By Tim “Shoe” Sullivan
We recently did a column on Stevens Point “Memories”. It was about people and places and things to do “back in the day”, and the darn thing went over pretty big. Several readers chimed in with memories that we failed to mention. Almost all of them are nothing more than dreams remembered from the good old days in Point.
Without further ado, do you remember …
When Stevens Point phone numbers had four numbers and a letter? Mine was 1064J.
Were you there at Fill’s Bar when BJ Thomas sang his new song “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head”? It played during the hit movie “Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid”.
When Vince Gill performed at Quandt? Or when Kenny Rogers and The First Edition also were at Quandt? How about Roy Orbison playing at the old Holiday Inn? Or Johnny Cash at the same place? Then there was country singer Dottie West at the “Y”. And Bobby Vee at Lake Pacawa.
Did you catch the action at Royal Wood when Craig Ludwig of the NHL’s Dallas Stars brought six of his NHL pals to play a charity softball game against a team of area hockey coaches? Derian Hatcher and Richard Matvichuk of Dallas, Mick Vukota of the Islanders, Shawn Chambers of the New Jersey Devils, Doug Zmolek of the Chicago Blackhawks, Kevin Hatcher of the Penguins, and I forgot who else.
The NHL guys blasted about 15 home runs and really put on a show. Incidently, one of the guys on the opposing team was Mike Pavelski, Joe’s dad from Plover. Mike had six hits in that game!
Since we’re talking about Point area memories, just thought I’d throw in my dearly departed girlfriend. Now wait. She didn’t die. She just departed. Ran off with the mailman.
Who can forget Quality Beverage on the Northside? That Orange Crush in the small brown bottles was like nectar from God! Simply an awesome taste.
You could go to Northside IGA and buy one of those great Swanson chicken TV dinner “entrees” for 39 cents. Simply chicken and whipped potatoes. Delicious!!
Mae Peterson remembered playing “jacks”.
Tempo was a new store in town.
You could “eat with the elite” at the Main Street Café. And the Pal Restaurant.
The aforementioned mailman.
Oh, then there was the time Kermit Alexander came to town. Kermit was a defensive back for the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams from 1963 to 1971. He also was an outstanding punt returner and was my late dad’s favorite player. So in the 80’s, I’m in the Big Moon Saloon and the owner, Pete Marsh, says “Man, you really missed it! Kermit Alexander was in here last night! He even signed my Budweiser poster.”
I says: “What was he doing here?” Pete said: “He’s in town scouting some Pointer football players for the 49ers. He’ll be here for a week.”
The next day, I’m in Top Hat. Freddie Lundquist says Kermit Alexander was in there that morning. Said he was scouting for the Niners.
For about a week, seems like Kermit was everywhere in Point. Country Club. Lobster dinners.
Then an interesting thing happened. Nobody could actually say they saw him scouting out the Pointers. After he was in town for a day or two, I went back to the Big Moon and took a closer look at the poster he signed. He wrote: “Kermit Alexander … UCLA … Class of ‘71”.
For the hell of it, I went home and brought out my 49ers’ media guide. Looked up Kermit. He won some awards at UCLA. In 1962. Not ‘71. 1962.
Hmmm. I told Pete and Freddie: “Well, Kermit must have a lousy memory cuz he’s off of his college career by nine years.” Nobody listened.
Turned out “Kermit” was just some dude from New Jersey passing through.
Do you remember the Dixon Street carnivals? More on them later.
I miss listening to Scottie Krueger broadcasting Pointer games on the radio. Scottie was a terrific announcer.
Still remember the day when Packer Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Nitschke dropped in at the old Unique Bar. There were about ten people in the bar. Ray (#66) came in around noon and stayed until closing sipping on tomato juice. By the time he left, the bar was filled to the brim as Ray signed autographs (for free) and posed for about a hundred photos and everyone had a blast!
Speaking of the old Unique, how about their softball cards in 1977? Classics!
The Top Hat, Upper Wisconsin River Yacht Club, and Northside IGA all burned down.
Have a ton of great memories of the Rec Department City basketball leagues. Believe they started in the 50’s.
Can’t forget the Red Lantern on Isadore. We closed a bar on the square, drove over to the Red Lantern, and ordered a pizza from Bill’s to be delivered there.
The Rec Center was always hopping on Friday nights for the youth in the area to enjoy ping pong, pool, basketball, dances, and playing the latest records.
Great fun was also had in the “High League”, a softball league we played in just out of high school. Games were at Goerke, the Rec ran it, and Barry Fecteau started the league.
Then there was the Walt Wilmot Softball League. Sunday afternoons at Iverson. The Yacht Club team had players riding in on horses. Buffy’s Lampoon had a bunch of Siasefi’s playing softball while wearing dresses. And Romie’s Rendezvous unveiled
two players (Dave Suchon and Scottie Prince) who hit a bunch of home runs out of Iverson while using wood bats!
Loved the hotdogs at Fisher’s Dairy. And burgers at the Mint Bar. Long Johns at the Point Bakery and fish fries at Northside Bar.
Had to take goiter pills in grade school. Don’t have a clue what a goiter is, but those pills tasted great. And it cost 20 cents to mail a letter.
The Pointers winning the national championship in basketball … SPASH blowing away everybody (last year) … Homecoming floats at Pacelli…Max Kopchinski and the Pacelli pep bands (Max could play 50 instruments!).
And the bars! Good Lord, the bars; Johnny & Elaines…Thunderbird…Tom & Mary Ann’s…Zodiac…Zimmie’s…Geno’s KoKo Klub…Chuck’s Tap…Little Brown Jug…Harmony …Roy’s Bar…Grin & Beer It…Frank & Ernie’s…Coaches…Big Daddy’s…Archie’s…and on and on.
Hey, it’s been fun. Happy to share some fond memories of the Point area’s past. No doubt you have some, too. Feel free to comment. ♫ Memories are made of this. (Thank you Dean Martin).
Point really rocked. If anyone’s looking for me, I’ll be fishing for bullheads on the Wisconsin River by Pagel’s Mill.