Charlie GillI started my articles in our local paper way back on Dec. 20, 1989.

Archived Story

‘Cardinal Charlie’: Writing long letters until the Buck stops here

Published 10:50pm Monday, September 27, 2010

Over these years, I’ve made many friends from lots of e-mails, phone calls, visits and even longhand letters.

Yes, there are still some of us old-time folks around.

They tell me how they have enjoyed my memories of years gone by and about my growing up in Dowagiac since about 1936, when I was only 6 years old.

Many know my good long-term memory was caused by my brain-stem stroke in 1988.

Actually, this was the only good thing that happened to me from the aftermath of it.

Not long ago I received a very nice e-mail from Bruce “Buck” Arney, an old Dowagiac resident who now lives up in northern Michigan.

I remember him somewhat, as he was two or three years younger than me.

I did know his older brother, Jack, who was a little older than me.

The brothers both went to our old Oak Street School (now Justus Gage).

I liked to write old-time longhand letters and do write quite a few to answer my many e-mails from old Dowagiac residents long gone from here.

After I e-mailed Buck that I would like his address so I could write him a nice longhand letter his address came from him.

I sat down and wrote him one of my long letters giving him some of what had happened to me since our old Oak Street school days.

Then the other night I had a call from Buck and we sure reminisced a lot of Dowagiac memories.

He said he remembered a lot of my classmates and people I’ve written about.

He said that Flip Springsteen, who was a friend of mine and a neighbor, was his best man when he got married.

He also told me when he was in the Navy he used to see George Grady in either Japan or the Hawaiian islands, if I’m not mistaken.

I hope to be able to get together sometime and talk of old times.

I also had an e-mail from Joy Tharp from Phoenix, Ariz., about the Helen Haven nursing home.

She told me she is 75 years old and had worked at Helen’s for nine years out of her 35 years of working in nursing homes.

She also said she went to school with one of Helen’s daughters.

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

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