Archived Story

Burying barrels for winter vegetables

Published 2:03pm Thursday, January 24, 2013

Here some more Cardinal Charlie memories. We used to dig big holes in the ground in the back yard to bury old barrels in which we put apples, carrots and cabbages for our winter supply.
Also in the back yard, we had a bed that we put our food garbage and coffee grounds to raise worms for fishing bait.
We used to pick up some of the tar the city put on the cracks in the road and chewed it to make our teeth white.
We played our old game of pocketbook on a dark, heavy thread.
We kids used to soap windows and not use wax on Halloween, plus we made window knockers using an empty thread spool and a nail.
We neighbors used to send to Polk, Ohio, for our fireworks.
We used to follow the little creek from Wares’ dump to Sedlar’s little marl-pit pond and fish for the few fish that were in it.
Beyond the pond in following the creek, we discovered an old glass dump that had lots of pieces of glass left over after eyeglass lenses were cut out.
I sure remember the old Oak Street School playground and wading pool in the summer.
Many hours were spent by us kids fishing the Mill Pond close to the mill and the eddy off Nubour Street called the Davis eddy.
Some of the hardest work I had as a kid was on the Evar Swenson farm on top of Henderson Hill.
Going to the neighborhood grocery for my mother and getting penny candy for myself.
Yo yo’s, jacks, marbles, hopscotch and paddleball.
I loved my $2 pair of Ball Band tennis shoes made in Mishawaka, Ind.
Also, my old “clod hoppers” with steel toe and heel plates that made teachers crazy, as we stomped down the halls at school.
I also recall I had a pair of high-top boots with a pocket for my jack knife.
I sure remember going from always having a used bike to brand-new; made me feel I’d gone to heaven.
Carnivals and circuses were great memories of the 1930s and ’40s.
Pete Weesaw and Joe Mandokey were two local Indians I can recall.
Pete once made me a bow and arrow.
We kids used our magnifying glass to burn ants on the sidewalk and holes in pieces of wood.
We used to get hazel nuts in clusters at Hazel Nut Hill beyond Wares’ dump. And hickory nuts were found in abundance at Riverside Cemetery every year.
Many kids from Dowagiac enjoyed the falls behind the mill on Spaulding Street.
I was one who spent a lot of enjoyable days there in the late ’30s and early ’40s.
Long gone are the three movie theaters we kids had when I was a young whipper snapper.

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

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