Monday, June 1, 2015

Now I'm One of the Old Timers

     Today is the first day of being "retired" and I'm not sure how I feel about that. I guess it may take a while to figure that out - then again, maybe not. I do know that it got me thinking about the past and our family, not that it takes a whole lot to get me doing that. One picture popped into my mind - the one below.

      Some may remember this, but at 4711 20th Avenue in Kenosha, where Aunt Norma and Uncle Kelly lived, with Grandma Haubrich living in an upstairs apartment, Uncle Kelly kept a very organized and clean basement. It was still a basement with a low ceiling, but it was not a real scary place like basements could often be. Among other things, I remember Uncle Kelly's work bench area straight head when you came in the door, the red-painted floors, and the dart board baseball game back in the corner. (It was always covered with a sheet and it was a real treat when it got uncovered and used, which was not very often. I mean, what could go wrong with a couple of kids in a low-ceiling basement throwing darts!)
       Then there was the bathroom and shower. It was on the outside wall of the bathroom that this picture (or one like it, if not this actual one) was hanging. I remember looking  at it and wondering who those people were. They must have been important or they wouldn't be hanging on the wall in the basement! (I also remember that on inside wall of  the bathroom was a little corncob in a glass box. It said, "For Emergency Only" - so I guess someone had a sense of humor!
      The "Old Timers" was a club at the Simmons Company in Kenosha. At first I thought they were all retired, but I guess not. The picture below in from 1940, and Pa Haubrich retired in 1947 (according to his obituary.) So I think it was just a group of workers who had achieved various milestones of long and faithful employment in the company. Pa worked there for 50 years!
       That's him in the second row, just left of center, over the right shoulder of the lone female in the picture. They called him "Shorty," and he was, but it looks like there could have been any number of "Shortys" in this group. Also in the picture is his brother-in-law, Fred Lorenz and cousin Fritz Haubrich. (The last two guys in the front row right.)
       Simmons - the mattress company, was a major employer in Kenosha for a greater part of the century. They were a huge part  of the community. Not only did many of the Haubrichs work there, but many Kenoshans. It almost was a community in itself. Pa played in the Simmons Band and Simmons Park has always been a landmark and popular place for get-togethers and relaxation. Even my Dad talked about the amazing Simmons picnics.
       I never really knew my Grandpa Haubrich since I was barely 4 years old when he died, but I do remember this picture very well and I am glad I have it. Too bad I can't talk to him about it now. I am sure  he would have lots of  great stories about working there and about old Kenosha as well.
       Maybe he could have given me some tips on how to be one of the "Old Timers" today.


  1. Very interesting as always!
    Glad you're an "old timer" now!;-)

  2. I'm curious about the lone woman in the front row. I bet she had some stories too!!

    1. Great observation, Rach. That would be interesting. I am guessing she worked in the corporate office and not the factory - but you never know.

  3. Maybe that is why we had great picnics.Have to admit I never got the joke about corncob.

  4. Maybe that is why we had great picnics.Have to admit I never got the joke about corncob.