Opinions

Jeremy Shea | The small-town magic remains

I always enjoy reading the Register; the current issue provided some wonderful nostalgia.
The photo of President Harry Truman whistle stopping in Spooner in 1948 reminded me that I was there with my parents. I wrote an article about our encounter with the president which was printed in the American Heritage book, "My Brush With History." I recall the article was also reprinted in the Register.
 
Then I also learned that I was the leader of the Bat Patrol in the Shell Lake Boy Scouts; I admit I did not remember this honor. Alas, many of the Scouts mentioned in the article have passed.
 
I lived in Shell Lake for only 12 years, but I still consider it my hometown. I have been a Madison resident for over 60 years and while Madison is a wonderful place there is nothing to equal a small town in northern Wisconsin.
 
Certainly things have changed; the boat companies have gone, Saturday nights are no longer thronged with Main Street shoppers, the schools are now south of town and the streets have names and numbers.
As a demonstration of what little traffic existed, Ray Haremza, who worked for my parents at the Register, taught me how to ride a bicycle by pushing me from the top of the hill at the Auditorium down what is now known as Main Street.
 
My parents rented a house across Main Street from the Register; the public library is now located there.
Yet, the small-town magic remains and some things do not change.
 
The lake, of course, is incomparable; the high school football team has returned to eight men; a Winton is the circuit judge, I believe she is the great-granddaughter of Ward and the granddaughter of Warren. As an aside, I would point out that Ward and Julia Winton were my parents' best friends.
 
Finally, my experience when I return for class reunions (please don't ask for the year) is that the locals are as friendly and helpful as ever.
 
So bravo for the Lakers and three cheers for the blue and the gold!
 
Jeremy Shea
Class of ??
Madison


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