Archived Story

Elections meant days off

Published 11:21pm Wednesday, December 14, 2011

In reading in the paper about the problem that the Galien school is having and the possibility of maybe having to consolidate with maybe Buchanan  or River Valley, it took my mind back to my days at the old Michigan State Liquor store in the 1960s.
It seems at the time we were lucky to get a lot of time off work because there was one election after another of country school districts that were consolidating.
Back then, no matter what an election held of anything, we had to close the store for the day.
It sure made a lot of days off for Sid Mosher and me.
This went on for a lot of days off, until some wise bird up in Lansing came up with the great idea that we had to close the store for selling, but we were to come to work and answer the phone and clean the store and wipe the bottles on display and the ones for sale in the bins.
Anyway, we made out as bandits for a long time because besides the consolidation elections there were lots of other elections, like selling liquor on Sundays and the 21-year age for buying, etc. (Oh, for those good old days, getting paid for not having to work).
When I went out on the porch Thanksgiving morning to get my two morning papers, I thought I’d have to call for my wife to help me carry in my South Bend Tribune.
I’d estimate its weight to be between 20 and 30 pounds.
Only three pages of three sections were actually just newspaper-related.
I sat down in my Lazy Boy and counted 42 different inserts or fliers of advertising.
Some of these were practically small catalogs of some of the major stores.
Me being an old paper boy as a kid, I shudder to think how in the heck a paper boy back then with his canvas paper bag could even think of delivering this special paper.
Well, maybe he could pull a large wagon full of papers and deliver just two of his customers at a time (ha-ha).
Again, I guess this advertising mania is what they call progress.
I disagree. I call it a waste of our beautiful trees.
We think so much of our yard full of trees that we turned down two of the satellite companies because they said we couldn’t have a dish work unless we cut a couple down or trimmed them down to practically nothing (we said no way).
As Christmas nears, I think of one of my best Christmas presents old Charlie got was a Gilbert Erector Set.
As I sit here in my comfortable warm living room chair, facing another Michigan winter (they get a lot harder as one ages, believe me), I’m so very thankful I don’t have to put up the big old  “Florence” living room stove for the cold weather coming.
Something I remember having to do was clean the soot out of the opening in the chimney before inserting the stove pipe.

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

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