Opa Memories - April



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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


Apr 1: Do you have an April Fool's Day story?

We always tried to trick each other but we were pretty savvy most of the time. Mom would act like she was fooled by out silly pranks but she was the only one we “fooled.”

Apr 2: Tell about a practical joke or prank someone played on you.

We would try to trick our classmates when we got to school but I don’t remember any specific pranks that I played on anyone or that they played on me.

Apr 3: What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a policeman, a fireman, and a priest when I was a boy but by the time I was in high school I thought I would like to become a dentist. When I went to college I took pre-med classes toward that end but I wasn’t good at all of the memorization it seemed to take.

Apr 4: Did you make a kite? Tell how.

I’m not sure how we obtained it but we had a target kite that used to be pulled behind an airplane for target practice for the troops. The kite stood over eight feet tall and had 1 inch square struts. We tried to fly it but could never get it far off the ground.

Apr 5: Tell your experiences with kite flying.

We flew regular dime store kites each spring. They almost always were the diamond shaped paper kite but some years we would get more adventurous and we would buy a box kite.

Apr 6: Have you ever hunted, or tried to capture a wild animal?

We hunted rabbit and squirrel and when we got enough we would have them for dinner. Uncle Rick used to come from across the street whenever mom would cook squirrel and invariably he would bite into a BB that I missed when I cleaned them. We also hunted partridge, pheasant, duck, and goose.

Apr 7: Did you ever try to adopt a wild animal?

We always had raccoons and deer that would come by us but we never tried to make pets out of them.

Apr 8: Make up a limerick about yourself.John Schuck standing beside the Aerial Company car that dad often drove home (click to enlarge)

There once was a boy from Marinette
Who swam every chance that he could get.
The Green Bay was always so cold,
60° or even colder I am told
And since then I haven’t gone back there yet.

Apr 9: Make up a limerick about me.

Geoffrey Schultz visits Oma and Opa in Bad Vilbel (click to enlarge) Geoff came to visit our quarters in Bad Vilbel
At the time he was just closing in on two
Mom and Oma made a costume, a cat if you will
To trick the neighbors, and a bag of candy to fill
It was all new to him, it was quite a thrill

Apr 10: Relate a favorite spring memory.

I was walking through a small swamp on the home way from school. I used this route as a shortcut and would trudge through the ice and snow. One day it was warmer than I thought and when I crossed a familiar spot I fell through the ice up to my chest. I was able to get out quickly but the walk home was very cold and very long that day.

Apr 11: Did your Mom or Dad ever find something you had hidden?

I had a treasure box that I kept under a floorboard in my bedroom. Usually it had marbles, a yoyo, and a crystal radio set that I kept in it. There was nothing secret about it but mother found the loose board and wondered why I kept things there.

Apr 12: Share a memory of going to church as you were growing up.

I used to serve mass and I particularly liked serving six o’clock mass. I would walk through crunching snow down the main street. I thought it was quite beautiful to see falling snow through the streetlights early in the morning.

Apr 13: Share a memory about a church social activity.

I loved Ice Cream Socials. I guess I liked ice cream a lot, I still do. I thought a “social” that got people together and had ice cream too was a great idea.

Apr 14: Tell about an Easter Egg hunt.

Here my mind is a blank. I remember finding our Easter Baskets on Easter morning but I don’t recall an egg hunt per se.

Apr 15: If your family went to Easter Sunrise services, tell about it.

We usually went to High Mass on Easter morning. We were changing from winter clothes to spring outfits and we usually had new stuff to wear.

Apr 16: Tell about any other Easter tradition.

Mother always mad pecan rolls to have after we got back from church. She would also make bacon and eggs but the pecan rolls were a treat. Dad would pass the dish around to all the children first… that way all the crusty, outside rolls were taken by the time the dish got back to him. Then he would take a soft, center roll for himself.

Apr 17: When you played make believe, what did you pretend?

We played cowboys and Indians and I would set up chairs by the card table. I would put a blanket over the top of our “coach” and pretend I was a stagecoach driver, fighting off bandits or Indians who were attacking us.

Apr 18: If you could return to your childhood, what would you do differently?

Wow! I don’t know that I would change anything. I think I had a great childhood. It was fun, I was always busy, and I liked school. It would be hard to beat that scenario.

Apr 19: Is there anything you would do differently as a teenager?

This is just a variation of the previous question. I was active in school, sports, and social events. If wishes had wings I would have wanted to be smarter, faster, stronger, and more engaging but you deal with the talents you have received and I was never disappointed with doing what I could.

Apr 20: Did you ever write something that you were really proud of?

I loved writing and I enjoyed writing Kibitzing with John on the sports page of the school newspaper.

Apr 21: What is the best book you ever read as a child?

One of my all time favorites was A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I tried to read all of his books after that introduction.

Apr 22: What is the biggest physical problem you had to deal with?

I have always had to watch my weight. As the joke goes, “I’ve lost over 1,000 pounds in my life.”

Apr 23: Did you have any superstitions?

I’ve never been superstitious.

Apr 24: Where were your best hide-and-seek places?

We had a separate garage at our house on Carney Boulevard in Marinette. I liked to climb around there and hide. There also was a half demolished house a couple blocks away and we used to play in the foundation and rubble. I stepped on a 2 X 4 with a nail there and it went through my shoe. Not such a good place after all.

Apr 25: Tell about the first time you were ever behind the wheel of a car.

Shortly after I was 16 my mother took me out on the ice of the Green Bay near Red Arrow Beach. She taught me how breaking the car on ice and snow would affect the car.

Apr 26: Did you ever take anything that wasn't yours?

Once I took a toy from the store. It was a yo-yo and I was fascinated by a Duncan Yo-Yo salesman at the store who was demonstrating tricks that you could do with it.

Apr 27: What did you do with it? Did you get caught?

Immediately! Mother asked when I got it and we marched back to Woolworth’s so she could pay for it.

Apr 28: Do you have a story about a big surprise?

I remember one time when I was about fifteen. Uncle John Scherer came by to visit and when he walked in we could hear music… coming from his topcoat pocket. He grinned and pulled out a maroon transistor radio. It was the first time we had heard of the transistor and we thought it was like magic.

Apr 29: What childhood fear do you remember?

I don’t think I was fearless but I don’t recall being afraid of anything. A scary movie might have made me jumpy for a while but I seldom remember any dreams… even to this day.

Apr 30: Tell about a May Day tradition.

We didn’t have a May Day tradition. May Day was just a day.


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