Family matters in Wisconsin

Just returned from week long trip: BIL to DEN to MSN to ORD to SEA to BIL. The only hitch was the surly baggage handlers in Seattle where Peg and I waited late Saturday evening for 75 minutes for my bag. I keep telling myself that I have to carry it on. I think it is time to make good on this promise. As you can see, our old house in Hustisford is much the same, and the trees in the back are now mature, like the girls (now ladies of a certain age) they were planted to honor.

Had a visit with Uncle Omer and Aunt Ardis, who have just moved back closer to Madison.

Gerald has retired from WAMIC, in order to have more time to pursue other interests and his hobby of mowing his extensive lawn. And playing with his grandchildren.

Had a pleasant visit with Bryan, Vicki, Scott, Carly, Mitch, Matthew, Ella and newly arrived Eilyanna. Took some pictures in a nearby park.

We spent a day checking out old haunts in Hustisford and Dodge County. Lots of changes over the years but much has remained the same or improved since the good old days. Many old houses looked familiar as I used to deliver papers to them early mornings.

Gerry mentioned that the old Zuelsdorf house (two doors east of Presbyterian church: see above middle or maybe right, I hope) that he and Judy lived in many years ago was one of those bought by catalog from Sears and Roebuck. The boards in the attic and cellar still had the logos on them.

The Milwaukee Sentinel was the morning paper long ago and the Journal was the afternoon paper, the former more on the right and the latter on the left. They are now combined as the Journal-Sentinel (or maybe vice-versa): apparently a peculiar mixture of loony left (from the Journal) and more sensible writing from the middle and right (from the Sentinel). I couldn’t figure out the Sudoku puzzle for two days in a row.

Hustisford looks fine, almost doubled (although there is some difference of opinion about the actual numbers depending on which end of town you come in on) in population since we hung out there in the 50s. Mueller’s meat market, see below right, which we lived above for nearly 10 years, has been converted into living quarters, and so too has Kienast’s, the other meat market in town.

The recipe for his excellent summer sausage was supposed to have been handed down or maybe sold to Leroy Meats but it didn’t seem the same when we bought some up in Horicon.
My guess is that state regulation forced some changes in the process. High class mushrooms are also now for sale.

The bowling alley was about the same, with pretty good sandwiches and automatic pin-setters rather than the juvenile delinquents making beer money at 10 cents a line, I think. The grocery store is gone.

The Hotel looks pretty much the same. Bethany Lutheran Church looks better, with a nice new school behind it. The old parochial school is gone, and of course the ballfield we used to play on. The old public high school is gone, completely and utterly gone.

The Hustisford Hilltoppers won’t be able to come back anymore. That last was a shock as that was where we came of age in the 50s.

The old school has been replaced by a nice new high school and grade school on the edge of town, partly underground, so it must have won an environmental prize. The baseball park that my father imagined into being back in the 50s is still there with a fairly shallow left field fence, so they raised the fence to make it more difficult to hit a homerun. Of course, somebody without an ounce of aesthetic feeling has shortened up the infield grass so they can play softball!!! on the same field. The terraced grandstand is still there though better looking than the original.

Radloff Cheese Factory has gone out of business. Grandpa Mueller’s farm looked a little shabby, especially the house. The old silo on the north side of the barn is gone and the new blue metal ones have been moved back. There is a fancy house on the hillside leading up to the small woodlot.

Seems unlikely they let the cows out in that pasture now. Roads are being repaired in town. Farms look prosperous over most of the county, though many of the fields are being replaced by housing developments around Hustisford and Madison as well. Cemetery looks well cared for.

Gerald’s retirement party brought out some old friends from high school days and even a stray brother. That is Gene and Janice Mintzlaff on the left, another couple from the same high school year that Carol and I came from.


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