Jim O'Leary

Waverly Star

By Jim O'Leary

An e-mail newsletter for and about Waverly people, used with permission in the HLW Herald and on this web site.

 Oct. 28, 2002

A walk down memory lane (continued . . .)

Marching in Waverly's Memorial Day parade brought back memories of Dan Herbst's childhood in Waverly - good business people up and down Main Street, and a lot of happy times.

Last week he had paused at the Village Hall, ready to turn down Main Street. Let's pick up his narrative from there.

By Dan Herbst
continued from last week's Waverly Star

Across the street from the Village Hall was Copeland's Cafe, Ed Murray's Meat Market, and Elhart Diers' Barber Shop.

Murray's Meat Market reminded me of the unforgettable time I saw a steer being butchered in the back. It was the first time I had ever seen such a thing.

First, it was shot right in the middle of the forehead by a .22 rifle hollowpoint, and after it dropped, I got to watch the entire butchering process.

Murray's Market was also a very sociable place, like the barber shop and the cafe. Besides shopping every day for the fresh meat, one could also rent a locker in the freezer to store all kinds of meat, including venison.

Marching down the street past Pete's Grocery, I recalled "Heinie" Franske and Bill Henk, two of Waverly's finest, whose lives ended far too soon. I don't know if Waverly ever did recover from the loss of these two fine store operators.

The Henk Drug Store was a teen hangout, and it was very lucky Bill Henk had a sense of humor and liked teenagers, of all people!

Between those two stores was the Waverly Theater where, as a lad, I could attend the movies for 12 cents and buy popcorn for a nickel. The smell of that popcorn wafted down the street every evening because the doors were always open, except in the dead of winter.

Hanging out at the drugstore with no money to go to the show, one could still enjoy the fragrance of the popcorn in the company of some friends who were also broke.

The movies came in huge, round metal containers, and were delivered by the Minneapolis Star and Tribune truck. It was there I learned the origin of the term for finishing filming a movie: "to put it in the can."

Across the street was the real center of the universe, Ogle's Cafe. It was open for business seven days a week, from as early in the morning as 4 a.m., before Mrs. Ogle went to Mass, until late at night.

There was a "hotel" attached in the back, where lived bachelors such as A. S. Reidmiller, the Great Northern Station agent. The "lounge" for this hotel was a leather sofa in the front of the restaurant, which commanded a nice view of Main Street and was always occupied.

Dinners on Mother's Day and Easter drew people from all over the state, they were so fine. Home-cooked items, such as bread, pies, and cakes, were churned out daily and drew rave notices from everyone.

On Sundays, coach Ches Ogle played as background music on his 78 rpm record player all the big bands - Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, and Glen Miller, to name just a few.

At the counter was a wonderful glass case loaded with penny candy, in all the varieties in the world. There was some penny candy, which came in rolls, and you could peel off the candy piece-by-piece, attached as it was to a long roll of paper.

One could also catch a glance at some of the magazines, such as "Look" and "Life," with ladies on the cover.

These magazines were high off the floor and could only be reached by a stepladder, so any passing looks from the floor would only spin one's imagination as to what might be inside. Possibly some ladies from Hollywood in two piece bathing suits. Could that be possible?

Next door to Ogle's was none other than the purveyor of all things known to man, which were mechanical or electrical, the hardware store of Patrick McHale.

Patrick was always at the helm with his patented short, stubby cigar in the corner of his mouth. Only Winston Churchill had a better trademark. What a wonderful Irish merchant.

Of course, across the street was the epicenter of the universe, the Waverly Municipal Liquor Store. Behind the bar, with a smile you could see a mile, was none other than James Fitzpatrick.

His stories ranged from hay wagons full of shot pheasants to spearing Northerns so big one could not get them through the hole in the fish house.

James claimed that he was also awarded a bronze star for his rescue of Elhart Diers one winter day. It seems that Elhart had fallen asleep in his fish house and fell through the hole and down into the water.

Crow River was where he ended up. Jimmy was just down the bend of the Crow River and saw Elhart go by floating under the ice hole of his house. Within a split second, Jimmy claimed he reached down and pulled Elhart out of the river and brought him out the door and onto the ice where he tried to revive him.

Elhart was awakened, but it was so cold that it took a quart of home brew off the Klingelhoets farm to bring his body temperature back to normal. I think this was my godfather Jim Fitzpatrick's greatest fish story. He said people would come from as far away as the Rasset Store to seek his autograph.

Often holding court at the bar would be none other than Charles Ogle, Johnny Wandersee, Dick Tuckenhagen, Axel Davo, Benny Smith, Walter Volmerding, Mickey Boyle, Jules Herbst, Ed Kuchenmeister, Bud Claessens, Tofel Raitor, and Jerry and Val Le Page.

Resting his feet at the end of the bar would be, most often, Red Fitzpatrick, sipping a few beers set up by the boys from Hamm's distributors, Mac McKlim and Arnie Painschab.

Sheik Ogle had a hard time controlling the entertainment expense account of Mac McKlim at times.

Final turn . . . (editor's note: We are still on the Memorial Day March down Main Street).

Now into view comes St. Mary's. It is impossible for me to recall all the wonderful memories from St. Mary's Church and St. Mary's High School - all the great priests and nuns who dedicated their lives to education and religion, and the legions of great graduates from that institution.

Not to be forgotten are all the fine people who went to the Waverly public school, who have gone on to be wonderful contributing citizens of this great country of ours, and the dedicated teachers at that school, such as Isabel Cosgrove, to name just one of many.

When the march is over, it is a high honor to stand as part of the color guard and listen to the names of the warriors and the names of the ladies auxiliary who are now deceased. All have served their country, and all are remembered with reverence and gratitude.

This was my own walk down memory lane. Each of you, as you read this, can fill in your own names and events and precious memories just as I have done. That is, if you had the same privilege I had of growing up in Waverly, Minn.

Daniel J. Herbst
7640 Crimson Bay Rd.
Chaska, MN 55318

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