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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

By Old-Timer’s daughter, Janie Thidodeau Martin



*******

A landmark change occurred in Peshtigo around this time when the city’s first stop lights were installed near Duquaine’s Grocery Store. Back in those days there were few businesses that catered to underage teenagers for entertainment, so weekends found carloads of kids in the family sedans cruising the “main drag” in Peshtigo. The stoplights provided a natural gathering area in the adjacent parking lot, a place to park and see and be seen.

There were no cell phones in those days but some kids had managed to get CB radios, a trendy accessory at the time, which allowed vehicle to vehicle communications. A popular message was “The cop’s in the shop,” meaning the single on duty police officer was parked at the police station. That allowed those who wanted to do a little tire-squealing or toilet-papering the safety to pursue these naughty activities. As I recall, the Colonial Club resorted to locking toilet paper holders to stop the paper pilfering from their restrooms.

The drinking age was 18, so some high schoolers could already legally be in bars. But most of the time the hub of activity remained outdoors so that underage friends could participate. One popular trip was to Marinette to get pizza at the Brothers Three, which in the beginning had one very small dining room with two wooden picnic tables in it. Sometimes the wait for a table was very long but no one minded. Another popular activity was a bonfire at a park or someone’s farm.

One of our classmates had incredibly tolerant parents and a large farm, which hosted quite a few big parties for my class. I remember going in the house to use the bathroom and they’d be placidly sitting by the TV, him with a paper and her with a craft project. A simpler, more innocent time; a time before fears of lawsuits and large-scale law enforcement busts became the rule.

Looking back, of course there were risks but I don’t remember any terrible consequences. They have both now passed away, and I wish I had been thoughtful enough back them to thank them for the hospitality and safe place they provided us so many times. So, you know who you are N.A., know that I fondly remember the kindness of your parents.


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841 Maple St
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Peshtigo, WI 54157
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