Fishing… What can I say about fishing… My Father loved to fish! I thought he had lots of fishing poles and gear and I thought he fished A LOT… That was before I met Dan… Dan could top Daddy about 50 times.

When we were little Daddy, Mother, Jerri and I went to Lake McConaughay fishing. I think we were actually fishing down below the dam… or maybe it was at one of the check points on the canal system before we got there. Anyway it was a long way down an embankment to the water. Daddy rigged us girls up with a pole and put a minnow on it. He told us that when we felt a little tug we should just run up the bank behind us because we’d have a fish on. We did a lot of running that day and Daddy spent a lot of time baiting our hooks. We were catching crappie. They are fun to catch and good to eat. Here I am with my catch…

Now Mother didn’t like to fish, never fished… She’d be glad to go along, provide the picnic lunch and just enjoy the outdoors reading a book or sunning herself… but no fishing for her.

I believe it was this same day at McConaughay that Mother decided to get a little sun… She had taken her blouse off and was just in her bra. She told us to be sure to tell her if anyone was coming so she could quick put her blouse back on. A little later Daddy asked her to hold his pole while he baited our hooks again… or maybe we had gotten snagged up and he was untangling us. I don’t remember exactly anymore. At any rate, Mother held Daddy’s pole while he helped us… but she wans’t “fishing”… just “holding” the pole. A few minutes later here came the game warden and of course he asked to see their fishing licenses. Well, Mother didn’t have one. She told the game warden that she didn’t have a license because she didn’t fish, she hated fishing. Well… he said that he had been standing up on the dam with his binoculars and had SEEN her fishing. Daddy argued, saying that she wasn’t fishing, she was just holding the pole while he helped the girls with their poles. The game warden said that she had been holding a fishing pole and the line was in the water and that was called fishing. She countered with, “if you saw me holding the pole, then you must have saw me in only my bra.” In the end for whatever reason, he didn’t give her a ticket.

I can remember when a little older going to the Platte River when it was quite low, taking a picnic lunch and having a fun, fun day. The men would chase the carp with pitch forks. It was quite comical to watch… especially as they (or Daddy anyway) didn’t don a swim suit but was wearing his overalls rolled up and no shirt. The carp would then be smoked and were quite delicious on a piece of fresh bread with lots of butter.

Sardines were also good this way… although only Daddy and I liked them. They came in a little square can with a key that wound the top off. The sardines in the can looked just like a lot of little minnows lined up in the can. They have lots of little bones but Daddy would pick the meat off for us both and we’d eat sandwiches together.

A fine catch of walleye…
Daddy is on the right... and I believe this is my Uncle Alfred Buettner on the left in the cap, and Dora’s husband Guido’s brother in law Earl Burrows in the center.

Usually Daddy would just go walk the sand pits near Grand Island. He had his favorites and they weren’t available to the public. He had permission from the owner to fish them. He caught white bass in them. Later in life he had a little paddle boat and he would take it and paddle around the pits.

This is a picture of Matt and Wade enjoying that paddle boat. When the 1980 tornados hit Grand Island he thought he had lost his little paddle boat. When he and Mother came up out of the basement the covered porch roof was gone as was some patio furniture and his little boat. He was quite upset… that is until the next morning when the sun came up and he discovered that everything was gone starting just one house north and across the street from them… all the houses were leveled, everything was gone, nothing was left for blocks. Then he felt pretty lucky that they had had hardly any damage… and luckier still when he found his little paddle boat in the field across the street.

Here is Daddy with Ronnie Reher after a fishing trip when Mother and Daddy
visited Ronnie and Sharry in Seattle, Washington one time.

Mother, Daddy and me at Johnson’s Lake inlet…

I think the last time Daddy got to go fishing was in June of 1996 when a friend and I took him and Mother to Johnson’s Lake. We fished the inlet where they have a handicap area built over the edge. We caught lots of walleye that spring day but it seemed most were only 17” long. We had checked the fishing book and thought it said they had to be 18” so had been throwing all of them back. Later… after we had thrown about 10 back… the game warden came along and asked how the fishing was… We sadly told him that we were catching a lot but they were an inch too short. He said, “You know they only have to be 15” at Johnson’s don’t you??” Daddy was so sad… but it had been he that had looked in the book… and I guess he thought that Elwood and Johnson’s would be the same length or that Johnson’s Lake was at Elwood, NE… I’m not sure. Whatever, we had caught enough for several nice fish fries despite our error.

Two years later, when I met Dan, sadly, Daddy was too old to go fishing with us. He could hardly get up out of his chair alone and Dan always takes the boat to fish out of. As much as we wanted to take Daddy along, we didn’t know how we’d get him out of the boat. I do wish we had at least tried. When Dan and I took our first Lake Erie fishing trip together, we came home with lots and lots of big 10 lb walleye and lots of pictures.

We showed them to Mother and Daddy and the picture above brought tears to Daddy’s eyes as he said, “Oh God… all those fish.” I knew he was just green with envy and sad thinking he’d probably never get to go fishing again.

I think about Daddy when Dan and I go fishing… and wonder if he’s looking down from heaven or sitting in the boat along side of us. We’ve had awfully good luck fishing… maybe he’s in the lake putting the fish on our hooks. If so, he sure did a good job this year… as evidenced by the picture below taken just a couple weeks ago…

Dan and Jodi… Lake Erie in April of 2007

* * * * *

Books and Nursery Rhymes...

* * * * *

Opal and Mother have always enjoyed telling stories about when they were little... or when their children were little... Some of my favorite times spent with them were listening to their stories.

Me at age two

A couple of the stories told by Opal and Mother involve nursery rhymes and books they read to me...

Nursery rhymes were a favorite of mine. What is it about the sing-song silliness of them that little children like? But... children don't always understand some of the strange new words and when reciting the rhymes themselves will substitute a more familiar word.

For instance... "Old Mother Hubbarb" ...
Do you know how it goes?
Well I would say, "Old Mother Hubbarb, went to the cupboard to get her poor dog a bone. When she got there, the cupboard was full of bears!..."
(instead of "the cupboard was bare")

"Little Miss Muffet" is another silly rhyme that doesn't make much sense. Who ever heard of "curds and whey" and what is a tuffet? Why not "Little Miss Drool sat on her stool"... Doesn't that make more sense? Anyway, as the story goes, my version went: "Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet eating her curtains away." teehee

Matt about three years old

When Matt was little his version of "Little Boy Blue" went like this: "Little Boy Blue come blow your horn the sheep's in the meadow, the cow's in the corn. Where's the little boy who looks after the sheep? He's under the wastebasket fast asleep." I guess Matt wasn't familiar with a haystack.

I had a favorite story book... "Bobby Had A Nickel"

The story started out "Bobby had a nickel, all his very own?

Should he buy some candy or an ice cream cone?"

It goes on and on, listing things Bobby might like to buy. This was 1946 and I am struck by all the choices Bobby had with only a nickel to his name... a ball, truck, or an airplane, crayons, a balloon, marbles, or a whistle, book, a sand pail, kite, or jump rope, a top, piggy bank, peanuts, or cookies and more. I doubt you could buy anything at all with only one nickel today. Maybe if you had a dollar and were at The Dollar Store you could find something... Even with a dollar it would be hard to find some of the choices Bobby had. I guess that's inflation!!

In the end Bobby uses his nickel to ride a carousel.

"Bobby Had A Nickel" was the one book I insisted Mother read to me over and over again... until when I was about three I almost knew it by heart. I could fill in the last word on each page. Sometimes Mother would try to change the words, but she couldn't fool me and I'd correct her.

Jill about three years old

My own children had several favorite story books...
"The Oscar Book" about Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street who doesn't want anyone reading his book and then is mad when you go away in the end. I think I must have bought it when Matt was little as it still has the price on it... 33 cents.

Another fun Sesame Street book was "Hide and Seek with Grover"... Grover keeps trying to hide in the book, in the crack, behind the word bubbles and so on and when you can see him, he is upset. In the end he says "Do you see Grover? Please say no." and when you do say no before turning the page, he is so excited and on the last page he says, "You are my BEST FRIEND!" This book cost 89 cents.

"WHAT WAS THAT?" is a book about a family of bears and after putting the little one to sleep he hears something that scars him so he goes to sleep in with his older brother, then they hear something and go to the next oldest until all of them are in with the parents and the bed breaks. The price of this one... 95 cents. They still make these kind of books however I think they are in the $2 to $3 price range now.

"Who Are You?" is a much smaller book, about 5 inches square to the other books 8 inches. The price on it is only 25 cents. It was always fun to read, full of silly questions and their possible answers. For instance:

Your Bed...
Do you like to go to bed?
Would you rather play instead?
Do you go to bed and giggle?
Do you toss and squirm and wiggle?


Your Size...
Are you little?
Are you big?
Are you bigger
Than a pig?

and my favorite...

Your Name...
Is it Maude?
Is it Nancy?
Do you have a name that's fancy?
Is it Joe
Or even Caesar?
Do they call you Ebenezer?

When Mother wants
You home for lunch,
Does she call
You "Honeybunch"?
Do you have a silly name,
Like Pickle-Noodle
Sidney, Sadie Sam or Sue...
Is your name just right for you?

Wade about three years old

We got all of these books when Wade was little, I guess, because they have his name on the inside. Yet, I remember Matt and Jill enjoyed them and laughed at them too... after all they were only 5 & 6 when Wade was born. I've saved the books all these years for when I had grandchildren.

* * * * *

Wade's School Pictures

* * * * *

School pictures were generally taken in the Fall every year... September or November... Following are my school pictures... plus a couple extra...

September 1976

September 1977

November 1977

November 1978

November 1979

November 1980

Kindergarten - November - 1981

1st Grade class picture

1st Grade

On my 7th birthday, I had a toothless grin

2nd Grade class picture

2nd Grade

3rd Grade class picture

3rd Grade

4th Grade - Fall 1985

We had family pictures taken in the fall of 1985...
This was taken at that time...

Here are Matt and Jill with me... part of the family...

5th Grade class picture

5th Grade

6th Grade class picture

6th Grade

Two copies of this picture had writing on them,
one had "'88 7th grade"...
the other had "1989" on the back...
7th grade was 1988-89...

Not sure... 7th Grade or 8th?? Nothing on this picture at all...
several years school pictures were taken in both the fall and spring...

"8th Grade - November 1989" written on the back...

I'm hoping this is the right order and the explanation is that the first two pictures are 7th grade, the first taken in the fall of the 1988-89 school year and the second one with braces taken in the spring... and the third picture is 8th grade, taken in November 1989 of the 1989-90 school year.

9th Grade - 1990

10th Grade

11th Grade

Junior/Senior Prom 1993
Mandi... just a friend

Three senior pictures... taken in August 1993

Senior Prom 1994
With Sarah... just a friend

* * * * *