By Tim “Shoe” Sullivan
So the front doorbell rings. A guy named Larry Busse is at the door.
He hands me a bag and says, “Here. These are for you. My mom was cleaning out a room and came across these. They’re some old newspapers from 1967. Maybe you can use them.”
Then Larry walked away.
Man, I love stuff like that. Never met Mr. Busse in my life, but he made my day. 1967? I was a year out of high school. I couldn’t wait to see what was going on in good old Stevens Point over 50 years ago. If you’re a youngster of about 40, this column might not be for you. There’s no way you can be in it. You weren’t around like the rest of us to see that…
The Stevens Point Country Club had a Men’s Golf League. On July 20, 1967, First National Bank knocked off Eastside Foodliner. Schierl Oil beat Okray Produce, and Point Bowl downed Citizen’s Bank. It was also Sport Shop over Normington’s and Parkinson’s over Holt Drugs. “Pro of the Week” honors went to Bill Kraus, Bill Ellis, and Russ Lundquist. The “Hot Rock of the Week” was Jack Shannon (I actually knew Russ Lundquist. He was a great guy and liked to drop in to the Unique Bar where I bartended. Russ let me borrow his golf ball retriever that I used to catch foul balls at Milwaukee County Stadium.).
Slow-Pitch softball was huge around the area in ‘67. Softball leagues at Iverson Park, Goerke, Plover, and Junction City were going on every night. Sadie & Jerry’s beat Consolidated WRD, 20-19, to win the Recreation League at Iverson. The mill once led by fifteen runs. Rich Strojny won the game for Sadie’s with a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh. Babe Sroda was the winning pitcher in relief while Gene Rutta took the loss.
Glen Leary topped the winners with four hits and Don Pavlik, Wayne Bohm, and Carl Kramer added three each. Contributing two hits were Chet Zelinski, Don Higgins, Jim Schrank, Sroda, and Strojny. Bill McDonald and Mike Woyak homered for Consolidated. McDonald, Mike and Ralph Woyak, and Al Hirsch rapped three hits for the losers while Don Rutta and Gene Rutta chipped in two.
Lee Mansavage, Dave Langsley, John Brennan, and Chuck Post led Robby’s past St. Paul Lutheran. Tim Siebert and Bob Luhring were the big sticks for the losers.
In the hobby stock event at Griffith Park Speedway, Dennis Clark of Stevens Point captured the checkered flag. In the feature race, Homer Spink of Baraboo narrowly beat Marv Marzofka of Rapids, Jim Back of Vesper, Dick Trickle of Rapids, and Ken Pankratz of Mosinee. Lyle Nabbefeldt finished second to Larry Sparks in the semi-feature. Dick Trickle went on to become a racing legend.
It was really fun to scan the ads in the 1967 newspapers. For instance, did you know that you could buy an original George Portesi fresh Baby Pizza at Paul’s Bar for $1.25? The South Side Market had deals on bacon, wieners, beef roast, bologna, and plums. You could call them at 344-5365, and they had free delivery. Also on the Southside of Point, Moeschler’s had a big sale on dresses and men’s straw hats.
Erzinger’s Kiddie Korner was the place to go for getting the girls’ outfitted for their St. Stephen’s uniforms. If you had the bucks, you could get a mink stole from Nigbor’s (Wisconsin’s largest furrier) for $399. Roska Pharmacy on the Southside let you know that they had free parking and free delivery. Platwood gave free boat rides on Sunday afternoons.
If you weren’t doing anything Friday or Saturday Nite, you could catch The Excels playing at the Flame Bar next to Romie’s. The Ko-Ko Club in Plover featured Lateka Rae on Saturday Nite, and the Antler’s had dancing in the Golden Nugget Room.
The Society Page announced that Miss Anita Helen Knaack was married to Ronald Joseph Kutella at St. Stephens (Great photo of the bride)! If you had insurance questions, you could call Earle Sievwright at 344-6435 and he’d answer them. Meanwhile, mixed nuts were sold at IGA for 49 cents a can and $3.99 would get you a 50-lb. bag of Robin Hood Flour. While you were out and about, Holt Drugs would get your film developed.
Back to softball as Romie’s Rendezvous nipped 10-34 Club, 30-5. Ron Zinda was the winning pitcher. Rapping three hits for the Rendezvous were Marv Konopacki, Ed Weslock, Alex Kubala, Don Ziolkowski, Dick “Rufus” Konopacki, Larry Stuczynski, and Zinda. Chet Dombrowski, Weslock, and Ziolkowski blasted home runs. Bill Roth, Don Roth, and Charlie Hassl had two hits for the losers.
Stevens Point State University flanker Sonny Redders and veteran flanker Red Mack were cut from the Green Bay Packers by General Manager Vince Lombardi. John Jensen and Greg Gross of Point finished in the top 20 in the State Jaycee Golf Tournament. Andy North, 17, of Monona Grove took first.
Westy’s had a sale on colognes, Roy’s Eastside Citgo on Main Street had a deal on canoes, and Gwidt’s Drug Store was open every Monday Nite. You could buy a 1961 Ford 2-door hardtop for $299 or a 1962 Chevrolet for $799 at G.A.Gullikson.
If you happened to be downtown, $7.88 would get you a new golf bag at Osco Drug and you could walk out with a nice powerhouse sabre saw for $10.88. A&P had some specials, Roska Pharmacy had a deal on photofinishing, and the Wilshire Shop had swim suits reduced by 40 percent.
Those ads were so cool. Payless on Church Street was selling a new shovel or rake for 48 cents. You could buy sneakers there for $1.50. Siefert’s and Golden Hanger, Ltd. combined to have a style show. Tempo had a big sale on pants, Piggly Wiggly was selling sherbert for four pints for 69 cents (That’s right. The ad said “sherbert”). Meanwhile, Borden’s also was advertising sherbet. “El Dorado”, starring John Wayne and Robert Mitchum, was playing at the Fox Theatre.
Stevens Point was so much fun back in those days. Softball leagues everywhere, bowling leagues, golf leagues, auto races, drugstores everywhere, neighborhood grocery stores, almost no crime, and nobody locked their doors. When you called someone on the phone, you never got a recording or were put on hold. Someone always answered.
You could go to the stores and get great deals on insurance, cars, furs, canoes, pants, saws, golf bags, rakes, pizza, straw hats, dresses, bacon, wieners, beef roast, bologna, and even plums. Everything was ripe for the taking. (Get it? Plums? Ripe for the taking)? Lord, 1967 was just so cool in Stevens Point.
But 1967 was not all fun and games. And it should be told. Several of my high school classmates joined the service and were shipped off to a faraway place called Vietnam. Most of them came back on airplanes and they walked down the runway. Others came back in pine boxes and were never seen again.
Gone but not forgotten.