Thursday, July 16, 2009


After graduating from high school in 1951 I started working for a neighbor, Lamoine Baldock, which I had done for the last four summers. I did regular farm work and got equipment ready to go custom wheat harvesting. The first place we would go was Hennessey, Oklahoma. This was the first week in June. It was always fun to see old friends and make new ones. We would spend about eight days there unless it rained, then it would be longer. There was another man that had a combine that went with us and if it rained he would play cribbage all day long, so I learned to play cribbage. I was shocked to see how black people were treated there, not good!

Sometimes we would stop at Viola, Kansas and cut wheat there until the wheat was ready at home. After finishing with wheat harvest and field work at home we would head to Presho, South Dakota. Presho was a good stop. Their fields were large and flat so you could cut a lot of acres in a day. But what made it a fun place was the friends that I had made. The place where we stayed was a gas station with cabins. The owner had a son the same age as me and we were good friends. On rainy days we would spend time together. One day we went fishing. We caught a bunch of fish and were so proud of our fishing. When we got home we showed them to his dad. He said they are full of worms. They are no good. He told us sometimes when the water gets warm they will get worms off the bottom of the pond. So much for great fishermen!

Gordie had a new car so we would go to Chamberlain which was 40 miles away. That seemed to me a long ways to go to a movie. But if there was a good show in Mitchell they would go, and it was over a 100 miles. On my birthday Gordie and two other friends took me to Murdo to a large auto museum. Then they took me to a bar and grill for supper and we stayed there a little long. It was late when we started home and that time of the year it gets real cold at night. Someone decided that we wouldn't freeze so we played freeze out on the way home. This was the last year to be with them. Gordie became a great coach.

When I got home I had to be at Kansas State for football practice. They had talked with me to come and play football so I had a room in the football stadium. They had two practice fields. One was just south of the stadium and the other one was the ROTC marching Field. One day when we were practicing in the south field I noticed a man watching me from the sidewalk. It was my uncle Otto from Parsons, Kansas. He was real good football player in high school at Delphos. They won several games in a row. Minneapolis was a larger school but Delphos beat them bad in football. That created bad blood between the two towns for years.

Jack Lorenze was playing on the varsity at KSU. He was from Minneapolis and he and I played together at M H S. He was a senior when I was a freshman. The first football game I ever saw I played in. It was at Barnard, Ks.

While I was at KSU I worked at the student union. It was an old army barracks. I also worked at an ice cream store in Aggieville. It was called The Fountain. It was owned by a dairy in Emporia, Ks. I worked for a short squatty guy. He didn't eat much ice cream but he drank a lot of Jack Daniels. I had worked there about six weeks when I noticed a car parked out front watching the store. Then one night two men came in the store and fired the manager. They asked me if I would manage it for them. There was an older women that would open the store in the mornings so I told them that would work for me until they found a new manager. That lasted for six months. We put in a shuffle board and would keep the high score for a week then give out prizes. It was used a lot. One night a friend of mine was working and he closed the store that evening. The next morning when we opened all the ice cream up front was thawed. He had turned off the wrong switch! That was the biggest problem we had.

I got to know the KSU basketball players. Several of the starters were regular costumers. We had a special called the Zombie which we made in a tall malt glass. We started with a scoop of vanilla ice cream with strawberries and chocolate syrup, then a dip of strawberry ice cream with pineapple and caramel topping, then a dip of chocolate ice cream covered with marshmallow topping with chopped cherries and nuts on top. It was our best seller.

The owners had two stores, one in Aggieville and one in Emporia. Later on they changed the name to Peter Pan. Today there are many stores and are known as Braum's.
Some prices I remember---ice cream cone .05. Malts, sundaes, floats and sodas .20. Zombie .25. Banana split .30. Coke and other fountain drinks .05 and .10. This was in 1951.

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