John Manke is an active former Bay View resident who is involved in numerous neighborhood organizations, including the Bay View Historical Society, the Humboldt Park Fourth of July Association and the Shore Shore Farmers Market. He believes Bay View has a fine tradition in its past that we do not want to lose in the future.
When we were kids, we used to walk to school. When it was bad weather or very cold outside, my dad, if he was home, would pick us up from school to get some lunch and return to school. He and Pastor Herb Koehler used to take turns taking us to school. As we got older, nobody took us to school anymore. If we came home for lunch, and my dad was home, there would be a meal ready for us to eat. If he was not home, we made our own meal. My dad used to change work shifts very often. My dad was the best cook in our family. He could cook anything. One day we would have vegetable beef soup, pea soup, homemade chili, and many other such meals. He had a sensitive stomach and had to watch what he ate. He knew many recipies. My mother would cook on Sundays. Us kids would all take turns making supper during the week. If my dad had made something earlier, then we would have that for supper. It was fun learning how to cook. My dad used to buy beef bones to help create his vegetable beef soup. The vegetables came mostly from our garden.
I had to learn how to pull weeds from the garden and grass, and to cut and rake the grass. It was great to be able to pick rasberries and plums. One day, when my dad saw that the plum trees were producing only a few plums, he pounded rusty nails into the trees. The result was amazing. We had to use clothes props to hold up the branches that were very full of plums. He later planted a cherry tree and merged another cherry tree into our tree. It was a beautiful tree sperating the yard grass from the garden portion of our land. The rubarb bushes were along side of this tree.
For winter, he built a v-shaped plow out of two by sixes in the shape of the letter "A". This plow helped us remove snow from the path leading out to the ash box and garbage cans. It was not perfect, but it would also work in light to medium snow on our main sidewalk. We had to shovel up the snow that the plow missed. Can you imagine pulling a heavy "A" shaped plow by a rope attached to its front? In winter, we used to go down the street and climb to the railroad tracks so we could sled down the hill. We always posted one person to watch out for trains so that we never came close to them. Thus was our winters at home.