Thursday, July 31, 2014

Small town America

Burwell has it's own Veteran's Memorial.

The Veteran's Park has a wall of bricks with the names of all of the veterans from Burwell.  My dad and uncles names are on the wall.  Also many of my cousins and a lot of other very familiar names that I hadn't thought about for years.

All of the Simpson's are relatives.  There are a lot of them.

On Saturday evening we were all invited to dinner at my cousin Teena and Harry's farm near Elyria, which is about 6 miles from Burwell.   Of course there was a windmill to climb.

It was a beautiful summer evening and we celebrated Mitzi's 60th birthday with a birthday cake and five pies!  One of which was my Grandmother Phillipp's recipe for Sour Cream Raisin Pie.  Yes, it was very good.  

The high school was across the street from where we lived.  The arrow points to the principal's office.  I was only there once and I was innocent.

Our house was actually directly across from the tennis courts which are at the east end of the school.  I remember that they used to flood the court in the winter so that we could ice skate.

Two of the buildings on the square.  The one on the right had the drug store and a dime store.  The dime store had everything, including penny candy.  Do you remember penny candy?  Candy cigarettes?  You could buy licorice strings or pieces for a penny apiece.

The building on the left was my father's real estate office.
 As you drive around the square the building on the right is new.  It is now the drug store.   What I remember there was a bakery and also the meat market and grocery store.  I remember going to the meat market for my mom to buy hot dogs.  They were made there and they tasted so good.  The hot dogs that you can buy today taste nothing like them.   Ah, the good old days......

I am sorry that I didn't get photos of the other side of the square.  On that end was the American Legion Club, where you went  for dinner and dancing.  Our band played there many times.  If we turned up our amps too loud, the old duffer in charge would turn off the electricity.  Right across the street from the American Legion Club is the drive-in restaurant where you could get a burger and a root beer float delivered to your car.

One of the local haunts that is missing now is the Blueberry Hill Cafe, which was on a hill on the edge of the town.  My Uncle Jerry owned it for a while and I don't know the story of why it is no longer there.  A lot of my hometown looks very much the same and it's definitely an example of small town America and a very nice place to live and grow up as a child.

My next trip back to Burwell....

Go Longhorns!

Here's to the Class of 1966!  Our 50th reunion is on the horizon.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

On the Trail of the Loup and other bad boy stuff....

This is a photo of Pebble Creek.  Somewhere close to the place we always went to swim.  The water was warm and sandy.  There were always high and low spots in the creek bed as the sand shifted everyday.

The battle of Pebble Creek was fought on this spot.  There is a book written by H.W. Foght A.M., in 1906 that can be read online via the Memorial Library.  The Trail of the Loup.

My brothers and sisters loved to go to Pebble Creek because our grandparents had a farm there.  The farm was on the river and my grandfather had carved out a small pond to fish in.  Although it was several miles from town, we used to walk or bike there all the time.  We could go swimming or fishing or just play on the sandhills.  They were fun to slide down.

My grandparents farm, now owned by the Stahleckers

This isn't much of a sandhill, but there is a turkey in the photo.

This photo was taken approaching Burwell from the east.

Our house, which was across the street from the high school.  It doesn't look anything like it did when we lived there.  There was no porch.

The city center of Burwell is built in the shape of a square and the streets take off in each direction.  The Burwell Tribune has been the local paper for as long as I can remember.  I believe since 1891, but I'm not that old.  It is not on the square, but one of the side roads.

This is the location of one of our favorite places.  Back then it was called "The Spot".  It was the hangout for teenagers.  We went there for cherry cokes and french fries.  Of course there was a jukebox.

On Saturdays we spent our allowance to go to the movie.  The theater owners had what my brother called the "wall of fame".   If your name was on the wall of fame, you were a bad boy and could not go to the movie.  Don and Lonnie would always check to see if their name was on the wall of fame.  If it was, they found someone to buy them beer and off they went to have a good time.  No bad boy stuff for them.

My name was not on the wall of fame.  I do remember going to see the movie "A Hard Days Night" nine times.   It cost 25 cents to go the movie.  (I think).  I might have it wrong, but I think our allowance was 25 cents.   I would always try to get another dime from my dad for a soda and popcorn  Sometimes it worked.

The next blog will be my last one about the trip to Nebraska.   It was a lot of fun to go back and see what was the same and what had changed.  I had a great time.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Gig Location and History

In 1937 my grandfather, Jude Phillipps, owned the Northside Bar.  It has been sold many times since then and is currently owned by my friend and classmate, Scott Krause, who was also the bass guitar player in our band back in 1965, the infamous Donny Nervous and the Breakdowns.

The venue was outside - behind the fence that you see in this photo.  There are about a dozen picnic tables, an outside bar that can be set up and a stage.

 Scott loves to cook so now the bar also serves food.   The best item on the menu would be the Nebraska beef sirloin or ribeye steak.  I really wanted to taste one of those sirloins, but I just didn't get around to it.  I visited with everyone so much that my voice was hoarse by the time I left.

There is now a Wall of Fame which has hundreds of photos of rodeo participants and performers.

I tried to capture some of them but as you can see, it was difficult.

The high school band always marched in the parade ceremony which opened the rodeo every day. I didn't see any photos of the band though.  This is the only band photo I have.  Our uniforms were new.  I actually sketched the longhorn logo on the back of the uniform.  I had forgotten about that until I looked at this photo.
Kathy, RML and Mitzi

I do remember the first time I saw my brother jump off a horse to wrestle a steer in the rodeo.  I thought he was going to get killed!  I also decided that anyone who would jump off of a running horse to wrestle a steer is slightly crazy.

Lonny Leach, in the yellow cap- former rhythm guitar player for Donny Nervous and the Breakdowns drove up to visit us from Loup City.  

There were lots of great stories told while we all sat around this table.  Most of them were true.....

Monday, July 21, 2014

Reunion in my hometown......the first of several posts.......

My classmates, Judy and Carleen.....lunch at the Sandstone Hotel.

The classmates who came to the Don Reineke Band gig.....
Left to Right:  Ron Simpson-my cousin, Scott Krause,Howard Miller, Lee Eddy Smith Jim Robler, Jerry Dogget.  Front Row:  Judy Simpson, Trevor Smith, RML, Earl Sinkler, Lois Brown-Smith.

L to R:  Lonny Leach, Don Reineke, Tabby Beat, Scott Krause, Connie Reineke

The pajama photo.....

Travis, my nephew, on the bass,  Kai on the drums, Jason and Don....

Nephew Cody on the drums with sis-in-law Linda on the vocal...



Scott and Jason sing Louie Louie

My classmates on the dance "floor" which was sand......

Louie Louie, which morphed into Hang on Sloopy, Wild Thing, Gloria, Rockin' in the USA and back to Louie Louie....