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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.

Polish Christmas

  Christmas traditions in Poland  are full of magic and meaning. The customs which have been passed down through the centuries are deeply rooted in religion, family, nature and love of the land.  Christmas Eve is the most anticipated  and beautiful day of the year for a Polish family.  As the winter darkness is suddenly brightened by the appearance of the Christmas star in the night sky, by the flickering lights on Christmas trees, and the melodies of Christmas carols floating from homes and churches.

  People prepare for this big holiday during the four weeks of Advent. In Poland, this is a time of fasting, prayers, of spiritual preparation for Christmas. One of the most beautiful ceremonies of Advent is a mass called roraty,  a early morning service that begins in the dark with people lighting their torches and candles at special times during the mass. The service symbolizes vigilance  and waiting for the coming of Christ. In the evenings, people stay indoors and the family spends time making handmade decorations for the Christmas tree,  choinka, from straw, paper, and foodstuffs like nuts and grains.

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Winter parking regulations begin on December 1st

  Be careful where you park your car in winter. If there is a major snow storm, your car could be towed away if you park in a forbidden location. Read the street signs and learn the parking regulations of your community. It is very difficult to drive a snow plow, and if your car is in its path, you could have a problem.

  Due to the recent snow we have had, the roads are slippery to drive on. Watch out for ice on the road.

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Remember December 7th, 1941

  On this day, December 7, 1941, we remember the bombing by the Japanese Government of the U.S. Fleet and airfields at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.  Many of our armed forces lost their lives on this day. The U.S. Battleship Arizona went down in a great explosion. This is why we must be prepared to prevent another sneak attack like this from happening. We should thank the members of our armed forces for all that they have done to protect us and our way of life. Never forget the ones who gave up their lives that we might survive. God Bless America.

Remember Pearl Harbor -- December 7, 1941

Do not forget the sudden unannounced bombing attack by the Armed Forces of Japan upon the U.S. Fleet and Army-Air Force Bases.  We lost many brave American servicemen on this day. The U.S. was forced into a World War with Japan, Germany and Italy. Never before had such a disaster happened to us. Go to Hawaii and visit the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial. See the site where World War II started for us. This is why we must maintain a strong military to prevent this from happening again.  God Bless the United States of America.

Riding a bicycle at night without lights or reflectors and wearing dark clothes.

  I have witnessed many bike riders at night without any lights or reflectors on them. To top it off the riders are wearing dark clothes. This is a deadly accident waiting to happen. If your child was doing this, would you want a knock on the door by the police telling you that your child was badly injured or killed while riding on his bicycle. If a bike rider is not easily visible on the street, then any driver could hit him and not be at fault due to the rider not having lights or reflectors on his bike. Please ride your bike safely and make yourself visible to other road users. Please, safety check your child's bike before he goes out on the street for a ride. Please support the Bay View community.

Drink with caution at local Christmas parties

  Always make sure that one person is sober enough to drive after attending office or personal Christmas parties. The funeral parlors are getting enough business. Don't become a customer while you are young. Use common sense while attending these parties. If you feel like you should not drive, then have somebody else drive you home or take a cab. Save your family some grief and come home safely and sober. Happy Holidays to all.

Remembering cold days of the past

  When we were kids, we used to take turns either being by the heat register or by the wood burning kitchen stove. We did not have a gas furnace or gas stove then. We would huddle up in blankets to keep warm until the heat came through from the coal furnace.  We would take the ashes out to the ash box or use them for de-icing the sidewalks. We did not fall too much when we walked on these ashes. The clinkers from the furnace were like concrete and could be used to create a hard surface in the yard for parking  a car or for the ash men to drive on. When the heat came through from the coal furnace, we could sit in comfort and relax. In the morning, my father would start the furnace and stoke it to last for a while. During the day, if we were home, we would add coal to keep it going. The heat registers were the favorite place for any of us who were cold. The wood burning stove was replaced by a gas stove early in my life. The coal furnace was replaced by a gas furnace later in my life. We used to go sled riding and come in all wet from the snow. This was when we sought the heat register the most. Emptying out the ashes from the coal furnace was a daily chore. We had an area on the furnace where we could place water to humidify the coal heat.

  Remembering these past moments comes easy when it gets very cold outside. How would you like to live as we did in the past?  Visit the Milwaukee Public Library and you can read books on what it was like in the past to live through cold winters. Please support the Bay View community.

Do not use your cell phone while driving

  During the recent snow falls, I have noticed drivers talking on their cell phone while driving. This is very dangerous to do. If you hit a patch of icy pavement, you could spin out and crash. You need to concentrate on driving, not talking on your phone. What about a child who suddenly darts into the road? Would you be able to stop in time without hitting them?    Common sense is the most important thing to have in bad weather. If you think that the road is unsafe to drive on, please slow down and use both hands on your steering wheel to control your car. It is possible to approach an intersection and not be able to stop for a red light or stop sign. Would you be the one that hits an oncoming car that had the right-of-way and cause injuries in an accident.  Please avoid using your cell phone while driving. The life you save may be your own. Please support the Bay View community.

Do something different this Christmas

  In the old days, when money was scarce, people used to make homemade presents for their family members and friends. Something homemade is one of a kind. It take a lot of time and patience to make something. What you make now could become a heirloom of the future. We all have skills to make things. It could be clothing, food, rugs, furniture, candy, toys, bread, stollen, cookies or any such things. You could send an IOU in a letter promising to do some things for a person in the future. Your labor and time has value.  You could take somebody out to a restaurant, movie, play or an outdoor activity. You could cook a special meal for somebody. A gift from your heart is more important than any other type of gift.  Have a great holiday season.

Get involved with somebody to exchange cookies for the holidays

  A cookie exchange is wonderful for the holidays. One person makes a few types of cookies, while other people make different types. When you get together over a coffee or a drink, exchange cookies with each other. This will save both time and money. Everybody wins in a cookie exchange. Many friendships grow over such events. If you know of any people in need, you could take over a few cookies to them also. Christmas is a time of sharing happiness with each other. Get in the Christmas mood and start a cookie exchange with your family and friends. You could even bake the cookies as a team. Seasons Greetings to all.

Naked Mailman in Whitefish Bay

  How many people realize the amount of stress there is working for the U.S. Postal Service. In a Postal Branch Office are many bosses who are very able to say:"Yes Sir!" to their boss and know how to read a computer. Too many bosses have poor people skills. They are unable to separate the computer readout and real things going about as they work. They try to make workers ask permission to leave his work assignment or to use the restroom. They ban all forms of communications with other workers. They don't seem to realize that dogs, hills, steps, bad sidewalks, weather conditions exist outside of their computer.

  When the level of stress becomes too strong, then events like the one in Whitefish Bay happen. We need leaders who respect their fellow workers, not bosses who only know how to read a computer and say "Yes Sir". We need a reality check at the Post Office. Allow the postal workers a chance to have some freedom and respect. If you eliminate stress, then you will increase production and do without sick leave use and large amounts of overtime. These workers are human, not robots. Give them the chance to do what they were trained to do without harassment. A boss yells at his workers. A leader never has to yell. A good deal of respect can go a long way to relieve stress. Remember, you were a worker once. You did not like  it when bosses yelled at you for no valid reason. Now you are doing this to your fellow workers. Please use common sense and respect your fellow worker. Show them that you can be a true leader, not just a boss.

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Advent is a time to prepare for coming of our Savior

  Froehliche Weihnachten.  This German phrase means: "Have a joyful consecrated Holy Night". We many time forget what Christmas is all about. God, through the Virgin Mary, sent His Son into our world to become our Savior.  The word "Christ" in Greek means "Messiah". Jesus came into our world to save us from our sins. He was crucified and died, although he had never sinned. This was done so we could seek forgiveness of our sins and be able to enter into Heaven. We must always remember that Christmas is a time to go to church as a family.  We are celebrating the coming of our Savior. It is a Holy Night.  We exchange gifts, but we should never forget what Christmas is all about. Merry Christmas and Froehliche Weihnachten to all of you.

Merry Christmas to all

  I hope that you all have a very Merry Christmas. May this time of joy bring peace to all. Go to church with your family and enjoy this special time. Froehliche Weinachten to all of you.

  Early, on Christmas Day, the children came into the living room, by the Christmas tree, and looked for their presents. They were so happy and full of joy, This was a beautiful sight to behold. Mom and dad tried to sleep a little longer as they were tired from the night before. Breakfast was made and the family prepared to go to church services. The church congregation was full of happiness and smiling faces. Soon the children could go home to see and play with their presents. Mom was in the kitchen preparing food dishes to be served for the company that was coming over to visit.  This was a chance for the family to once again get together at a pot luck type dinner and reminisce over old times and new things going on with the family. After the day was over, the guests went home and the family could once again resume normal activities. This was a day in the life of this family. How was your Christmas celebration?  I hope that all went well with all that you did that day.

Season's Greetings to all of you.

   Now is a good time to let your children play in the snow outdoors. Let them burn up some of that endless energy that they seem to have. Things are coming back to normal soon. Parties and visits with friends and family are in order now.  Relax and have some fun. Let it all hang out and be yourself. New Year's Eve is almost upon us. With the children being off from school due to the holidays, you might want to take them to Betty Brinn, the Milwaukee County Museum, Discovery World or go to a movie theater. Make the most of this time with your family. These will be memories of the future. Happy Holidays to you all.

Reliving mistakes of the past

  It has been said that if we do not remember the mistakes of the past, then we will relive them in the future again.  During the 1880's, we had a situation in labor where nobody had a guaranteed job. You had no health benefits,no pension, no overtime pay, long hours, low pay and the knowledge if your boss disliked you, he could replace you with somebody new who wanted a job. You had no rights or pension plan on your job. If you were injured, somebody else would get your job, and you were without a paying job.  Families could starve under these conditions.

  Unions were new then and they brought stability to organized labor. When the unions got rolling, we were able to get job benefits. Eventually we got vacation, workman's compensation, unemployment compensation, overtime pay, reduced work day and a steady job without fear of being fired because a boss disliked you.  Our unions became our protectors.

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Happy New Year

  Tonight, on New Year's Eve, we celebrate the ending of 2010 and the beginning of 2011. Let us hope that nobody drinks too much and gets to ride in a patrol car. Drink sensibly or don't drive at all that night. You should be able to have a great party with your friends and/or relatives. Have plenty of food to decrease the effect of the alcohol you drink. Use common sense and enjoy yourself. This is your night out on the town. Have fun and celebrate this night.

 Tomorrow, we will have plenty of football games to watch on TV. Have the family get together and relax. Talk and reminisce of things that happened this year. Have a Happy New Year.

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