Opa Memories - January



Related Links
Contact Us


When our grandson, Geoffrey, was four years old he sent me the book, “Grandpa, Tell Me Your Memories.” As I filled the daily pages  over the next year was able to relive many fond memories.Opa, Tell Me Your Memories
by W John Schuck


Jan 01: What was your day and date of birth?

I was born on [[                          ]]

Jan 02: Where were you born? Be specific.

I was born at ... [[                          ]]

Jan 03: Do you know any other circumstances of your birth (who was present, who delivered, etc.)?

I was born at 3:30 A.M and weighed 3 lbs, 6 oz. Dr. [[                          ]] was the family physician and the doctor who delivered me.

Jan 04: If you have a childhood picture for me, put it in this space.

William John Schuck (click to enlarge)

Jan 05: Name your brothers and sisters and their years of birth.

James Michael Schuck (click to enlarge)    Judith Anne Schuck (click to enlarge)    Jarold Raymond Schuck (click to enlarge)    Kathryn Jane Schuck (click to enlarge)

James Michael Schuck
Judith Anne Schuck
Jarold Raymond Schuck
Kathryn Jane Schuck

Kitty and Ray Schuck (click to enlarge)Jan 06: What was your mother’s name?


Jan 07: What was your father’s name?

Raymond William (RW)

Jan 08: What was your mother’s date and place of birth?

She was born Mar 29, 1912 in Menominee, Menominee County, MI, USA

Jan 09: What was your father’s date and place of birth?

He was born Jan 29, 1911 in Joliet, Will County, IL, USA

Jan 10: Tell a family nickname you had.

I never had a nickname per se. We all used the name that began with the “J” so we were the five Js… Jim, Judy, Jere, John, and Jane.

Jan 11: How did you get it?

It just grew, we delighted in telling people we were the 5 Js and then say as fast as we could, “Jerry, Judy, Jimmy, Jane, John.” The list wasn’t in birth order but you could say it faster that way.

Jan 12: Tell of any other nicknames in your family.

Jere began to be called Jay when he was in the Army I think. Anyway, one time after he returned from the service mother answered the telephone and the operator said, “I have a call for J Schuck.” Mother said, “Which One?” The operator then asked, “How many are there?” Mother replied that there were five.

Jan 13: What did your father do for a living?

Dad received a degree from Loyola University in Chicago. While he was at school he worked as a night clerk at a hotel. His degree was in accounting and he then began work in the Chicago City Treasurer’s Office. He got laid off during the depression and my uncle, Fred Jaeger, asked him to work in our home town. He worked there during World War II and Korea. After that he worked for the George S. May Company in Chicago. That company sold its services to other companies, which were in financial difficulty. They would send in efficiency experts, accountants and other professionals who would then make recommendations on how to help that company get back on its feet. Later he worked in Sparta, Wisconsin for RCA, which was operating a contract for the Job Corps. This was followed by his last position as an accountant for the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Jan 14: Name the towns you lived in before you were 20.

The day after I graduated from high school I moved to Madison, Wisconsin.

Jan 15: Name the childhood addresses you remember.

Jan 16: Tell a fond memory of your Grandpa.

John Scherer (click to enlarge)William Peter Schuck (click to enlarge) John, my Mother’s father, died in 1939 before I was born. Dad’s father, William Peter, died in 1946 and I don’t have any memories of him.

Ruth Alta Space Scherer (click to enlarge)Margaret Elizabeth Gatons Schuck (click to enlarge)Jan 17: Tell a fond memory of your Grandma.

 Alta died in 1937, before I was born. Margaret lived until 1968. Her house was in Joliet, Illinois and we didn’t get to that city very often. I do remember that her house always seemed dark and dreary.

Jan 18: Tell about a favorite Aunt.

There were many aunts that were favorites but when I used to live with anyone, as when Jane was born or mother was sick, I lived with Laura Pfiester Scherer. She was terrific! She was warm, friendly, and a great cook. I loved her kitchen. She also told Uncle John to stop teasing me when he was being too hard at it.

Jan 19: Tell about a favorite Uncle.

My mother’s brother John was my favorite. He was a big, bustling man who would come unannounced to the house and you could tell by the smell of his cigar when he was even on the front porch. He was full of jokes, full of life, and loved gadgets. I remember one time when he came to the house and we could hear music playing from his coat. He had a Motorola Transistor Radio. It tickled him to have us guess where the music was playing. It was the first transistor radio any of us had seen.

Jan 20: Did any relative ever live with you?

Grandmother Scherer lived with the family before I was born but there were no other family members who lived with us. We had family visit us often but no one else made our house their home.

Jan 21: Did you ever have an imaginary friend?

No, I don’t think I ever had an imaginary friend.

Jan 22: When you needed punishment as a child which parent corrected you?

Mother always provided the discipline in the family. I never remember my father ever punishing any of us except one time he made believe he was spanking Judy but he never touched her, he hit a book.

Jan 23: What type of punishment was dealt you?

When I was little and threw a tantrum I was spanked. Most of the time I lost a privilege for a time. Sometimes I was sent to my room to reflect on whatever infraction I had committed. Mother would sometimes deliver a swat to the top of my head on occasion.

Jan 24: Tell about the naughtiest thing you ever did.

So many choices… I think the most outrageous thing I did was when I was about 10. Candice Rinehart and I thought it would be a good idea to take a note and draw a black panther’s paw with dripping blood on it. Underneath it we wrote, “Beware of the cat’s paw!” We left these missives at several of the neighbors’ homes but one really frightened a nice lady from across the street, Mrs. Kerski. She called the police and the next day Officer Labbs, one of our policemen, came to our house to ask if mother knew anything about it. She called me and I lied and said I didn’t know anything about it. Worse, I suggested that maybe the Kramer kids from across the street might have done it.

Jan 25: If you got caught, describe the consequences.

Officer Labbs left but mother knew me better and kept talking about the incident until I confessed. She was mortified and had to call the police to tell them the truth. I had to go across the street and apologize to Mrs. Kerski. I think mother’s disappointment in me was the worst punishment.

Jan 26: Relate an experience or memory of a cousin.

My cousin, Bob Gilbertson, was closer to me in age than any other cousins. We used to play together often and I would go to his house to visit. He had a large train set and a movie projector with what seemed to be a lot of Castle Films cartoons and westerns. I thought he was very wealthy with toys and things.

Jan 27: Did your mother work outside of the home?

Mother didn’t have an outside job but she did volunteer with the school lunch program. She also helped with projects for the company where my dad worked when they came up. I recall her mentioning that they sometimes help process the punch boards that were set out in taverns. She also helped with beauty shows.

Jan 28: What did you and your brothers or sisters fight about the most?

I suppose one of the benefits of time is that you forget much of the negative. I don’t remember fighting with my brothers or sisters except than Jane and I were closer so we more likely fought together. Probably because one of us thought the other was getting more attention than the other.

One time Jere and I got into a real fight, fist flying and everything. We were living on Pierce Avenue and were fighting in the front living room. I can hear mother yelling at us to stop and I have no idea what it was about.

Jan 29: What was the dumbest stunt ever pulled by you and a brother or sister?

I recall one time Jim was building an experiment in the basement. It consisted of a beaker of soda water with a test tube of sulpheric acid in the beaker. There was a rubber stopper with a bent pipette out of the top. It was all held down with wire and the desired effect was to tilt it to the point where the acid was spill over into the general mixture, develop enough pressure, and then spray the water out the tube on to the base of a fire. This would demonstrate the way a fire extinguisher would work.

Unfortunately, the pressure built up too quickly and the experiment blew up in my face – literally. The acid water was wiped off immediately and I didn’t get any into my eyes. I’m sure some of that was because the solution was weak too. But enough acid did spray on to the front of a brand new winter coat. Mother sewed green plaid front panels to both sides of the zipper to cover the holes for that year’s jacket.

Jan 30: Tell about the worst winter storm that you can remember as a child.

Our house had heavy storm doors and windows. We would be quite warm and bundled up against the winter. I suppose that because of that I mostly remember how much fun we would have when the snow would drift up to the second floor windows. We would jump out of the upper window into the snow pile and think that was great fun. I think we had to watch out for the “giant” icicles so they didn’t fall on us.

More seriously, when we did have bad storm that caused problems, it was really the fall in temperature rather than the amount of snow that seemed to be a problem. Because wee lived so far north our water pipes were all buried at least 4 feet below the surface but sometimes that was not enough. We then needed to turn the water on a trickle so there was a steady flow of water which helped the pipes keep clear. If you didn’t the pipes could freeze and cause a mess.

Jan 31: What did you use to go sledding down a hill in the snow?

We had sleds and a toboggan and would use either one, depending on how many children would ride together. For fun we also slid down on cardboard boxes because they were so erratic and unpredictable. When I was 10 or so we got a “Snowflake” which was new toy based on riding a trashcan cover but with handles. Supposedly you could steer this by adjusting you weight and leaning to one side or another. I thought it was just a fancier version of the cardboard box.

When we took that our for the first time at City Park, Gil Gilbertson decided it looked like fun and rode down the hill. He got laughing so hard and couldn’t control it. His wife Betty thought he was going to go into the trees and kill himself. She hollered to him to watch out but he was OK.


January    February    March    April    May    June
July    August    September    October    November    December
Related Links    Contact Us