By Tim “Shoe” Sullivan
Well, you know the old saying: There’s a first time for everything. Now granted, I’m still waiting to date Miss July, and I have yet to win Powerball. But other than that, many “firsts” have come my way. For instance, did you know that…
The first burger I bought in public was at Robby’s in Stevens Point back in the ’60s. The first chicken filet sandwich that I ate came from Richard’s Drive-In. It was delicious. The first legal beer I consumed (at age 18) was a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon at Little Joe’s Drinking Establishment in Park Ridge. The first thing I bought at Woolworth’s in downtown Point was a hot bag of roasted cashews.
The first rotisserie chicken I tasted came from the old Loop Bar in town. You could stand in front of their bay window on Main Street and watch the mouth-watering chicken turn over and over while cooking. The first hot beef sandwich I ate was at Wanta’s Bowling Lanes. “Big Ern” made terrific hot beefs.
The first frozen pizza I ever baked was a Portesi’s cheese and sausage from Dan’s Ice Cream Parlor. Never baked one before. This was new to me, and I missed the part about taking the plastic wrapper off first.
The first high school football game I ever saw was in the 1960’s when Rocky Bleier and Appleton Xavier throttled our Pacelli team to the tune of something like 40-0. Xavier never lost, and Rocky went on to win four Superbowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Our fifth-grade basketball team (the “C” team) played against our “A” team in a city tournament. The first (and only) basket by our team was scored by Bill Giese with a few seconds remaining. We lost, 100-2. We had nobody who could dribble and they full-court pressed us the whole game. We never made it past half-court until Bill finally made a layup.
The first time I bought a fortune cookie was somewhat of a bummer. The message on a small piece of paper inside the cookie was written in Chinese. Lot of good that did. The first time I used the bathtub upstairs in Buffy’s Lampoon was when J. Clark Pinzer and I dumped a gunny sack of golf balls into it and sorted them.
The first and only ride I ever went on at the Dixon Street Carnival was the Tilt-a-Whirl. Scared the hell outta me. The first hockey puck I ever had came thanks to Bobby Gould. Fritz Becker and I were at rink-side at Willet, and the Pointer hockey team was warming up doing drills. Goalie Bobby Gould spotted us and flipped me the puck with his goalie stick.
The first and only “real” gun I ever owned was one my parents bought me after high school. It was a Marlin semi-automatic .22 rifle, and the darn thing was almost like a machine gun. Pow…pow…pow…pow.
The first time I ever heard of the term “circular file” was in History class in high school. It was my favorite subject. We were taking a big test when my buddy in the desk right behind me leaned over and said: “Hey Shoe. What’s the answer to number five?” I turned around and whispered the answer. Suddenly, a loud voice from our teacher Mr. Miller rang out. He said—and I quote: “Class, Mr. Sullivan and Mr. (my buddy) are finished with the exam, so I will now put their tests in the circular file.” I turned to my buddy and asked: “Is that good?” My buddy said: “Don’t know for sure, but I doubt it.” Then Mr. Miller took our tests and gently dropped them into the wastebasket.
The first time I played hide and seek as a kid, nobody looked for me.
The first time I went ice fishing, I caught nothing. The second time I went, I caught a cold.
The first fish fry I ever had was a haddock dinner at the old American Legion. Gen Giese served it, and it was awesome. Which reminds me. The first wedding I ever went to was also at the Legion. No idea who got married.
The first car I had was a 1975 Buick Skylark. Still wish I had it. The first item I bought at Tempo was a roll of film for my camera. The first thing I ever found on the sidewalk was a plastic Oscar Mayer weiner whistle.
My first .45 record came from Graham-Lane. “The Wanderer” by Dion & The Belmonts. The first fish I ever caught was not something cool like a perch, bluegill, or walleye. Hell, no. It was a damn DOGFISH!! It was so ugly nobody even knew what it was. I tossed it back into the river but a turtle threw it back.
The first baseball glove I had came from the downtown Sport Shop. A “Johnny Podres” Rawlings glove. The first time I played in a Little League game (for Firefighters in 1961), I somehow had three hits against Don Kulich of B’nai B’rith. Couldn’t wait to play them again. Neither could Donny Kulich. He struck me out four times. Oh. When I got that first hit, a double, he also picked me off second.
The first neighbor kid I ever shot at was “Linky” Saito. He was way up in an oak tree, and we we’re having a peashooter fight. I blew one pea at him and missed. He shot one back, hit me in the leg, and I ran home.
The first thing I bought from the White House in Washington, D.C. was a golf putter. It was during the Bill Clinton era. The first thing I bought from Park’s Toy Store in the 50’s was a plastic gun that shot plastic bullets. I liked to mow down little plastic army men.
The first bobblehead I had was a Robin Yount of the Brewers. My first baseball card was a 1958 Topps Joe Adcock of the Milwaukee Braves. It ended up in my bicycle spokes once I found an Eddie Mathews card in a wax-pack.
Don’t remember the first movie I saw at the Fox Theatre, but the last one was “Bonnie && Clyde”. The first tv dinner I ever ate was a Swanson’s turkey tv “entrée” while stuck at St. Mike’s as a sophomore in high school. It was awesome! The tv dinner, I mean.
The first time I realized I might have an electrical issue was when I opened the fridge and the toaster started smoking.
The first and only time I was in the high school marching band, I almost fell down a manhole. Played the clarinet and hated it.
The first egg roll I ever ate was at Pete’s Silver Coach. Tasted great. I also won $5 in bingo once.
The first time I really “went on a load” on the square, I woke up the next morning and found a tenner shoe in the microwave. The first time I heard the song “Kind Of A Drag”, I thought it said “Canada Dry”.
The first time I changed a light bulb on the ceiling, I held the bulb while someone else turned the ladder. The first time I went bow hunting, I got lost in the woods. Fired three shots in the air but that didn’t help any.
I played 43 years in city rec league basketball, and the first time I actually guarded someone was…never.
I’m now gonna watch my favorite Abbott & Costello routine, “Who’s On First?”
Would love to see your “firsts”. Bet there’s some real doozies…