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.Swift White Fox III in Head-dress, Jim White, Milwaukee, WI

Swift White Fox III - Jim White Milwaukee, WI

Swift White Fox aka Jim White of Milwaukee, Wisconsin

 Stunning stories and background information on James D. White a/k/a Swift White Fox or GYM
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Stories from my past

"From time to time I will tell you true stories from my past...."

 

Swift White Fox III shares stories from his past.

Below are just a few of the many stories Jim has recalled to share with us.

 

Story 1 - A Celebrity

Story 2 - Wax on-Wax off

Story 3 - My Hero

Story 4 -   Flowers

Story 5 - Can't Drink & Saw Straight

Story 6 - Rain Dance

Story 7 - Coach

Story 8 - How I Got My FIRST Job

Story 9 - Roadwork

Story 10 - Squash

Story 11 - Learning to Fight

Story 12 - Exhaustion

Story 13 - The Depression

Story 14 - Leaving Home

Story 15 - Small Towns/Fast Car

Story 16 - Why I Turned Pro

Story 17 - Motion Sickness

Story 18 - Being Proud

Story 19 - My First REAL Job

Story 20 - Girls

Story 21 - Horsemeat

Story 22 - Almost Rich

Story 23 - Sailing

Story 24 - Movies

Story 25 - Pigeons

Story 26 - Altar Boy

Story 27 - Grandma Sarah

Story 28 - Christmas

Story 29 - TIDAL Wave

Story 30 - Read the Instructions

Story 31 - Alter Boy II

Story 32 - Vince Lombardi

Story 33 - Clara

Story 34 - How to Fish

 

"From time to time I will tell you true stories from my past...."

 

 

 

Stories from My Past -  #1 - A Celebrity

Hi, Family...

 

In 1948, when I won my first Golden Gloves tournament, I lived with my mother on 39th Street off North Avenue. On Sunday after the tournament, I went to church. On the way there, people kept waving at me and hollering. I couldn't hear what they were saying, because I had my windows rolled up. When I got home, I told my mother how popular I was. I thought they must have seen me on TV during the fights and were congratulating me. I was really excited and so was my mother.

The next Sunday, I took the same route to church and the same thing happened. Everybody was waving and hollering. I kept waving back and smiling all the way. Again, my mom was impressed and I felt like a celebrity.

With the next trip to Church, I found out what all the waving and hollering was about. It really knocked the wind out of my sails when I discovered I had been going the wrong way down a one-way street and all they were trying to do was to get my attention.

Talk about EMBARRASSING!

Your humbled father,

Gym/Boom-Boom/Swift White Fox

 

 

 

Stories from my past: Story #2 - Wax on-Wax off

Hi again...

 

Growing up, my best friend was a guy named Tom Nabby.  To make extra money, on weekend nights, Tom and I would go bar to bar offering to give shoe shines.  We did better as night got later, because the more the patrons drank, the bigger were the tips.

 

One night, while shining one particular guy's shoes, he asked if we'd like to make some extra bucks.  He said he'd give us $5 to simonize his car the next day.  He gave his address (which was close by) and told us to get the simonizer and rags from his wife at home.

 

The next day was very hot and sunny.  We got the rags, etc., but didn't read any directions.  We put the simonizer on the entire car at one time.  We thought it best to let it sit in the sun for an hour so it would be very dry and easy to take off.  When we went back to wipe it off, it was caked into the car's finish and it would not come off.  We found out later (too late) that you should only apply a small amount and remove it immediately.  When the man came home, it can't be repeated what he said.  Plus, we didn't get the $5!

 

Love,

      Dad

 

 

Stories from my past: #3 My Hero

Hi family...

 

This will be short and very fuzzy, because the incident happened a long, long time ago when I was just a toddler.

 

We (my mother and me) must have been at a picnic at a lake somewhere.  I remember her setting me on her shoulders and walking into the lake.  My mother couldn't swim at all, and she must have stepped into a sink hole.  I can remember her sinking into the water and she raised me above her head so I wouldn't go under.  It all happened so fast, but I remember being terrified and screaming.  Someone must have heard my cries and came to our rescue.  I have no memory of who came to help us, or how they got my mother - but I just knew as I got older, that my mother would have drowned to save me.

 

Love,

    Dad

 

 

Stories from my past: #4 Flowers

 

Hi, Family...

 

Back in the 70s, a friend of mine named Tom McCardle,  a shoe designer for Florsheim was also Dan's boss.

 

Tom and I got on the subject of growing plants.  He said he had some special seeds that grew beautiful flowers.  He told me to plant the seeds in a pot in the garage, and water it every few days until it was about a foot tall.

After it was that height I was to transfer it to our flower garden.

 

A month or so later, we had friends over for a back yard barbecue.  One of the guests asked if she could see our garden and when she came back, asked "Why are you growing marijuana?"  I was surprised and embarrassed.  I didn't know what 'pot' looked like.

 

When I saw McCardle, he got a big laugh out of my naivety.  A guy from the club had the last laugh - he came and cut the plant down for his use (I think).

 

Love,

   Jolting

 


 

Stories from my past: #5 Can't Drink & Saw Straight

Hi Family...

 

Years ago, when we lived on 53rd and Garfield, we had new carpeting installed throughout the whole house.  We had to saw the bottoms off all the doors because of the new carpet thickness.  We had a friend, Jim McClutchy, whose hobby was woodworking.  We called him to ask if he would help me to saw all the doors.  When he arrived with his electric saw, I asked if he'd like a drink before we got started.  He did.  As we finished the first floor doors, we finished the wine, too, so I opened a new bottle.  Then we went upstairs to saw those doors.  My job was to unhinge the doors, Jim would saw and I would put them back.  We began with a back bedroom.  I unhinged the door and told Jim it needed 1/4 inch off.  When I put it back on its hinges, the thing still rubbed against the carpeting.  I figured I miscalculated, so told Jim to take off another 1/2 inch, which he did.  Finally, the actual miscalculation was how many glasses of wine we'd had.  Jim was sawing off the TOP of the door (my fault), which left it with a really big gap.  We were short several inches of door and almost three bottles of wine.

 

Love,

    Boom-Boom

 

 

 

Stories from my past: #6  Rain Dance

Hi Family...

 

Years ago, when we lived on Garfield, Jackie and I were sitting on the front porch having a cocktail on a very hot and humid early evening.  We had been through a two week drought and really needed rain.

 

After awhile two neighbor girls, around 9 or 10 years old, spotted us and came up on the porch.  One of them asked if it was true that I was part Indian, and I said yes, it was true.  I figured I'd have some fun with them and hinted that I knew how to do a rain dance.  Their eyes got big and they said, "no, really?"  So I began chanting and dancing in a circle which made them giggle.  I stopped cold and told them sternly if they wanted me to continue they would have to be quiet or they would break the spell.  They got very serious.  I continued chanting and dancing in a circle.  What happened next is almost unbelievable.  About a half hour after the 'ritual', it started to rain, and then it poured and poured.  The girls ran home to tell their parents about my magic powers. It kept raining all day, the next day, and around 6:00 P.M. the girls rang the doorbell and asked if I could make it STOP raining.  I told them I could only make it rain, I couldn't make it stop.

 

THIS IS A TRUE STORY!

 

Love,

    SWF III

 

Stories from my past: #7  Coach

Hi Family...

 

In the many years of working at the M.A.C., I met a lot of athletes, movie stars, entertainers, politicians, etc.  The one man that impressed me most was Vince Lombardi.  Once a year, the Sportsman's Club would honor a man who was in athletics - a player, coach, manager, etc.  In the 60s, we picked Vince Lombardi.  For his appearance, we gave him a lifetime membership at the M.A.C., and a gift for his wife.  Over 425 members attended.  After cocktails and dinner, a few speakers introduced him.  When the coach took the stage, there had never been such an uproar of applause, and then complete silence when he began to speak.  He talked about 15 minutes, never mentioning football.  It was the best speech I ever heard and when he finished the crowd gave him a thunderous ovation.  It was clearly obvious that he was such a great motivator.

 

Gym/Boom-Boom/Dad

 

 

Stories from my past: #8  HOW I GOT MY FIRST JOB

Hi Family...

 

When I lived in Berryland, Jim, Dan and Michelle were real young, so don't think they'll remember this incident or my neighbor, Nick. Nick was retired young, because of an accident he had at work. He was a lot of fun and always had an angle.

There were two neighbors Nick and I didn't like. They were always bragging what great fishermen they were, and that Nick and I couldn't catch a cold, let alone a fish. To my surprise, one day when we were all outside, Nick said Jim and I could catch bass and it wouldn't take a long trip or a weekend like those guys would. They said there were no lakes nearby.

Nick said, "Jim, get your son's sailboat and we'll show these guys HOW TO FISH." (Jimmy had a toy sailboat about three feet tall). They were laughing at us when they saw me climb into the car with the sailboat. Even I was in doubt what Nick had in mind. Within minutes, we were at Brown Deer Park. Nick said "grab the sailboat and follow me, and keep quiet". As we neared the pond there was a sign that said "No Fishing - $50 fine". The pond was LOADED with large bass! That's when I learned that Brown Deer raised bass in this hatchery. Nick took the sailboat, attached a line and a hook on the bottom, baited it and pushed it onto the pond. Within SECONDS we had a bass. Within MINUTES we had four more- and then left.

When we got home, we showed the two yo-yos the five bass. They accused us of going to a fish market, but they had to believe us, because the fish were still alive. We never told them about the hatchery and they never gave us any heat after that.

Love,

Gym/Boom-Boom/Swift White Fox/Dad

 

 

 

Stories from my past: #9 Roadwork

Hi Family...

 

In 1948, I lived with my Aunt Rhea and Grandma Sarah on 30th and St. Paul. I was training for the Golden Gloves at the time. A couple weeks before the Golden Gloves tournament, I would get up at 5:30 each morning to do roadwork. I dressed in fatigues and combat boots I had from the service.

You must remember, in those days, jogging was NOT in vogue. I would run across the 35th Street Viaduct to the 27th St. Viaduct, then to Mitchell Park and run the hills. One morning, unbeknownst to me, there was a robbery two blocks from the park. As I entered the park, a squad car saw me running and took off after me. I kept running because I had not done anything and didn't know anything about a robbery. When I got off the road and headed for the hills, the squad stopped and they started chasing me on foot. They hollered "stop, or we'll shoot"! I stopped, I got handcuffed and put in the squad car.

They asked why I was running at 5:30 in the morning. I explained I was training for a fight and if they would take me home I could prove all this. Since I had no identification on me, they obliged. After waking everyone up and after more questioning, they were convinced and satisfied I wasn't the robber.

Love,

Gym/Boom-Boom/Swift White Fox/Dad

 

 

Stories from my past: #10 Squash

Hi Family...

 

In the 60's, Bob Stuckert was the State Squash Champion, Western Squash Champion, and National Seniors Champion. He is now in the Wisconsin Hall of Fame.

I lost to him several times in the State finals. I was in great shape, but he was much smarter than me at the time. I asked the M.A.C. to send me to Detroit for a week to take lessons from Hashim Khan, then considered the world's greatest squash player. I took lessons twice a day at 10:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M. and practiced in between.

During the first lesson, he made a drop shot which I did not get. He asked me why I didn't and I said the shot was too good. He said "No, you're too slow". Up to that point, I thought I was fast on the court.

By the end of the week, I was getting those drop shots and then some. He brought my game to another level. The Wisconsin State Squash Championship was a week away and I was pumped and ready to go. I got to the finals again and so did Stuckert. I won 15-9, 15-6, 15-5. It's the best I ever played and most of the credit goes to Hashim for showing me my weaknesses, pointing out my strengths, but most of all making me use my BRAIN and a strategy to beat Stuckert. I loved that man.

Love,

Gym/Boom-Boom/Swift White Fox/Dad

 

                           (Footnote: Bop Stuckert is in the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame)

Stories from my past: #11 Learning to Fight

Hi Family...

 

When looking back on things that happened in my past, this story really began to shape my future, although I didn't realize it then.

One Saturday night, my buddy Cliff, and I went to a dance at the Grant Street Social Center. Cliff was built like a gorilla, was rough and tough; and always looking for a fight. I was the opposite.

It didn't take long before he got into it with two guys. Naturally, he got me involved. Cliff said we would settle this in the Men's Room. By the time we got there, the word got out and the custodian of the dance broke it up. He said, "if you want to fight, come back here on Tuesday and put the gloves on", because that's one of the nights they had boxing classes. We agreed.

When Tuesday came around, I had already forgotten about it (if I did remember, I wouldn't have gone--too chicken). Cliff came over and insisted I go with him. I went along because I was afraid HE'D HIT ME. When we got there we met Coach Frank Lamping (my first boxing coach). We explained what happened and then waited for the two guys. They never showed. I was GLAD, but Cliff was mad! Coach Lamping asked if we wanted to stick around and learn how to box. Cliff said no, I said yes.

Coach Lamping was the first one to ever take an interest in me, so I showed up every Tuesday and Thursday and tried my best. I was 15 years old and that was the first organized sport I got into.

Love,

Gym/Boom-Boom/Swift White Fox/Dad

 

Stories from my past: #12 Exhaustion

Hi Family...

 

The finale of the Social Center Boxing Classes was a tournament held at the Forest Home Social Center. All Centers entered a team.

In my first fight at 132 lbs., I won because the kid I was fighting got a bloody nose and it was stopped in the first round. My opponent in the second fight was picked to win the tournament. Prior to the fight, he approached me in the locker room and told me what he was going to do to my anatomy. I was a little worried.

When the bell rang, he ran across the ring after me. I ducked just as he threw a punch and we knocked heads. He got a bad cut above his eye and the fight was stopped. It lasted about 20 seconds. Now I was in the finals.

The kid in the finals was Johnny Berg from Messmer High School. The first round, we really went at it and I was already tired. By the end of the second round, I was completely gassed. When I got back to my corner, I told Coach Lamping "I quit!" I couldn't go on. My legs were like rubber, my arms like lead and I had a hard time breathing. He said "you can't quit now" and at the bell, he pushed me into the ring.

I still don't know how I finished that round and won the fight. From that day on, I swore never to allow myself that terrible feeling of complete exhaustion. And I never did.

That was my beginning of serious training.

Love,

Gym/Boom-Boom/Swift White Fox/Dad

 

Stories from my past: #13 The Depression

Hi Family...

 

Growing up during the depression prepared me for hardships in the future. When reading this, remember, it didn't seem so bad at the time, because most people were in the same boat.

For instance: We lived in a two-story house with no gas and often had no electricity. The only heat in winter came from a coal stove in the kitchen. My mom cooked the meals on it, heated bath water on it, (once a week we got to bathe; and I got the first, fresh hot water, being the oldest). After my mom hand scrubbed the clothes, etc., she would drape them on chairs around the stove to dry.. It was a lot of work for her. Whatever we could find to burn in the stove, we brought home.

I slept in the attic which had no heat, but lots of blankets. In the morning, it was a race to the kitchen to get near the warm stove. In the winter months, our very lives depended on the heat from that old stove. It was really a life saver!

Having no electricity most of the time, we burnt candles to see, eat and read by. The times we had electricity, we sat in the cold dark, (just me and my mom) listening to the spooky "Inner Sanctum" radio show.

In the winter, food was stored in a wooden crate on the back porch to keep from spoiling. That was our freezer.

In the summer months, when we could afford it, we bought ice for the ice-box. It came in 25 or 50 lb. blocks. We'd put a sign in the front window that read ICE, and showed the amount of pounds wanted. Then the ice man would come around and put it in the ice box.

In those days, most men went to the Natatorium after work to shave and shower. It cost ten cents. It was a thrill when I got to go, because it had a swimming pool.

Clothes and food were supplied by the county. Everybody knew who was on the county, because we all dressed alike; the same shoes, socks, knickers, etc.

We would pull our coaster wagon miles to get the food at a county warehouse. We got milk, yeast and flour to bake bread; salt pork, beans, grape juice and some other staples. (NO FOOD STAMPS)

It was hard times, but things were simpler and friendlier. In a way, it didn't seem so bad, until later on I looked back on those years.

Love,

Gym/Boom-Boom/Swift White Fox/Dad

 

Stories from my past: #14 Leaving Home

Hi Family...

 

One night my mother was making liver and onions for dinner, because Clarence Killa (my stepfather) liked it. I hated liver and onions and would be sick if I ate it. When Killa saw I wasn't eating the liver, he yelled, "eat it NOW". I said, "I can't, it'll make me sick." He said "I don't give a damn if you get sick, eat the liver or get out". I got out. I was 14.

In the next few years, I lived with my aunt Rhea. From time to time I talked to my mom on the phone, but saw her very seldom. It was hard for her, but it was hard on me, too. She must have felt obligated to the other kids she had with Killa. She maybe thought it was better for me, because he didn't beat on the other kids.

At 17, I joined the Sea Bees. It was tough getting my mom to sign for me, as I was too young, and there was a war going on. That's why she didn't want me to go. She got worn down from my pestering her though, and finally gave in. It was 1944.

While overseas, I wrote to my mother at least twice a week. All the time spent in the service, I sent money home to my Aunt Rhea to put in the bank. The plan was to surprise my mother with a down payment on a home if I got back.

On my return, I promised my mother to give it one more shot - to live at home with her and Killa. She was real happy to have the money I'd saved, for a down payment on a home. The house was picked out and it was just a matter of waiting for the people living there to move. After a month, I confronted Killa and asked what was holding up the move. He gave an excuse, something about the law and evicting people in so many days.

Now, I was ticked, and went to the Real Estate Office to demand my money back, and planned to see another dealer. But they said Killa same to take the money back 30 days ago. It wasn't in my name, so he could do that. I was embarrassed and furious.

I went straight home to confront Killa. Now was my time to get back for all the abuse I took from that coward. I kept saying, "come on, hit me, hit me like you did when I was a kid" - I wanted so bad for him to throw a punch, but instead, he started to CRY! I couldn't hit a chicken hearted NOTHING.

The money for my mother was all gone. I tried to get her the home she never had (and never did get). I left "home" for the last time. I loved my mother very much, but to this day, will never understand how she could have married such a loser.

Love,

Gym/Boom-Boom/Swift White Fox/Dad

 

Stories from my past: #15 Small Towns/Fast Car

Hi Family...

 

In 1950, Miller Brewery built a special courtesy car, with a Cadillac motor in a Station Wagon frame. It was rigged with the latest sound equipment, emergency medical apparatus, cameras, siren, flashing red lights and painted bright red. It looked just like an ambulance.

The car was for use at major events such as State Fairs, PGA Tournaments, Mardi Gras, Auto Racing, Rodeos, Fishing Contests, major parades and various sporting events throughout the country. Miller donated the car and driver (me) at no cost. It was for publicity purposes to help our distributors sell more beer and get involved in their communities.

For three years, I drove from one coast to another, assisting in these events. Most of them used our sound system and the others, our medical gear. The people who used the medical equipment provided a nurse or first aid person (in case of accident or injury).

It was a fun job, but at times the driving was hectic. One incident happened on the way to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.

I left Dallas right after the annual Dallas Rodeo Show. It was late and I had to be in New Orleans for Mardi Gras the next day. Texas is huge and you can go forever without seeing a town. There were no freeways then, and the roads were single lanes. When I hit a lot of traffic, I'd lay on the flashing red lights, sound the siren, and cars would have to pull over as I flew by them. That Caddy was FAST!

On entering one small tank town, I sped right through it. Unbeknownst to me, a cop spotted me, but by the time he got to his squad car, I was long gone. Thirty miles later, speeding to another small town, there was a road block! The cop in the last town called to have it set up. This other cop really chewed me out. I did everything but cry. But the offer of $50 finally did the trick. From then on, I slowed down going through small towns.

Love,

Gym/Boom-Boom/Swift White Fox/Dad

 

Stories from my past: #16 Why I Turned Pro

Hi Family...

 

In 1949, I had two amateur fights in one month. One was in Whitewater, and one in Racine, Wisconsin. For each fight, I received a $50 gift certificate at a local sporting goods store in Milwaukee.

I chose a set of golf clubs, without reading the fine print on the AAU (American Athletic Union) voucher I signed at the store. A week later a letter arrived from the AAU suspending me for one year for buying golf clubs instead of boxing gear (which was stated in the fine print).

I asked for a got a meeting with the AAU Board. The store never told me other items besides boxing gear could not be purchased, so I even offered to return the clubs, admitting not reading the fine print--and promised it would never happen again. They refused me. I didn't want to sit around for a year, so turned pro. If I had to do it over, I would have sat it out the year. I had a good amateur boxing career going and they snuffed it out because of buying golf clubs.

PLUS, because of turning pro, I was barred from AAU Handball Tournaments for FIVE years. The only gratification was winning two state singles AAU Handball titles under the name of Frank White. I borrowed his AAU Card and they never found out.

The AAU ruined lots of careers for many athletes in various sports because of their strict, uncompromising rules.

Looking back, I realize how much more would have been accomplished during those five years, if I would have just read the fine print.

Today, all sports have their own associations and the AAU no longer rules like they did in the past.

Love,

Gym/Boom-Boom/Swift White Fox/Dad

 

Stories from my past: #17 Motion Sickness

Hi Family...

 

Going overseas in 1944, as a seabee, I got sea sick. It's hard to describe, but you get so severely sick, you don't care if you die. Lying down was the only way the nausea would pass.

The second day out, I was lying (so weak) in my bunk, when the chief in charge told me to get up and start chipping paint topside. I was too sick, and if I stood up, it would be even worse. He took his club and hit my feet, and told me "get up or you're in the brig". I said "I can't" and he hit me again.

I threw a feeble punch at him which landed me in the brig, and whoever was in the brig before me had been sick. The chief ordered me to get a pail of water, soap and a brush to clean it up. Then he left. I'll never forget a guy named Hugh Webster from Kentucky came to my rescue and he cleaned it up for me.

The next day the chief told me to report to the paint shop and start painting the engine room. They gave me a bucket of gray paint, a brush and a pail of rags. I had to sit in a kind of swing which you could maneuver up or down. The engine room was about three stories and the smell was overpowering. I knew I would collapse from the stench, the seasickness, weakness, you name it. I thought I was dying.

I got out of the swing, went topside for air, threw the paintbrush and rags overboard and laid on the deck. What I didn't realize is that we were in Japanese waters and the paint would give away our location. That landed me back in the brig. I could have been court martialed.

It took eight days to get to Dutch Harbor and when I hit land, I swore I would never get on another ship.

More on that later.

Love,

Gym/Boom-Boom/Swift White Fox/Dad

Stories from my past: #18 Being Proud

Hi Family...

 

If this story sounds like bragging, it is, kind of, but it's something I'm proud I did.

In 1949, I went fishing with Bobby Killa on the government pier on Lake Michigan. I was wearing a bathing suit, bedroom slippers and the gold watch I'd won that year in the Golden Gloves.

The pier was slanted sharply at one side and at the bottom there was a lot of moss which made it extremely slippery. A man and his daughter (from Chicago) were fishing next to us. We were talking to them on and off while we were fishing. The man, who was about 50 years old, got his line caught in some rocks and after jerking the line to free it, he started down the slanted embankment to get closer to the line. His feet hit the moss and he slid into the lake, under water. He came up about ten feet from the pier screaming that he couldn't swim and he went down again. I threw off my bedroom slippers and dove in. I got behind him, grabbed him around the neck and started to pull him in. As I swam near the pier, his daughter, screaming and crying, panicked and jumped in. Meanwhile, a bunch of guys came over and grabbed the father's arms, pulling him in. I went back for the girl who also couldn't swim, but was a lot closer to the pier. A couple of firm pushes drove her to the pier where the same guys pulled her up.

Everything happened in just a few minutes. They thanked me over and over again. Later, I realized my gold watch as filled with water, which really ticked me off, not to mention disappointed me. Besides, when I flipped my bedroom slippers off, they fell off the other side of the pier and sunk. Later, I tried having the watch repaired, but it was useless.

I didn't expect anything, but the man knew my watch was ruined when he was thanking me, but didn't offer any kind of compensation. Awhile later, his line got stuck again, and he got up, like he was gong to unsnag the line again. I said, "I wouldn't try that if I was you" - but he started to take a few steps forward. That's when I got up and left.

The incident made me feel proud to realize how I reacted in a crisis.

Love,

Gym/Boom-Boom/Swift White Fox/Dad

 

Stories from my past: #19 My First REAL Job

Hi Family...

 

My first job was at Wieman's Dime Store on 9th & Mitchell. I was 14. It paid 35 cents an hour. My duties were stocking shelves, taking inventory and sweeping floors when they closed. Now I had MONEY in my pocket and could seriously start looking for girls. In those days we used to hang out at Angie's sweet shop on 33rd & Lincoln.

Girls from South High and Pulaski High would frequent the place almost every night. With money in my pockets, I could buy them hot fudge sundaes, ice cream sodas and banana splits - you name it; I was a big spender.

After awhile I got a job at Gimbels (through a buddy of mine). They paid 60 CENTS AN HOUR. Now, I was rich! Now I could go to the dances at the local social centers and YMCA's. I was a lousy dancer, but most guys were at that age. Remember, I was studying to be a PRIEST. That vocation did not last long, once I started hitting the sweet shops and dance halls. I was getting into being a swinger.

For most of you reading this, aren't you THANKFUL I chose a career OUTSIDE the priesthood?

Love,

Gym/Boom-Boom/Swift White Fox/Dad

 

Stories from my past: #20 Girls

Hi Family...

 

This story is a corker--AND I have a witness to it - Dick Kalal.

In the 50's, my doctor was Robert Montgomery, an orthopedic surgeon. He was a wonderful doctor and a great friend. I taught him to swim and punch the speed bag. He got proficient at both.

He was invited to speak to 50 Dental Hygienists at the Oakton Manor Country Club in Waukesha. The topic he chose was how to keep fit while working. His reasoning was isometrics--tensing body muscles while standing. Shortly before the event, he was unexpectedly called to Philadelphia, so he asked me to go in his place. He said I would get $75 for the day.

He told me to demonstrate how to keep fit while working. I was to show them how to tense their buttocks and stomach muscles at least ten series at a time; as often as they could periodically. First, he had me demonstrate how to tighten abs and buttocks while standing. I needed to know how to tell they were tensing properly, and he said to simply feel their buttocks and stomachs and I would know.

So there I was with 50 girls in bathing suits by the indoor swimming pool. It was surprising that none of the girls objected. I taught all 50 girls to tense their buttocks and stomach muscles, and showed them other exercises they could do at home and in the water.

Can you believe patting 50 women, WITHOUT GETTING SLAPPED!?!?! and getting PAID too?

Love,

Gym/Boom-Boom/Swift White Fox/Dad

 

Stories from my past: #21 Horsemeat

Hi Family...

 

n 1943, I was 16. I worked at the Man-o'-War Horsemeat Market on 22nd and Vliet. I was paid $1.00 an hour. It was owned by Becker Meats, one of the largest meat distributors in the mid-west. They didn't want their name associated with horsemeat, so they had a man named Ralph Payton run it under his name.

Beef was tough to get in those days. We were given meat stamps because it was rationed.

Many people ate horsemeat, but they claimed it was for their pets. The big stigma about eating horsemeat was that it was like eating your pet. The local chili houses and some restaurants bought horsemeat from us and no one knew the difference. They would call us ahead of time to have us grind up large batches, then come to the back door to pick it up, so no one would see them.

My late Aunt Rhea, who was an excellent cook, could fix horsemeat up with different spices so you'd think you were eating beef.

I wonder if the reason I like apples and carrots so much is from eating horsemeat way back then!

Love

Gym/Boom-Boom/Swift White Fox/Dad

 

Stories from my past: #22 Almost Rich

Hi Family...

 

One of the ways my buddies and I made money when we were kids was "junking". During the week, we would go to the factories around the area and under 6th Street Viaduct, looking for silver paper, copper, brass, etc. Then on Saturdays we would take it to the junk yard to sell it. A good week would net about $1.50.

One day, Pat Carroll and I took a coaster wagon down to the railroad yard off 9th & Bruce. We looked around and all of a sudden saw a HUGE steel bar. The first thing we thought was that we were going to be RICH. I don't remember what it weighed, but it took forever to get it on the wagon. Now we had about a mile and a half to the junkyard. It took two of us almost two hours to get there. We had to stop many, many times to catch our breath and gain back some strength pulling that sucker. But the thought of the money kept us going. When we reached the yard, we got the steel bar on the scale and called the junk man. He took one look and said he couldn't buy it because it had U.S. Government stamped on it, and he would get in trouble.

Now we were really down, exhausted and very disappointed. To make matters worse, he said we had to take it back where we got it or we'd be in BIG trouble. Being kids of 12, we were scared so we got it back again on the coaster and trekked back to the railroad yard. This time it was a lot harder, because there was no reward at the end.

LOVE,

Gym/Boom-Boom/Swift White Fox/Dad

Stories from my past: #23 Sailing

Hi Family...

 

When I was 16, a buddy of mine, named Rich, bought a ten-foot used sail boat. It was build for one, but we figured to fit two. We repaired it and painted it brown and white.

We knew ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about sailing. We borrowed a trailer and got it to South Shore Beach. It was a windy, hot and humid sunny day. When we took off, the wind was at our backs and we were going at a good clip. A big mistake was going beyond the breakwater. Lake Michigan was really rough and kept pushing us further out. The sun and wind were beating down on us, and since we were two people in a one-manned boat, we started to take on water as the waves got higher. We kept baling out with just our hands and tried turning around to go back, but to no avail. We couldn't turn around and kept going further out. Now we were exhausted and sun burned, not to mention, scared! There were no ships in sight and we got worried about getting stuck out there in the dark.

Finally, our luck turned. A yacht from Port Washington going to Chicago, spotted us. They let us come aboard, tied up our boat and called the Coast Guard, who towed us back to shore (after a lengthy sermon on boat safety, life jackets and two people being on a one-man boat, etc.). We were out on the lake for six hours. In the future, we stayed inside the breakwater where it was safe.

LOVE,

Gym/Boom-Boom/Swift White Fox/Dad

 

Stories from my past: #24 Movies

Hi Family...

 

This story may sound lame, but at age 12, it was kind of exciting:

In the late thirties, local movie theaters cost 10 cents. But the latest and best movies were downtown and cost a lot more. On Sunday afternoons, four buddies and myself would walk across the 6th Street Viaduct to the Palace Theater which was on 6th & Wisconsin. We would pool our money and one guy would buy a ticket (we alternated who bought the ticket each time we went). Then we would go to the side door which was locked, and when the guy who bought the ticket was inside, he would push the door open. We would all run in and scatter.

I know what we did was wrong, but nobody got hurt and we saw a lot of good movies.

Love,

Gym/Boom-Boom/Swift White Fox/Dad

 

Stories from my past: #25 Pigeons

Hi Family...

 

During the depression years, another way we made money as kids was catching pigeons. Meat was tough to get and most people couldn't afford it anyway. People would buy pigeons from us (me and my buddy Mason) only after we cleaned and de-feathered them.

Catching pigeons had to be done at night when they would roost. They were easy to catch if you didn't make any noise to alarm them. We would tie a burlap bag on our pants belt, to have our hands free to climb. Old closed buildings with broken windows were good places to catch thembecause the birds could roost there without being bothered. Once we were in the building, the trick was climbing up to the beams where they roosted, without making noise, and doing it in the dark.

As we picked them up, we'd put them in the burlap bag. Many a time we worked our butts off getting into the building, but because of the darkness, we'd sometimes kick or bump into something that would scare them off. So, it wasn't a success every time we went pigeon hunting.

When I look back, I wonder if it was worth getting ten cents a bird for what we went through. But at the time it was scary fun going into old vacant buildings in the dark.

Love,

Gym/Boom-Boom/Swift White Fox/Dad

 

Stories from my past: #26 Altar Boy

Hi Family...

 

When I was in 7th grade, I was an altar boy at Holy Trinity Grade School.

On Tuesday nights we had St. Anthony's Devotions. It was a Mass in honor of St. Anthony. My job prior to the Mass was filling the cruets that the priest would be using for Holy Communion, with wine- one was for red wine, the other was white wine. Up to that time I had never tasted alcohol. I drank the red wine first, and it tasted pretty good, so I tried the white wine- that tasted good, too.

After taking several "tastes" from both bottles, it was time to light the candles on the altar. I had a helluva time because I started to see double. I finally got the job done, but the people in church were giggling at my attempts.

When Mass started, it was my job to ring the gongs (gongs looked like little xylophones) when Father Oderic lifted the Host before Communion. I was only supposed to ring them three times. but because of the wine, I made like Buddy Rich and did a drum solo. Father glared at me and the parishioners were both shocked and amused. When Mass was over, Father whacked me a couple times in the head and gave me a lecture. He was a nice priest, so he gave me another chance. I never drank wine again, before Mass.

Love,

Gym/Boom-Boom/Swift White Fox/Dad

 

 

Stories from My Past -  #27 Grandma Sarah

 

Hi Family...

 

In 1941, when we'd go to the theater, before the movie began, the screen would light up showing a large picture of a waving American Flag.  Everyone would stand and sing "God Bless America".  On one occasion, I was with my Grandma, Sarah.  The flag appeared and everyone stood up to sing.  There was a man in the row ahead of us, in front of my grandma, who stayed seated.  My grandma tapped him on the shoulder and told him to 'stand up and salute the flag'.  He replied he didn't have to stand up for the flag.  My grandma poked him again and said "my son is overseas fighting for you, so stand up!"

 

He said 'no' again.  With that, my grandma started whacking him on the head with her purse.  He started yelling and she kept whacking, until an usher and manager came to see what the commotion was about. 

 

I was shocked AND really amused to see my grandma start beating him on the head with her purse. She was really giving this guy a whipping when the manager came running down the aisle to see about the commotion. My grandma told him the man wouldn't stand and respect the flag and anthem, while her son was in the South Pacific fighting for that man's freedom!

 

A few guys nearby heard what was being said. Then they and the manager dragged the guy out of the theater. The people around my grandma gave her a big round of applause.

 

I was in shock while the scene was happening, but  PROUD of my grandma's patriotism. I sure looked up to my grandma with even more respect after that. That's an AMERICAN!

 

Love,

    Dad

 

P.S. (from Jackie)  Today, the ACLU would go after his grandma to defend the 'rights' of the not-so-patriotic guy.

 

 

Stories from my past: #28 Christmas

Hi Family...

 

This is about my most disappointing Christmas:

When I was 12 years old, the only thing I wanted in the whole world was a bicycle. There was a store on National and 11th named Firestone, and in the window they always displayed a bike. About a month before Christmas, they had schwinn bike, red frame and chrome fenders. It was BEAUTIFUL. I would go every day to look at it, hoping nobody would buy it (not knowing it would be on display for the month of December). I hinted to everyone about that bike time and time again.

A man named Sam Wagner, lived with us. He was a boarder, and was like a grandpa to me. Just before Christmas I asked him if he knew what I was getting. He said it wouldn't be a surprise if he told me. I asked him to just give me a hint. He said "all I can tell you is what you are getting has wheels." I was so excited, I had a hard time sleeping, waiting for Christmas Eve.

On Christmas Eve, I was sent to my Grandma and Aunt Rhea's house where I was told to stay for a couple of hours, then come home to see my Christmas presents. When it was time, I ran all the way home. But before going in the house, I peeked in the window to get a look at my new bike. What I saw made me cry. It was a TRAIN SET. After I stopped crying, I went into the house and had to make believe I was excited about the train set.

I swear I never played with that train set more than twice.

It was a few months later, on my birthday, Sam Wagner bought me that Schwinn bike. He knew all along of my disappointment at Christmas. He as Santa in March.

Love,

Gym/Swift White Fox/Boom-Boom/Dad

 

Stories from my past: #29 TIDAL Wave

Hi Family...

 

In 1944, while in the Seabees, I was stationed at Dutch Harbor. I was assigned to a command post located on top of a mountain. I had the midnight to 8:00 A.M. shift that night. My job was answering the phone and logging phone calls regarding ships arriving and departing; their name and time.

That night, a buddy of mine kept me company (Thank God). We were playing cards when the phone rang about 2:00 A.M. The message was that a tidal wave was due in about two hours. I logged it and continued playing cards.

A few minutes later, my buddy asked what the call was about. I repeated that a tidal wave was due in a couple of hours and he really freaked out. I asked what the problem was. He asked if I knew what a tidal wave was! I am embarrassed to say that I told him I thought it was the NAME OF A SHIP!!!

When he told me what it was, I called the commander of the Island and he ordered all men to run for the mountains and stay put.

The tidal wave was so powerful, it wiped out a small island close to us that had no mountains and 37 men were killed. Our men at Dutch Harbor were saved because of the mountains (and my QUICK reporting of it to the commander)! It hit the mountains which slowed it down, and all we got was heavy flooding.

Can you imagine what would have happened to ME had I not called the commander? And if Homer from PA hadn't been playing cards with me????

Your NON-METEOROLOGICAL father. (I'm not doing a spell check).

Swift White Fox/Gym/Boom-Boom/Dad

 

Stories from my past: #30 Read the Instructions

Hi Family...

 

When I was 13, one of my best buddies was a kid named Tom Nabby (who later was killed in Germany in WWII). We did everything together, trying to make money. We shined shoes, set pins in bowling alleys, junking (getting copper, brass, etc., to sell to junk yards), catching pigeons to sell for food, hauling groceries for people who didn't have cars. Most people didn't, and we used a coaster wagon.

On weekend nights, Tom and I would go bar to bar offering to give shoe shines. We did better as the night got later, because the more the patrons drank, the bigger were the tips. One night, while shining one particular guy's shoes, he asked if we'd like to make some extra bucks. He said he'd give us $5 to simonize his car the next day. Naturally, we said yes. In fact, we'd never even washed a car, let alone simonize one. He gave his address (which was close by) and told us to get the simonizer and rags from his wife at home. The next day was very hot and sunny. The car was parked in the shade, but we pushed it in the sun, figuring the hotter the car got, the quicker the wax would dry and be easier to wipe off. We got the rags, etc., but DID NOT read the instructions on the can.

We wanted to do a good job for future referrals, so we put all the wax on at one time, nice and thick. When we were done applying the wax in the hot sun, we let it sit there for an hour, so it would be really dry and easy to take off. When we came back to wipe off the wax, it was baked into the car's finish and it would not come off. Now, we read the instructions and found out WHY.

I can't repeat what the fella called us that owned the car. We didn't care about that, but WE NEVER GOT PAID.

So, like I said, READ THE INSTRUCTIONS.

Boom-Boom/Swift White Fox/Gym/Dad

 

Stories from my past: #31 Alter Boy II

Hi Family...

 

As I mentioned in a past story from my past, I was an altar boy at Holy Trinity Church. Every Tuesday night, Gil Miller and I would serve at Mass for St. Anthony Devotions. During Mass, two men from the parish would go up and down the aisle with collection baskets for donations. When they were finished, they would place the baskets on the altar rail. Gil would then pick them up and empty them into another basket in the sacristy and return the baskets next to the altar.

One Tuesday night after devotions, Gil asked if I wanted to go out to eat. I said I didn't have any money. He said "don't worry, I'll pay for it." We went to a cafe on 6th and National. I asked what I could order and he said "anything you want". I remember having a hamburger, chocolate malt and apple pie ala mode. So many Tuesdays after that we went to that cafe after devotions and ate our hearts out.

As you probably guessed, Gil was taking money out of the baskets when he put them in the sacristy. I really thought he was making extra money on the side. I can't say I didn't enjoy eating out, but that made me stop chumming around with Gil. He finally got caught and his family was really embarrassed, because most of the parish found out about it. I was never implicated.

Love,

Gym/Boom-Boom/Swift White Fox/Dad

 

Stories from my past: #32 Vince Lombardi

Hi Family...

 

In the many years of working at the M.A.C., I met a lot of athletes, movie stars, entertainers, politicians, etc. The one man that impressed me most was Vince Lombardi.

 

Once a year, the Sportsman's Club would honor a man who was in athletics - a player, coach, manager, etc. In the 60s, we picked Vince Lombardi.

 

For his appearance, we gave him a lifetime membership at the M.A.C., and a gift for his wife. Over 425 members attended. After cocktails and dinner, a few speakers introduced him. When the coach took the stage, there had never been such an uproar of applause, and then complete silence when he began to speak.

 

He talked about 15 minutes, never mentioning football. It was the best speech I ever heard and when he finished the crowd gave him a thunderous ovation. It was clearly obvious that he was such a great motivator.

 

Love,

Gym/Boom-Boom/Swift White Fox/Dad

 

 

Stories from my past: #33 Clara

Hi Family...

 

When I was 17 and stationed at Dutch Harbor, I met an Eskimo girl named Clara. She was quite poor, so I asked my mom to send me a Sears, Roebuck Catalog.

 

When it arrived, I got in my homemade raft and crossed the Bering Straits to where Clara lived. She picked out some clothes and other essentials, plus brown and white saddle shoes. I mailed my mom the money and the order.

 

Clara was excited when everything arrived and was now the best dressed Eskimo on the island. Being part Indian, I fit right into their culture. They are hardy people and share EVERYTHING to show their hospitality.

 

It was really tough leaving that island! When WWII ended, an Eskimo man named Charlie who represented one of the tribes, gave me a beautiful Eskimo puppy to take home. But on the way back, we had to transfer from a ship to a plane at Kodiak, Alaska, and they wouldn't let me take the dog, so I ended up giving it to a serviceman stationed there.

 

If everyone had the outlook of an Eskimo, we would have no wars but a lot of love and sharing. That's how they were.

 

Love,

Gym/Boom-Boom/Swift White Fox/Dad

 

 

Stories from my past: #34 How to Fish

Hi Family...

 

When I lived in Berryland, Jim, Dan and Michelle were real young, so don't think they'll remember this incident or my neighbor, Nick. Nick was retired young, because of an accident he had at work. He was a lot of fun and always had an angle.

There were two neighbors Nick and I didn't like. They were always bragging what great fishermen they were, and that Nick and I couldn't catch a cold, let alone a fish. To my surprise, one day when we were all outside, Nick said Jim and I could catch bass and it wouldn't take a long trip or a weekend like those guys would. They said there were no lakes nearby.

Nick said, "Jim, get your son's sailboat and we'll show these guys HOW TO FISH." (Jimmy had a toy sailboat about three feet tall). They were laughing at us when they saw me climb into the car with the sailboat. Even I was in doubt what Nick had in mind. Within minutes, we were at Brown Deer Park. Nick said "grab the sailboat and follow me, and keep quiet". As we neared the pond there was a sign that said "No Fishing - $50 fine". The pond was LOADED with large bass! That's when I learned that Brown Deer raised bass in this hatchery. Nick took the sailboat, attached a line and a hook on the bottom, baited it and pushed it onto the pond. Within SECONDS we had a bass. Within MINUTES we had four more- and then left.

When we got home, we showed the two yo-yos the five bass. They accused us of going to a fish market, but they had to believe us, because the fish were still alive. We never told them about the hatchery and they never gave us any heat after that.

 

Love,

Gym/Boom-Boom/Swift White Fox/Dad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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