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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Tales from the old-timer

Old Address Book’s Gleanings

Doris Rennes, who with her husband, Jim, started the Rennes Health Center nursing home in Peshtigo, furnished the Peshtigo Times a 76-year-old address book that dates back to 1937 when it was owned by her husband-to-be. He filled in his name as “Jimmie” Rennes, who listed an address as 445 French Street in Peshtigo, where the phone number was shown as 14-WX, a system of phone numbers now obsolete. He entered the name of his mother as “Mrs. Rennes” in the little book and also noted the license number of a Ford truck, which he probably was driving.

Doris Rennes sent the little book to the Times hoping we could make a good story for the Old-Timer from the content. She advised that Jim’s father, Mike Rennes, once operated a bakery in Peshtigo, and the little booklet has names of Peshtigo people who must have been his route customers for delivery of baked goods.

This list of names will no doubt stir memories of old-timers reading this, and many of them are no longer living. Here are some of those names:

Hank VandeLaarshot, Clem Archambault, Otto Snicklof, Rueben Singer, Red Pichee, Lewis Meunier, Rich Gehler, Connie Meyer, Emil Fritz, Roy Rabe, John Gaeth, Leo Van, Glen Thompson, Max Borths, Ed Hanson, Ed Thompson, Wes Christensen, Dick Francour, Joe Francour, Jule Behnke, Henry Albrecht, William Harper, Leo Fritz, Red Valliere, Greg Stommel, Ed Garbrecht, Carl Brown, Ray Thompson, Loren Albrecht, Frank Anderson, Art Barrett, Bill Gaeth, Fred Kruse, Otto Dohr, Augie Goldsmith, Marv Brabender, Lawrence Landre, Marlow Stuart, Duffy Zeske, Joseph Brabender Jr., Charlie Bandow, W.A. Moore, Frank Leyo, and Al Tonn. Under a heading “East Side” were Lawrence Finger, O. Brault, O. Bartels, Gib Yeazel, Gilbert Archambault, E. Anuta, Bob’s D-X Station, Bert Cox, B. Dyer, Norman Driscoll, A. Witak, Stan Weier, Dr. Henry Haasl, Bud Eklund, H. Brabender, John Eklund, Jim Madden, Harry VandeLaarshot, Ed Forbes, Tom Motkowski, Dean Bair, Rob Alguire, Forest Harper, E. Meyers Jr.

I left out a few names, where spelling was doubtful.

The little book was in the Rennes family for a long time, and names and addresses of former residents who were then in the armed forces during World War II are entered, and also names of residents who migrated to Chicago during wartime, as jobs there were plentiful. These included Chester Gryzwa, at 3247 S. Aberdeen St., Chicago, and Leona Eckert, 3040 S. Poplar Ave., Chic.

The handwriting in the little book was changed and was written by a woman - neater and typically feminine script.

There are also addresses of Peshtigo men who were with the armed forces. These included Pvt. Howard Harper, Co. C 104th Medical Bn., Camp Joseph T. Robinson, Ark. with a sub-heading “3rd Platoon”. Then there is Pvt. Roy Fritz, RRC B-233, Fort Sheridan, Ill., Omer Harper, US Naval Hospital Staff, Oakland, Calif., and later Harper is listed as Co. 680, Great Lakes, IL, John A. Seger, at the Navy Air Station, San Diego, Calif. and Bernard who had the nickname “Bunny” Kehoe, at the Armed Service Center at Brooklyn, NY and then Ben Van Denelzen at Squadron 14-C, 4th Echelonn, Ellington Field, Tex. Ben, an only child, was a crewman on a heavy bomber that never made it back to England after being hit by German anti aircraft on a mission over Germany. Next is Pvt. Oliver England, stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. A final entry is the address of Tom Thompson on Grotin Ave. in Cortland, NY, the location of a branch factory of Thompson Boat Mfg. Co., a longtime pioneer Peshtigo firm.

So the much worn little address book of a teenage boy had a story to tell!


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841 Maple St
PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
Phone: 715-582-4541
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