Archived Story

More childhood memories in Dowagiac

Published 9:48am Thursday, February 20, 2014

Another thing, back in the 1930s, we also had a window card for putting in the window to tell the Hostess bread truck to stop at our house when needed to buy something from the Hostess man. Also Modern Cleaners had a card as I recall.

Then there was Fuller Brushman that used to come to your door to sell you something. If you would listen to his sales talk he would leave you with a small brush.

I can also remember a man who used to come to our house, carrying two large stainless containers of hominy and horseradish. I don’t think you would be allowed to peddle edible things like that these days with all the safety rules.

Back in the 30s, old Dr. Meyers was the county health officer. He would come around and put a red quarantine sign on you house if you had scarlet fever, mumps, measles or whooping cough.

I remember back then doctors used to make house calls, usually at night after closing their office. I remember Dr. George Loupee coming to our house quite late to check on my 84-year-old aunt Emma, who lived with us.

The doctors carried a little black bag full of pills and other equipment. This little bag was actually a small pharmacy.

In winter, we had Albert Wares and Lloyd Hunt to come have our sidewalks all clean of snow early in the morning. They did this with big wooden v-plows pulled by a horse.

Also, during World War II, Paul Patrick had a horse-drawn grocery delivery wagon. Don “Deac” Reshore, a well-known Dowagiac lawyer, used to ride an old bike from Orchard Street to his downtown office. He lived across from my house.

I can remember getting my first haircut by a Mr. Denny. In later years, at Ray Youst’s shop, Ray had another very old barber, George Chapman, as his partner. I think, at one time, for many years, George had his own shop. I can’t remember what a haircut cost back then.

Everyone remembers those Thursday night band concerts in the MCR Park, with Uncle Billy Schuckert as the bandleader. I can remember trips to Caruso’s for a Coke or a Green River and one of their thick malts. Lots of my pennies went to John and Ruth Watson’s little family grocery on North Front Street. He had a big variety of penny candy for us to choose from. Boy, a Holloway sucker would last you all day. Remember Horlicks malted milk tablets?

Century Theater cost only 10 cents and on Wednesday they had BANK-NIGHT and gave money away. I remember going around the neighborhood collecting old newspapers and magazines to take to the Spocks junkyard on West Railroad Street. We would get a little money, usually pennies for our penny candy. A death in the neighborhood called for a collection of flowers. Sometimes there would a crepe on the door of the house of the person who died.

Remember how funeral homes passed out fans on hot days at the funeral home? The fans had an advertisement on them. I remember Madame Ferell was a fortuneteller on Lowe Street. Cook Coffee, Jewel Tea and Wathins dealers came to the house in those years also.


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


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