Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Radio and Television

Back in the undergrad days, most of us off-campus dwellers did not have a television. Some including myself did own a radio. I read the campus and local newspapers. Those times when I visited home, I did catch some of the television programs and news.

You may be interested in Doug Quick's "Central Illinois On Line Broadcast Museum." Doug has a long career in radio and television including stints working as a weatherman, newscaster, DJ, program director, promotions and sales manager as well as being the general manager (Station), and much more.

In 2013, Doug Quick received the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle Award based on his work in documenting mid-Illinois television history at his website:

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Mother's Bar Destroyed in Fire

Jarmon, Jarad (February 16, 2018). Mother’s Bar Destroyed in Fire: Officials Call It Worst in Years. Journal Gazette and Times Courier.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

What Charleston Was Like Way Back When . . . (Part 2)

Or at the very least, the way that I remember It?

Note: The first version of this article was originally posted March 4, 2015. However in the following few years, it was updated and improved several times. The size of the article increased significantly with the addition of several vintage advertisements; those changes exceeded limits for the Blogger host site. Therefore it was split into two parts. (Part 1 can be found at it's original space:

Few matchbook covers from decades back

"It has been fifty years since I began working at the Ko-Op in the fall (November 1964) near the end of my first quarter of EIU classes." This continues my memories of the years that I lived in Charleston.

Nearby on the SW corner of the Square was one of two Charleston locations for a Snappy Service Diner. Open twenty-four seven (A rarity in those days), Snappy's was home to a fifteen-cent hamburger (In earlier days, they were a dime), but Snappy's also served breakfast any time of day. Nothing like being up late and sending someone for a bag of ten burger sliders for a buck-fifty. It was also interesting to spend a short-time watching a one-person operation.

Think of a small shotgun building with a counter down the center and half-a-dozen or more stools (Usually full around or after midnight). A dozen or more patties on a smoking hot grill, right next to eggs cooking, and a pot of chile heating behind. Grease from the burgers threatened to float other eggs and patties right of the grill top, while steam and smoke saturated the air. One likely gained a hundred calories just by breathing for ten or fifteen minutes.

A second Snappy's location was near campus, a block west of Old Main, on the south side of Lincoln Avenue. These two locations were part of a small local chain (Believe there was one in Mattoon) with home store in Paris, IL. Those fifteen-cent burgers were relatively small-size (Ten per person was often the choice) and those 'belly-busters' were best eaten hot off the grill. Chase them down with two or three Tums, and they could get you through a late nite. And as I mentioned, Snappy's never closed.

While thinking about the downtown area, who has had a ‘Chinkburger’ from up on Whiskey Row (Block off the Square from the 1st. National Bank)? Chink and Kate’s Bar was on the south side of west Monroe St. You could order a braunschweiger with a big slice of onion and cheese on rye bread, even if you were not old enough to purchase a beer.

Closer to campus, Coffee Time was opened by 1967 and was open late at night and early in the morning.

Also on the southside of the Square was Snyder’s Donut Shop and early in the morning, they delivered a tray of fresh donuts and sometimes a freshly-baked cake roll to the Ko-Op. Fresh cake roll was a treat with ice cream (Choice of soft-served or hand dipped); Larry Mizener often wondered why so much ‘sold’ that first day - - might have been that workers knew when it was fresh, soft and scrumptious too.

advertisement for Snyder's Donut ShopBy Spring of 1965, Snyder’s Donuts was displaced at the Ko-Op by a new donut operation. This shop was operated by the Brooken’s family (Not positive on the name, but he was a former employee of Snyders). The night before Brooken’s Donuts opened, several of us Ko-Op workers accepted an invitation to help with a shake-down run - - making and taste-testing donuts until way after midnight - a hot glazed donut right out of the grease is hard to resist. Those were the days; I ate three to five meals a day and didn’t gain weight (Paying for that appetite development in these later decades).

For over a year, Lyle Mowery and I opened up the Ko-Op at 7 a.m. When we arrived at 6:30, the delivery of milk and ice cream from Mattoon’s Meadow Gold had already occurred. The delivery man had a key and stopped before we arrived on the scene.

Time’s, they kept a changing. Snappy’s and Coffee Time are long gone.

Until recently, it was often said that Charleston did not have and could not support a good restaurant. With very few exceptions; there were not many distinct choices, and I’m not sure if there ever was an outstanding meal in the town? What’s Cookin’ caused a little stir when it opened. Restaurants there trended toward providing low or moderately priced eats - - pub food, fast food, cheap food.

Today Trip Advisor rates Pagliai’s Pizza as number 1 of 44 restaurant in Charleston. As reported in the last censusColes County’s medium household income for a family was estimated to be $ 37,397; twenty-two percent, over 1 in 5 of the current population were rated as being officially poor. I would guess that some people save their dining experiences for a road trip made to Champaign, IL. The good news is that Dirty’s Bar and Grill (What was once the Ko-Op) is rated number three (Update - Dirty's has not held to that rating, Feb. 2018 finds it rated 10th).

Back in ’64, Charleston still had a few neighborhood grocery stores. Pearcy's Market was then open and their processing plant and delivery supplied all of the meats for both the Ko-Op and the Short Stop. There was Haddock’s Grocery up toward the the Square (Don’t remember which street). In the first block north of campus, also on Fourth Street there was Orndorf’s Market (Horney Ornies). Sometime in the Seventies, it was replaced with a dance club (Think spinning glitter ball hanging from the ceiling) and a restaurant named E.L. Crackers. Rumor had it that the owner / builder purchased a remodeling permit and kept one small wall section intact until the outer shell of the new building hid it from view. A permit for added construction on an existing building is much cheaper that one for new construction. Other night spots are / were Marty’s (What was Walt’s back in the day, named after Marty Pattin), Ted’s Warehouse (Live music on weekends, located in the north section of town next to the rail tracks), Stix'sMother’s (Also hosted disco dancing), the Uptowner, and Thirsty’s (Quarter beer nights).

Near the intersection of Fifth Street and Lincoln, the original / first Jimmy John’s was started in a garage (1983) by Jimmy John Liautaud. Jimmy John’s is now a national chain with over two thousand stores in thirty-four states.

The changes in business Enterprises were not limited to food and bar establishments. There were a handful of other stores and shops that I and other EIU students frequented. Finding a good barber in Charleston in those days was difficult. Aron’s Barber Shop was down in front of Old Main near Ike’s, getting a cut there was often the default choice. Cavins and Bayles Clothing had two locations: the Campus shop in the strip mall across Lincoln Avenue from Old Main and another on the inside NW corner of the Square. Jim Edgar (Interview transcript; college years begin about page 59), a President of the EIU student body and the last downstate governor of Illinois, worked there in 1965.

There was one independent book store, the Lincoln Book Shop owned and operated by Tanya Wood (Her husband was an EIU faculty member). Lincoln Books was housed across from Old Main on Lincoln Avenue. In 2004, Tanya and Dr. Leonard Wood died as a result of an auto accident east of Charleston.

Charleston’s town square began a decline in the early Sixties - - after the widening of Lincoln Avenue (Early Sixties), some businesses moved from the town square out near campus. But the Square was and still is vital and the heart of Charleston’s downtown. In the 1964-’68 era, there were still several businesses there. Along with Roc’s Lounge (The Black Front) and the Sportsman Lounge, there was Mack Moore Shoes, a five and dime (Ben Franklin’s? The basement had some restaurant glassware; I purchased some there for the Ko-Op), nearby was Jim Lanman’s Hardware store. The Will Rogers Theater (Opened in 1938) was and is still located on Monroe Street off the northeast side of the town square (Courthouse). Currently it is under restoration.

I’m sure that I left some important businesses off this summary listing; also probably have some errors in my memory. Add your entries and corrections to this posting.


* Joe Lucco coached three legendary basketball players who all played for the U of IL in the late Fifties: Govoner VaughnManny Jackson and Don Ohl. After 39 years as teacher, coach and administrator, Joe retired from Edwardsville School District and was elected to serve as an Illinois State Representative (Democrat, Dist. 56).

** Herb Brooks had worked at Walt’s with Larry Mizener, and in 1964 he was the grade school principal in Rardin. In those days, Herb often helped on Sunday mornings by taking orders and payments at the cash register. After church, customers lined up for our deep-fried chicken dinners. I recognized Herb's ‘Brooks look’ the first time, that first weekend that I worked at the Ko-Op.

Two Brooks brothers and their families lived in Findlay; their kids went to Findlay schools - - first cousins, Charlotte and David, graduated in my class. Herb had been born in Moweaqua and graduated from Lovington High. He had served in the Air Force during the Korean War, then returned to Charleston and EIU. He was a cousin of the Brooks families in Findlay. I later worked with Herb’s younger brother, Jim Brooks, who was a music and band teacher in Urbana Schools.

Herb left Charleston Schools and worked for the University as Assistant Director and later Director of the Student Union (1966-1978). He retired from EIU in 1987 as Director of Veterans Services. By then, Herb had purchased the DQs in Charleston. Herb Brooks, age 69, died in April 2001 at his rural Charleston home. His wife, Darlene, died in Feb. 2012.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

For a larger view of the Christmas card, click on this link:

Our annual Christmas letter can be read here:    http://eduscapes.com/lamb/holiday/xmaslet2017.pdf

Annette and Larry

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Sport Light of the Week: Larry Mizener 1950

Another Daily Eastern News article that focused on Larry Mizener:
Mayan, Jack (Oct. 4, 1950). "Sport Light of the Week." Daily Eastern News. Eastern Illinois University. p.6.

Although the Air Force and the Navy receive a great deal of credit for winning wars, it is generally conceded that it is the ground forces which actually turn the tide of battles by going in and conquering enemy lands.

Sophomore Class Officers (1949 Warbler)
This axiom can be compared to the wars of the gridiron where passing is certainly a highly important weapon, but even so the real power of a team is measured by the yardage gained from the line of scrimmage.

1949 Warbler
Eastern’s rushing power was exemplified in the Ball State game by hard-charging Larry Mizener of Lisle, Illinois. All Larry did in the game was to pick up 95 yards in only 13 ball carrying attempts. Almost any fourth grader can tell you that “Mize” averaged better than seven yards per carry which is something to be proud of. Larry must have been proud of his performance as he rated it his biggest sport thrill, along with getting revenge from the Ball Staters for their 47 to 13 rout of Eastern in “49.”

Junior Class Officers (Warbler 1950)
Larry is trying for his third varsity football letter this season, besides his activities in the Varsity club and in Phi Sigma Epsilon fraternity. Now in his senior year, Larry hasn’t let any grass grow under his feet while at Eastern. He was elected class president in both is sophomore and junior years.

Physical Education majors are not uncommon on Eastern’s athletic squads, but PE majors with speech correction minors are not to frequent. Larry picked this curriculum with an eye towards coaching with a speech correction sideline.

Phi Sigma Epsilon (Warbler 1950)
Larry attended Downers Grove high school where he lettered three times in both football and track. In the latter, “Mize” was a high hurdler.

Most of Larry’s spare time is taken up by his job at the Ko-op, but he likes to play golf occasionally. Although “Mize” has been called in for his Army physical, he is ranked in the upper half of his class so he is hoping for a deferment.
Ad in Eastern State News (Oct. 08, 1947)

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Larry Mizener: EIU '47-1951

Another article and photos from the EIU archives - The Keep:

Howard, Juanita (Mar. 30, 1955) “Larry Prefers Selling Food to Teaching.” Eastern State News, p. 3

Warbler 1951: Larry Mizener "Who's Who"

Larry Mizener, manager of the “Ko-Op” and former graduate of Eastern, took time out between coke orders to give us a tunnel view of his past history.

"Mize" 1951

Larry is originally from Lisle, a township located 22 miles southwest of Chicago. A pep talk from his high school football coach was in part responsible for his enrollment at Eastern in 1947.

 Senior Class President

He majored in P.E. and played halfback on the football team. After working at the “Ko-Op” during his four years in school, Larry side tracked his ambition to become a high school coach and continued his work here.

1951 Class Officers

Perhaps his sincere interest in people, which is shown by his work in the Moose club, is responsible for his decision to stay in Charleston. Larry employs college students who are from ‘Mooseheart’, a city where the children of deceased Moose club members are provided for by other members of the club.

Phi Sigma Epsilon (Mize, top right)

He is an alumnus of Phi Sigma Epsilon social fraternity, and is married to the former Mildred Jean Carr, also an Eastern graduate. They have one daughter who is 20 months old.

During the summer months, Larry runs “Walt’s” which is kept open for the benefit of the summer school students.

1951 Warbler photo

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

EIU Campus Hangouts

I have been searching Eastern's online archives, The Keep, for information related to the Ko-Op. This posting is my first installment - an article written by Jack Ryan in October of 1957 in the Daily Eastern News. Note that I have not made any corrections, especially in punctuation - have tried to leave the article exactly as published. In the coming months, I will share other articles from the archives.

Ryan, Jack (Oct. 2, 1957). "Eastern’s Campus Hangouts". Daily Eastern News; p4.

In the everlasting tradition of college campus hangouts Eastern takes a backseat to no one. From sitting on the benches watching all the girls go by to jiving it up at a little campus jam session the student clientele spends its carefree hours of relaxation.

On three sides of the campus proper the students are accommodated by the Little Campus, Ko-Op, and Walts (commonly called the Open).

A history of the Ko-Op, Little Campus, and the Open consists also of the history of Walter Warmoth.

“Walt” bought the Little Campus in 1937, after having worked there during his school days. With the increase in enrollment, Walt soon had to build an additional room to accommodate its student patrons.

The converting of a grocery store to establish the Ko-Op soon followed, serving sandwiches, fountain goods, and hot meals.

When Lincoln and Douglas halls were erected, ‘Walt’ saw the need for one more “hangout” for the Eastern students, so, in 1953, he built the Open which has since become another favorite spot for the coke crowd to assemble.

Under the proprietorship of Ivan “Ike” Kennard, the “Little Campus” has become one of the most popular meeting places on campus. ‘Ike’. a navy pilot in the second world war, took over the “Little Campus” in 1948.

Also under the proprietorship of an Eastern graduate Larry Mizener, the Ko-Op is growing in popularity among Eastern students. Larry received his B.S. at Eastern and took over the Ko-Op in 1952.