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.


Sunday, October 22, 2017

You Know You're From Charleston Illinois When....

Some of you that are on Facebook might enjoy following the posted information at this site (Click on the Link that follows):
You Know You're From Charleston Illinois When....

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Not Many Photographs from 'Back in the Day'

Most of us did not have a camera, many of us did not make it to sessions scheduled for the Warbler yearbook, so photographs of our undergrad college years are rare. Recently Deb Mizener Beckrich sent me this one below. I believe that her dad, Larry Mizener, took it in 1967 inside the Short Stop. Neither Deb or I can remember the name of the girl standing beside me; she worked at the Short Stop. I may be way off, but I think that she was a relative (Younger sister perhaps) of Charleston lawyer, Woody Kramer, originally from Villa Grove? Deb thinks her first name might be Pamela or Sue?

Anyone else have a photo that they could share?



I have no idea of what I had going on with that apron fold . . .

Friday, October 06, 2017

Cruise and Compare

Take a car ride around Chucktown - on the left: a video published by Mike Popham of his cruise of December 4, 1985 and on the right: a video created by J. Thomas Evans & A. Due of a more recent ride on December 31, 2016. Click on the URL below to view the video clips side by side:

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Update from Carl and Judy Nosbisch

After spending most of Sept in 3 different hospitals, I am home. Over the past years I have had surgery on my right hip 5 times. This time I fell on some wet grass and broke my right femur in two places right above the knee (same leg as my hip replacement), and also broke my ankle in 2 places.

First I was in Delnor Hospital....transported to Northwestern Hospital in Chicago where surgery was done.....10 1/2 hours. After a week then I was transported to Marion Joy Hospital in Wheaton for another 2 weeks and 3 days for rehab. Recovery is going to be a long road for the next few months.


First pic was in Delnor getting ready to move me to Chicago. Second pic is with a cast. Third pic is with my wonderful boot.....try sleeping with that on.....it has to been on all the time. I do get to take it off when I shower.

Hopes for Carl's continued recovery and getting back on his feet as soon as possible.


Monday, August 28, 2017

Carl Nosbisch from Dieterich - 'Noz'

I was fortunate to work a night shift for at least two quarters with Carl. He was fun to work with, helped make the hours go quickly, and I believe that we got things done. Remember staying after closing, usually joined by a few other fellow workers, sitting in a booth, unwinding from the day, talking about high school backgrounds and of course, basketball and coaches. Great times . . .
Carl's words: I started working at the Ko-op in August 1963 and left after the spring quarter 1966. I graduated the summer of 1966. I enjoyed my time at the Ko-op, meeting and working with some fine individuals.
I started teaching business and coaching at Kinmundy-Alma High School in Kinmundy, Illinois (Photo above). I completed my Masters Degree at Eastern in the summer of 1970. After graduation that summer I started teaching business at Larkin High School in Elgin, Illinois. I also coached basketball and baseball. I completed course work at Northern Illinois University for an Administrative Certificate in 1973. In 1995 I became a Dean of Students for 8 years.  Then in 2003 I became Assistant Principal at Larkin. Having completed 38 years at Larkin, I retired in 2004. Later in the fall of 2004, I was asked to fill a non-certified position for the remainder of school year. That position lasted until 2013, when I retired again - this time for good.
My wife Judy and I have two children, Nena and Reed, both are EIU graduates. Nena taught business, but retired to raise their family. Nena and her husband have three children, all adopted from Russia. The two sons are 16 and their daughter is 14. Reed is a high school special ed teacher and head basketball coach at Elgin Community College. His team finished second in the nation in Division III this past season. Reed and his wife are parents of two daughters, age 14 and 12.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Parallel Perspective: EIU and Charleston

I (John Mies) also went to Eastern from 1964-68. I have a few comments on the places you've mentioned, plus a few that you didn't include. I remember many late night trips to Snappy's on the square for the Snappy's Special, two eggs, fried potatoes, sausage or bacon, and toast. I don't remember a Snappy's west of Old Main, but do remember a Burger King in that spot, six burgers or six hot dogs for a dollar, and when you had some money, a Double Dare, which was basically a huge banana split in a one quart cup for 75 cents. Another treat was DQ Dilly Bars for a dime at the store at Division and State. DQ didn't serve food at that time. Close by was another small diner, I don't recall the name, maybe the second Snappy's.

Adjacent to Sportsman's Club (or Sporty's as everyone called it), was Pizza Joe's, serving pizza, Italian beef, spaghetti, and other Italian-American menu items. Both Sporty's and Pizza Joe's burned in a fire years ago, can't remember what year. There's a place called Lefty's Holler where they were located. Joe's had excellent pizza, and I worked there as a delivery person using my own car, a 1962 Rambler American. Joe Aducci paid me $1/hr., I bought my own gas, and there were no tips...but there was free food. One night in 1966 I raised the buying my own gas issue with Joe, and he agreed to pay me $1.10/hr. That didn't last long, because one night the server and I decided to trade places and he used my car to deliver. He hit a tree and totaled it.

As I remember, Ike's, across from Old Main, always served both beer and food. Many good times there.

I ate at Green's on the square several times and remember their typewritten menus, but I gravitated toward Owl Drugstore on the east side of the square. It was a drugstore with a soda fountain and grill where for $1.25 you could get a decent albeit thin t-bone with fried onions, salad and potato for $1.25. 

We called Little Venice, "Little V's," and their Sunday night special was spaghetti with meat sauce, salad and bread for $1.00. I had my first Italian Beef there.

In 1967 I lived in an upstairs railroad apartment on the NE corner of the square. There was a hardware store below, as I remember, and next to it was a candy store. There's now a bar where the candy store used to be. The store below the apartment was formerly a grocery store, so we had to put up with cockroaches, descendants of generations before. One time my roommate and I were hard up for cash, so we packed up several six packs of empty pop bottles under each arm and carried them to Snyder's Donut Shop. We could get a quart of milk and a donut for thirty cents. The woman that ran the place knew us, and she jokingly said that she's better spray the bottles with insecticide. That was a mistake, as the hidden cockroaches in pop cartons scurried out all over the donut shop.

I tried to get part time jobs in food service just so I could eat, and for a year I worked as a short order cook at the Elks Lodge on Sixth St. The main cook there was an older lady who smoked Tareyton cork tipped cigarettes, and was cockeyed. Even now I can picture her peeling potatoes with that Tareyton dangling from her mouth, and it didn't matter where the ash fell. I had been promised a raise for several weeks, but none was given. One night I was cooking for a steak stag and had about twenty or so steaks on the grill, all different thicknesses and all done to different degrees. As I was cooking, the Exalted Ruler came into the kitchen and asked how it was going. I said everything wasn't fine since I hadn't received my raise, so he was in shock when I took off my apron and told him I quit. He was quite disturbed by the loss of a cook, and immediately promised my raise to $1.20 in my next paycheck. I finished my cooking.

I also worked as a fry cook at Dog 'N Suds for 85 cents/hour. It wasn't a bad job, but you were limited to a small fixed amount for a meal when you ate there. I learned to stuff a whole burger into my mouth because of that restriction.

In 1966, I managed a teen dance club called the Pego-A-GoGo, and I hired bands from Champaign-Urbana, a hotbed of music at that time. The club was on 7th St. directly across from the old police station.

There was a Sandy's on the NW corner of 4th and Lincoln, where Jimmy John's is now. That's was the only national fast food chain in town besides Dairy Queen, and was later to become Hardee's.

One year, I think around 1968, the largest grocery in town, Wilb Walker's, burned in a spectacular fire. I remember watching the fire and hearing the constant small explosions of aerosol cans blowing up.

If you were going out for a fancy meal, the place to go was the Coles County Airport on Rt. 16 between Charleston and Mattoon. That was about it unless you drove to Champaign-Urbana.

I remember Charleston Package Liquor on Jackson and 18th. It had a drive-thru window which made it handy to pick up a six or two of Wiedemann's in those squatty bottles on your way to the Charleston Drive-In.

My fraternity used to have many keg parties NE of Charleston in a timber area near Airtight. I don't know where the name came from, but we all thought it was because police wouldn't bother us there. Keg parties were the main form of entertainment in those days. There was also a gravel road just south of Lake Charleston that ran along the Embarrass at it's end. That was another good spot, but not as secure.

I and my roommate Dick Hutchens would hit Chink and Kate's frequently for a late night snack. Eighty-five cents would get you a Chinkburger and a quart of beer at the bar. The prices I've been mentioning don't take into account that $1 in 1964 costs $8 now. All in all, I enjoyed my years at EIU immensely.

BTW, I went to high school with Lyle Mowery, and he was a good and funny friend. Thanks for the blog.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

November 1964: Got a Job

Back then, I was running out of cash and needed to find a job. One of my roommates suggested checking at the nearby Ko-Op Cafe on Lincoln Avenue near 7th Street. So one day between classes, I entered and asked if help was needed. Soon as I filled out an application form, Larry Mizener came out front, sat with me and asked a few questions. Once he had my schedule of classes, he lined-up about fifteen work hours for the remainder of that week. A short time later that same day, I worked my first shift.



In those days, guys wore their white tee shirts and were supplied a long-white apron tied around the waist that swept below the knees. Student workers were all male (Jean Mizener and the children, Little Walt, Debbie, Bette and Marty also worked shifts). As a new employee, I began serving ice water (Every customer received a glass of ice water delivered to where they sat), clearing tables / picking up dishes, glassware and cutlery. New workers, the latest hired began working on the far right of the cafeteria-style counter, a section with bar stools on the other side. Behind the counter on the worker side was a deep double stainless steel sink and drain board. Here we dumped paper, garbage and trash into a garbage can, and stacked dirty dishes and glassware onto an infeed table surface on the left side of the wash sink. Frequently needed to change the wash water, keeping it as hot as possible, adding fresh soap and disinfectant. As soon as possible, as soon as one had a small stack, we washed cups and dishes and dunked them into the hot rinse basin, placed on the drain board on the other side. After silverware was washed, filled into a flatware cylinder, and then rinsed, we sometimes second-rinsed them with scalding hot water from the coffee urn.
Grill at Clyde's Drive In, St. Ignace, MI

Having never worked in a food business before, every procedure was new. As a beginner, another worker with at least a few or several weeks more experience demonstrated new tasks and monitored / corrected my performance. First lessons, move . . . don’t follow a slow, deliberate pace. As I worked, keep a watch on customers sitting at booths, tables and the bar stools. Also be aware of people coming in, proceeding down the cafeteria-style counter, placing their orders, paying at the cash register, and finding a seat. Clean and clear away tables as soon as students leave. Procedures: how to grab, dunk and clean a coffee cup. How to carry seven filled ice water glasses to a table. How to pull an empty glass off the tray, flip it over upright, scoop ice out of the bin, and hold under the spring loaded water spigot to fill - all in a smooth fluid motion, never stopping until one had the number needed.

Inevitably a cup or glass dropped and crashed to the floor, breaking. One learned to stick a foot under the falling item, slowing its descent and sometimes saving a cup or glass. A few weeks later when I moved up the line to work around the grill, sandwich board and steam table area, I learned to apply the same technique on a dropped egg. Of course once in a while, one only succeeded in breaking the egg onto your shoe.


Clyde's prepares fresh burgers on the grill.

Other newbie tasks; move cleaned cups and glasses to the head of the cafeteria line (left side of the line) where the drink fountain, shake machine, ice cream freezer, coffee urn and cash register were located - - or plates to the middle grill area where food was prepared and delivered. In those earlier days, the Ko-Op was still mixing drinks from syrups and the soda fountain delivered carbonation (CO2 gas). Memorize the number of squirts needed for a coke, cherry coke, vanilla coke, chocolate soda, root beer, green river (lime phosphate), cherry phosphate, etc. Within the coming year, the soda fountain was augmented by the addition of pressurized drink tanks (Switched to Pepsi) in the back room. It seemed that the drink taste was never the same. Other tasks, keep the ice bins full, the floors cleaned up, empty trash bins and move trash to the stockade out back in the alley.

Payday was on Friday. On that day the Ko-Op closed down at 4 p.m. and workers came in to complete a weekly cleanup (One and a half to two hours). Cleanup tasks for the new worker included cleaning the grill and emptying and cleaning the grease catching basin off the back. Also cleaning and oiling the big exhaust fan in the back kitchen. Floors were swept and mopped, the same as they were done every night at closing time. Floors were spot-cleaned / mopped as needed, anytime of day.


Cheeseburger with O-rings at Clyde's

Weekend hours were different than opening weekdays at 7 a.m. and closing at 10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday (Someone check me on those hours?) Saturday mornings, the Ko-Op re-opened but closed at 2 in the afternoon. Sundays - opened at 8 and closed at 10:30 p.m. Added menu item on Sundays, a fried chicken dinner that brought in an after-church crowd. And Sunday nights found all the workers back for a meeting at closing time. Sunday nights’ team meeting included sharing ideas, problems and training.

Sometime I learned that the Charleston three (Walt’s, Ike’s Little Campus and the Ko-Op) were based on the Walgreen’s lunch counter model. Walt Warmoth was the youngest Walgreen’s manager during the Chicago World’s Fair (1933).


Clydes Drive-In 2 in Manistique, MI (The UP)

A move up was to work at the sandwich board and the steam table area, then the grill and finally taking orders for food and drinks at the head of the line. For the new guy, you first learned to recite the list of sandwiches for a customer: hamburger, cheeseburger, Bar-b-que, ham, ham and cheese, ham salad, grilled AC, grilled tenderloin, hot beef - - summertime, a BLT was added and later an egg salad sandwich . . . on white bread, toast, a bun, whole wheat, and also added later was a corned beef on rye. Before one ever worked the head of the line, the cash register, you practiced taking orders, adding them up in your head, including sales tax, taking money, and giving back the correct change. Seldom used paper (Rarely if you had a large group with single payer) - there was one right way to do almost everything.
The Lemon Drop in Anderson, IN

In ’64, the Saturday morning crew usually pounded out forty to sixty pounds of burger patties in the back kitchen. Mix the ground beef with onion, pepper, salt and pancake batter for binding. Three or four guys around the cleaned butcher block table. One person covered the table with small squares of wax paper. Lead worker grabbed a large handful of burger mix and used an ice cream scoop to cover each piece of wax paper with a standard measure. Another worker followed right behind with a hand burger press, slamming down over the ball of burger and using a twisting motion to shape and release the completed patty. Goal was to make eight or more burgers per pound of ground beef. Another pulled the patties on wax paper off the table, stacked and boxed them for the freezer. In a few years, we no longer pounded out our own burger patties . . . Pearcy’s Meat Market purchased equipment and could custom produce them to our specifications.


Grilled tenderloins (Un-breaded) at The Lemon Drop

A smaller Saturday morning chore was to assign a newbie to clean, wash and grind a fifty pound bag of onions. Start the process in the large double sink in the back room and complete using a hand-operated food grinder clamped onto that same butcher block table. I can guarantee that everyone’s first encounter ended up with red-eyes watering a river with 20 pounds of onions left to finish. Ground onions were packed into clean plastic buckets and stored in the back cooler - ready to use.

Counter chatter - the worker at the cash register taking orders from lined up student customers, yells out the food orders and pulls any drinks that are needed:

     Burger! Burger!
     Make that a pair with fries
     Cheeseburger
     Hot beef manhattan
     Spagetti with a combination salad
     Grilled AC



Proprietor of Chicago's Billy Goat Tavern
Click here to view a longer related video clip 

Opening up - turn up the grill and the fryers, brew fresh coffee in the urn, fill up the ice bins. Check the egg, bacon, ham and bread supply at the grill. Open the doors at 7 a.m. - often one or more persons were waiting outside. By 10 a.m. you made fresh salad, sliced a few tomatoes, and prepped the steam table.

On the job, you learned other practices. “Work both ways” - for example, when you head out from behind the counter to deliver water or food at a booth, look around and see other things that needed to be done in the nearby area as you go out and return. Clear away some empty plates, take out a fresh water glass, replace an empty ketchup bottle, empty and clean an ash tray . . . keep busy, look around, there is always things that need to be done.

Ko-Op Crew in the Fall quarter of Sixty-Four:
Kel Thrush, Walt Stine, Carl Nosbisch, John Ganley, Carl Finfrock, Gary Cook, Russ White, Michael Black. By Spring quarter of Sixty-Five, Michael Black and Carl Finfrock had dropped out. Ken Kirby and Gus Pekara were added. Kel Thrush graduated. Sixty-Five and Six brought Ken Lowry, Sam Steinman, Lyle Mowery, Bob Warnsley, Allen Yoder, and Dale Fruendt on board. Walt Stine graduated. Carl Nosbisch graduated. John Ganley graduated. By Sixty-Seven, Tom Baylis was working at the Ko-Op. 

More chatter:
Need some ice here - got it.
Check two o’clock.
Hot, boiling water coming right behind.
Heads up!
Beaver at nine o’clock.


Late Sixties was the era of mini-skirts and short shorts!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Whitey . . . Member of Ko-Op’s Incoming Class of ’64

Russ White and Gary Cook first began working at the Ko-Op at the beginning of fall quarter in 1964. I started work there by early November. Other ’64 high school grads, Ken Kirby and Gus Pekara later came on board.

I still remember how surprised I was when Russ left EIU in 1967 to enlist in the Army.

After boot camp training, Russ spent 1968 and began '69 in Vietnam. He was assigned to the 3/82 Artillery, 196th Light Infantry Brigade. In February, He was blown up on a landing zone (LZ) south of Danang. After recovering from wounds, Russ was assigned for eight months to a burial team out of Ft. Lewis (Near Tacoma, WA). Then he returned to Eastern.


I last saw and visited Whitey around 1971 at his then home in Mattoon. Ken Lowry was also there. At EIU, he had changed majors and soon graduated with a teaching degree in Botany and Zoology.

Russ taught science for six years east of Decatur at Atwood-Hammond school district. He also married Cindy, adopted two children, and they had another daughter in 1978 (Daughters Amber and Tamara and son, Cory).

During that time, Russ also completed a Masters degree in educational administration at EIU. In 1980, he then switched jobs to become the principal at Cissna Park.


Russ continued his education at the University of Illinois and completed a Doctoral degree. Beginning in July 1986, he was superintendent for six years at Crescent City. He also taught classes for the Masters program at Governors State University.

End of June 2004, Russ White retired after serving fourteen years as the superintendent of Wilmington School District 209U, located fifty miles southwest of Chicago in the Kankakee River Valley. During his tenure there, Russ served on the Superintendent’s Advisory Board for the ISBE (Illinois State Board of Education) and advocated for changing school funding to be based on State income taxes and reduced property taxes.


After retirement, he worked one more year as a principal at an alternative high school in Cook County.


Russ and Cindy live near Bonfield, Illinois. They share a Facebook account and post family photos (Nine grandchildren) on their pages. It’s a nice connection to their lives and activities. Enjoy seeing some of their travels. Last March, Cindy and Russ went back to Vietnam and visited the LZ where he was wounded.