August 20, 2008 Another trip down Memory Lane. Let's see if you "Oldies but Goodies'' remember this one. I was surprised that John Bishop had it in his memory file. After all, he is Mary Jean Bishop Lane's baby brother and she is my age.
In answer to my "Recalling Commencement Memories'' column, Elaine (Thomas) Dickinson from Walled Lake sent a letter thanking me for keeping the memories of Almont alive. I am glad she and others are appreciative. When I was living in Frankenmuth, I would eagerly await for my Tri-City Times to read what was going on in Almont, especially "Town Talk.'' Sometimes there wasn't anything. What a letdown. I would wonder if Almont was still on the map. Maybe we need an Almont correspondent. Remember Edith Waltz and Bess Reid? Of course that type of newsy writing is no longer in vogue. We have become too sophisticated. But I digress, pardon the interruption.
In "Recalling Commencement Memories'' I mentioned the class of 1931. Elaine's father was A.J. Thomas, a member of that class. She mentioned that he was the drum major of the Almont High School Band and that she had a picture of the group. If anyone has a copy of Hildamae Waltz Bowman's book, "Almont, The Tale of Then and Now,'' there is a picture of the band, 27 members and Director Edgar Torrey. It was also in her first book, "The History of Almont.'' Edgar Torrey organized the first high school band in 1927.
I tapped into my memory file of long ago and thought I remembered A.J.'s father having a slaughter house on the north side of Tubspring Road, between Howland Road and Van Dyke. Maybe some of you young 'uns have never heard of a slaughterhouse. It was where animals such as pigs, cows, sheep or goats were taken to be slaughtered and dressed out. For my parents it was usually a cow. Half was taken to Weyer's Grocery Store to be traded out in groceries. The other half taken home, the hind quarter taken upstairs to an empty, frigid bedroom and the rest canned with plenty of soup bones to spare. My Dad had a 'meat saw' and would make trips up to the frigid bedroom to cut off a nice big round steak. I called John Bishop and indeed he had the slaughterhouse in his memory file. John thought A.J. became a lawyer and I think so too. I will answer Elaine's letter with our memories.
When I was in high school, I would drive to school once in a while. One day I was waiting to make a left hand turn from Van Dyke onto School Street as Mr. Thomas came rumbling down Van Dyke in his old truck from the north. I must have been too close to the center lane. He stuck his fist out the window and shook it at me, having a disgusted look on his face. Naturally, ever after I was afraid of him.
Thanks again for the memories. Maybe John and I struck a familiar note with you.