Charlie Gill

Archived Story

‘Cardinal Charlie’: Sounds of horses pulling wooden sidewalk V-plows

Published 8:37pm Monday, July 19, 2010

Here are a few things I’ll never, ever see or hear again.

Old Albert Wares and Lyle Hunt talking to their horses early on a cold morning as they plowed our city sidewalks with their horse-drawn wooden V-plows.

That great old Round Oak factory whistle that told us more or less the time of day.

The old Veterans of Foreign Wars drum and bugle corps as they marched in our Dowagiac parades.

So many landings and takeoffs on a summer Sunday at our busy airport.

After World War II a lot of vets learned to fly by the help of the government.

When I learned to fly, I remember I soloed on a busy Sunday morning.

Th old water works whistle blowing to give us the fire alarm box number for where the firetruck proceeded.

Sometimes it was some false alarm that some kid set the red alarm box off.

The voice of old “Doggy” Andrews as he umpired baseball games.

Lester Manns, my old metal shop teacher, saying let’s be down, boys, as he proceeded to use up at least half of our class time as we sat there listening to him talk.

I know I’ll never hear the sound of my old friend John Luthringer’s ah-ooga, ah-ooga horn on his old 1928 or ’29 Model A as he came to pick me up to go out to our “Dead Man’s Hollow” swimming hole.

The oldtime cement mixer “putty putty” sound as they laid cement down on the old gravel road on Orchard Street years ago.

The sound of the old Dowagiac police car siren — nothing at all like the ones today.

The sound of my mother yelling out the door that supper was ready.

That fabulous smell of that salt rising bread that whiffed out of the door and onto the street as you passed the bakery on salt rising day.

How about the smell of folks grinding their 8 O’Clock Coffee at the old A&P store?

And I can’t forget the sweet smell of the chocolate candy counter as you entered the 5&10 cent store.

How about the sound of shaking down the grates in the old coal stool to fill the ash pan?

The click-click noise we made by fixing baseball cards or our folks’ old playing cards on the front spokes of our bikes.

The voice of old Bob Foust as he led the cheer I remember.

Chicabaca, chucalaca, chow, chow, chow.

Boomalaca, bow wow.

Dowagiac High School.

Fight! fight! fight!

It’s a bit sad to think these and I’m sure many more have passed by my 80 years of life that will never be again.

“Cardinal Charlie” Gill writes a nostalgic weekly column about growing up in the Grand Old City. E-mail him at

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