Celebration of Life on Saturday, June 1st at First Lutheran in Cushing, WI at 11 am
My earliest memories of The Hall above the Cushing Coop Store (later Vern's Country Market) building in Cushing goes back to the year 1947. I lived at Alpha with my parents, Ernie and Florence Johnson, and my younger sister Virginia. My two older sisters, Mevina and Vilet had moved away from home and had married.
I learned how to roller-skate and found it to be SO MUCH
FUN! Louie Marek had purchased a large supply of clamp-on steel wheel
roller-skates. He wanted to provide good
entertainment for area people. One night
a week in the summer, Louie loaded his skates into a small trailer and pulled
it with his car to the Grantsburg Fairgrounds.
The Fairhouse was large with a smooth hardwood floor which it still has. It was there that so many young people skated to the soothing music of a phonograph and records.
For some, it was their very first time on skates. I was one of those people who learned to skate in the Fairhouse. Many a time I skated into the wall! Skaters always went counter clockwise--probably because most people were right-footed. To turn, you crossed your right foot over the left.
Louie Marek was my neighbor. He lived east of Alpha and then south a half mile on County Road M. Louie was married to Bernice Sazma, daughter of John and Josephine Sazma, who once owned "The Coach" a diner and store made from an old railroad car in Cushing (where Stop-a-Sec is now). They also owned the
West Sweden dance hall at one
Since I lived only and an eighth of a mile north of the Alpha store, I could walk down to the store on Skate-Night and catch a ride with Louie. There were others who rode with him too. I remember one night I got there too late and missed my ride. What a miserable evening that was! I missed a night of skating!.
Louie also hauled his skating equipment to the
one night a week. On those nights I
walked or rode my bike to Louie's place to catch my ride. I had a headlight on my bike to help me on
the trip home. My Dad was good to me and
always gave me 40 cents for skating; 25 cents for admission and skate rental,
and 15 cents for pop and candy bar. West Sweden Dance Hall
The Grantsburg Fairhouse proved months of good entertainment, but eventually the weather became too cold to skate in the unheated building. It was then that Louie hauled his load of skates down to Cushing every Sunday night. The Hall above the grocery store was the best place in Cushing to hold roller-skating. Those who lived in and around Cushing looked forward to going to The Hall on Sunday nights.
There was a long stairway to The Hall on the south side of the building opening on the west end. Boxes of skates had to be carried up that long flight of stairs along with the phonograph and stacks of records. A young man from Grantsburg, LeRoy Hedberg, drove down from Grantsburg to help Louie unload and setup for skating. All of the skates were the kind that clamped on to your own shoes. LeRoy's job was to rent out the skates and help the skaters get their skates adjusted and clamped onto their shoe. There was a leather strap that went across the instep and fastened on the other side. A skate key was used to adjust the clamp to the width of the shoe.
We skated to the good music for about three hours, I think from to . Now that seems to me to be a bit late, with school the next day for many of us, but no one complained. We must have slept fast! Halfway through the evening was the intermission. We could buy our candy bar and pop then, or climb down the stairs and use the outhouse. Sometimes we left our skates on and got gravel in the bearings on the trip. LeRoy would remove the nut on the skate wheel and either put on a new wheel or replace the roller bearings in the old one. He remembers getting about one dollar for his help each skating night.
With all of that skating, I believe every speck of dust was pounded out of that wood floor. I know it left a layer of dust on my hair, but that didn't stop me from going back the next time.
LeRoy was the policer of the group. He wouldn't rent skates to someone who had imbibed. He enforced the no-smoking rule. Once a night the skaters were allowed to "crack the whip, " forming a big chain of skaters and whipping the end ones around.
Roller-skating in Cushing was a lot of fun. Many friendships were made between Cushing skaters and those from other areas. Some Cushing skaters I remember include Kenneth and Bev Hanson, Vergil and Bernice Brenizer. Toby Baker was a good skater!
Some friendships even led to dating and then to marriage. It was that way for me. It was Christmas night, 1947, that LeRoy first took me home after roller-skating in Cushing. We dated for a year and a half and then we married on
. It was good, clean fun. July 2, 1947
Marlys and LeRoy Hedberg
Rowe Funeral Home - Luck, Frederic
LeRoy G. Hedberg