Saturday, May 10, 2008

My Memories of Haigler

by Ted Schmutte

(Printed in the 1986 Haigler Centenniel Book, page 171)

My sister, Viola asked me to write this, so I will try my best.

The geography was special. There were irrigated farms west; sandhills, sagebrush and cattle north; dry land farms east; and the immense Kansas weat fields south. Through the valley were the Arikaree and Republican Rivers with many trees and a lot of underbrush, along with the Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad and the U.S. Highway 34.

In this setting, my earliest memories were of an attractive, comfortable, well furnished home with oil lamps and a loving family. There was also a restaurant with a coal burning stove and gas mantle lamps that hung from the ceiling which had to be pumped up occasionally. Hamburgers with hot mustard were the specialty, along with home-made pie baked by my mother. The customers I first learned to know were Carl Corbett and Frenchmeier.

As I grew I learned there was more to Haigler. Next door on one side was Dan Hamill’s Butcher Shop. On the other side was Armstrong’s Grocery Store. Back in the alley was an ice house where my dad stored chunks of ice from the river for summer use. Also in the alley were posts with a hitching cable where the farmers who still came to town with wagons or horse back could tie their horses.

Then I learned that along the street were Premer’s Hardware, Milford Andres’ Barber Shop, Ventis’ Variety Store, Logan’s Drug Store, Schilt’s Grocery Store, Co-op lumber building, a newspaper printing office, Munson’s hotel, Gall’s restaurant, a creamery, a shoe shop and the Haigler Hotel. Across the highway was Spin Wile’s filling station. Around the corner and down the highway was Goldenrod Garage.

One block east on the north corner was the light plant with an open concrete cooling tank full of warm water. I later learned it was a great place to swim in the winter if Mr. Wood didn’t catch you.

At the center of the intersection of main street and the highway was the city fountain. Across the railroad tracks were the Co-op elevators and the stock yards.

During the hobo days, a long freight train stopped at Haigler and the railroad bulls kicked off all the hobos. They walked up the street en masse. It was real scary! They could have taken over the town had they desired. The town marshal arranged for a full course hot meal for all of them served in the basement of a building on the east side of the street and then asked them to leave town which they did via walking down the highway.

The advent of the talkies—this had to be before the depression. My Mom and Dad took us down a graveled highway in a 1928 Plymouth all the way to McCook to see Al Jolson sing Sonny Boy. I cannot remember the name of the picture. It was a thrill.

I remember the Methodist Church. It was also where we Lutherans attended church in the afternoon. We had Bible School there sometimes and sometimes in the old hotel across from the Goldenrod Garage. A lot of the teaching I remember and distinctly remember getting rocked along the side of the head by Reverend Meyer for pulling a girl’s hair. It got kind of boring sometimes.

A new Roman Catholic church was opened on the south side of the highway toward the east end of town. My friend and classmate, Marty Neville went to church there. Marty and I played hooky and hitch-hiked to Benkelman one day. Then he and I and Mervin DeGarmo played hooky and hitch-hiked to Denver when we were seniors. As a result, Marty, Mervin and I were Bosley’d from sneak day—meaning we didn’t get to go on sneak day with the girls. Glen Bosley was the Superintendent.

Building the new light plant was an event. Ward Wonder became the operator. Building the new high school gymnasium was exciting for us. We were thrilled at the thought of playing basketball indoors. Carl Meyers worked on the project. I was watching them work until quitting time when Carl picked up his lunch bucket and said “another day, another dollar”. It was the first time I had heard that expression which was for real at that time.

There were lots of pastimes. Swimming and ice skating at the river, fishing at the slough with Wade Hoover, playing marbles and horseshoes, playing tennis on dirt courts we helped Wayne McVey build, playing hide and seek under the street lights with all the kids in town, having rubber gun fights in a vacant house, or at the two well drilling rigs on Roach’s lot, coasting and sleigh riding down Sackett’s hill. With Spud Roach’s underslung tricycle and steel wheeled trailer, we got to 30 MPH coming down the sidewalk. We had fun when we rode and bodily injury when we wrecked.

The sound I remember—the seam engines and their trains coming and going, the putt-putt of the old light plant engines blowing smoke rings out the smoke stack, the clunk-clunk of the gas pump handles when they refilled the glass reservoirs at the top, and Redden’s donkeys braying up on the hill.

Some athletes I remember, not necessarily the best, but they were good: Herman Rose, Howard Greenfield, Stanley Clegg, Royal Woods Jr., Richard Wall, Laverne Christensen, Earl Fox, Stanley Zuege, Rodney Hoover, Marshall Long, LaVoine Bowker, Charles Roach, Willie and Tommy Wall, Dale Bush, Si Allen and Bill Schmutte.

Some pretty girls I remember besides my sister – Elen Gibberson, Marguerite Kelly, Beulah Karns and Dorothy Bush.

Some boys I missed a lot – Ellsworth Long, Mervin DeGarmo, Leonard Medlock and Marshall Long.

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Haiglerites 90+

Haiglerites 70+

Haiglerites 1 - 69 (Some of these have moved past the 70 mark!)

  • Aaron Irwin - May 7th
  • Bernice (Smith) Douglass - February 15
  • CD Samler - January 19
  • Cal Freehling - November 29
  • Claudine (Wiley) Sterner - June 8, 1940
  • Dan Leinen - September 10
  • Dick Gregory - May 29, 1946
  • Elaine (Adams) Corkle - July 29
  • Eunice (Gregory) Richard - December 14, 1951
  • George Sharp - March 27
  • Glenda Smith - December 31
  • Janice Irwin - December 27th
  • Jerry R. Sampson - August 17
  • Joanie Henderson - January 2
  • Joann (Adams) Webster - March 5
  • Joie Brown - December 4
  • Joyce (Tucker) Lovenburg - Sep. 17
  • Karen (White) Lindell - June 13, 1946
  • Karen Harford - May 20
  • LaVern Smith - January 12
  • LaVeta (Smith) Blecha - January 12
  • LeNeta Carlock - May 7
  • LeeAnn Steinbeck January 30
  • Leone (Gregory) Carlson - January 27, 1943
  • Lloyd Douglass - March 18
  • Marlin Crouse - May 7
  • Mel Fisher - August 8, 1946
  • Paul Freehling - May 23
  • Sally Leinen - March 25
  • Sharna Richardson - January 15, 1959
  • Sherri Gregory - January 20, 1945
  • Stanley Carlock - December 12
  • Tim Steinbeck January 31

GOC Observers

  • Alice Gregory
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  • Claudine (Wiley) Sterner
  • Dallas Adams
  • Dick Gregory
  • Don Harford
  • Evoi (Billy) Clark
  • Gail Harford
  • Gladys Freehling
  • Glen Childers
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  • Karen Harford
  • Leah (Gregory) Brewer
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  • Lillie White
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Flying Haiglerites

Haigler Twins

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  • Edgar and Edna Williams - b. 1895
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  • Sharon Ruth and Sheila Louise Rose
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  • Galena & Gail Collicott
  • Grand-daughters of Rae White
  • John "Keefe" and Kiara Grace Schorzman