Kimball High School-Looking back on it, 1945 was quite a year. The war ended, I graduated from grade school at the ripe age of 13, I started high school and the Kraft cheese plant was opened. Going to high school was a big deal for me. Kimball was five miles east of Watkins on state highway 55 and Watkins did not have a high school. My sister Rita was a senior, but I did not see much of her. My two older sisters Cleo and Lois had graduated from Kimball High in 1942 and 1944, respectively. Cleo was valedictorian of her class. Her boyfriend, George Holmin, quit school before graduating and enlisted in the Army. He was too young, but that did not matter too much. He fought in the battle for Guadalcanal and got malaria. I don’t think Cleo dated anyone else while he was at war. Most of the girls/young women whose boyfriends went off to war waited for them and it was almost considered patriotic to do that. I think the same was true for Lois and her boyfriend John Lundemo, but I did not see as much of John as I did George. John finished high school and one year in electrical training at Dunwoody Institute in Minneapolis before getting drafted.
Kimball High was a very small school. My guess is that we only had about 200 students. Probably 50 to 60 freshman and only 45 or so seniors, because a certain number of students quit to go back to the farm or whatever before graduating. For some reason I befriended a senior very soon after school started and he had a car. Probably a Model A Ford. He was not into sports, but went to the games and liked to do same things as me. As a freshman I got a date for Homecoming with Joyce Stein. My first date ever. She came from a farm, near Kingston, south of Kimball and arranged to stay overnight with one of her in town girl friends. Rita coached me on what was expected of me and I think I even got Joyce a corsage. I don’t think much happened on that date because I only dated Joyce once more after that. That was a double date with Neil Waldron (the lone Jew in Watkins and a junior in high school) and Jane Lock. There were several very attractive female freshmen. Carol Schmitt from a country one room school north of Watkins and Erma Oberg from Kingston were two that I became very good friends with. I never dated Carol and only dated Erma twice. Once for a sort of junior ditch day to Lake Koronis and once while a freshman at St. John’s U. for a Sadie Hawkins day dance she invited me to at St. Cloud State. Erma always was picked as queen, even at St. Cloud State, and Carol was right behind her, if not also queen once in awhile. Later, as a sophomore, I started dating a girl, Dorothy Seutter, from South Haven, who went to Annandale High School (10 miles East of Kimball). I met her at a basketball game in Annandale. After transferring to Cold Spring St. Boniface High school for my senior year (see below) and then even more so after graduation we all went our separate ways and I rarely saw any of them until much later in life when I ran into Carol Schmitt (now Jung) in Sun City West, AZ.
Anyway, at first I did not think much about whether Kimball High was a very good school. You can imagine that a small rural high school that probably did not pay much and, with few exceptions, did not attract the best teachers. It started to show by the time I became a junior. As a sophomore I got elected to the Student Council and as a Junior I was Student Council President. We never had any homework assignments and classroom decorum was almost non-existent in most cases. You would not believe some of the behaviors that I saw. Think the worst and that was it.
In the late fall of my Sophomore year I was called into the Principal’s (Mr. Bright) office and asked whether I was one of the students that damaged some rural mail boxes on Halloween. He said the postal inspectors had been to the school and wanted to know who was involved. I truthfully denied doing anything like that or having any knowledge of it. I must have chuckled at the allegation, because the Principal lost his cool and pushed me up against the wall in a very threatening manner. He must have almost immediately recognized what he had done was wrong and apologized profusely. Then later that year or early the next year we learned that the Superintendent had been arrested by federal authorities for allegedly misappropriating and inflating school lunch reimbursements. Maybe that was why we had a trampoline-the only one west of Minneapolis we were told. That was the end of him. Later that year, the same Principal that went after me, ran off with one of the female teachers and that was the end of him.
St. Anthony High School- Watkins had a Catholic High School in the early 30s, but it did not last long. Gene McCarthy, later Senator McCarthy (see below) and his wife Abigail Quigley started and ran the high school in a few rooms of our grade school, but no one had enough money to keep it going.
Sports at KHS- Because Kimball High was so small and because I was relatively tall, say 6 feet then till I grew a bit more to 6 feet 2 inches, I joined all the sport teams. In football I was the center from the get go, but I did not start my first year. I suffered a broken rib early on and that limited my playing. In those days we played both ways-offense and defense, mainly because we did not have many guys on the team. We did not have very good teams. One year we lost all of our games. I remember playing at Paynesville one year in snow banks. Centers were always also middle linebackers. I took some real beatings because our linemen rarely stopped anyone. Oh well.
Basketball was better. We had some really good teams. Dwayne Benoit was our center and at 6’6” that was pretty tall. Then Corky Peters and Ralph Blair were good outside shooters and ball handlers. I subbed on varsity and played on fresh/soph team until my junior year when I played forward most of the time. We won the majority of our games and even won the sub district one year. After most home games we went out to the Y, which was a bar south of Kimball that had jukebox dancing. We probably drank too much beer and stayed out too late. Can’t remember who all drove us around. The fact that we were all under age did not seem to bother anyone. A couple of times when it was snowy and slippery we ran into the ditch and had to get a farmer to pull us out late at night.
Baseball was in the spring. I don’t think we had teams every year. Anyway, in my junior year I was a pitcher, having discovered that I could throw a curve ball and sometimes even get it across the plate. I was fairly successful with that, but I cannot remember how many games we won or anything like that. It’s probably recorded in the yearbooks.
We did not have track, except maybe one year. I threw the disc, but don’t even know if I was any good. Probably not.
Class plays- I was in the junior class play at Kimball. It was “Little Men” and I was Dan. There was always a junior and senior class play. The yearbook says there were 15 of us in the junior play. Naturally I was not at Kimball for the senior play.
Cars we used- Our 1939 Ford lasted the family until late 1954 when Dad bought a new Chevrolet four-door sedan. It had an automatic transmission. I think they called them Bel Aire’s. During high school years Jim and Phil Weber had a Ford Model T for the first year or two. Model Ts were built from 1908 to 1929 and I am sure this one was at least from the late 20s. You had to crank it to get it started and it did not go much faster than 40 mph, but it got us to where we were going. It had a heater on the floor, but it was usually pretty cold inside during the winter. I usually took the bus from Watkins to Kimball, but often we came home after football or basketball practice in Weber’s car. Sometime in my sophomore year or so the Weber’s got a Ford Model A (1927 to 1932). This car had an electric starter and built in heater so was much more comfy. Still no window defroster, so we had to constantly wipe off the frost on the inside windows. I got to use the family car once in a while when it was my turn to drive, etc.
School bus-We all took the bus to Kimball High School. I think we had two buses each day. One would just take the town kids and those living on farms up to five miles or so south of town. The other bus picked up farm kids up to about five miles north of town. The two buses were considered the Watkins buses. Life on the school bus was interesting, because a very few boys and girls (Gordy Linn and Mary Lou Werner) would always sit together. As expected there was some not so kind teasing that went on, but we never had any fights. After school, my memory is not so good. I think we had the same two buses leave around 3:30 pm and then I think one of them returned around 5 pm to take the kids who had to stay after school for things like band practice, sports practice, play practice, etc. We also took the school bus to various sporting events, etc.
Friends-My boy friends at Kimball were much the same as in grade school, Phil Weber, Herb Klein, Verlin Mies, Gerry and Norm Nistler, Dick Gross, Gene Becker, Gene Mierhofer, Lloyd Wortz, Corky Peters, Harry Manuel, and Phil Arndt. Girl friends were Erma Oberg, Carol Schmidt, Joyce Stein, Jane Loch, Delores Bates, Kathy Hennen and Dorothy Damen. There were probably others, but I cannot remember them. I only dated Joyce Stein a couple of times. Erma Oberg and Carol Schmidt were the best looking girls at Kimball High and were always chosen as Queens.
School lunches-Most of the kids from Watkins went downtown Kimball, maybe four blocks west, for lunch. I and a number of my other friends stayed at school and used the school hot lunch program. It was a pretty good deal and we usually got to drink 2 or 3 extra pints of milk. It did not cost very much, but I cannot remember how much. We would buy cards and then they punched them each time we used them. The food was pretty good, because local women, who relished having the jobs, cooked it all. Naturally, it was all heavily subsidized by the Federal government.
Summer jobs-I continued doing some of the same jobs as in my latter years in grade school (see above). One of the new jobs was working on a baling crew. Bill Gross owned a baler, one of the few in the area, and during the summer he would contract with farmers to have their hay and straw baled. I think we got $.01 a bale each and there were 4 or 5 of us on a team. Most of our work was baling straw. When a farmer was threshing his grain we would climb onto the straw pile and feed the baler. The bales came out in large rectangular bales and one our team would pile them onto a hayrack or truck for loading into the farmer’s barn. This all was dirty dusty work. It was especially difficult if the straw included thistles. Sometimes when the weather was threatening, etc. we would work late into the night to get the job finished. The baler kicked out several hundred of these bales an hour so we made pretty good money for as long as it lasted. Sometimes the baler would breakdown and it would take several hours for Bill Gross to get it fixed, especially if he was ‘taking care of business’ in town, meaning he was in one of the bars.
Another job I had one summer was to drive a milk/dairy truck for Meierhofer’s dairy in Maple Lake. Jim Weber and I had this job. Can’t remember how much it paid, but it was not much. Anyway, we would start early am, say 6 am, and drive our truck 20 miles east to Maple Lake and by 7 am start loading the truck with milk, cream, cottage cheese, cheese and other dairy products. We then started our trek to Belgrade, a town 60 or 70 miles west of Maple Lake, and stop at all sorts of lake resorts and small stores along the way to make our deliveries. In Belgrade we sometimes stopped at the local pub for a beer or two before heading back to Watkins. Neither of us had a chauffeur’s license and I was only, maybe 15 years old, but I did have a driver’s license. I did most of the driving.
Between my junior and senior years in high school and maybe my freshman year in college, I got a job at the local Kraft cheese plant. I had to work shifts, usually from 8 pm to 4 am, but sometimes from 4 am to 12 noon. We would make Cheddar cheese from beginning to end. This was probably the best job I ever had in the summer. It gave me the afternoons free to golf, swim, fish, etc.. It was great to have a steady job.
Bowling-Sometime during this time frame, Hib Schoen, built a bowling alley in the back of his bar. It only had four lanes, but was very popular in town. There were both men’s and women’s leagues and it seemed that nearly everyone participated. I think it cost about $.25 a line. We kids were only too happy to pin spot for $.05 a line. We could actually pin spot for two lanes at one time, but it was hard to keep up. With four players taking about 45 minutes to bowl a line, we made about $.30 an hour. When some of the men bowled and threw very fast balls, it could be dangerous because the pins would fly all over, even where we pin spotters were hanging on. The procedure was to immediately put the ball on the return runway and then put the pins into slots on the top of the rack that would set them back on the alley. We had to keep track of which ball was being thrown and what frame it was to know when to re rack the pins. Obviously, there were no automatic pin spotters yet.
Pool-When we were in high school one of the things that we did a lot was play pool in the backroom of Klien’s Hotel. We played billiards, 8 ball, bottle, rotation, bumper and other pool games. The losers always had to buy the beer. Sometimes we played for dimes.
Halloween-Halloween mischief was one of those things that none of us was very proud of. I never got too involved, but some of my buddies (it always seemed to be the older ones) did some lousy things. They would do such things as tipping over an outhouse with someone in it, putting dog poop in a paper bag, setting it on fire and ringing the doorbell. One time I remember some guys took apart a horse drawn buggie and then reassembled it on top of a barn in town. I mentioned the thing with rural post boxes above. Maybe it was the mailbox incident that sort of killed the mischief from then on. Thank goodness.
Dances-One of our main social outlets was to go to dances. There were three places mainly. St. Cloud Coliseum, about 4 miles west of St. Cloud and just west of Waite Park on south side of what is now State Hwy #75, which also went right past St. John’s U. That was the main highway in those days and is now replaced mainly by I 94. On Friday nights it was modern music. The second place was “the Fairgrounds” on the far north side of St. Cloud and not far from the Hospital, Airport and Sauk Rapids. They had a mixture of old and new music. Finally there was old time music at Cold Spring Ballroom on Sunday night. These places were big social gatherings for everyone in probably the 16-19 age group. We did a little beer drinking and sometimes had some harder stuff. I even ran into my youngest sister, Rita, at some of these dances. Once in a while we would go to a resort north of Annandale and also a ‘resort’ half way between St. Cloud and Kimball on Hwy 15, Block Lake. These were some of my wilder times and I usually stayed out too late and drank too much. Not very good role modeling for anyone reading this. One time, we were in Mies’s panel truck going to a dance north of Annandale and I remember going thru the woods on a dirt road to get there and Pete Mies was driving and got up to about 90 mph or more. We were all screaming for him to slow down or stop and he eventually did. We were very lucky and swore we would never drive with him again. Going to dances was one of the things that we continued doing well into my college years.
During that time frame, one summer we formed what was called the “Hobber Dobber Club” made up mostly of Watkins kids. It was a silly sort of thing and we even had a Hobber Dobber clap and saying-which I cannot remember. To be a member one had to chug-a-lug two beers without swallowing. Our only purpose was to have dances and drink beer in someone’s hayloft and that sort of thing. There were about 15 or so of us and sister Rita and some of her older friends were even in it. I often had to recite a couple of verses I took from Dad’s St. John’s notebook. One was “Don’t Use Big Words”(Appendix A) and the other was ”The Modern Hiawatha” (Appendix B).
One summer at about that time, the Weber boys, Jim and Phil, discovered down in the basement of their dad’s store, a cache of old moonshine. That was unlabeled and powerful stuff of at least 100 proof. It would burn real nice if you put a match to it. This was left over from the prohibition days from 1920 to 1933 and apparently Pep Weber, Phil and Jim’s dad had forgotten about it. They would bring a bottle with to dances or whatever and when mixed with coke, etc. could make a very strong drink. I don’t remember how long this went on, maybe until Pep heard about it from someone.
Television-We did not get television until sometime in about 1945. The first time I saw a TV was watching a very snowy screen in the front window of Becker’s Hardware store on main street. It wasn’t too long before Weber’s, Meirhofers, and a few others in town had TV sets in their homes. We did not get one until perhaps 1952 or so. About the time that Sandy and I started dating in early 1950s, we often spent early Sunday evening at either Weber’s or Mierhofers to watch the Colgate Comedy Hour and the Ed Sullivan Show. Mom and Dad liked to watch the Lawrence Welk Show. There was no TV at St. John’s. We were on the fringe of the reception area for Minneapolis because all we had were rabbit ears and a few outside antennas. There were no other broadcast stations until much later.
First airplane flight-Herb Klein and I were the only two guys in our gang that wanted to take a plane ride. We were probably juniors in high school at the time. We drove to St. Cloud Municipal airport and bought a ride at their flying school. It probably cost about $25 and that was quite a bit at that time. Anyway we were assigned to two women pilots who took us up in a single engine piper cub. It was quite a thrill going down that runway for the first time. They flew around St. Cloud at about three or four thousand feet for about thirty minutes and then landed. We had a great time! I don’t think I even told my Mom and Dad before hand.
Trips-In my high school years my biggest trip was between my junior and senior years. A year earlier I learned about the Catholic Youth conference that was to be held at the Morrison Hotel in Chicago. My sisters encouraged me to go and so I started to save my meager funds until I had enough to do it. I made all of the arrangements. I asked others to join me, but no one else was either interested or could afford it. I took the train or Liederbach Bus to Minneapolis and then the train to Chicago. The Morrison Hotel was at the corner of Madison and Clark. On the very first night there I went for a short walk around the block and some kind of character, probably a bum, tried to befriend me. I knew he was bad news so walked until I found a policeman and somehow got rid of this leech. It shook me up a bit. I befriended a couple of guys at the conference, one from Shreveport, LA and another from Gaylord, IL. We did a few things together, like going to the Maxwell Market down on Halstead Ave. That was kind of daring, but not too bad with the three of us. We also took the subway all the way out to Jackson Park and then back. We were the only white people on the train. I also went to a Cubs game all by myself. Took either a bus or L train. One night after an evening event at the conference, I escorted a Chicago girl I met to her home at about 7000 north. She gave me careful instructions on how to take the bus back downtown at that relatively late hour. Everything went fine, except that I had to walk west down Madison from Michigan Ave. to my hotel on Clark St. Under the Wabash elevated train a bum stepped out of the shadows and tried to rob me. I gave him some chunk change and said that was all I had. He took it and let me go. Needless to say I was rather scared.
Another trip I organized was for about four of my buddies and I to take a bus to Minneapolis and then go to our first professional basketball game ever. It was between Oshkosh and Sheboygan. Minneapolis did not have a team. We were blown away by what we saw. The players were fabulous. On the way to the Minneapolis auditorium, about 15 blocks from the bus station, we stopped at a restaurant where I ordered shrimp for the first time in my life. I thought they were great. We took the Soo Line ‘flyer’ train home. This was an express train and did not have a scheduled stop at Watkins, but by making arrangements in advance they stopped for us.
One other trip I arranged was for a group of us to go to the Minnesota High School basketball tournament in at the University of Minnesota field house. It seated about 18,000 people and was the biggest indoor place we had seen. One thing I remember was meeting my first cousin Myron Johnson, who was a student there and lived in a frat house. We went to his frat house and then had dinner at a restaurant-spaghetti I think. He was broke so we paid for his dinner.
The only other times we went to sporting events in Minneapolis was when our town baseball team organized a bus trip to the Minneapolis Miller’s game. This was triple a. On the bus some of the adults had a bottle of Old Fitz 100 proof straight whiskey that they passed around and we all took swigs from it. Wow was that strong and biting. It burned all the way down.
Almost forgot that one Christmas, while Rita was studying Home Economics at St. Catherine, she was helping out at a wealthy family that lived in a large house on Lake Minnetonka. She invited me and one of my friends to come down there and see the house. We did and were really impressed by the huge great room and everything else about the house. She made us lunch too.
Accidents-One of the sad things that we had to experience was what seemed like a lot of bad accidents in our area. In addition to the big train wreck on November11, 1940(discussed above) there were a lot of other accidents. One of the first was Eugene Bohls getting killed when his motorcycle went off the road on HWY 55 about ½ mile east of town. Many of us drove our bikes out to the scene and saw his body draped over the fence. I had nightmares about that one. We often learned of these accidents because the town hall siren would go off to call the volunteer firemen. We did not have paramedics until about 1970 or so.
A bad accident was when one of the young Kramer boys, from a farm about 2 miles west of town, drowned at the Mill Dam in Fairhaven abut 7 miles east of Watkins. This occurred a few years after the period I am writing about and while I was working in the bank. Anyway whoever came in to tell us wanted someone, me, to go out to their home and tell the parents. I did this and drove the father over to Mill Dam where he ID the body. Not a very pleasant task. Remember that none of these small towns had police and many did not have volunteer fire departments. Generally we had to wait for the county sheriff to come investigate and release the body, etc.
We also had one of the young men in town commit suicide by lying down on the train tracks and letting a train run over him. I did not go to see that scene.
Another accident that involved me was when a group of about six of us were returning home from attending a carnival in Litchfield, the Meeker County seat located about 18 miles SW of Watkins. Thank God none of us were drinking anything that night. We had decided to take the main highway home from Litchfield north to Eden Valley and then Hwy 55 the remaining 7 miles to home. We had come on a shorter route using secondary (gravel) roads. Anyway, about half way to Eden Valley and about 10 pm, a panel truck, loaded with plumbing pipes and equipment, came across the middle of the highway and smashed right into the left front of our car. The impact threw our car into the ditch. The front seat passenger flew into the windshield and the other two in the front seat were also injured. I was in the back seat right and was not injured. I managed to get out and went right to the panel truck where the driver was slumped over his steering wheel. He was not dead, but he was drunk. I could smell it. I don’t know who reported the accident, but the state police were there pretty fast. They took us to Watkins, where they had called Dr. Wittrock in advance and he patched up the wounded. I believe they used an ambulance to take the truck driver to a hospital. We all had to make signed statements about what happened and our parents all came to the doctor’s office very concerned.
One more accident was John Ophoven, who ran off the road 4 miles north of Kimball and hit a tree. He was Willie Ophoven’s older brother. He was killed and it really shook all of us up because we all knew him very well.
There were many other bad accidents, but I will not detail them all.
Cold Spring’s St. Boniface High School-During the summer of 1948, a bunch of us kids would meet frequently in the town park to just hang out and play games. Anyway several of us started talking about how bad things were at Kimball High. We were concerned that we were not learning enough, etc. We started to talk about switching to either Eden Valley (seven miles to the west), Litchfield (18miles SW) or Cold Spring’s St. Boniface High School (10 miles north). For some reason we thought Cold Spring would be best and even started to go to dances at the Cold Spring ballroom to see if we could meet some pretty girls (don’t know if we did). Anyway we told our parents about what we wanted to do and they got the ball rolling. It was a big deal, because they had to arrange things with the schools, bus service, etc. I think someone had to agree to pay for tuition from our existing school district to Cold Spring. Anyway when school started there were two buses of us kids who made the transfer. That must have almost overwhelmed the Cold Spring people. St. Boniface High was about 50% bigger than Kimball and therefore must have had about 300 students. Most of us kids were somewhat surprised, pleasantly for most of us, that there was a black book full of rules and a lot more discipline at St. Boniface. After two days, almost half the kids decided to go back to Kimball. Therefore on the third day one bus went to Cold Spring and one bus went to Kimball. I think that split continued for a few years, but I lost track of things after going to college, etc. I made friends with a lot of kids at St. Boniface. Dick Meyer, Roger Bell, Ray Wenner, Marty Kammeier, Ed Richert and Guy Schaefer were the guys and Anna Brinkman, Mitzy Gresser, Ruth Wenner, Delrose Hennen, Helen Theisen (Sandy’s sister), Marge Athmann and Del Steichen were the girls that I knew best. Sandy was a freshman and I did not know her and had not met her. I was still dating Dorothy Suetter from South Haven occasionally. I did date Helen Theisen one time, but we were more like brother and sister I think. Toward the end of the school year I did start dating Mitzy Gresser and I remember thinking she was just great. The feeling was not mutual and she sort of dropped me. She had been dating one of St. Boniface’s star basketball players, Don Olmscheid, and I think I got her on the bounce because she went back to dating him for awhile, before she started dating and eventually marrying Harry Manuel (2 years older) from Watkins.
Academics at St. Boniface were quite different than at Kimball. We had homework and I can even remember staying up all night to finish a paper that I needed for English. I even got to take higher algebra, which we did not have at Kimball. St. Boniface was in tougher athletic leagues (Minnesota Catholic High School Athletic Association) for sports, had language classes and other things that Kimball did not have. We assimilated pretty well, but I think there was some apprehension on the sports teams that their tight knit clicks would lose out. As a result some of the jocks were somewhat aloof.
Sports at SBHS-Being transfer students; we were not eligible for varsity sports for several months. Thus we did not play football that first year (and only year for those of us who were seniors). However, for some reason I seem to remember that Gordy Linn, who was a good football player, played on the varsity football team the first year. When basketball season started, we were told that we were still not eligible for varsity. I thought there was something fishy about this because a very good basketball player in Minneapolis transferred to DeLaSalle High School at the same time as us and he was playing. Naturally, I wrote a letter to the Minneapolis Star Tribune and they published it in the next Sunday paper. This created quite a storm because our coach Al Schaefer was also President of the state athletic association. He called me into his office and was furious that I had written that letter. He calmed down eventually and there was no retribution that I can remember. Nothing changed, however, and we Watkins kids who were practicing with the varsity to give them some opposition, quit doing that with no prospect of ever playing. Several of us also signed up for ice hockey and we played in several games. Baseball was another story. We seemed to be welcomed with open arms and I even pitched a few games. We did all right.
Graduation-Thank God I can’t remember all the details, but graduation from high school must have been a big deal. A fairly big group of us made it an all nighter at someone’s cottage at Lake Koronis, about 20 miles west of Cold Spring and near Paynesville. We drank a lot of beer and just had a good time, with one exception. We went into Paynesville for breakfast and one of our cars went too far by driving across people’s lawns, etc. We did not get caught, but we felt bad later on.
Weddings-On Saturday, May 29, 1948 my oldest sister Cleo, then age 23 got married to George Holmin, age 24 from Kimball/Litchfield. As I mentioned earlier, George went into the Army early, before finishing High School (he finished it sometime later), and fought in the battle for New Guinea, in the Pacific. He caught malaria over there and he took some time to heal. George worked for and retired from National Can Co. in Mankato, MN. On July 24, 1948 my second oldest sister Lois, age 21, got married to John Lundemo, age 23, from Watkins. John served in the US Air Force and was stationed for awhile in Canada and on the west coast. When John got out of the service, he enrolled at Dunwoody Institute in Minneapolis and studied electrical engineering. He worked for and retired from the Elk River Power Association, which had one of the first atomic power plants in the country. He and some of his buddies built the house they still live in. These weddings were a big deal for a 16-year-old boy like me. We had the receptions at our house and turned the basement into a bar. I think I was an usher for both weddings. Sister Rita must have been in both wedding parties. I think we ate right at our house, but we might have gone across the street to the school basement. I was very proud of my older sisters.