s named David Finch, who even although he graduated from Stanford, which I guess is a big school in California with a great band, he had to first teach in Rochester (Nevada). And that’s why little guys my age have a pretty fair idea of our state – our teachers were out there. [and responding to an emailer: No, female teachers weren’t required to teach in the remote schools…]

I’m supposed to get ready to go now; we are going back to Ralston Street for dinner with the Sala family, and that cute little red-headed girl will be there. I’ll be back in a while….so will Don Hartman and maybe even Hank Philcox for a guest column!





3 thoughts on “March 1, 2018 – the six-year-old kid, just woolgathering….

  1. I hate to disagree with you, but Mary Lee Nichols School was on Pyramid Way (400-406). Love your column.

    Linda E. Woolf


    • Linda, thanks, glad someone caught it! What was Pyramid Way known as when I was writing this column??? It became Pyramid Way years later….I’m going to make this comment in the text – and again nice to hear from you! (Note: The text was altered to rrflect this following receipt of Linda’s comment)

  2. My lifetime friend Valerie Estes emails from San Francisco, I’m using her comment with permission: ” You mention David Finch at end. He was my favorite teacher at RHS. I thought that Human Relations, a special class he taught, was the equivalent of, and better than, most college courses I took. At least courses at the University of Nevada. I see that he was a Stanford grad.

    “I once wrote him a thank you letter when I worked for Senator Cannon. He wrote a very nice letter back. I put copies of them in the RHS archive, which is in that special new building attached to the school.

    “Karl, I loved this: ‘My first assignment is the Dolly Llama, some guy in China who’s our age and having a birthday.'”

    Thanks, Val; stay in touch! Karl

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