Gene and Evelyn Biek come calling, Joe Parker callsPublished 10:16am Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Last Saturday Cardinal Charlie had a good day when Eugene Biek from Redding, Calif., and sister Evelyn (Biek) Davis from Lansing, Mich., came for a visit.
I hadn’t seen Evelyn for many years, but I’ve seen Gene quite a few times when he and his wife, Mary Ellen, used to come for their class reunions.
I grew up as a neighbor of Gene and Evelyn for 12 years when they used to live across the street from my house at 501 Orchard St., 1930-1942.
A lot in my book were articles mentioning Eugene Biek.
He told me has reached a long-term goal of donating 25 gallons of blood since he started donating.
He was given an award, a box of Life Savers, plus a string of balloons tied to his bike, which he rode from home and back when he donated his final pint.
He said he got lots of stares from people on his way home that day.
I have mentioned in my columns before of his and his wife’s trips of bike travel, sometimes taking their bikes out of the country.
He keeps lots of statistics and said he will reach 150,000 miles this month. Fantastic, huh?
He said he gets lots of flats, mostly cuts from glass. He carries a pump, spare tubes and a patch kit.
Gene has been cycling since 1982 and what a record. We sat at our dining room table just reminiscing of old days growing up in Dowagiac, and I was able to show them some of my pack-rat collection.
Then, to top my day off, at night I got a call from Joe Parker from Arlington, Texas.
We had a nice, long talk of our old Dowagiac memories.
Joe and I have been corresponding for quite a few years, ever since Joe’s son sent a picture of his dad in a sailor suit standing in front of the Parker store on Wayne Street, across from the old Oak Street school (tennis courts).
I got old Joe’s address from Joe Jr. and that’s how we started writing to each other.
Over the years Joe has told me lots of Dowagiac stories and even told me more on Saturday night.
Folks can probably remember when Joe had a grocery store at 404 Lyle St. in 1948.
So you see, it doesn’t take much to make old Charlie a happy camper.
“Cardinal Charlie” Gill writes a nostalgic weekly column about growing up in the Grand Old City.
E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.