My Term Paper “WHAT I LIKE ABOUT RENO HIGH SCHOOL” – with a comment added from Dee Garrett following its publication…

CarmineGhiaby Carmine Ghia  Sept. 1957

I am writing this under diress pressure for Mrs. Lehners’ English class so I’m supposed to use good gramar and spelling but I’d rather just write down a bunch of stuff I like about Reno High School without all the fal-de-ral and let her correct it if it’s that big a deal to her.

    Miss Stern let me borrow this typewriter. Mr. Marean told us in his Physics class that someday there would be a typewriter that puts letters up on a “screen” like a television’s with a typewriter hooked to it that you didn’t even have to touch. That’s pretty hard to believe! In Mr. Daniels’ journalism class we’re learning to use a “Speed Graphic” camera, a great big thing with film on slides that slip into the back of the camera. We go across the hall to a darkroom and develop the film for the Red & Blue school paper. If it weren’t for one cute girl in my Journalism class I’d Marideeprobably cut it more often and go skiing. Then we take it down to a printer on West Fourth Street by Central Jr. High who re-types what we write on some kind of machine called a Mergenthaler then prints the newspaper. An older guy in our class named Cal Pettingil Petengill Pettengill said that someday we’d all be “alumni” of Reno High and the alumni would put out a newsletter on a “computer,” whatever that is, in about 20 minutes without the typesetter, print it and mail it out for 44¢ a copy which is about eight times what a stamp costs now. I’d like to work on the newspaper if I could learn how to type and spel and use that camera. 

    They’re adding a new building for auto shop and stuff along Foster Drive so theyNewUnderwood can move all the shops out of the basement under the cafeteria. Mr. Morgan and Mr. Cline are in charge of that. The cafeteria is a nice place to eat and has good cinnamon rolls. It’s a good thing we have one because there’s nothing for blocks around the school, maybe Tony’s Dellickatesen Delikatsesenn Delicatessen downtown on First Street, Ramos Drug on California Avenue or Hale’s at Fourth and Vine. Or the Penguin on South Virginia but that’s a pretty tough walk during a lunch hour/ That’s about it. We hear that someday they’re putting up a bridge over the Truckee from Keystone Avenue but no one can figure out how to connect it to California and Booth Streets. So they’ll probably never build it and we’ll walk over the old Booth Street bridge to Hale’s Drugs or that new place they’re building on Vine, the Silver ‘n Gold, or something like that.

I like the music teacher at Reno High, Mr. Tellaisha and his wife Ruby. They built a great pep band for basketball games and assemblies/ Our buddy Rob Johnson is the best drummer in Reno and Paul Smith plays a cool cornet. Assemblies are fun, each class gets to put on one a year and this year we’re doing “South Pacific.” One of our teachers said that there was a lot of language and meaning in that play that Rogers & Hammerstein wouldn’t be able to write fifty years later. But we had fun and sang “Nothing like a Dame” in spite of Mr. Finch telling us to sing “…like a girl.” What does he know? There’s a play opening on Broadway called “The Music Man” that the school will get to put on in a few years with a lot of “Barbershop” singing, whatever that is. Lauren House would probably like it, he’s a pretty good base baretonne altow tenor. We had an assembly the other day with a man named Pete Echevarria, who was the first guy in charge of the new Gaming Control Board and he was really funny. The Huskiettes marched in one assembly; they won’t date dumb guys like me but go for the jocks. We’ll see what they look like in 50 years. Ha!

    The school has a club called “Huskie Haven,” once an old fire station downtown on Center Street with pool and ping pong tables and stuff to read and movies, but StateBuilding2they closed it a few years ago. Now the Huskie Haven, which we all pay a couple dollars for on our Student Activity cards each year, has dances at the California Building and the State Building downtown, and skating nights at Idlewild Park with music and a weenie roast (the fire department floods the ice during the day so it’ll be smooth by dark). They’ve held a few ski days. They get a lot of good records for music at the dances, last Friday night the new Chordettes and Buddy Holly songs. Buddy Holly flies in a little airplane called American Pie to a lot of shows, which sounds pretty dangerous to me.

    Mrs. Lehners probably won’t like my sentences chopped up like this but I’ve got to get this turned in by second period next Friday. I don’t understand the “Sessions” baloney; at Mary S. Doten we just stayed in one room and at Central we had “Home Rooms,” now we have “Sessions” with numbers and the only people I get to meet are the people with names close to mine, Ghia, so all I know are people with last names beginning in F, G, or H. To make it sillier, we have Sessions officers, so we have a president of a group that meets 12 minutes a day.

    We’re decorating the gym tomorrow for the Sophomore Dance tomorrow night, and after the Senior Ball decorating fiasco last year, the girls were told to bring their dungarees and their father’s Oxferd Oxford shirts if they wanted to change after school to work in the gym. The Senior girls came to school in their dungarees and ratty shirts and were sent home before school to get into skirts or dresses. Mr. Finch said this is a school, and no student from Reno High is going to be seen in dungarees with torn-out knees, belly buttons and straps showing under sleeveless blouses, short tight skirts, red-and-blue hair, nose rings, tattoos, and boys with “Bite Me” on their t-shirts. When we walk across to the new Village Shopping Center being built across Foster Drive, we’re going to look GOOD!

    That’s some of what I like about Reno High, and the ribbon in Miss Stern’s typewriter has almost run out. If this were 50 years later I could write, “send me an ‘e-mail’ with your favorite things about Reno High, and if we have an “alumni” newsletter going by then – maybe we’ll call it the Huskies Trails – something like that, kind of catchy, you could put your favorite memories in the newsletter along with mine.

But heck, who knows now what an “e-mail” is in 1957?

© Karl Breckenridge website  2001  – Carmine mentioned a Reno High newsletter coming someday; here’s a link to the Reno High School Alumni Association

This missive arrived by that mysterious “email” later Thursday morning – thanks, Dee Garrett…

“Good Morning Karl:

 Just finished reading your latest  “ O’l Reno Guy” & What I like about Reno High School”., Great stories and being in the class of 1953 I can relate to all of the names your mentioned.

 With coffee cup in hand I pondered about  what I liked about Reno High and here is what I came up with.

1.    Dr. Effie Mona Mack & her Nevada History class. It gave me the bug to learn more and visit as much of the state as possible. She was amazing.

2.    David Finch..Human Relations Class. I am sure he taught us more in that class than we ever learned at home or from older friends.

3.    Ms. Anderson, World History.. This retired Army Captain knew her stuff. Made me want to travel and see many sights & places and I have.

4.    Mr. Finch, as Principal for standing up for the guys that painted the Carson City “ C” in red & blue.

5.    Jerry Fenwick for selling the guys the paint to do the dirty deed.

      That is about it.. I did work a few hours every day during my Reno High days for Thomas Wilson Advertising and that kept me from chasing girls.”

 Merry Christmas to you

 Dee C. Garrett

Reno High Class of 1953

 

 

 

Advertisements

Of Hobos, Tigers and Leprechauns

leprachaunladyThe local gentry were all atwitter when, on the southwest corner of South Virginia and Gentry Way arose a rough-hewn timber building with a rusty corrugated iron penstock ten feet in diameter beneath a wooden water tower, framing the entrance to a building that appeared to be a hundred years old and belonging better in Norden on Donner Summit or along the Carson & Colorado line below Mt. Whitney. Entering through that giant iron duct was a dining room, and another and another – timber walls and ceiling, industrial lanterns over the tables, strap iron hinges, brake levers, glowing red and green switch lights and brass-faced gauges. Servers in what approximated railroad garb, engineers’ hats and men in conductor livery. Sort of dark, a neat place for a burger and beer.

            “What the heck are they building?” asked the townsfolk. “It looks like a crash pad for hobos. Like a Hobo Junction!” And that’s exactly what it was – Hobo Junction – a new watering hole on South Virginia, joining Marie Callender’s a block to the south and Posey Butterfield’s – to later become the Rapscallion in 1977  – on Wells Avenue. On September 8th of 1974 the Junction’s doors were opened and it immediately joined the ranks of places to dine or hang out after work. A nice meeting room to the north received a lot of use from many groups seeking a new place with some personality, and the Hobo had it. (The sobriquet “hobo,” by the way, might be derived from Hoboken, New Jersey, said by some to be traditional home for these gentlemen of the ribbons of steel.)

            But one night the train departed Virginia and  Gentry and went chugging off into the night, a six-wheel driver pulling a hundred coaches from end to end, and the Hobo’s heavy timber door was padlocked. My recollection is that it was sort of abrupt and a few Toastmasters’ and Rotary Clubs were left scrambling for a place to meet. But fear not, for more men descended on the Hobo’s shell, stripped the water tank, yanked off the pipe that framed the doorway and generally took the rugged building into the 20th Century. Repainted, re-signed and looking pretty good.

            Some newer doors swung open in 1979, and we congregated in a brighter main room, with the trappings of early railroading gonzo and replaced by what one might find in a post-war aircraft hangar – old wooden propellers on the walls, maps, runway beacons, oil cans with products plainly for aircraft engines, ashtrays (remember them?) crafted from aircraft engine pistons, and pictures, pictures, pictures – of cool old airplanes.

            We went from a train station to a hangar. And why a hangar, you ask? Well, it’s really simple – a bunch of retired Flying Tiger pilots – the combat pilots, not the cargo guys that came later – were sitting around LAX as the story goes and said, “Why, shucks, we could open a restaurant, how tough could that be?” And they did open, starting in about 1962, a number of joints that grew to 40 in their heyday, serving seafood as their specialty. What did these retired Tiger pilots name them? Well, “Hungry Tiger,” of course. And I’m not sure that they said “shucks” but this is a family column.

            And the fine diners of Reno welcomed the Hungry Tiger, as they did the Hobo Junction. The place thrived, as I recall more for lunch and dinner than breakfast. But it was a good restaurant, flying high on our list.

            But – as so many restaurants and airmen do, the men of the Flying Tigers came in high, hot, and overshot. The chain started running rough and they feathered a few non-producing engines, Reno’s being one of them, and in 1985 declared a MayDay = Emergency in Progress! – and the Hungry Tiger on South Virginia was parked, chocked and dark. Too bad; like so many others – Houlihan’s and Victoria Station come to mind, great food but doomed to my Faded Menus list by bum management.

            So – the Hobo and the Tiger sat wanting a new operation, and in what I think was 1986 – accounts vary – Tim, Mike and Shaun Wiltshire sprinkled stardust from the Emerald Isle onto the darkened building, and through magic a leprechaun in a green suit appeared in the entry lobby playing the Old Songs on a grand piano, and Famous Murphy’s Oyster Bar & Grill was born. I can’t say enough good about the Murph – great food and salad bar, nice people helping us out, and a downstairs lounge that raised the bar on happy hours in this burg as no other public house has ever done. And it thrived for 20 years, coming as close as any restaurant has ever come in our town to a singular local favorite.

            But as all Irish songs must, it ended on a low key. I don’t know what happened – and wouldn’t ask Mike if I saw him – but the leprechaun at the baby grand joined the loco engineer in the Hobo and the hot stick in the Tiger, and all disappeared down Virginia Street. That great old building with so many memories for all of us, was again dark. Were I a betting man and permitted to scribe an opinion on these pages, I’d say that it was partially doomed by an architectural element that the Wiltshires inherited and had to make the best of – it suffered from an entry door at the top of a long uphill ramp, far removed from the parking lot, and a reception lobby with a half-flight of stairs down to the main dining room to the north or the classy lounge to the south. (It also had an entry, a half-flight up to the parking area.) That arrangement puzzled me from the day the Hobo opened.

            But all that speculation now written, the best I can say, and I think the Gazoo readers join me, is, thanks to the Wiltshires for a score of years of good food, spirits and friendship. And the column now ends with these simple words: Thanks for reading!

Text © RGJ April 2015

Two msgs arrived shortly after this was posted:

From Phyllis Wetsel:   “This was fun to read (again) because there has never been anything (in Reno) to replace what it was like to go there, especially the lounge downstairs.” Thanks, Phyllis!
From another reader:    “Where’s the ‘God bless America’?”  The RGJ was on a rampage when this was published, and didn’t want God, Christmas nor Easter to sully their pages. Ergo, no “God bless America” ’til editor Brett McGinness fixed them.

 

 

 

 

April 2 • Knockin’ around town on a Saturday

  How it began, click here… 

1941_chevvyI’m writing again, in my best handwriting, trying to practice as I’ll be starting kindergarten next week at Mary S. Doten, just down the Ralston hill from our new Reno house. It’s a Saturday morning; Dad and I are off in the Chevy to handle some of his chores, and I’m tagging along.

We take off on Fourth Street through town to Alameda Street. Across the Truckee to the south is the same street, called Wells Avenue because a rancher named Wells used to drive cattle up the street and across the river to the slaughterhouse a block west of Alameda. My uncle John, who just got out of the service, opened a Flying A service station on the northwest corner, almost next to the slaughterhouse. He has a nifty Harley Davidson motorcycle “tricycle” with a box on the back and his station’s name on the back of the box. My grandmother hates motorcycles and people who ride them. Uncle John promised me a ride on his Harley one time and my mother told him she’d kill him if he did that. Women I’m learning at age six are hard to understand.

There’s a neat little store across Fourth Street, Akert’s Market it’s called. There’s a fun guy in there named Ben, probably in college now, who wants to open a store that sells booze and call it “Ben’s Liquors.” My mom told me not to use the word “booze.” Oh well.

Dad said that the city was going to build a fire station on Morrill Avenue, a couple blocks to the east. It would replace the old fire station almost across the street, called “Reno East” which is a duplicate of the one at the dead-end of California Avenue on Virginia Street. This is a busy area of town, East Fourth Street, with a lot of nice stores, hardware, auto parts, lot of auto stuff and garages. Mr. Blakely, a friend of dad’s since high school, operated Eveleth Lumber kitty-corner from my uncle’s service station. It makes custom cuts of lumber and is in high demand from people building houses needing weird stuff like handrails. It is part of a sawmill up the river toward Truckee.

We got back in the car and left to see my dad’s friend Mr. Menante, another schoolmate. His family owns a shop by the railroad tracks on Virginia Street, that takes the tires off cars and “vulcanizes” new rubber and treads onto them and they put them back on your car, to save buying new tires. Dad said it was a wartime thing. Mr. Menante’s business is called Reno Vulcanizing, pretty original. His plan is to move further north on Virginia Street to his partner Mr. Besso’s family ranch, and build a new Reno Vulcanizing shop on what will become Sixth Street.

Mr. Menante told me how my father shot him with a pistol in their senior year in high school, which cost my dad his appointment to Annapolis, which is a big Navy school back east. Turns out they were in a play and my dad’s character shot Mr. Menante’s character, but the gun misfired and bent my dad’s trigger finger so it wouldn’t straighten and he never got to that Navy school. Mr. Menante was a fun guy.

We got back in the Chevy after dad made arrangements to get the tires fixed, and drove across the railroad tracks to have coffee – ugh – how grownups can drink that stuff is beyond me. Dad parked the Chevy at kind of an angle in front of Tiny’s Waffle Shop south of Commercial Row. We went to see Mr. Southworth in his tobacco shop on Douglas Alley. My grandmother, after my grandfather died in 1906, married Mr. Strausburg who was a stockbroker and owned the little building, his office on the second floor, Southworth’s Tobacco on the street level. Mr. Southworth was a nice guy, had a cigar-store Indian in the window that would piss some people off in years to come. Likely not the Indians. But, this is 1946 and I don’t know anything about that yet. (Three years later Harolds Club would put up a mural with Indians all over it, and more on the roof of the building, but I didn’t know that yet either…)

We went into Tiny’s for coffee, and a bunch of Dad’s friends were in there at a big table. I met Mr. Tripp, who worked for Mr. Smith at Harolds Club across the street. His job was making little plastic name tags for the ladies who worked in Harolds Club, with their first name and hometown. Mr. Tripp, I think his name was Walt, was a nice guy, had a couple of sons my age, and wanted to open his own engraving shop – “Tripp Plastics,” he’d call it. Mr. Smith I understand was going to help him get started.

Mr. Cobb was in Tiny’s at the big table. He was a sportswriter from Virginia City who worked at the newspaper, over on Center Street. He was also the announcer at the Silver Sox baseball games in Moana Stadium, a long way out of town to the south, and he told me that he’d let me sit in the booth some night during a game. He was a nice guy. I soon met his two sons and daughter, tell you all about them one of these days.

All dad’s friends were nice men. One was funny, his name was Mr. Maffi, and he and his partner Mr. Lyons owned a service station at the end of California Avenue across the street from the Lake Mansion, which I’ll have to study to learn more about and write about it another day. Mr. Maffi came to our house on Ralston Street later today to help dad adjust the furnace in our new house, which originally burned coal but was converted by Mr. Maffi to burn oil. Dad and Mr. Maffi, (and Mr. Sala, our next door neighbor; I’ll write a lot about him in the future), had to leave to get a furnace part and probably some more beer (surely Sierra!), and Mr. Maffi, who had a glass eye, took his eye out and put it on the kitchen table and told my mother, who had a limited sense of humor, “Here, Floie, (for her name was Flo), I’m keeping an eye on my beer.”

Dad and Mr. Sala laughed, but Floie (Flo) fainted, right on the kitchen floor, cold as a mackerel. Mr. Sala went next door to get Mrs. Sala to help out. Floie soon returned to consciousness, and Dad, seeing this, went out the front door with the other guys to Mr. Maffi’s pickup and took off down Ralston Street to get the furnace part. And some beer.

As I recall, they discussed Mr. Maffi and the occurrence further that evening.

I’m worn out from writing; I’ll start school in a week down the hill at Mary S. Doten, and maybe I’ll learn how to write cursive so it will be easier to read. Come back in a week and we’ll stumble off around Reno some more, maybe visit my new school and my new friends, all neighbors, Tom Cook, Cecelia Molini (Pearce), Jimmie Ceander, and Marilyn Burkham. And another new friend that I’m going to introduce next week, Cedric Parkenfarker from up University Terrace. Cedric has the ability to look into the future, which will enable me to write my 1946 memories, but interject what happened in the future, like Marilyn Burkham becoming known as Ma Bell. And I’ll get my Brownie Hawkeye fixed so I can add some pictures again…it’s busted today.

See ya soon…………

 contact the six-year old at kfbreckenridge@live.com

NOTE ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BLACK BAR BELOW, A CLICK TO

TAKE YOU TO THE NEXT POST IN THIS SERIES…

 

A 1904 meeting in Reno…

artistmeeting

Here we see the publisher, editor and newsroom staff of the Nevada State Journal, all paying rapt attention to renowned photographer Lo Phat, save for the Sunday columnist viewing the society and fashion writer (back row, third from right)

Photo © OldRenoGuy

 

 

Tee it up

golferWhy, with thousands of acres, maybe even hundreds, a new control tower for the Reno-Tahoe International Airport has to wipe out nine holes of a golf course escapes many of us, but rise one will, on Brookside golf course just northeast of the airfield.  The most salient comment to emanate out of this civic mini-brouhaha came from a linkster who knew of another golf course that shares its rough with a control tower already, in complete harmony and the tower’s structure playable as winter rules.

            Longtime Reno resident and dynamite golfer Virginia Thompson writes from out in the 89509 with some interesting background about Brookside.  The little player-friendly course has been popular with local golfers, with an untold number of kids starting their paths to the Masters in Augusta on its level fairways.  It opened in 1967 as the brainchild of some local folks, including the late Jack Mathews and his very-much-alive wife Mary (Duffy), Dr .Jack Brophy, barrister Loyal Robert Hibbs and golf course architect Bob Baldock.  They secured a lease from the City of Reno on land then housing the city dog pound and a duck hunting club (yup – Reno was a bit smaller then). 

            Somebody donated a refrigerator for the snack bar, and they hired a golf pro and another person to maintain the course and work the desk.  The trees lining the course, then and now, have somewhat of a heritage: They were brought to Reno from Winnemucca, where they were in the path of some construction, then transplanted at Brookside and are still flourishing nicely.  The golf course operated privately for about five years, then was transferred to City ownership and has been a popular and profitable asset ever since.

             But – the little course’s days are apparently numbered.  At press time (like that?) I have a call in to Duffy to learn a bit more about Brookside.  Watch this space.



Recent talk on page 8 about Reno Browne’s Singing Pioneers and Cactus Tom’s “Smokey Joe” Christmas paean smoked out ol’ buddy Jim Henry, who transmits some dope on the 1954 sizzler “Reno, Nevada – the Biggest Little City in the World”.  This chart-buster was recorded on a 12-inch 78 phonograph record (ask a geezer), just as it was written by Edwin T. Church, who doesn’t exactly light up Google on a Web search, and as performed by Hal Southern, who Googles, if that’s a verb, as a buddy of Tex Ritter’s.  Jim sends a photocopy of the RCA Victor record label, and describes the song as kind-of-Sons of the Pioneers except worse, but the record does have the standard number of grooves for a 78 RPM record.  Imagine that: A song with our very own city’s name, move over Abilene, My Kind of Town Chicago, Tijuana Taxi, St. Louis Blues and My Heart in San Francisco.  Maybe we can get it on the radio someday; we’ll warn you ahead of its performance.  The Homefinders thank Jim for this information.  I think.



 The end of an era: Scolari’s Market on Lakeside Court is closing tomorrow – who’d have ever thunk it?  Many have forgotten that the forerunner of that grocery and social institution had its early roots as a Warehouse Market, in the south end of Moana West where Ben’s Discount Liquor, er, Ben’s Fine Liquors, is located now.  And, for the record, let’s not forget that the structure that Scolari’s is closing was originally built as indoor tennis courts.  Right across the parking lot from the Elegant Wagon, a popular early 1970s watering hole then in the southwest corner of Reno.  That joint and the one at the Golden Road – now the Atlantis – deserve our recognition one of these Saturday mornings as headquarters for sybaritic nocturnal misbehavior in south Reno.

            The standard number of grooves in a 78 RPM phonograph record is, all together: One.  A long one.  Have a good week; thanks for last week off, our days can warm up anytime now, and God bless America.

 

© RGJ April something, 2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some old air race family photos

(Click here for GAA bowling photos)

Occasionally I get to put my sons on the website. Here’s a couple that they’ll kill me for posting. Son Ron in my pickup in 1974; he was actually banned at Home Pylon for his age so he took up residence in the pickup, note, food, beverage cooler, binoculars, VHF radio on the roof, lawn chair – what else does a man need? Best seat at the races…In the 1983 home pylon crew shot is son Brent on the left, then next right is Dale Tucker (the present flagman); the three to the right have all passed away. And I hope you like yours truly’s Reno 911 cutoffs (hey, they were in vogue in 1983…!) 

rontruck2

air-race-home-pylon-crew

Coming home (c. 2005)

SMFoodKingA new/old face appeared at the Seven Ayem Senior Moment Krispy Crème BS & Kaffeeklatch early this week.  Mike Sommers had returned to Reno for the Reno High all-school reunion next Sunday – his first trip “home” of any duration since leaving for a 35-year teaching career in Garrison Keillor country.  He had already covered more ground and seen more old friends than I see in a year, and his insights into our valley were thought provoking.  Always looking for a column idea, I put his questions in quotation marks and our responses in open text.

            “When did the MGM become the Hilton?”  Right after it quit being Bally’s – come back next year and it’ll be a big condominium [Grand Sierra Resort]. “I saw where they’re tearing down the Sparks Theater this week – we used to go there to meet all the Sparks High chicks – how can they do that?”  Right, like the Majestic and the Granada theaters – no more. “I miss a chili-cheese omelet at Landrum’s.”  Take your car title there for a loan, seven stools to serve you.  “And the Turf Club with the trumpeter on the roof?  Where do you go for pastrami sandwiches?”  The building got trenched.  Try the Coney Island for a great pastrami. (Our trench, or Trench, capitalized occasionally lately, blew Mike’s mind.  [That’s not the half of it; try telling an intelligent person from somewhere else about STAR bonds! We didn’t even go there…] “What’s wrong with train whistles and a car getting pushed sideways a block occasionally?  We grew up with that.”

 “I haven’t heard any Air Guard 101s.  Are they overseas?”  The Guard parked the Bus 109Voodoos for RF-4s in 1976, sent those to the boneyard in Arizona and have herded C-130s around since.  “I came in from Stead and saw a great big jailhouse on, what, Parr Boulevard?  Don’t they still have a jail on the top floor of the police station on East Second Street?”  Nope, we’ve got more bad guys now than we did 40 years ago. Funny how we all remember that penthouse on East Second Street.

The Kietzke roundabout  and Da Del Monte Lane      . 

            “I went to see our ol’buddy [so-and-so] in his law office, out somewhere on the end of Kietzke Lane in a complex I didn’t even know where I was.  Wasn’t the conventional wisdom that attorneys all had to be walking-distance from the court house?”  That happened like Topsy – one day it seems most of the bigger firms had bailed downtown in favor of the newer buildings with decent parking.  “I went by Moana Lane and South Virginia and got lost – no Sierra Pacific building.”  Progress – now they’re out south of DeLucci Lane by Home Depot. And they’re not Sierra Pacific anymore, either.  “There’s a Home Depot that far south?  Nawww…”  That ain’t the half of it – there’s a new one even further out south by Damonte Ranch.  “I meant to ask about that – wasn’t Mimi’s Hideaway on Del Monte Lane?  What happened to that?”  Changed it to “Neil Road”; too much confusion with “Damonte” two off-ramps south.  “Why didn’t the Highway Department just use another name for Damonte from the git-go?”  Welcome back to 2005 Reno, Mike. If you like that, you’ll love Zolezzi Lane now; too bad the Texans building Arrowcreek didn’t. Most of our town, you see, is for sale (we didn’t know about the firehouse yet…)

Where’s the roundhouse?

       Washoe_street   “I was out in Sparks, coming back from a mini-city called Wingfield Springs.  That old pit you could see from the freeway is beautiful.”  Hats off to the City of Sparks – they did the Sparks Marina right, as Sparks does most else that they tackle, thank [retired] City Manager Shaun Carey.  “And that beautiful old S.P locomotive shop – can’t they try to save that?”  Whoever they is, they is trying.  Last we heard the City of Sparks and Q&D Construction – you remember our old classmate, Norm Dianda, the “D” of Q&D? – were working on a joint venture with Union Pacific Railroad if everyone can get their plates clean enough to pursue it.  (“Q” was the late Babe Quadrio.) [Dunno about that one in the present economy. Hope springs eternal.}

            “Weinstock’s at Park Lane?”  Refer back to the Sparks, Majestic and Granada theater yak – pretty classy-looking theater on the old Weinstock site [becoming known as seagull gulch].  Yecch.   “Answer Man, on Peckham Lane, best hardware store in Reno.  How can the town do without it?”  Refer to Home Depot and Lowe’s.  “Is that bowling stadium downtown really all a bowling alley?”  You’re kidding, right?”  Nope. And at some times it’s actually full of bowlers, with spare time on their hands.  Think about it. But we don’t know; we can’t roll there. We’re just residents.

            “The diversion dam – waterfall – downtown next to the bridge on Belmont by NoukWingfield Park – that was iconic with Reno for so many years.   But the rapids are neat too.  Did a flood do that to the dam?”  Actually, a computer designed the rapids, Belmont is Arlington and Wingfield Park, formally Belle Isle, is Barbara Bennett Park, but the kayak course and the swimming hole it created by serendipity, probably did more for getting folks downtown than did the Men’s Club.  Our city did good. 

            “The University campus has grown.”  Understatement of the year.  “The Bruce Thompson Federal Courthouse.  Is that Jeff’s dad?”  Yup, our classmates Jeff, Judy and Harold, kids of Bruce and Ellen.  Got his own courthouse.  “That black thing on Liberty Street – Close Encounters of the Third Kind leftover?”  The Nevada Museum of Art.  Beautiful on the inside, Mike – I gave him a guest pass.  Knowing him, he’s used it.  Ditto the Harrah Auto Museum – he’ll go there also.  “The city hall in the old FNB building on First and Virginia?  Naww…”    Yeaaahhh.  Have fun parking your pickup in the high-rise garage next door.

            Time grew short.  Mike’s insight – of that which we saw over three decades whileInez he saw condensed into a week’s touring – gave us a new view of our valley.  We agreed to meet at one joint that had survived the racking and wresting of change, Mama Stempeck’s Halfway Club, for lunch.  And Inez didn’t let us down.

            Have a dandy week; goodnight from New York, Peter, and God bless America.

Peter Jennings passed away August 7, 2005

 

Parabolic vs. ellipsoidal – converting an e-mail into a suppository; either square, hex, or round…

RHS2009

I just ran a column about Reno High School and mentioned its famous dome, which the architect himself, (Monk Ferris), called parabolic in a 1951 newspaper article. A parabola. Then, this arrives in the e-mail this morning, from a friend I’ve known since 1950 at Central Jr. High. I’ve been writing a column for 28 years, but it’s bullshit like this that will bring the curtain down on the whole shebang someday:

Hi Karl,

The “dome” at RHS is not parabolic. It is roughly ellipsoidal – or rather roughly the upper half of an ellipsoid, which is the three-dimensional analog of an ellipse. Both an ellipse and an ellipsoid have two foci, and rays emanating from one focus are reflected to the other focus. This phenomenon is responsible for some “whispering galleries” and “whispering domes”. One of the attractions in the physics lab at CalTech was a small water tank in the shape of the bottom half of an ellipsoid. When it was filled with water, poking a finger into the water at one focus made a little column of water shoot up at the other focus.

 I haven’t set foot in RHS since 1959, but my recollection is that the dome is too shallow to be a true ellipsoid, and therefore incapable of transmitting whispers.

 Eric

click to read the offending column

OK, I GOT THE MESSAGE; I’LL UPDATE THIS SOON! KARL The old mom-and-pop groceries – we get mail…

Washoe_streetONE OF THE JOYS OF BEING A DRIVE-BY COLUMNIST IS READING SOME OF THE MAIL THAT THE COLUMNS PRODUCE, AND AS TIME PERMITS I LIKE TO GET PERMISSION OF THE SENDER AND POST IT – IT’S PRETTY COOL STUFF AND THE READERS HAVE GONE THROUGH A LOT OF WORK TO SEND IT, SO IT DESERVES TO BE SEEN AND ENJOYED! WHAT FOLLOWS ARE A FEW OF THE RESPONSES TO THE RECENT BOMBARDMENT OF GROCERY STORE MEMORIES, WITH A LOT OF INFORMATION THAT I’D OTHERWISE HAVE NO WAY OF LEARNING NOR PUBLISHING. E-MAILS COPY AND PASTE TO WORDPRESS IN A WEIRD WAY I DON’T COMPREHEND, SO IT’S A LITTLE MESSY…PERMISSION TO REPRINT HAS BEEN GAINED FOR ALL

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sparks’ retired fire chief Don Young writes, 

“Karl, enjoyed your story on Sparks grocery stores. I worked for Kellison’s Market in 1949 or 50. I stocked groceries and delivered them in Milt Kellison’s new Ford pickup while he was flying a P-51 in the Korean theater. The manager was Elton Williams who went to Old Orchard later. The meat cutter was Marvin Edwards who later had his own meat market in Reno.”

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

My old post-war northwest Reno neighbor Pat Randall checks in:

“I enjoy reading your columns regarding Reno’s history when it was smaller than it is now. I remember many of the markets in your most recent offering. I hope you will include Quilici’s in your next column. As I recall , it was located on the southwest corner of Washington and 7th Streets and three blocks from where I grew up. There was a butcher shop in the rear and out front was a manually operated gas pump. The gas was pumped into a calibrated glass container on top and then gravity fed into the car’s gas tank. My brother worked the pump and worked the hose one summer in 1947 or ’48. The building was old even then and the wood floors creaked when walked on.  I moved from Reno in 1955 so I doubt that the place still exists; but I would like to visit it again thru your writing.  Thank you for your work.”

I told Pat that Quilici’s was included in the second column, which was submitted but not yet published. She responded with an account of our old neighborhood: 
“I lived at 1025 University Terrace, just west of Canal St. We moved there in Oct. 1941.  University Terrace was unpaved west of Vine St. and ours was the last house on it. The street ended at our house. Keystone was called Peavine Road and it was also dirt and it dead ended at 6th St. next to my grandmother’s house. When WWll ended construction of houses in the area resumed and now my old house appears to be in midtown. My family name is Randall and most of us were born in St. Mary’s. I knew a guy named Cal Dorothy who lived near the top of Ralston hill across from Whitaker Park His mother ran a beauty parlor there at one time’
What about the market? Will it be part of your next article?”
I assured her that Quilici’s was in the mill. And the beauty shop t the top of the Ralston Street hill that she mentioned? Here’s my response:
“The guy at the top of Ralston Street’s mother was named Shermerhorn and my dad bought that house (740) in 1946 right after the war. He turned her old beauty parlor room on the front of the house into his office (real estate and insurance). We lived there until 1948 when my dad bought the house at the end of University Terrace at the corner of Peavine Row, which was still dirt. (Its address was 1095). On Christmas Eve of 1949 we moved from that house to the top of the Peavine hill to the southwest corner of Sunnyside Drive and Peavine Row, the only house west of Peavine (I think the street was paved then to the top of the hill.)”
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Here’s a note from Fred Messman, whom I know from a speech I made at a service club in Sparks a year ago. Fred writes:
“My first job was as a bag boy at the Food Mart across from Deer Park on Prater Way in Sparks, started in 1962 while I was still in high school (Reno). I worked at that store, owned by Tom Kelleher until he sold it to Ron Gardner who called it Food King. (He ultimately opened another store on the corner of Wells Ave and Ryland, now a liquor store I think)
While I was working at the Food Mart on Prater a huge new store opened across the street to the east called “Safeway”, today it is PEP Boys auto parts.
I transferred to the new Food Mart they had on Kietzkie and Vassar which later sold to Washoe Markets who eventually consolidated and closed it running their last Washoe Market at 1251 South Virginia (now an antique store). I left for Vietnam in 1966 and when I returned Bob and John Games immediately hired me back where I eventually became assistant manager and then manager for that store until just before it closed. Our phone orders were a high priority and I made many trips delivering groceries in the early to mid 1970’s.
I have many great memories about the bakery and meat market at Washoe Market, truly a customer friendly and family store where we would order any item for you if we didn’t stock it. The butchers were celebrities behind the counter.
I eventually used my GI Bill to get a degree in wildlife management and became a game warden captain with the Nevada Dept of Wildlife and retired in 2009 after 28 years.
Please feel free to use any of the information above, edit it as you see fit.
I have been reading your articles for a long time, keep up the great work
Also, I have charge and payment receipts from my grandmother somewhere in the closet, did a cursory check and didn’t find them, from Akert’s and a couple other corner grocery stores, they lived on Keystone and I remember as a child walking to the store to pick up the day’s food, then they were able to buy a first-class Westinghouse electric refrigerator and a new wringer washing machine (early 1950’s).”
Didn’t have to edit a thing, Fred!
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
And I’m reminded by the daughter of my favorite third-grade teacher, who was Mrs. Conrad in 1949 at Mary S. Doten Elementary, whose daughter’s name is Carolyn Darney. Carolyn phones, because Carolyn will buy a computer and start e-mailing when pigs fly, that Brickie Hansen’s sister (Brickie owned Hansen’s Market, mentioned in the column) became the wife of Reno mayor Tank Smith. Where else would you get information like that, I ask???
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Next up, a Reno High guy named Rich Steurer:
“Hi Karl. I was reading with interest your column on old grocery stores
> the last 2 weeks and wondered why you didn’t mention the two I worked at
> as a student at Reno High.
> My dad worked downtown in the 50’s & 60’s, and was good friends with the
> butcher at Washoe Market. He asked my dad if I was interested in a part
> time job at the Washoe Market on 4th and Vine Streets cleaning up the
> butcher shop after school, which I was and worked there for a year or
> so. I then found a temporary job working odd jobs for friend of my
> dad’s which paid a little more than the $1 an hour. When that job ended
> the Washoe Market on So Virginia and Pueblo hired me there, again at $1
> hour. That saw me thru High School. Remember when they had sawdust all
> over the floors? Anyway, thanks for the memories, Rich.”
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Lynda Morris chimes in – Lynda is the daughter-in-law of the late Betty Morris, whom I mentioned in a column about schools two weeks ago (Betty was the popular Kindergarten teacher at Jessie Beck Elementary School, saddled with my two sons, among several thousand others. She was immensely popular, and I once nominated her (unsuccessfully) to have a new school named for her. Lynda writes,
“We certainly enjoy reading your column. The recent article, “What Goes Into an (Alma Mater’s) Name?” was especially interesting to me and my husband, Guy Morris. Guy’s mom, Betty Morris, was my much beloved mother-in-law, and we have always hoped that a school would be named after her. Guy and I both taught in the Washoe County School District for over 31 years, and yet we do not know the procedure for the naming of new schools. If you have any information or know how we can spearhead a movement to get a school named after Betty, we would appreciate that information. Guy worked as a school counselor at several middle schools in the district, retiring from Traner Middle School. I taught at Orvis Ring for one year, moved to Vaughn Middle School for five years, and then retired from Reno High School after 26 years as the head librarian. Two of our sons graduated from Reno High and we also find it annoying to see Huskie spelled Husky. Thank you for clarifying that in your article. Guy and I have only the best memories of growing up in Reno, attending local schools, and graduating from the University of Nevada where we were active in ATΩ and Kappa Alpha Theta.
“In your November 1, 2015 article about grocery stores, I saw the market listed that my father, Leonard R. Carpenter, owned in the 1950’s. (He came from Las Vegas on a football scholarship to attend UNR in the late 30’s) The Reno Public Market was a venture for him after he stepped down as the U.S. Marshal for the State of Nevada. He continued his employment with the U.S. Marshal’s Office as a deputy, but desired other employment and hoped it would be a family business for his dad and my mom to carry on. Although that did not work out, I have fond memories of the time I spent in that market during my childhood and especially when it flooded during the 50’s. Ironically, my brother-in-law is Bert Pincolini whose family owned Pinky’s. I believe much of the enjoyment we receive from reading your column comes from realizing how connected we are to this community. Thank you for your historical research and interesting writing and yes, God bless America!”
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Here now, Nancy Mull. Nancy refers to a Washoe Market on Wells Avenue that I’m trying to find. Thanks, Nancy!
Hi Karl,
I’ve been enjoying reading and reminiscing about the old little grocery stores in Reno.  My mother worked for Mr. Churchill at his store so it was a kick to see it mentioned.  As I recall, the store was narrow and had a wooden floor.  Very old-fashioned.  Fresh produce. 
She also worked at the California Market on North Virginia Street.  It was on the west side, close-ish to 4th Street, right downtown.  Southworth’s was a short distance south.  There was a butcher shop in the back and I may be wrong, but I think it was run or owned by a Jolly of Butcher Boy fame.  This was in the 50’s when a kid could wander around downtown safely.  We lived on West St. across from Central Junior High (maybe it was Reno High then), next door to the Jewish synagogue. 
Another grocery store she worked in was the Washoe Market on Wells Avenue. 
What a cool stroll down memory lane.  Thanks!
Nancy Mull
Here’s Nancy’s placement of the Washoe Market:
The Eagle Thrifty grocery store was across the street from the store where my mother worked.  It was in the building across the alley from what is now Lucke’s Saloon.
 
More e-mails may be added, if such arrive, if I get permission to use, and if they don’t rip me too badly for omitting a market. Which I did – sorry, it’s a space thing.