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Morton Times-News - Morton, IL
  • Tattle Tales by Noah: Two Henrys and a Joe

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  • My memories reflect on three ‘guys’ who always wore a victory smile.
     
    It seemed they never had a bad day or a bad word to say about anyone. Sunday morning at (the Zobrists) meant dodging my pop who had barber shears looking for a head of hair to cut.
     
    Money was tight when I was a tyke so my dad nailed the ones he could catch. His left hand firmly held us down as he clipped with the right, pinching skin on ever clip.
     
    The results were atrocious, as my hair would have been better shaped by a fruit bowl.
     
    It’s not my pop I feature in this writing, but of three who I considered to be the bricks and mortar of the Apostolic Christian Church. Three super nice guys.
     
    Of course there were others, but the three who come to mind will linger as long as I have a memory button.
     
    There were only two churches in Morton in the ’40s and I remember when the AC church had horse barns to feed and halter your ride to church. We were a ‘whisker’ away from being Amish or the Mennonites of old, but that was just a perception in the eyes of a gullible kid.
     
    Henry Grimm and Henry Rapp taught Sunday school and Joe A. Getz was a lead Minister. The two Henrys had the patience of a Saint and were always soft spoken and mild mannered.
     
    Joe A. Getz was a bit more ‘frisky,’ but a friendly sort of fellow who commanded respect. Indeed, an apt trio to benefit their faith.
     
    Two levels above the cellar floor, a higher court was held in a more serious vain. Joe A. Getz was the headmaster and the leader of the flock, thus a Minister to be revered.
     
    A dining room was sandwiched in between, which is another story for another time.
     
    The two Henrys and Joe A. Getz were meandering about anytime the church doors were open. In the ’30s, it was more commonly known as the Amish church, and when in Morton I always drive by the spot where I first learned that “Jesus Loves Me.”
     
    Two Henrys and a Joe are still smiling.
     
    Morton got a wake-up call before it was a phrase. Hours before the ole red rooster crowed, the ovens were ‘fired’ at the Miller bakery in the downtown area of our tiny village.
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    Bakers had been kneading dough at this very site since the early 1900’s and this kid remembers the 1940’s well.
     
    The bakery was a Welcome Center to breakfast-goers who felt ‘zapped’ if minus a sack of Wurst-Miller’s bakery rolls.
     
    A sweet aroma oozed out the bakery’s back door, and I often spotted Elmer Reinken sneaking a hurried puff. Both he and Miller donned the ‘whites’ of a baker, or maybe just dowsed in flour.
     
    No denying they were both good guys and most kids in Morton knew them.
     
    At the bakery counter, both Ag Reilly and Martha Strunk are a lasting memory of their ‘warmth’ and kindness as we entered the bakery door. Both had a story to tell.
     
    The bakery treasured the Apostolic Church as a BEST customer for both the Sunday worshippers and the shut-in deliveries. No retail outlet brought so much happiness, to so many, so early in the day.
     
    Miller didn’t tag his ‘rolls’ as a Danish item, as villagers may have been confused. He opted to call such simply ‘rolls’ and his day-old bread was an added bonus.
     
    Miller’s sweet roll remained as such until well after the War of the ’40s.
     
    I love the quaint ole bake shops, such as the Wurst-Miller bakery, ‘twas truly the biggest bang for a buck.
     
    It’s where ‘dough’ was on the rise.
     
    Back in the ’30s ‘doctoring’ was done (on the most part) by the mom of the house as she used lye soap to clean us up and castor oil to clean us out.
     
    Aspirins soothed an aching head and a product dubbed ‘hadacol’ was bottled for all other aches and pains.
     
    It was a vitamin supplement, but highly suspect to be loaded with booze.
     
    Health insurance simply wasn’t a priority and very few had life policies as ‘scratch’ was low. No credit cards back then, but ‘cash and carry’ was a common practice.
     
    New cars sold for hundreds of dollars, but banks only financed if you paid half down.
     
    Never heard the word bankruptcy, as debt service was throttled by earning power. Everybody filed short form in reporting income as $3,000 a year was a stretch.
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    The first game of pool I shot cost a dime and Morton Bowl whacked us for 15 cents a line.
     
    Everything was relative as a dry well couldn’t be primed. We drank a little, sang a little and praised the Lord.
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