“Cardinal Charlie” Gill: Remember Paul Caruso’s coin and hobby shop?Published 8:26am Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I think it was in the basement of the old Ferd Sattler’s five cents to $1 store at 138 S. Front St.
Paul had a miniature slot racing track (three-slot tracks) and a small grandstand for people to set in to watch the races.
There were lots of kids and even some adults who used to race their little cars there.
One man who had a race car was Richard Poorman, who owned CSB (Creditors Service Bureau).
My wife Peg was office manager and I met her when she used to come for coffee at Nick Birtsas’s NuWay lunch close to her office.
Mr. Poorman had a dragster, a scaled-down model of a high-powered racer stripped down to engine and wheels.
That went 85 mph on the straightaway.
Poorman said you can go as far as you want, (electric) motor and ball bearing wheels. You can even buy special racing skins (tires).
His car someone figured out if it had been built to life size, it would travel faster than 700 mph.
Slot car kits could cost anywhere from $3.95 to $15.
Local races were over a winding, hair-pin turn track.
The speed of the car and some degree of control was in the hands of the driver using his remote control.
The cars were powered on the track the same as electric trains are.
Of course, electric trains were not to go very fast like the little racers did.
Paul said when he had the theater, kids used to drive him almost crazy and out of his mind sometimes.
But these kids racing their cars are a different bunch.
Remember when Paul had the state license bureau in Caruso Candy Kitchen years ago?
Paul made sure I always got number 1771 for many years (they now hang in my garage).
Paul was a good friend of mine and I once tried to get a coin club started in Dowagiac.
Do you know how you are picked for jury duty?
I guess I don’t really know for sure, maybe by your driver’s license or your voter registration.
A few years back I was picked three different times and served.
I was once picked for federal jury duty at Grand Rapids, which I turned down.
My wife has never been called and neither have I recently.
Did you know Mickey Mouse in Germany is “Michael Mus?” In France, Michel Sourics. In Japan, Miki Kucki. In Spain, Miguel Ralonocito.
And that’s your language course for today.
“Cardinal Charlie” Gill writes a nostalgic weekly column about growing up in the Grand Old City. E-mail him at email@example.com.