Visit to La Crosse

Continuing our journey from the Scheckel farm near Seneca to La Crosse, a trip we took twice a year when I was a boy, in the early 1950s.

We were not allowed to walk alone because it was crowded with both people and cars. We had to hold Dad’s or Mom’s hand. We thought the buildings were skyscrapers, but they were only five stories high.

The lights and sirens and window displays were strange and new to me. There was a red three-foot-tall cone keeping a beach ball aloft by the airstream. Once a kid knocked the ball away and his mother yelled at him. Mom did her shopping. Dad took Phillip, Bob, and me to the Sears Store. The basement had all the farm supplies and small machinery.

We went into Penny’s store on Fifth Street. They had an escalator that went from the first floor to the second. How lazy are people that they can’t even walk up one flight of steps, I thought.

Jack Martin did live noontime street interviews for radio station WKBH. He was the station’s farm reporter. We watched him talk to somebody that passed by. Phillip, Bob, and I edged closer. We were curious. Dad shooed us away. No need to get involved.

Dad, with his three boys in tow, met Mom at the Bodega Restaurant on Fourth Street for noon dinner. It was the only time we ever ate at the Bodega, and the only time I ate in a restaurant until I was a teenager. Each of us got a tray and went down the line. Mom selected the food, Dad paid, and we found a table.

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