Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Last Coal Yard Extinguished


May 1966
  Warren Diselrod’s retirement marks the end of an era in Rochester. As owner of Gebert Coal Company on Diversion Street, Warren has decided to call it quits.
His tiny office, located next to the old Grand Trunk Western depot, will soon disappear— and so will the last coal yard in Rochester.
  Age has crept up on Warren and shoveling coal is not as easy as it used to be for him. So Warren placed an ad in The Clarion the other week to sell the building off the railroad property so he can retire. Once there were five coal yards in Rochester. When Warren and his brother-in-law, Walt Gebert, bought the Metz and Buchanan yard nearly 20 years ago, there were only two yards left.    And when Dillman & Upton quit the coal business few years back, it left only one.
  Warren reports that there are perhaps only a half dozen homes in the entire Rochester area still using coal for fuel. They are in rural areas. “I probably could get a few thousand dollars a year business out of Rochester,” Walt estimates, “but my doctor said I should take it easy.” He had taken over his brother-in-law’s interest in the coal yard a few years ago and just last week Walt Gebert too, closed up his hardware business for retirement.
  If you saw an aging truck bearing a load of coal traveling down Main Street during recent years, chances are that it was Warren. Attached to the side of the truck was the chute. No coal truck could leave without a chute. If a coal delivery man was lucky, he could back the truck up close enough to a basement window to run the chute from the truck through the open window. If the snow was deep or the lawn was muddy, it meant trouble— usually for the homeowner. Many home dwellers found their coal dumped at the curb because of the inability of the coal truck to get close enough to the coal bin window. Many husbands found themselves coming home from a hard day’s work with a ton of coal at the curb ready to move to the basement window in a wheelbarrow.
  Many housewives hit the ceiling too when they found that hubby forgot to close the coal bin door before the delivery was made. It meant the basement— and eventually the whole house— was filled with coal dust.
  Of course, hauling in coal was not the end of it for poor old dad. He had to shovel the coal into the furnace, shake down the ashes, clean the ashes out of the furnace at least once a week, wrestle them out of the basement by the bushel basket.
  If the fire went out during the night, dad got blamed for that too. It took several hours to start a new fire and get enough heat up to warm up a frigid house.
  During Depression years, many people couldn’t afford to buy coal by the truck-load. They would journey to the coal yard and haul it home by the box-full or pull it in a wagon. It was not unusual to see children scavenging for coal along railroad tracks that had fallen off railroad cars.
  The last hard times for coal furnace users came during World War II when the black stuff was often in short supply. In fact, The Clarion files have several stories about Rochester’s coal yards being nearly depleted and people nearly raiding those yards that had received a carload.
  Gas and oil furnaces have replaced coal in most Rochester homes and buildings. These days, it would be tough even to find anyone willing to accept a load of coal— even if you were giving it away.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Reposessing A Vet Memorial?

May 1966
  When the shroud is pulled away Monday from the new veterans memorial at the Rochester Village Civic Center, the audience might be a little shocked to see a red tag attached carrying a “Balance Due” notice. It might even be more interesting to see how someone repossess a couple tons of granite and hauls it back to Vermont.
   People may finance their homes, cars and furniture with monthly payments, but it seems hardly appropriate to finance a memorial to the war dead this way. The fund now stands $702 short of its $3,000 goal. The Pontiac monument firm handling the transaction has given the Rochester Beautification Council an extra 30 days to pay the bill. It hardly seems possible that Rochester— which has raised thousands of dollars for other projects— would fall short in its tribute to the war dead.
   Many organizations have boosted the fund, but the biggest boost has come from the Rochester High School Student Council. They sold some $900 worth of tickets for $2 each. This ticket allowed one admission to the Hills Theater, but owner Bud Taylor actually donated the admission to the Beautification Council, sponsor of the fund drive. Bud also donated last weekend’s matinee profits to the fund.
   One individual making an unusual contribution was Alfred West, 481 E. Maryknoll Drive. He walked into our office a few months ago with a beautiful oil painting that he had shown in several exhibits and valued highly. The Korean war veteran wanted to contribute it to the Beautification Council to be auctioned off. The painting is now being auctioned off at Mitzelfeld’s Home Furnishings store by submitting written bids. Saturday is the deadline for the bids.
   Meanwhile, the old memorial along Main St. has disappeared. Erected by the Blue Star Mothers during the late World War II years, it had been gradually falling into disrepair. Names of the servicemen had been etched on glass. Those glass plates, many of them broken, are now being stored away by the Village. The eagle atop the memorial has been presented to the Blue Star Mothers.
   NOTHING NEW DEPARTMENT— Every time one believes there is something new on this planet, someone comes along to tell us that it’s old stuff. Take for instance the strike by students at Detroit Northern High School a few weeks back. Old timers might say that such a thing wouldn’t happen when they were kids.
   But I came across an item in the March 22, 1949 issue of The Clarion headlined: “Students Stage Demonstrations; Few Still Out.” The athletic director at that time had been relieved of his duties and placed in a teaching job. The reason was not reported. Sixty students walked out of class and staged a downtown demonstration, later broken up by officers. The deposed coach tore up petitions that had been handed to him by students and appealed to students to get back to class. But unlike the Detroit Northern demonstration where students have apparently won, the Rochester students all received unexcused absences and were placed on probation for the rest of the year. ... And that was 26 years ago.
                                                         *   *   *

  THEY SAY THAT Herbert Hoover started it when he was president. Hoover decided to turn back to the government the wages he earned as president. Now they’ve got all of us doing it.
   And speaking of public service, whatever happened to the $1-a-year men who served our country in high office during World War II? There’s a tradition we wouldn’t mind seeing revived.

Our Orchestra In Spotlight Too


June 1966
   While Detroit’s 100-piece symphony at the Meadow Brook Music Festival may hold the main spotlight in this area, Rochester has a symphonic organization all of its own that can take some well-earned bows too.
   Over 100 people attended the recent Cabaret Concert at the High school. They sat around geranium-decorated tables, took on a supply of refreshments, then sat back and enjoyed an entertaining program of semi-classical and show tunes. Rochester’s symphony orchestra with 35 pieces does not measure up to Detroit’s professional standards, in size nor quality, but they are growing bigger and better every time out. It was a shame that even more people did not come out to hear them in the Paris street scene setting of the Student Center.
  THE ROCHESTER Community Orchestra has been struggling for some years but conductor Richard Goldsworthy now appears to have a going organization with the assistance of the newly-formed Association of the Rochester Community Orchestra, Inc. (ARCO.) This group is determined to see that the orchestra becomes a prominent part of the community culture… and I think they’ll make it.
   Three young pianists soloed during the evening. The young man we pictured on the front page last week, 11-year-old Charles Mahonske, Jr., of Rochester was remarkable in his performance and I see no reason why he cannot move on to a professional level. Michael Reinhart of Utica also was outstanding but it was the performance of Barbara Specht of Utica that gave the program the human touch.
  Barbara was in the middle of her tough second selection when she became lost, started over and then lost again. She stopped, rose, faced the audience and announced, “I’m sorry, but I cannot…” But before she could finish, her apology was drowned out by wild applause by the audience who knew they were seeing a brave and brilliant young lady.
* * *
  AFTER THE MEMORIAL DAY parade, I heard the usual mumblings from a few people. “Sure not much of a parade.” Seems as though some folks always turn out along the parade route on May 30 hoping to see a festive celebration. When they fail to see much gaiety and the parade moves by in 10 minutes, they grumble.
  The Memorial Day parade, as I see it, is not really a parade but a procession of sincere people who are en route to Avon Cemetery where they will be paying respect to those who sacrificed their lives for our nation. No attempt is made to make a spectacle out of the procession to entertain those who watch.
  Certainly the families and friends of those who died in combat or suffered horrific wounds find nothing joyous in this tribute.
* * *
  THOSE ATTENDING the dedication of the new memorial to veterans in front of Rochester City Hall wondered what happened to the parents of a dozen children noisily romping in front of the speaker’s stand and around the memorial. During the main address, Chairman John Boeberitz finally had to jump off the stand to save the memorial from being prematurely de-shrouded by one of the children.

Ready For Big Birthday Bash?


June 1966
  Many of you weren’t likely around here 31 years ago— June 13 to 16, 1935 to be exact— when Avon Township celebrated its Centennial birthday. There were parades and much merry-making connected to the event, according to reports in that week’s Rochester Clarion.
  But did you know the Village of Rochester will be having its 100th birthday in only three years?
  The community was physically here long before 1869, of course. But that was the year of incorporation for the village. While 1969 may seem like a long time away, it is not too early for some group to start thinking about a celebration. If they have the traditional beard-growing contest for us guys, it may take me and a few others that long to grow one.
* * *
  ROCHESTER HIGH School teachers and other employees of the district honored their departing principal, Harlan Johnson, at lunch last week. Being on the guest list for the day after the last-day-of-school affair, I expected we would be cleaning up the cafeteria’s hot dogs, hamburger, macaroni and cheese and other goodies that wouldn’t keep over the summer. Instead, it turned out to be a full-fledged potluck that no one informed me about. I feel guilty that I didn’t even contribute one of my own favorite dishes— a bag of crispy potato chips.
  Harlan, who survived 16 years of principalship here, could undoubtedly write volumes about unpleasant experiences, among which was a sit-in in front of his office by 100 students only two weeks ago.
  Instead, he recounted only pleasant memories and regrets he will lose his day-to-day contact with teachers and students when he moves into his new administrative job.
* * *
  WHEN THAT DELUGE of rain hit town last Thursday and water ran down Main Street from curb-to-curb, folks started figuring that department store owner Bill Mitzelfeld was being psychic. Just before the rain hit, a truck carrying a display model of a Gold Cup hydrofoil racing boat parked in front of his store.
  While the boat was here to advertise the Spirit of Detroit Association’s Gold Cup races and to also recruit Sea Scouts, onlookers figured that Bill had received a “sign from on high” to prepare for another Noah’s ark episode should the water get any deeper.
* * *
  EVERY MONDAY morning as we scan the long list of casualties on Michigan’s highways, we are convinced that horsepower was much safer when only horses had it.
                                                             *  *  *
  NOTHING NEW DEPARTMENT: From the December 18, 1873 issue of The Rochester Era comes this editor’s comment: “Where is ye famous dog law? Collar-less curs roam our streets unmolested nowadays.”
  By 1966, the situation hasn’t changed a bit… except there are now more of those collar-less curs.

Studebaker Dealer Ponders Future


June 1966
  Dale Davis admittedly isn’t a young man anymore, but he isn’t ready to give up yet, even though the Studebaker Corporation did.
  Owner of Davis Motors on Main Street, Dale sits in his office these days, looks across the empty showroom and wonders what he can do to fill it up once more. Studebaker gave up on its auto-making last Christmas time. “I was doing all right, making money,” Dale declared. “But Studebaker was losing millions.”
One of the "needle-nose" models
of the early 1950's.
  Dale was left with a half dozen new cars when the announcement came. One might think that no one would want to buy a new car from a defunct company. “But I sold all of them plus 11 more factory officials cars and I wish I had some more,” Dale added. The last new car was sold two weeks ago to a Pontiac man. I’ve wondered what his neighbors said when they saw him driving up in a brand new Studebaker in a town where Pontiacs pour off the line every day… and he even bought one from a company that went broke.”
  Dale now sells just used cars. On the showroom wall hangs large colored photo of the once-proud Studebaker plant in South Bend, Indiana. On a table is a pile of dusty “New Car Buying Guide” booklets. The guide reveals why buying a Studebaker is a better buy than a Ford, Chevy, Dodge and the rest of them.
  But that empty showroom bothers Dale Davis. He’s been thinking he’ll turn to selling boats or maybe those foreign cars... or even “those confounded motorcycles.”
* * *
  AMONG THE PROUD people in town these days are Mr. and Mrs. H. S. Spence, 123 Cloverport, whose son, Warrant Officer Herbert Spence, Jr., was awarded a certificate of membership in the GREX (Gemini Recovery Experts.) Herb serves aboard the carrier USS Wasp which picked up Astronauts Tom Stafford and Eugene Cernan on June 6. The certificate bears the signatures of both astronauts. Herb graduated from Rochester High in 1951 and enlisted in the Navy at that time.
* * *
  I’VE NEVER HAD the chance to catch an act by Paul Lennon, one of the bright young comedians playing Midwest nightclubs. Serving as master of ceremonies of various functions and occasionally on TV, Paul is the son of Carl Lennon, manager of Young’s Men’s Wear. Paul recently reported for his physical exam for the draft and this alone provided enough material for another nightclub act.
  When all the potential draftees were lined up waiting for something to happen, a burly sergeant stepped up to Paul and asked him what his occupation was. When Paul replied that he’s a comedian and entertainer, the sarge barked, “Well, say something funny.”
  Paul gave it a moment’s thought and finally turned to the other fellows in the room and replied, “All right, you guys can go home now. I’ve got the job!”
* * *
  FOR THE MANY local people now heading abroad for vacations or visits to their former homelands, there comes this word of warning: If you look like your passport photograph, you may not be well enough to travel.

Meadow Brook Music Festival Keeps On A-growing


June 1966
  Jim Hicks seems to become grayer each year. It’s no wonder. As manager of the Meadow Brook Music Festival, he worries about such things as where to find 30 boys’ voices in the summer and how to get 108 musicians, 250 singers and two organs all on stage at the same time.
  Meadow Brook opens its third season tonight. The first season drew mainly local notice only. Last year it attracted national attention. This season, the name of Meadow Brook Festival and Rochester will go worldwide.
  Jim expects critics from all parts of Europe as the series goes into the eighth week when the world premieres of commissioned works will be performed. The New York Times and other newspapers will have critics here tonight. Accommodating the newsmen, keeping soloists happy and worrying about such things as $2,400 for each extra rehearsal, are all part of Jim’s job.
  Conductor Sexten Ehrling returned from a guest conducting tour of Europe last week “bubbling over with enthusiasm,” Jim reported. “He says that Meadow Brook is the best of its kind in Europe or anyplace else. Everywhere he went, he talked it up.”
  THE 100-PIECE DETROIT Symphony moved into the Howard C. Baldwin Memorial Pavilion Wednesday and Ehrling set up 7 1/2 hours of rehearsals before tonight’s concert. There will be four rehearsals a week. Finding the 30 boy singers during the summer for the seventh week performance is proving to be a tough job. Guest conductor Robert Shaw is calling for 12 rehearsals for the three nights of choral concerts that week. “With the rehearsals costing $2,400 each, the week is expected to cost $60,000 alone,” Jim declared. Festival leaders are out digging up $170,000 to break even.
  “With tickets still selling at a fantastically low price, these concerts are in reality a gift to the community,” Jim asserts. Keeping the mosquitoes away is in itself a major project. A helicopter spraying the wooded area has already made several passes and a truck lays a ground fog prior to the concerts.
  A ROAD HAS BEEN now cut through the woods and across the horse riding track to Adams Road to provide another outlet for cars heading south on Adams Rd. From Birmingham alone, 40 buses a night are leaving to carry people who hate to become involved in traffic jams themselves.
  The hill at the rear of the amphitheatre has been cut down to accommodate several thousand more lawn sitters, making the capacity of around 8,000 people. And the parking lot has been enlarged for another 1,000 vehicles.
  It was only a few months ago that there was doubt that there would be any concerts this season because of a labor dispute over orchestra wages. The decision had been made to cancel the concerts and thousands of dollars worth of guest soloist contracts that had been negotiated. The dispute is now settled. However, a strike by Detroit Edison linemen has already postponed a new lighting system for the rest of the grounds.
  It’s enough to make anybody with hair turn gray.
                                                          *   *   *
  A CLOSING THOUGHT: Young couples  today face a much more dangerous world than we did. Not only do they have to worry about the bride’s first biscuits, but with the recent introduction of outdoor grills, they also have to go through the groom's first cook-out.

Life In The Emergency Ward



August 1966
  It’s an unpardonable sin for those in the business of producing a weekly newspaper to take sick or die on Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Wives of all employees must pledge to have babies on any of the other four days of the week. All the miseries of life must be delayed until the newspaper comes off the press.
  But I fractured the rule BIG TIME Tuesday of last week when I suddenly doubled up with a kidney stone attack 15 minutes before leaving for work. Within an hour, I was taking a couple of needles of Demerol in the emergency ward at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Pontiac and all the worries about getting out the newspaper were lost in a heavy mental fog.
  There are eight beds in the emergency ward. The emergency cases are shuttled into the ward until there’s an empty bed upstairs. This often means an entire day’s wait.
  I soon learned that there’s nothing dull about being confined to an emergency ward. So much so that when the pain killer haze began to lift, I figured I should recall what was going on and even write something about it.
  For instance, the poor fellow next to me is dressed up in bandages with holes only for his eyes and mouth. Just before he is moved upstairs, his wife brings a bouquet of flowers for the nurses and the nurses are so astounded that they talk about it all night. No one thinks of them in such troubled hours. As soon as the burned fellow leaves, the bed is made and in comes a middle-aged woman, asthmatic. She wheezes and moans. For two hours the nurses attempt to locate her doctor.
  Into the emergency section comes a steady stream of customers. The phone rings gently, but steadily. From my bed I can hear at least one side of the conversation. “Woman says her boy ate half a mothball,” the nurse informs the Doctor on Duty. He gives advice.
  IN THE LATE EVENING I hear the Doctor on Duty informing someone that a woman patient getting her supposedly broken hand x-rayed has disappeared. “She claims she has $20,000 in her purse and everyone is trying to get it.” Minutes later, a nurse reports that the woman has been found in the cafeteria. Suddenly she is led into the ward and told to sit down on the chair. Loudly, she tells everyone what a lousy place hospitals are. As she rifles through her purse, she mumbles about everyone trying to take her money.
  Suddenly there’s an explosion. Her husband walks in. “Get that _ _ _ _ _ out of here,” she shouts. She cusses him out of the room and slams the door behind him as the Doctor on Duty and a nurse rush in an tell her to calm down. “Call the police. We can’t have this woman in here,” the Doctor on Duty instructs the nurse. The woman is finally led out of the ward by a nurse to another private room.
  A half hour later the nurse returns. The woman has reached into her purse and thrusts a handful of money to the nurse for her kindness. The nurse hesitates, then returns it. “That’s the story of my life,” laments the nurse to the Doctor on Duty.
  The night wears on. My pain seems to have subsided greatly. I’m told I may have “passed” the stone.
  "I CAN'T BREATH" the asthmatic moans. A woman with a broken hip is wheeled in and cries with pain as she is lifted onto her bed by the attendants and nurses. “There’s a half-hour effort to find her doctor. Another doctor is finally found in the hospital but he already is two fractures behind schedule.
  A sleeping pill helps shut off some sounds but through the night I still hear things happening. “What about that girl with those lacerations from the broken beer bottle?” the Doctor on Duty asks the nurse. “Have the police been notified?” The nurse runs out to check.
  Most of the maimed are treated in the emergency rooms and released. One by one, through, the empty beds are filled again. A heart attack victim is moved in and surrounded by an oxygen tent… A boy with a fractured wrist is moved in and placed in traction… A crying baby wakes me up. I can’t discern what it’s problem is… The Doctor on Duty finally goes home at midnight without the hamburger for supper that he had ordered at 8 o’clock.
  Sometime during the night, the asthmatic who must sleep sitting up, becomes worse. The nurse sends out an emergency call for some doctor.
  The next morning, one by one, the beds are again emptied as the patients move upstairs. By 1 p.m. my bed upstairs is ready. But instead I’m told I can go home. Before I leave, a policeman leads two boys into the emergency room whose legs and arms are horribly cut up from a motorcycle accident. They are followed by a loud crowd of people who appear to be both family and gang members. The two are in wheelchairs with their gleaming white helmets hanging on the corner of the chairs. A few moments later, they are lifted onto gurneys.
  BACK TO THE office by Thursday, I find that I’m not indispensable after all. This week’s newspaper has been published and it’s now time to start all over again.

A Community House Ahead?


August 1966
   How about a community house for Rochester?
  As a result of some recent exchange of letters, a local organization is thinking about taking the reins and setting out with a community house for a goal. But before it moves a foot, the group would like to first determine the public’s reaction.
  The whole business started a month ago when a teenager wrote that there is nothing for teens to do here in the summer months. A teen-age center with dances was the thought in mind.
  The idea is now expanded to provide a “Community House” that would not only provide a center for teen activities, but would also be a meeting place for many organizations and suitable for special events. What the backers have in mind is a community house such as is found in Birmingham and Grosse Pointe. It is envisioned to include recreational facilities and both small and large meeting rooms.
  There would be space for daytime instructional classes such as arts and crafts and a center for the Senior Citizens. It would also provide space for private parties such as teas, fashion shows and wedding receptions.
  What does the public think about such an idea? How would a community provide such a facility? Do you belong to an organization that may use it? The public should express its views by writing Box 215, Rochester, Mich.
                                                         * * *
  SWINGING DOWN through Ontario on our family vacation tour last week, we treated our kids to the spectacle of Niagara Falls for the first time. It was 15 years ago since I had visited the falls. On the Canadian side, there was almost nothing recognizable except the falls themselves.
  “As far as I’m concerned, they’ve ruined the place,” one old-time filling station operator told me. But he wasn’t turning down any customers. The town now looks like a full-fledged carnival, complete with wax museums and a host of other attractions not remotely associated with the falls. Competing now with the Maid of the Mist are three observation towers and a squadron of helicopters circling the main attraction.
  Niagara is one of the few examples where the Americans have not been able to capitalize on a commercial venture better than their competitor across the river. A new observation platform has gone up on the American side but that is meager compared with the Canadian side.
  One of the better things to see is the new aquarium built by New York State. It houses an outstanding display of ocean life said to be one of the best in the country. One more observation. If you’re vacationing to get away from people, probably Niagara Falls isn’t the place to be.       
                                                  
  A Closing Thought: All too often, a clear conscience is merely the result of a bad memory.

The Man Behind Greenfield Village



July 1966
  The most appropriate way to celebrate Independence Day is to visit the Cradle of Liberty, Independence Hall in Philadelphia. But a trip to Philadelphia isn’t always convenient. So when our family and several dozen other Rochester families entertained a contingent of foreign students over the July 4th weekend, we all headed for Greenfield Village.
  Independence Hall at Greenfield Village is a replica, to be sure, but much of everything else there is real. I never really came to appreciate the Village until I met Edward J. Cutler 10 years ago. He knew more about Greenfield Village than any man living or dead, including Henry Ford, because he was the person responsible for setting the whole thing up. Carrying the title of Henry Ford’s personal architect, Ed with Henry Ford picked out the site for the world-famous tourist attraction in the early 1920’s.
  ED'S EXPERIENCE during those years could fill volumes. Ford would get a half dozen projects going at the same time for his architect. When he decided to obtain a historic building, Ed would travel alone to the place and find a crew of men to dismantle it— “the bigger chucks the better,” Ed explained to me during a series of interviews. First, however, Ed would draw detailed sketches of each structure. After it was dismantled, the pieces marked and boxed, Cutler would hurry back to Dearborn to make architectural drawings for reconstruction.
  One of his big jobs was Menlo Park, Thomas Edison’s old laboratories in New Jersey. Ed recalled that nothing was there when he arrived except the Sarah Jordan Boarding House. The buildings had been dismantled by neighbors for building their own structures. By carefully measuring the remaining foundations and obtaining all existing pictures, it was possible to recreate the former Menlo Park on paper. All buildings containing former Menlo Park lumber were then purchased and used in reconstructing the park. From Edison’s former employees, original inventions were acquired to furnish the laboratory.three or four boxcars to move an old building to Dearborn. Plaster was taken off the walls, put in sacks, re-ground and put back up. Among Ed’s notable achievements was his designing of the Martha-Mary Chapel. Ford later built five similar chapels. He also restored the famous Wayside Inn of South Sudbury, Massachusetts but this burned to the ground a few years back.
  A man who worked daily with Ford, Ed had hundreds of tales to relate, both of a personal and business nature. Ford often gave contradictory orders. He wouldn’t let Cutler have a telephone because when he came to Cutler’s office every day and propped his feet along the fireplace, he didn’t want anyone to call him. His favorite habit was to stand in the middle of a room of a newly reconstructed building and jump up and down. If it gave a little, Ford expected it to be fixed.
  ED CUTLER was dismissed from his job after Henry Ford died in 1947 but returned part-time 10 years ago when Greenfield Village historians discovered they had little in their archives explaining how the buildings there were acquired and rebuilt. It took six years of talking into a tape recorder for Ed to fill them in.
  As editor of the newspaper of Ed’s hometown of Plymouth, he approached me to write a biography of his life with Ford. We discussed it several times but before we could even get started, Ed died in his 80’s.
  The millions who have toured Greenfield Village know only the name of Henry Ford. But it was the talents of Edward J. Cutler that turned Ford’s dream into reality.

Steam Locomotive Begs Rochester Firemen For a Drink




September 1966
  What happens these days if a steam locomotive needs water? There’s not a standpipe left along any railroads around here to give a thirsty, tired old engine a drink.
  So why worry? There are no more steam locomotives, you say.
  But it could be a problem in Rochester on Saturday, October 22. On that day a steam locomotive pulling a passenger train will make a stop here and it will expect to take on water— lots of it.
  Some 600 members of the Michigan Railroad Club and their guests will be riding the train in what is billed as the “Last Run of the Steam.” The club had a rough time finding a steam locomotive to do the job. One is being brought all the way from Toronto, being rented for the day from the Canadian National Railway. The club says this may be the last time they can secure a steam engine.
  PASSENGERS WILL board the train in Detroit. It will then pull through Birmingham and Pontiac and cut eastward on the Grand Central & Western tracks through Rochester and on to Port Huron. When it arrives in Rochester, according to the club president, the locomotive will need a lot of water to complete its run to Port Huron.
  Writing to Fire Chief Lyle Buchanan, the club president has asked if the department could furnish the engine around 5,000 gallons of good clean water. The tanks in the tender hold 13,000 gallons. Chief Buchanan replied that he will be glad to oblige.
  The train will pull into the Grand Trunk station here on First Street around 10:30 a.m. Most of the 600 passengers, loaded down with camera gear, are expected to alight and photograph the water tending operation. In fact, no Rochester depot will have ever seen such activity— in the past and certainly in the future.
  Beside the crowd traveling with the train, a throng is expected from among Rochester’s old-time train lovers to crowd around the station or watch the scene from the nearby Main Street bridge.
  Furnishing “good clean water” is sort of a problem for the fire chief. Rochester’s water comes from wells and is as hard as rusty nails. It certainly would not be healthy for the aging engine. So he will pull the fire department’s pick-up truck with its 500 gallon per minute pump alongside the nearby Clinton River and take the water from there.
  Of course the Clinton River is polluted, but no one’s heard yet of a steam locomotive dying of hepatitis.

Stalag Prisoners Reunited


September 1966

  “Stalag 17” — the stage drama that was turned into pure comedy for a TV series, wasn’t too funny for those imprisoned in any of the Nazi prisoner of war camps. The play will be the season opener for the Avon Players this month. One of the production workers, Bill Thompson of Utica, was a prisoner at a German prison camp.
   But one of the side-dramas coming from the camp involved three “roommates” named Gwyn Williams, Vladamir Popovich and Elliott Schlashberg. After they said what they thought were their final goodbyes in June 1945 when the prisoners were freed, Williams returned to his home in England, Popovich to his native Yugoslavia and Schlashberg to somewhere in America.
   A year later, Williams emigrated from England to America and settled down in Royal Oak. He moved to Rochester in 1958 and lived on Northumberland until moving to California a few months ago.
   THE FOLLOWING Christmas after moving here, Williams received a homemade Christmas card from Popovich saying that he was now a displaced person. Because the Communists had taken over his country and he had fought against them, he was obviously not in the position he had been prior to the war.
   Williams then set to work to bring “Pop” to America, along with his wife who was in Egypt. They arrived here a year later and now live in Troy. But whatever happened to Elliott Schlashberg?
   A few years later after the Williams-Popovich reunion, Williams was watching TV and saw the rollicking Channel 4 weatherman who looked strangely like their old Stalag cellmate. And it was.
   We know him better as Sonny Elliott.

* * *
  AMERICANS AREN’T bad people after all. That is the opinion at least of a European who has just finished a three-month visit in Rochester. He is Christian VandenBerghe of Aalter, Belgium, who was visiting relatives here— his great uncle, Carl VandenBerghe of West University Drive, and a cousin, Carl VandenBerghe.
   Christian, who is only 21, and is ready to go to work as a bookkeeper after just finishing college, stopped in the office before leaving Friday. “I have a different idea of Americans than seeing them in Europe,” Christian declared. When he saw Americans visiting Belgium, they were often loose with money and didn’t hesitate to tell how much better things are back home.
   “Now that I’ve been here, I have found that America is not all millionaires, big buildings and cowboys.” He found the weather here much more pleasant this summer than his cool and rainy homeland and was impressed by the rapidity of highway building. In Sault Ste. Marie he saw his only Indians, “but they were dressed just like me,” Christian was surprised to find. But the biggest surprise was finding that most Americans “are just average people.”

* * *
  NOT ONLY IS The Golden Ram one of the most plush stores in these parts, but it is also one of the most interesting. Items that a lot of people have never seen before are found there. For instance there are electric shoe warmers from Norway that you shove into your shoes at night and they are nice and warm in the morning. Then there’s a little silver dish affair that lights your cigarette by rays of the sun.
   As a fun gift, there’s a series of books like “What I Know About Women” and “What I Know About Bridge” with your own name imprinted in gold on the cover. When the receiver opens it up— all the pages are blank.
  This would be an very appropriate gift for me to give.  You see, I know absolutely nothing about bridge... and even less about women.

Yugoslavia Native Reports On Visit to "The Old Country" After 16 Years



Josip Broz Tito
Marshal of Yugoslavia 1943-80
September 1966
  Sixteen years ago, Nikolai Onischenko and his wife, Stana, arrived in Rochester with only a few clothes, some dishes and a few bunches of garlic. Their arrival here from their native Yugoslavia had been sponsored by First Congregational Church as part of the displaced persons program. They and thousands of others had wandered throughout Europe on aimless trips that finally led to displaced persons camps.
  In Rochester, Stana has become a familiar face. She can neither read nor write English and she is difficult to understand. But many store owners found she was willing to sweep up, scrub floors and wash walls. She also performs the same jobs in private homes.
  THOUSANDS OF SCRUBBED floors later, she has saved enough money to fulfill her dream of returning to her homeland for a visit. So last July she sailed aboard the Rotterdam for LeHarve, France. From Paris she took a train that carried her to the capital city of Belgrade, and finally another train to her hometown. There, 20 relatives and friends welcomed her at the station— and a three-month reunion celebration followed.
  Stana found that her first duty was to report to the police station for a “signing in.” That is a regulation in the communist country headed by Marshal Tito. She found the country much better off than when she left it. No longer are there mattresses filled with corn husks. No longer is corn bread the main fare. And people there can still go to church if they want to.
  There’s TV, there’s cars,” Stana reported. “Everybody eat and drink all the time. Everybody make whiskey or wine” — at least everyone who owned a home and had a few fruit trees on the premises.
  “But I never want to live there again, just visit,” Stana explained.
  “One old man, a communist, I argue with. He say Yugoslavia much better than the United States. I say that the United States is best and I never want to live in Yugoslavia again because of the communists. He say, “Why don’t you stay in the United States.” I tell him that I’m going back to the United States. I’m not afraid of those communists.”
  Stana visited with a brother and sister and their families who live only a few blocks apart. She also spent a month visiting the farm of the family of her first husband, whom she saw murdered 26 years ago.
  WITH HER VISIT finally ended, she reported once more to the police station to “sign out.” She made a four-day crossing of the Atlantic aboard the Queen Mary. Arriving in Detroit by train at 7:30 a.m., Stana decided not to interrupt her husband’s work day, so she took a taxi all the way to Rochester.
  “Maybe Nikolai and I go back again in three years after he retire,” Stana declared. Nikolai, however, has no known relatives surviving to visit.
  Back again scrubbing floors and cleaning homes, Stana is sure that America is really her home.
  They live in a tidy little home on Second Street that Nikolai attractively remodeled inside. In only 16 years they have paid for the house— an achievement not many of us can brag about.
  And how many of us started out with a few dishes and a couple bunches of garlic?

No Prescriptions For School Lunches




September 1966
  Pharmacist Tom Hunter of Hunter Drugs wishes to announce that he does NOT plan the school lunch menus, nor does he ever intend to plan them!
  Tom may know a great deal about whipping together recipes for soothing baby rash or compounds for delivering us from near-death experiences. But he does not admit to deciding whether the student body of Rochester School District will be having hot dogs with buttered beans on Monday or pineapple-cabbage salad on Tuesday.
  He had to announce his firm position this week after several citizens requested to talk to him about the food served in the school cafeterias.
  TOM GOT INTO this position simply by deciding this year to sponsor the school menu which appears each week in The Clarion. By sponsoring it, he helps pay for the advertising space the menu occupies on the page. Since just about every parent and their school child is interested in what is being served in the cafeterias, the plug for Hunter’s prescriptions alongside the menu is a valuable little advertising spot.
  It’s the school dietician who plans the menus a month in advance and sends one copy to The Clarion. We simply set it in type and place it in the ad. As a result, Tom has no idea of what the menu will be each week before it appears in the newspaper. Even if he decided to change the hot dogs on the copy to pork chops, the kids will still end up with hot dogs.
  IT WAS THREE weeks ago that a citizen came into the store on a weekend and wanted to know what was on the lunch menu for the following Monday. Tom couldn’t supply the answer off the top of his head, of course, and he happened to be sold out of newspapers from his news rack, so couldn’t look it up. The citizen became irate, feeling that Tom should not publish the menu if he doesn’t know what’s in it.
  Tom later received a phone call from another woman who claimed she represented a “Parents for Better School Lunches” (or words to that effect.) She wanted to get together with the druggist to see what could be done to improve the lunches. Tom thought she was putting him on,. She replied that she was not joking. Tom explained the situation. Somehow, he had the feeling that he didn’t get through to her.
  WHILE WRITING THIS, I checked the copy for the menu that will be printed this Thursday's issue announcing next week’s menu. I noticed that green beans are schedule one day and waxed beans the next. Beans two days in a row?
I’m going right over and see Tom about that!

Thirsty Locomotive Draws Crowd


September 1966
  It wasn’t too many years ago that a person would not even turn around to see a steam locomotive pulling through town. The sight of the smoke and soot-belching monsters would often draw scurrilous remarks from its choaking citizens. But what a difference a few years makes.
  Last Saturday, around 500 people crowded around the Grand Trunk & Western Railroad depot to see what may well be the last steam locomotive stopping here. Hundreds of more people lined the tracks at Avon, Dequindre, Crooks and Adams Roads to catch a glimpse of the excursion train as it chugged eastward through Rochester and then to Port Huron. In Rochester, it stopped 45 minutes to take on 3,000 gallons of water pumped by the fire department from the nearby Clinton River.
  Scores of the curious lined the Main Street bridge, causing others to stop and take a look at what all the fuss was about. Some thought that there was a railroad disaster. Police collected a few bucks writing tickets for cars illegally parked on the bridge.
  One might expect that the first train to ever come through Rochester in the 1870’s could have been late. But things apparently haven’t improved all of these years. The last steam locomotive was a half hour late. The old red stationhouse which is now used only for the Railway Express operation, probably was never busier than Saturday morning. And it will probably never see that much activity again.
                                                        *   *   *
  THE HARRY SCHREIBERS at 157 Tartan, had their faith in humanity restored this week. Their 14-year-old deaf cocker spaniel disappeared Monday night of last week. Phone calls to all the police agencies and Pontiac Animal Shelter proved fruitless. They drove the roads of Avon Township and spent the weekend searching roads as far north as Imlay City, figuring that a hunter may have picked up the dog.
  On Monday morning this week, the Animal Shelter phoned the Schreibers telling them that a dog of their description had been reported by an Avon Township family. Driving to the home, it was indeed their dog. Taking in their dog was the Norman May family on Tienken Road. The bedraggled dog, full of burrs, had wandered to the home Thursday.
  “They took him in, gave him a bath, groomed him and even bought him food and some antibiotics for an open wound on his back. They are remarkable people and have restored my faith in humanity again,” Mrs. Schreiber declared with happiness Monday afternoon.
  Norm and Eleanor May, of course, are widely-known in Rochester. Norm is currently vice-president of the Board of Education.
* * *
  THOSE WHO TOOK their young ones to the measles clinic Sunday got a good demonstration in mass psychology. Held in the cafeteria of Central Junior High, the clinic brought out 809 youngsters. At one time, the line-up wound down the hall and up the stairway. The place where the shots were administered was around a corner and out of the line of sight so that kiddies wouldn’t be able to see what lay ahead of them.

  What they couldn’t see they made up in what they could hear. Whenever a young one let out a howl as the needle came close, the sound carried around the corner and down the hallway. This brought into play the psychological effect— and the halls soon rang out in waves of cries of anticipated pain.
  But the little sting should be well worth it to the kiddies. One of the children’s doctors feels that the shots will definitely have an effect on the case load when the measles season comes around.
  And it should almost mean that the youngsters will be spending more time in school. Ah, ha… so that’s why they were crying!
* * *
  THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: This Thanksgiving time there is something for which we can all be thankful. If you can’t pay your debts, be thankful you are not one of your creditors.


Monday, January 17, 2011

If You Can Walk, Join The Crowd



September 1966
  Mrs. Viola Coltson of Avon Road would like to start a new club. But she hardly expects a stampede of folks to sign up.
She would like to find other people who like to walk. You know— that ancient form of transportation where you stand up, lean forward and place one foot in front of the other.
  Mrs. Coltson likes to walk. She once belonged to a hiking club in Detroit. They would hoof it around Belle Isle or take to the trails of Bloomer State Park near Rochester. The hike would often end up with a visit to a bowling alley, a movie or a restaurant.
  Out on Avon Road where there is no shoulder on the roadway, Mrs. Coltson finds it unsafe to take a walk. So she takes her daily stroll along some of the side roads. Walking is more fun when you have someone to walk with, Mrs. Coltson says. She envisions small walking groups could be divided according to age, sex and likes and dislikes as to where to go and what to do.
  In this age, Mrs. Coltson finds, anyone seen walking along a road is looked upon as being a little strange. If she decides to walk into town, friends and neighbors stop and insist that she ride with them. Anyone seen talking a walk along a road at night is immediately under suspicion.
  For anyone interested in returning to the lost art of walking can call Mrs. Coltsen at 651-8364. Or you can walk out and see her.

* * *
  LOCAL FOLKS WHO have ventured around Northville way may recall that it has been noted for decades for its Old Spring. People driving 50 miles have been seen to line up at the Old Spring on weekends with jugs and bottles to take home some of the “old fashioned” water free of charge. Having lived in nearby Plymouth for nine years, I occasionally drove over for a “fill up” too.
  My former newspapering colleague, Bill Sliger in Plymouth, now owner of the Northville Record, carries a drawing of the old springhouse on the masthead of his newspaper.
  Unfortunately, the spring went dry a few years back. For a while no water was available. Vehicles would keep driving up with occupants hopping out with intentions of filling their empty jugs. Finally, the City Fathers decided to at least do something to dispel the disappointments of a dry well. They hooked up the spring pipe to the Northville municipal water system and fixed up the well area.
  Despite publicity locally that the Old Spring no longer produces spring water, hundreds of strangers still show up every week.
  But to now compound the matter, Northville is this week converting to the Detroit water system. As a result, most visitors will be lugging home jugs of the same Detroit River water that comes from their taps at home!

What About 'That Other College'


Dr. Otis Gatewood
First MCC president
November 1966
  Some people refer to it as “that other college.” Some just say, “that college up on the hill.”
  But the overpowering presence of Oakland University causing the public to forget the name of “the other one” doesn’t seem to faze Lucien Palmer, president of Michigan Christian College.
  “Oakland University and Oakland Community College are both fine institutions and will always play significant roles in the education of our area, Lucien said the other day in a chat with a local group. “It is absolutely foolish to talk about our little college competing with them.”
  MCC,OF COURSE, is a private institution while the other two are public. So far, MCC has not applied for nor received any federal assistance. Neither has it asked for money from business or industry. Its sole support has been from individuals and widely-scattered supporting organizations.
  MCC’s history dates back to 1954 when a group of Detroit area men decided to establish such a school. The North Central Christian College Foundation was formed in 1955. They looked at three different sites and finally narrowed it to Ann Arbor and Rochester.
  For $200,000 they purchased the Avon Road estate of advertising executive Lou Maxon. From the highway, it’s impossible to see the beauty of this campus— the lake, greenhouse, the walkways among the trail trees.
  OTIS GATEWOOD was hired as president in 1958 and Lucien Palmer was named dean. By 1959 they were ready to go, following a money-raising rally at the State Fairground Coliseum at which 8,000 people turned out to see one of the college’s solid supporters, Pat Boone. There were 54 students that first year. Now there are 240. That’s still not a lot, but without relying on public funds, the effort has been tremendous.
  The first major structure, called the multi-purpose building, cost $375,000. It has been expanded several times since and other buildings erected.
  In 1963, the administration had to made a decision whether to build more buildings or to acquire more land to add to the original 38 acres. The decision was to acquire land now while it is available. So they purchased seven acres from one owner and then 54 acres from the Gierock estate. They now own nearly 100 acres. “Now we can develop a fairly large college,” Lucien declares. An architect has been hired to develop a permanent campus plan. The center of the campus will be around the present Gierock home, the old red farmhouse where the president and his family now live. The academic, residential and athletic complex will be built around it.
  WE PROJECT a school of around 3,000 students,” the president said, “with 2,500 of them living on campus.” The college just last month launched a $1 million building campaign for a girls’ dorm, a library with 50,000 volumes and other facilities. This campaign will last three years. While the Church of Christ membership strongly backs MCC, the church body itself has no connection with the college. No money has come from church treasuries.
  MCC is actually a junior college, offering the first two years. This means that credits must be transferred if the student wants to obtain his degree. “We’ve been pleased beyond expectations in this respect,” Lucien revealed. Most students encountered no trouble transferring their credits.
  After pulling itself up by its own bootstraps, that “other college” is a real going institution that does Rochester proud.

Theatre On Oakland U. Horizon



D. B "Woody" Varner
OU's First Chancellor
November 1966
  It was three years ago next February that the Detroit press corps was summoned to the hallowed halls of the Detroit Athletic Club where plans were unveiled for a new project known as the Meadow Brook Festival. We were admittedly a bit dubious when Oakland University’s Chancellor D. B. “Woody” Varner predicted that the project would eventually attain nationwide recognition. At that moment, there wasn’t even a building and no money to build one.
  But by that summer, several hundred thousands of dollars miraculously poured in and the pavilion was ready for the Detroit Symphony. Last week Director Jim Hicks said that this past season’s average attendance was 5,800.
  Then, the call went out again last week for another DAC pow-wow. Held on Wednesday noon, the subject this time was the Meadow Brook Theatre. Announcement of this new project had been made last summer, but last week’s affair was a reception for the press to meet the resident professional company.
  While WJR’s J. P. McCarthy interviewed his way through his noon-hour show in an adjoining room, the pre-luncheon hour was a good chance to meet the troupe and also greet a few acquaintances in the newspaper business and its allied industries— radio and TV. At my table was Edward A. Guest II, who quit Jam Handy Advertising Agency to become director of public relations for the Meadow Brook Theatre. Ed’s enthusiasm is enough to convince me that the Theatre will attain success on the same level as the Festival.
                                                           * * *
  IT’S HARD TO EXPLAIN, but I get a little shaky when guys like Carl W. Ripley come into the office and ask for me. Carl walked in Monday morning and I was summoned to the front desk for a chat. I suppose the reason he unnerves me is the Marine Corps dress uniform he wears, not to mention the fact that he is recruiting sergeant for this area.
  I well recall serving a couple of years back in some other war and now hold a draft card that lists me as 7-X (or is that my hat size?) These Army, Marine and Navy recruiters who pay calls on us newspaper folks every few months, are all working to fill monthly quotas and I don’t like the way they study me up and down.
  It was reassuring to hear from Sgt. Ripley, however, that he doesn’t need any men right now. He’s got enough to fill his quota through February. What he needs, he says, are women. Now, this doesn’t sound like anything new for a serviceman. But Sgt. Ripley needs women to serve in the Women Marines as secretaries, air control tower operators, IBM machine operator and radio operators— to mention a few.
  Applicants must be 18 to 29 years of age, unmarried and have a high school education. All of you interested young ladies can find Master Sgt. Ripley at the Federal Building in Pontiac. He’s looking for you— not me.


Santa's Big Parade Marches On


December 1966
  Saturday’s big Santa Claus Parade proved to be a huge success with the druggists and their cold remedies reaping the biggest rewards. It was somewhere around 15 to 20 degrees outside, although the sunshine made it seem more pleasant. But one doesn’t put on a parade with some 1,000 participants without a hitch.
  On Saturday morning, the parade co-chairmen, Fred Weaver and Harold Pepper, received a phone call saying that the girls’ precision marching unit, the Taylor-Maids from Royal
Oak, were not going to show.
  All but three of the girls were sick, the caller reported. But to everyone’s amazement, including the co-chairmen, a girls’ precision unit was in the parade after all.
  The Rae-Vens, the precision marchers from Pontiac who have marched in past years, showed up. They had not notified the parade chairmen of their intentions to enter the parade— but were indeed welcomed.
  After the parade, the participants reported to the new Kiwanis pavilion in the Civic Center. The Chamber had surrounded the no-sided pavilion with plastic to keep it snug inside. They served up 40 gallons of hot chocolate and 90 dozen donuts— and ran out.
  Only a couple of ponies were seen in this year’s parade. Horses, it seems, present a problem. For obvious reasons, horses are placed at the ends of parades. But in a Santa Claus Parade, Santa is always the last in line and is often surrounded by kiddies running up and trying to shake hands with the old fellow. With horses around, it was felt that it was too risky. 
  Maybe Santa will have to remember to bring his own steeds next year— you know., Rudolph and the gang.
* * *
  THE DEATH of Mrs. Bessie Harvey at the age of 93 brings to mind a question that some people have often wondered about, especially around graduation and homecoming times. Mrs. Harvey is believed to have been the oldest graduate of Rochester High School. She graduated in 1892. This means that she graduated 74 years ago. We would be interested in hearing if there are any others who can now claim this title.
* * *
  THE CLARION was hardly off the press last week when one reader called to say that our “Clarion Salutes” feature gave a “bouquet of roses,” instead of a “bouquet of poison ivy,” to those who scattered dozens of beer bottles on the high school lawn. And sure enough, the wrong engraving had been inserted, but the mistake was discovered after a few thousand papers had been printed the correct one inserted.
  To those who received the “bouquet of roses” copies, we want it known that we definitely do not heap praise on those who litter the community with beer bottles— or anything else.
* * *
   IN CASE YOU don’t think it pays to advertise, remember that there are 26 mountains in Colorado higher than Pike’s Peak.
  THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: Your hometown is the place where people wonder how you got as far as you have.

Remembering Pearl Harbor


December 1966
  Last week’s 25th anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day brought back memories to most people living during that period of history.. But for “Cap” Capogna, owner of Cap’s Tele-Tec, the day was especially vivid. He was serving with a coastal defense battery on a tiny island off Pearl Harbor on that infamous Sunday morning.
  “It sure doesn’t seem like 25 years ago,” Cap told me as he recalled the day. Cap’s unit was one of the few on the island that had live ammunition. “Fortunately, we had an officer on duty that day who knew what he was doing and he ordered that we open fire immediately.”
  As a result, his battery shot down two Jap planes and perhaps damaged a few others. They were credited with firing the first U.S. shots of World War II.
* * *
  SO FAR THIS YEAR, Rochester schools have been called off twice because of bad weather. And it isn’t even officially winter yet. There are many years when it is not necessary to close down schools even one day. So this school year may set a record.
  There was considerable discussion at last week’s board of education meeting about closing down schools. Trustee Martin McMurray said he received a few complaints from parents who thought it wasn’t necessary to call off school that Monday morning of the ice storm. So who decides to close down?
  It works like this: Since 75 per cent of the students in Rochester’s public and parochial schools are transported by bus, the question of whether or not there will be school depends mainly on whether the buses can get through. Asst. Supt. Dick Huizenga is directly responsible for the bus program. When he hears a questionable weather forecast the night before, “I just don’t sleep,” he reported. Around 3 or 4 a.m. he is up checking on conditions. He checks them in the north part of the district while transportation director Dick Overturf checks the southern half. If they feel that conditions aren’t good, they call up Supt. Douglas Lund. Since the first buses start to roll around 7 a.m., a decision must be made before that time.
  Supt. Lund walked outside onto the street early last Monday morning and decided they could not ask drivers to take the responsibility of 60 lives on a bus under such conditions. So phone calls were made to area radio stations for their newscasts. Rochester joined a long list of schools canceling classes. Some schools did not cancel at first, then found out too late that many of their buses were not making it through.
  Holding classes for just those who walk to school, Supt. Lund pointed out, is almost useless if only 25 percent show up. The state says there must be at least 180 days of school a year but there can be fewer if classes are dismissed “through an act of God.” Apparently if there are more missed days, the school board will give serious thought to some make-up days if they feel that education of students is being impaired.
  So far, we haven’t heard of any of the 7,000 students complaining.
* * *
  THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: The only thing more disturbing than a neighbor with a noisy old car is one with a quiet new one.