These are Brad Skeele's writings. Bob Skeele said "I am surprised there were not more 'Hodgepodge Notes' but none were found among his papers." Brad died following a stroke in 1968. One last bit of his writing is included below, which was part of a newspaper article featuring the 1492 Roxbury Road family home written and illustrated by Bill Arter.
Thursday Aug. 26, 1965 It has occurred to me I might get a certain amount of pleasure by writing to myself a sort of disconnected but continuing letter. Whether I ever read it myself or anyone dear to me ever does, is purely incidental. My days are filled with random thoughts, impressions and opinions, memories too. Being non ambulatory, sedentary per force, I must get my exercise mentally at least. Though the TV tube provides a window to the public scene, newspapers and magazines and an occasional book are not quite enough, hence I have the time and the energy to write letters to others and now to myself.
I am a transplanted Buckeye from Ohio here in quaint and historic old Santa Fe. It's as an ad on the radio says, the place where the culture of the East meets and blends with the Spanish and the Indian. The Spanish are justly proud of their heritage from the days of the Conquistadors. Spanish is heard even on radio programs. The society pages of the newspaper more of then than not, feature pictures of dark skinned, brown haired and dark eyed brides with names like Garcia or Martinez. Obviously the social elite. I suppose the Spanish here in Santa Fe are what the French are to the city of Quebec. That is only part of the charm of the place however to an Anglo like me.
Santa Fe jealousy preserves its Spanish, Mexican and Indian heritages. The "City Different" they say and it is. One can see the historical imprint at once in the architectural style of most residences and even public buildings. Adobe and beams instead of the usual colonial or what not residences and no glass walled, city "street canyons", downtown. Santa Fe simply keeps it "old" Santa Fe by choice. I must say it is working and so it is a wonderful place to live without being "Chamber of Commerce ish". To have the old and traditional, I suppose some sacrifices of the new is justified, if missed at all.
There is here an atmosphere of leisure and good living. Even I, who cannot go out, sense it. Some of it may be the "manana" or "put off until tomorrow" philosophy perhaps inherent in the Spanish Mexican people. But the leisurely, slower pace of life appeals to those tired of the hurried and "scrambling to make a buck" way of most Anglos. Here there is time for diversions, even cultural pursuits. The interest in the arts is evident from the large number of artists who have settled in the area. And there is the unique and pleasant climate, the moderate temperatures and lack of humidity. Bright sunshine and azure blue skies mark most days. To look up is joy, serenity itself. In the summer months huge white clouds occasionally appear against the brownish background of mountains.
There are of course a variety of reasons why people live one place or another and then pull up stakes and move to a new spot. Why Santa Fe for Midwesterners, Texans, Southerners and Downeasterners? I suspect these Anglos more often then not have come here simply for the pleasure of living in a different environment. They have not come here principally to make a living. Perhaps that explains why they are compatible with and meld into the Spanish community without greatly changing the personality of the place. The word gets around or a chance visit on vacation contributes Anglo residents. As for myself, my son and his family were here and that was reason enough. Retired, I could live any place but any place else would not give me the joy of nearness to the family nearest to me in my heart. How fortunate for me I often think, I have such a son, daughter in law and the three grand in every way, grandsons. I would be deprived of too much to have remained in Ohio (Columbus) as I have no close ties there anymore. My only worry really now is that I do not interfere too much in their lives or put on "the kids" extra burdens being here. The elderly can easily lean on the youngsters too much.
When St. John's College decided to build its new western college here in Santa Fe and then elected Bob to the staff, I had no urge to move to the Southwest. Santa Fe to me was the name of a railroad and a historical trail. Bob and Joan had thought about me and were concerned with me alone in Ohio and they far away in Annapolis, MD. They were hardly settled before they were urging me to come to Santa Fe. What a chain of circumstances in my case. The climate is especially good for arthritis too. So, I'm here and happy.
Monday August 30, 1965 There has been much written lately by columnists which I read as a digest of the news on the subject of school dropouts. I am reminded of an incident at a sales and managers meeting of the optical company I worked for. This was in the late 1920's. The sessions were often most dull and an uninteresting "rehash" by "the top brass" of products and policies. At the dinner session we members of the staff were allowed to relax somewhat and enjoy the food and casual conversation with our table neighbors. After the main course had been served and eaten, the chairman of the meeting, the company's board chairman incidentally, stood up and rapped a spoon on a glass for attention. "Men", he began. "I want a little information from you at this time. How many of you completed your college education and graduated? Those who did, please stand." With some feeling of pride I suppose and no little curiosity about why the question was asked, I stood up. So did a small number of fellow workers. The chairman of the board waited until we all responded then he sat down. The president of the company remained seated. The handful of we proud and as yet unproved employees were soon greeted with gales of laughter. "See", the chairman said, "you educated men, who your bosses are, we who dropped out of school!"
Now I don't think times are so much different than some thirty or forty years ago. More young men possibly drop out of high school or fail to continue into college now perhaps. All the causes for dropping out were the same and have been all along. Most dropouts were motivated by lack of money and many no doubt were bothered by what I'd call "girl trouble." Other factors, certainly including lack of ambition and mental laziness, have caused and still cause dropouts before and after entering college. It seems to me, from what I read, of course, that there are not enough dropouts at any level of the educational process, after the first six to eight years of schooling, that is! The blame for dropouts must be placed on the educational system and the educators. What is needed is a "sort out" program beginning in the lower grades, at age ten perhaps, some boys should be diverted from the usual pre high school courses into primarily vocational training. The reexamination and reevaluation of both academic and vocational types could be continued as long as students attend classes. A vocational type might occasionally be redirected to the academic and potential academic dropouts continually, at least annually, sorted out. In this way, those who have the desire and the ability can advance to and continue a college education. The boys who want to take a job can better prepare for that. It is a problem of direction of individuals after close examination of aptitudes. More academic grading won't do the job. As for girls, it is all the more important to separate those seriously interested in a formal college education - Domestic Science, Education, Nursing or otherwise and let the girl who goes to college to "get her man" know, at least, she should go to a modeling school or an office training school. Those females who will merely clutter up college classes may be as hard or harder to sort out but they, like the males who are not really serious high school students, should be and I think can be eliminated or at least encouraged to dropout before college from the potential college group. Parents can certainly discourage daughters from going to college for the social whirl alone. College is an expensive way out for parents of girls who, like the men, are not likely to be educated by a college education!
Johnny Jones in his unsyndicated column appearing in the Columbus Dispatch had an interesting observation on one dropout. This dropout, however, had a good reason to be one. He had an unusual ability as an amateur golfer so at 21 years of age turned professional. Since then he has become the leading money winner on the professional golfer's annual tour, earning over $100,000 each of the last two years. He is, of course, Jack Nicklaus who at 25 years of age is clearly one vocational career man who disproves the rule that a college education is necessary for financial success and fame.
In another column Johnny Jones remarked about meeting a man at breakfast who got to talking about his work. It seems the man had stopped teaching and was now with the Ohio Industrial Commission. Although a PhD and for years a university professor, he became convinced his teaching efforts were not reflected in his students' learning. The students had not dropped out the classes were full of non interested non learners seeking only college credits so the professor dropped out. Here is the situation today in at least one college: a needed professor able to teach and an over supply of "students" who should never have been in those college classes. How often this situation must occur elsewhere.
September 1, 1965 When ordering meat for my meals I often think of chicken but don't order it. I wish I could vary my menu, occasionally get away from beef, ham, pork or lamb. Fish, the frozen variety, is an option but chicken is not. I suspect it is normal to have a taste for chicken. One of my old pals with whom I vacationed several times even ate it, if he could get it, for breakfast. Fried, baked, creamed, he didn't care. Like most people, he considered chicken in any form a delicious treat. To me it is just the opposite. I have to force myself to eat it. I especially dislike the fried variety, though I can tolerate it off the bone, the taste disguised as it is in Chicken a la King, for example. There is a reason, I think, for my aversion. The sense of smell affects taste. I can smell chicken and that's it brother! Back goes my olfactory memory to those days as a boy when I had the chicken house cleaning chore and often chickens to kill. I'm glad I was never exposed to cattle or pigs or I'd have become a vegetarian. When I was about ten years old, my dear dad got the idea we ought to raise chickens. We had the space and it was remodeled with nests and "dropping boards" for the feathered food producers. For suburbanites Dad and Mother went in for poultry in a big way. In short order we acquired an incubator and a brooder, followed soon by a Rhode Island Red rooster that cost $25. and a like variety of laying hens.
It wasn't long until the chicken raising became mother's hobby. Dad became a silent and non-working partner except he always enthusiastically ate the product. Setting hens were set. The incubator loaded with fertile eggs. Oats were sprouted for green chicken food out of season. The result each year was healthy, meaty chickens. Some turned out to be hens to be kept for laying but always there was an abundance of young roosters which had to be fed or eaten. And eat them we did as often as possible and as seemed appropriate for Sunday or company dinner. There was always chicken at picnics, too. Due largely to the intelligent care of my mother, the eggs and chickens were in abundance when winter weather made fresh eggs scarce at the stores and young fryers were in demand.
The Rhode Island Red proved to be an ideal layer and meat chicken. The $25 Rooster was a good buy judging by the progeny. The clean hen houses, the attention to feed and water and poultry medicine paid off in eggs and chickens. So much so there were chickens in the spring to sell and eggs too. It was World War I time. Fresh eggs and young chickens were expensive at the stores and so neighbors and friends almost stood in line to buy what mother would sell. I remember she sold eggs, brown eggs they were too, for as much as $1 a dozen.
I have to laugh at the logic involved in Dad and Mother's agreement. Dad bought the feed. Mother sold some eggs and "eating chickens". Mother pocketed the revenue apparently with Dad's consent. Mom reasoned no doubt she did the work and deserved the proceeds. Incidentally, it was "egg money" that bought the eggshell Haviland china and classical phonograph records she prized. So I guess Dad felt he had a good thing going, with plenty of chickens to eat and eggs too, with Mom doing the work and happily acquiring thereby some things she wanted.
September 8, 1965 The behavior of the human animal, male and female, fascinates me. Maybe I ought to get a-hold of some good text on behaviorist psychology to clarify some things I have observed and don't quite understand, particularly what motivates men and women to marry. "Love" is too indefinite a term to explain marriage. After adolescence comes of course physical maturity and with it the sexual urge normally. But aside from concluding there is emotion involved called "love" which is often confused with the physical, sexual urge, sometimes, at least, people marry for other, reasoned out "reasons". For instance, a common reason, I think, is lonesomeness. When people around you are getting married, a sort of loneliness strikes one and the man or woman suddenly thinks the way to live is with a mate.
I believe in most cases, it's the woman who seeks, at least desires most, to be married. To a woman, matrimony looks like a kind of security. Marriage to a woman is not an unreasoned happening, purely emotional or sexually driven. A woman reasons she needs the man for what he can give her economics, support and protection. On the other hand, the man who wants marriage usually decides emotionally and only incidentally reasons why he would be better off. He may and probably does weigh the cost of the step and the responsibilities involved but being the aggressive animal decides to marry emotionally.
The exceptions in men I've known puzzle me. There are those cold, calculating and scheming kind who marry for economic advantage: the boss's daughter, etc. He may have the animal urge of the usual male but no real desire for anything spiritual or physical except what the woman can give in material things. Such a man must therefore live a lie in such a marriage but strangely enough it sometimes seems to work. Maybe there is an explanation: a real love, an unselfish one, can develop regardless of the man's motives before marriage. I know of one case where the man, a young doctor, had all kinds of offers and opportunities if he would marry the unattractive daughter of a successful surgeon. But he being more "normal" than most men, could not bring himself to marry for money and advantage. Another young doctor, however, did and I assume got what he bargained for. As it happened years ago, I don't know which one got the most out of life and who have lived the happiest but both doctors attained about the same material success, one the hard way on his own and the other with the boost his wife's father gave him.The Skeele car decorated for Field Day
September 10, 1965 Reviewing my own life I am most certain environment has had a lot to do with shaping my 'inside picture", my character now. Environment is responsible for the various opportunities I had, for the boyhood and the friends I made later, all influencing the course of my life. Had I been born in another place or had I later chosen to change locales, I'm sure it would have made a difference in what I am. I wonder privately, would I have been a better man?
As I see it, my parental environment had a lot to do with my life forming the way it has. Dad and Mother, being the kind of persons they were industrious, decent and ambitious chose to save and build a home of their own. That's how I happened to be born and grow up in the environment of old Grandview. As all of us Grandview children were, I was fortunate my parents chose the kind of place and people we were associated with. Even the conductor and motorman on the trolley car had an effect on my growing character. The days of my youth, from 6 to 16 years of age (1907-1917), were lived under ideal conditions. Grandview was a small community of homes occupied by owners. Middle class for the most part, not rich people but thrifty, serious minded and decent people, mostly with growing families and with a common desire for the better things Grandview had to offer: friendly neighbors, comfortable and spacious living conditions, all the conveniences of city living yet suburban. Near to the city and street car commuting in those days, made it all possible. Automobiles were not too numerous and usually reserved mainly for Sunday and holiday use.The 1914 Grandview football team. Brad Skeele is in the bottom row at the far right. The full roster is: Back row L to R: Herbert Ford, Louis Geer, Hiram Bronson, Alford Bradbury Middle Row: Julius Stone, Frances Paddock, John Guy Front Row: Joe Thomas, Robert Page, Elis Rogers, Bradley Skeele
Like our parents, we "kids" had much in common. Our environment was the Village. No pool room and for years not even a drug store and so no "hang out" and therefore none of the "bad influences" or at least temptations that city boys had. But it is the nature of boys to congregate somewhere and, of course, we did. These were the early days of our high school and out of the formation of athletic teams, particularly football, we became "club minded". Joe Bronson's father had purchased and moved to the rear of the Bronson home, an ancient log cabin which had as its principal attraction a huge fireplace. Joe and "Musty" Hendershott got their heads together and invited others to join a club. These high school boys were all selected as friends the members of the football team. Brotherhood of the Rook cabin Because the cabin was located on Bronson property, Joe became the founder of the club which was to be named the Brotherhood of Rooks. The charter members were selected by him, the nature of the "club", its rules and policies at the start, even the secret "ritual" were all Joe's. I was invited as the first new member after the original six or seven. They wanted to initiate the new ritual by initiating me and I, of course, wanted to belong. So, I became a Rook. Rapidly, others followed and were initiated, fraternal style and the Brotherhood grew and expanded even after the days of the cabin. It was community asset then and may still be.
The fraternal feeling of the Rooks had a great deal of influence on me and on all the others who eventually belonged I would suppose. It was an honor to belong but I know I must have felt also an obligation. I had to live up to a sort of vaguely defined code but a code of good principals and behavior nevertheless. An "All for One, One for All" spirit prevailed and, I think, has been good for me and I trust for the others an early lesson in life we Grandview ites got from our environmental opportunity.
September 14, 1965 Just a few minutes ago, I got a long distance call from Myrtle Walters reporting that her sister, Hazel, had passed on. I was shocked to hear it for Hazel had been more than another friend. She was for several years a member of my family and later on my secretary at White Haines Optical Company in Columbus for twenty years.
I was still in high school when Hazel came to live with us which came about through an accident Mother had. Searching for some in season fruit for canning, Mother rode the bus to Central Market which she seldom did, and slipped on a wet brick sidewalk breaking her ankle. Someone, I think it was Mrs. Hill who lived near the Walters at the time, suggested that Hazel come to take over for Mother. She accepted and there began a genuine love affair between Hazel and Mother. After Mother was able to resume housework and cooking, etc., Hazel stayed on at Mother's insistence. Also at Mother's insistence, Hazel began attending Business College. Mother loaned her the money which Hazel repaid. Later, when Hazel's family moved out of town, she stayed on, more as a daughter than a paying guest. Mother advised her and encouraged her in all things feminine, clothes, friends, etc. Hazel was a bit dowdy and self conscious and Mother was forever trying to help her improve herself in every way. Gradually, Hazel's personality and appearance did seem to change for the better. Eventually, Hazel returned to her family who had moved back to Columbus. At that time she assumed her Dad's mortgage on their house, a burden and sacrifice that adversely affected her life.
Hazel was a great help to Mother and to all of us. She was energetic and capable and I know we Skeeles were grateful, even I. But since she was shy and unglamorous, I'm afraid I wasn't any more than like her own brother, if that, in my attitude. I'm sure as I look back on it, I offended her often by not showing her attention and at least some consideration for her feelings. I remember one occasion when with others and one attractive girl in the crowd, we went off to dance nearby and left her sitting alone. Years after she did remind me of that. What a selfish, thoughtless fool I was and that is among my large regrets still. And now Hazel is gone. I'm deeply sorry for the headaches I may have caused her. Those regrets are now my burden.
September 15, 1965 Matt has a birthday coming up the 16th (tomorrow) and as I can't get out to shop I'd planned on giving him some spending money. Talking to Joan the other morning, though, she suggested maybe I'd like to "go in" with Bob on bicycle repairs and accessories Matt wants. Of course I was glad to and gave Bob a check when he, Matt and David stopped by after going to the library (David had his usual sparkle in his eyes and two monster books). The only misgivings I have was the look in Matt's eyes. They seemed to say something, maybe "Aw shucks, I thought Grandpa Brad was going to give ME some money". Gosh, I am so fond of him and the others too, almost, that is, as I am of Bob, and that is as fond as I can get.
I remember how as a small boy, my good aunt Harriet always came through with a bit of cash on my birthday and how I counted on it. I knew each birthday I'd get a dollar for each year of my age, eight whole bucks on my eighth birthday, nine on my ninth and so on until I was twenty-one. I don't remember saving any of it either. I wish now I could follow at least aunt Harriet's plan with all three of the boys but I'm not so well fixed with money as I think my aunt was. I guess I'll just have to donate "to the cause" as best, as often and as much as I can.
September 22,1965 I got to thinking the other day about the "Jones Boys", Tom and Franklin, not related but prominent in the commercial side of the university district during the 1920's and early 30's. What a story could be written around Tom and incidentally Franklin who was a character, too. Maybe I ought to try to write a novel or at least a short story or two, fictionalizing around facts and happenings involving especially Tom. The whole scene, the cast of characters involved, includes many incidents of my post graduate "hang out" years at Hennick's and Joneses across High Street from the Ohio State campus.
Hennick's built a new and multi storied building about 1920 which as soon as it was opened became the college hangout and the hangout too of those who had finished school like me and dozens of others, friends and mere acquaintances of college days. The lease Herb Hennick had on the old restaurant located a block away was about to be lost to the building's owner who thought, no doubt, he could take over Hennick's volume trade. Hennick built and occupied the new building and kept his lease on the old spot thus inducing his established trade to follow him instead of patronizing the eventual reopening at the old spot by the building owner. No competition in my time ever cut in on Hennick's hold on the restaurant and hangout trade. And so it was that our crowd who liked and knew Herb so well, continued to make it our headquarters and meeting place. Everyone of us made a beeline for Hennick's for food, friends and a starting place for the evening's entertainment.
About the same time, 1920 or 1921, Tom Jones came upon the scene. In partnership with Dan DeVere he set up a haberdashery shop just a few doors from Hennick's. It soon became a more exclusive branch of the Hennick hangout crowd. Tom's expansive personality and sales ability, even with a limited stock of goods, soon made it a lively and attractive place. We hung out there too and we bought suits, coats, ties, etc. whether we needed them or not. Tom had the knack of making you feel you wanted whatever he wanted to sell and that it was the best and a bargain which it usually was. Tom was one of us, our age and a hospitable, friendly guy. No wonder Jones DeVere was the hangout it was for our graduate or "quit uate" crowd especially. One of the regular and most frequent of the group to be found there was the other Jones, Franklin, some years later to be a partner in another haberdashery, Jones and Jones.
As I look back on this period of my life I am aware that many fast friendships were formed, important events in shaping the direction of my life, perhaps more important than I realized. For the most part they were happy days if a bit boisterous and reckless. We were all young and prohibition was not prohibiting. It was the "Roaring 20's" and we roared. The usual dates, movies, etc. but also home brew and dago wine and general hellraising.Elsie the cow - modeled after Maudine Ormsby?
Tom Jones' influence extended to the undergraduates, not only in clothing matters but in campus politics. As an off campus figure, he had the opportunity to dabble in political intrigue through college politicians. One memorable stunt was his inspiration: the nomination and election of a homecoming queen, a cow from the University's dairy barn. The students voted, and packed ballot boxes for "Maudine Ormsby", the Jersey beauty. Instead of a beauteous coed it was Maudine, a beauty of a prize winning cow, that was properly escorted across the football field at halftime. It was a homecoming game to remember and as you would expect garnered national newspaper publicity. Borden's famous "Elsie" may have been inspired by this collegiate stunt organized by our Tom.
As I said earlier we may have been restless and reckless in our search for something to do but we were not hoodlums or irresponsible bums. Following our natural, gregarious interests, we sought each other's companionship. We were still attached to the University or beginning careers as salesmen, accountants or other business or professional pursuits but the time was complicated for us (as for everybody) by prohibition. The Roaring 20's had its excesses but I see now that many of the old gang came through it all right. Of our crowd there were later some quite successful businessmen and professionals too. Not all of us "made it big" since 1920 but I note with few exceptions most of us became respectable and at least average citizens.
December 15 1965 I wonder how many of us have thought of our income, salary or pension as a return on an investment of capital? How much, for example, would it take to yield a salary of $5000 annually? It's the same money coming in to spend whether from investment or salary so a salary of $5000 as a capital investment makes the real worth of the job or pension $100,000! In other words, it would take that amount invested at 5% to yield the salary or pension. A salary or pension income represents what the job is really worth or, to put it another way, what a person would have to have as capital working to produce that income
December 16, 1965 It has a lot of truth in it, the cliche or saying that "love makes the world go around". By love I suppose it could be defined as true, deep affection. Respect for other's feelings, also unselfish desires, must be part of "love". I think I do, I certainly should love my son, his greatest love, his wife and the boys, all three equally I assume, and there is every indication of it, I, too, am loved. I am alone in the world except for my family. I am happy, content and I think it is simply because I love them and I am loved. It is something super in degree to even the most affectionate of friendships. What I feel is most difficult to express but I do feel it. I am most fortunate to have and be near my family, maybe undeserved, but to see them occasionally, to talk to them, to share as much as I can without being a nuisance is my happy lot.
December 17, 1965 When the thatch on the head is growing thinner and graying, when the skin on the back of the hands becomes "creepy", You are entitled to indulge in some pleasant nostalgia. Maybe it is the season but often my thoughts go back to my pleasant experiences when I was a boy. I just thought of the honeysuckle vines across the long, forty foot front porch. This July 3, 1966 article was written and illustrated by Columbus author Bill Arter, which appeared in the Columbus Dispatch weekend magazine. They were on trellises extending from the floor to the eaves and shaded the porch from the hot afternoon sun. The sweet aroma of the blossoms I can smell yet, most pleasant and "homey". There was one or two drawbacks to those vines. The bees buzzed while gathering honey thousands of them and while I never got stung I was always worrying that I soon would. Also, when it was time to paint the house the heavily vined trellises had to be let down. Eventually the honeysuckle along with its aroma and shade was replaced by "snowball" bushes, Hydrangeas, huge bushes not attractive to the bees.
Speaking of pleasant, "homey" odors, so many of them naturally came from the kitchen. Ma had her canning seasons, peaches, cherries and apples, jams and jellies too, and the spicy, pungent smell of catsup cooking. Everyday, especially when Mother was baking, the odor was inviting and hunger inspiring. There was one kitchen odor, however, I hated. The smell of Codfish cooking always smelled to me like an unclean toilet. Since it was a favorite dish of Dad's, we had it with some regularity and I had to eat it. The funny thing was, over time I got so I actually liked it. Creamed Cod over boiled potatoes I will remember along with the good smelling food on which I grew fat and healthy.
December 30, 1965 I am often scoffing to myself at the printed and TV advertising, so obviously exaggerated as to be actually dishonest. But advertising is only one of the common practices of even reputable merchants. When is a sale if ever a real "sacrifice" or a real "markdown"? Only when the merchandise, selling at a higher price, actually sold. It is common practice, I observe, to offer merchandise at a percent "off", where the real price is actually the advertised, discounted price. Prices are even marked up to be offered as marked down. The sellers never sold or tried to sell at the "original price".
January 10, 1966 According to the New Mexican Santa Fe's civic leaders, the "who's who", are organizing for a tremendous project. The Chamber of Commerce is to be only part of the organization. Bankers, merchants, especially downtown merchants, are vitally concerned with the planning for the future of this, The City Different. It is hoped to preserve all the historic beauty and antiqueness of the growing city and at the same time to modernize and improve: the heart of the city, the Plaza and the residential areas as well, streets widened, depressed areas cleared up with new apartments for those now living in slum areas, etc. This project is perhaps more difficult here than most cities. In the first place there is more historic, quaint and unique stuff to be preserved. Too, the flat roofed, adobe, porticoes over sidewalks, even the Spanish American architecture of the business section, exteriors let alone interiors, are ancient as well as historical and it is hard to see how they can be modernized without destroying much of the charm. Also streets which were originally in many cases Indian trails following natural arroyos between hills and mountains, are of necessity narrow, often poorly graded and even unpaved. The two way streets can hardly be eliminated by a one way street traffic system when there is a lack of intersections between streets and the streets are frequently not parallel to each other. With a tremendous amount of cooperation among the city's civic minded property owners and large amounts of money, the project may be accomplished but it will take many years. I hope to see it, at least the beginning, but I would deplore changing Santa Fe's charm for modernization.
January 12, 1966 I can see some hope for the crumbling of our form of government nationally, now called a Democracy but is really a "Mobocracy", that is, a mass rule of the mob, a political arrangement of expediency of the old Democrats of the northern states, a sellout of individual and constitutional rights, first to the unions, secondly to the innocently used and abused Negroes seeking recognition of their rights. The cornerstone of the present Mobocratic Party was laid by FDR as expressed by his advisor, Harry Hopkins, who said, "Tax and tax, elect and elect", inferring "spend and spend" to fool the public by giving them back some of their own money for their votes. The New Deal, now the Great Society, prevails. This philosophy social justice perverted for political advantage has led to the Negro uprisings, too fast and too violent to be controlled. It has led to defiance of the law. It has led to advantage for unions, giving them immunity of anti trust laws not granted the employing corporations. Now we see the Great Society's many program failures and the New York City transit strike under Mike Quill forcing even the stupidest of the citizens to see the handwriting on the wall. What has to be done? Enforce the laws and end political expediency by ousting the present Democrat Socialist Mobocracy administration.
January 13, 1966 What I thought about and wrote down yesterday might need explaining if I were addressing these words to anyone else. And now I have heard the State of the Union Address to Congress. The gigantic National Boondoggle give away program proposed is to be extended indefinitely to the whole world. "Uncle Sugar", the President says, can afford it all. Economically, this administration's proposal seems crazy to me. Here's why: Inevitably there must be a "bottom to the barrel". Inflation hit Germany once. It took a bushel of Marks to buy a loaf of bread. The real value of the dollar today, that is, its purchasing power, is a fraction of what it was in 1939. Value down and inflation continuing now (is a recipe for disaster). I do not quarrel with the sociological ideals or the general objectives of most all the proposed Great Society programs, not even the foreign aid to deserving, underprivileged people nor to the scientific aspects of outer space exploration. I do question, however, the economics and practicability of U.S, citizens, through its government, taking on so much now and on into the future. Most of all, I question the political motives of all of it. Is it not for power in office, for votes?
It is a well known fact that mobs have to be led by someone. The mob itself seeks a leader and willingly follows a leader. The electorate, the voters under our system of government, is simply a mob. By adopting socialist, idealistic programs, the Democrat Party has succeeded in attracting the mob, the voters, and our leading the mob down the road to individual and utter dependency on the "government" which I predict will someday become a complete dictatorship.
Something that did hit the mob and might start some thinking was the New York transit strike and the over-powerful arrogance of the union. Other cracks are appearing in the utopian picture the Mobocracy likes to paint such as the Job Corps, housing, etc. and, of course, the integration problem still.
February 20, 1966 Having lived through several decades beginning at the turn of the century, I am reasonably aware of the progress in material things as they affect the individual but I think of some costs of all this, mostly intangible losses. The question in my mind, merely academic at this point is: Is the present better or worse than those earlier days I remember? I cannot answer. All I can do is simply list some of the things the way they were and the way they are now, the material changes and the morals and habits affected.
Up until about 1920, roughly to the time of World War I, a few of the things I recall that have changed for better or worse include the telephone, electric lights and power, use of natural and artificial gas replacing coal, food processing and availability, modes of transportation, radio and later TV, and almost countless other material changes. Of all, probably the one most dramatic change in all our lives has been the advent of the automobile. Before 1920 it began, The Age of the Automobile. Today, in the 1960's, it's the Air Age, and even the Space Age, but still the impact of the automobile on our way of life remains most important.Trolley with conductor and motorman
We lived in the suburb of Grandview and for transportation to the city we (and everybody else) used streetcars, the interurban line to Westerville in the Northeast was extended to Grandview in the Northwest the year of my birth, 1901. So, I don't remember the horse and buggy days. But I do remember the camradarie of the streetcar commuters, the cars, the motormen and the conductors. It took about a half hour to get to town (to Broad and High Streets in downtown Columbus), a rattling and bumpy ride all the way. I had a paper route and the privilege of selling newspapers on the cars every morning from six to eight o'clock when the workingmen were heading for work in the city. The two member crew, a motorman and conductor in each car, became my adult friends, especially the motorman with whom I rode and chatted most of each trip. I last remember riding streetcars going to the University, trying to read my assignments, as usual not ready for classes. This must have been as late as the 1920's when in that decade gasoline-¬powered buses succeeded the old two man electric units. Of course, before the streetcars were abandoned and buses came into use, many commuters were driving automobiles, village to city.
The advent of the automobile was the end of one era and the beginning of many changes in the way we lived. The changes came about subtly and gradually. In the early days I remember only a few who owned expensive cars but they were driven for pleasure not mainly for transportation. It was not until later, in the 20's, when autos became less expensive, that they became essential transportation for most of us suburbanites. What changes the convenience of the auto brought! And how suburbia grew! Family life was never the same again. The old days of the city's central market and streetcars and market baskets were no more, to be replaced eventually by the advent of local shopping centers and super markets. Mothers hopped into cars for a quick run to the store around the corner (paper bags provided). Priorities at home changed with "who gets the car". Everyone wanted to go, somewhere, and not always together, so the car became, and still is, a common problem. Two or three cars to the family have not added to family togetherness, only to convenience.The Skeele house at 1492 Roxbury. Brad is in the upper right, and his father Philip is at the upper left
Our house on Roxbury Road (built in 1896) was heated by a huge coal furnace, a monster that required a constant feeding of coal and carrying out of ashes and the accumulated dirt and kindling scraps. The other source of heat was the coal fireplace. It was around this open fireplace that we gathered, Dad snoozed and snored, where we toasted apples on the hearth and before which we ate popcorn. The togetherness of the family resulted from the fireplace, at least that is the way I remember it best. There were pipes throughout the house for gas lights. We had natural gas but no electricity until I was school age. I remember the local electrician, John Ohnsman, wiring the light fixtures through the gas pipes. Small switches were installed for controls but often a long cord to a ceiling fixture had to do.
We had two kinds of water, "hard" and "soft", with a single tap located at the kitchen sink and another in the basement. The hard water was well water piped in from a power pump of our neighbors but the soft water had to be pumped by hand to an attic tank from our own cistern. I remember clearly going to the basement, often before wash days, to hand pump back and forth, 50 to 100 strokes, to move the water up to the attic. Sometimes Dad, poor, 12 hour a day working Dad, helped pump. It was a chore. Modern days an electric motor would have done the job. I guess we couldn't afford it. The lime laden well water was too hard for washing clothes so the soft or rain water had to be pumped. Today chemicals would do the softening. With the installation of the city water system about 1915, our water problems were ended.
In my boyhood we had one telephone, a "Bell" phone, installed in the kitchen. A two party line, it stood on a pedestal with a "receiver hook". We had to lift the receiver and wait until an operator asked "number please", that is, if the line was not in use. Another telephone company, the "Citizen", had pioneer dial phones before 1910 but most people subscribed to the Bell Company. If we wanted to call a "Citizen" subscriber we had to use the neighbor' s phone. Strangely enough, after all these years I remember that phone number. It was "Hilltop 1095" but I'm not sure what my phone number is now!
Back in the decade of 1910-1920, I have my first recollection of a new and now common entertainment development the radio. There was the old "crystal set" with its loud static interference and little music from such distant stations as Pittsburgh and Chicago. At first "A" and "B" batteries with no direct, plug in power, and for good reception, large outside antennas. Concurrently, the emerging motion pictures, to become the "Talkies" in the 30's, had spelled the end of Vaudeville. In the home the radio, better and better over the years, until the 50's with the introduction of black and white television and now color TV. Surprisingly, the radio is ever better and still with us! Outside the home, theater, movies and supper clubs!
And of course, the Roaring 20's (alluded to earlier), I remember! The decade usually thought of in the 60's as the wild, uncontrolled, mad, drunken, "prohibition that failed" period. Those days merely evolved from the "progress" of the days before. There had been WWI, the auto, prohibition all affecting us but the 20's were not roaring and hell raising for everyone. Life was not greatly changed from the previous decade except for the added alcohol problem caused by and not cured by Prohibition. Drinking was common and socially acceptable although not drunkenness. For one thing, drinking cost money. For another, it was a status symbol. The best people entertained with the expected liquor but drinking extended to all ages and all social stratas. The extremes were then as now, the teetotal non drinkers and the alcoholics. The greatest damage to society caused by the prohibition experiment was to the morals of the mass of the public between the two extremes. A general let down in ethics and morals in social behavior can be traced to Prohibition .... Progress? Well, also some retrogression. I wonder what our "codes" of social behavior today might have been had there not been Prohibition?
Still, today we have evolved, "survived" might be a better word, through social and economic changes, wars and depressions. What we have today is better or worse depending on how each of us looks at it. It's like one old timer says about the weather, "Lots colder in the old days" and another says, "Tain't so, more snow these days". I can list a number of things I liked better in the old days but I must say I like and can easier list what I like and enjoy in today's life!
April 1, 1966 There is so much news coverage these days of the Viet Nam situation, I wonder how many share my thoughts of it. I suppose everyone like myself, has some feelings about it, about the protest groups, about the administration, about our being involved in Southeast Asia with an undeclared but bloody war going on. I have read and listened to commentators review the historic causes and express various opinions of what to do about the situation now. Frankly, I am bored to death and disgusted with the non expert experts (who insist) we must extend the helping hand, even fight the wars of others far away, all in the name of fighting communists. We are in a One World Society (they say), the strong nation that must prevent Russia or China from a take over! My opinion is, of course, that we should never have gotten into these world wide messes as we have. There is too much world, too much evil that needs to be corrected for any one nation and its resources and we should have been semi isolationist at least. Let us get over the idea of the One-Worlders, that we can afford to take over troubles of other continents and nations. Wasn't it the Roman's ambition to take over and cure the world's troubles, the world then being only the Near East of today? We had better pull in our "national neck" now or soon at whatever cost of prestige or loss to communism for, like the Romans, we are heading for a downfall.
Today in Viet Nam, the South Vietnamese are fighting a simple civil war as are the Viet Cong. We are involved, fighting, but whom or for whom? Catholics and Buddhists, Army "generals", self imposed, I suppose, fighting each other, civilians on all sides, students kids actually loud and bellicose, (committing) sabotage (and exhibiting) wild, unreasonable human behavior. In the name of God, who can unscramble the deep roots of illiteracy and ignorance that have been growing for centuries? The same applies, incidentally, to Africa and the Congo. Our national situation in Vietnam is comparable to a man and a band of wild, sex mad dogs chasing a bitch in heat. The man hasn't a chance of unscrambling the fighting dogs. We don't have chance in Viet Nam either!
In the old, colonial days, this was France's problem. How did it keep a semblance of peace over the years? Wasn't it done with strong arm tactics? Wouldn't today's problem be calmed down some by use of whatever power we have, naval, land and air? If atomic bombs are ours now, how long before some other nation will use them? I'd like to see some guts in our policy in Viet Nam, not a pussycat appeasement. Maybe the only way for us to get out of Viet Nam now is to exhibit such power as we have. Yes, even atomic (power). Animals understand force, not words.
April 7, 1966 Of course the trees of Santa Fe would be a different type than those of Central Ohio. I have noticed them particularly at this spring season. From three windows of my apartment I can see various trees. From my living room window I see an ancient tree that must go back a hundred years or so, judging by its size. It is perhaps fifty feet high but it is the spread of the branches branches off of branches, new branches off of old ones that indicates its age. The trunk at the base is divided into three large ones and they in turn, a few feet up, give off branches, etc. The structure of the tree, unlike the tall oaks or chestnuts of the north, would seem to have developed as a brush or shrub. I note deep lengthwise ridges in the grayish brown bark. As yet there is no foliage or blossom but it is early.
The tree about ten feet from my kitchen window interests me the most as I gaze on it while breakfasting, the radio a going and the coffee a warming. It appears to be as old a tree as the other one, equally wide although not as tall. It is an apricot tree. The fruit came last year and fell, covering the ground after a windy day. The fruit it bears is small as one might expect from a tree growing wild. Evidently the apricot is hardy compared to our Ohio fruit trees, apple, peach, etc. Just this week I noticed on the bare branches what appears to be fruit, a tiny, reddish ball, hundreds of them but no leaves yet! I see the "balls" are loosening into blossoms. The foliage evidently comes afterwards. The blossoms turn into leaves or into fruit eventually. I'm confused maybe but it struck me as odd that fruit was forming before foliage.
There are some lilac and forsythia bushes within my range of window viewing. The weather, although clear and bright, is still early spring like, not enough heat yet I suppose to bring out the new blooms and foliage. But I'm sure it won't be very many hours with the daily temperature now in the 50's or higher. Spring, beautiful, clean, clear air and all, will soon be here. My little patch of lawn I see out the front window is already beginning to show green and green grass in the Southwest is very precious.
April 20, 1966 A few nights ago I had an unique experience, a sudden blackout, reminiscent of the blackout that occurred in New York City and throughout sections of the East. Santa Fe's blackout only lasted a little over one hour but it was long enough for me to realize what they described as happening in the East. And more than that I had a couple of thoughts which hadn't hit me with such force before. As I was about to adjust my TV to catch a program I wanted to see, the TV suddenly flashed off and back on and then off and stayed off. The lights too, of course. The refrigerator motor, clocks, thermostat, everything electrically controlled (ceased to function). There I was, sitting in absolute darkness. I groped around from my chair for the wheel chair as I realized there must be a power failure somewhere and minutes slowly passed. Nothing to see and no chance to read. I did not even have a candle. From my wheel chair I could see that the entire neighborhood was dark including the street light that usually shines so brightly into my apartment. There seemed to be no lights anywhere but as my eyes grew more accustomed to the darkness, I could see the faintest glow in the sky. I wondered, moon light or what ? Before dark it had been a little overcast, not the usual blue sky of this area. As I sat there, I lit a cigarette and the first annoyance at being deprived of my TV show began to fade (replaced with the realization of just) how totally dependent we are these days on electricity. My hot water, heated by gas, was the only thing unaffected by the blackout. And I depend on my toaster broiler for heating most of my meals as I depend on the thermostat for heating the apartment. It would be awful if the power failure continued. Then I got to thinking "why, I am fixed now in the dark exactly like people who are totally blind!" What a blessing eyesight is. How much depends on it, practically all I do, all my pleasures and activities. My understanding of what it is like to be blind is by this experience much greater than before as is my admiration of the sightless. I guess I have just taken for granted that the blind develop other senses to compensate for lack of sight. Now, I am not so sure. I did not like being blind for that hour or so!
April 30, 1966 Thinking again about old times and modern, there has been progress in many ways, of course, but not all the advantages of the old times have survived. Some things have gone by the boards, especially the element of friendly personal service which today is often lacking. Take the retail food business, for example. It used to be (the case that) the consumer would go to the grocery where the friendly grocer waited on him, assembled his purchases, sacked or boxed them for him, presented the bill, or charged it if asked, and perhaps delivered the groceries to the purchaser's home. Not so today. The purchaser has to select his own purchases from the shelves, push the cart himself, have the items checked at the cashier's counter and after paying cash, carry them himself to his own car or have them carried by a boy employed for that service alone. Seldom is a grocer today an individual known to the purchaser. It is a streamlined, impersonal chain store operation we deal with today. And while the modern store offers a variety of groceries unthinkable in earlier days packaged meats, washed vegetables, frozen foods the friendly contact between buyer and seller has been sacrificed.
May 4, 1966 Last night the primary election returns were in. The comparatively young state of New Mexico is like a young person, a bit naive, sometimes just plain stupid, for it is a one party state. Perhaps that will eventually change as voters realize they are in the hands of and at the mercy of a well entrenched political machine. It happens to be Democratic which in a way is an advantage now since the state is so dependent on the federal administration which is also Democratic. If it weren't for the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory and the White Sands and Sandia federal payrolls, there would be fewer people and even fewer tax sources. New Mexico has vast areas of arid soil, mountains and canyons but little industrial resources except some mineral, oil and gas. With too few job opportunities and too many people to support from its meager tax base, with personal income as low as state income, New Mexico is a desperately poor state.
So the Democratic primary was the only one that meant much. About 5 Democrats registered (to vote) for every Republican. The governor's race came down to a basic issue: continue the policies and practices of the present administration, Mr. Lusk endorsed by Governor Campbell, or replace the present crowd with another, former governor Burroughs. Lusk, claiming the incumbent governor's policies as his own, evidently felt they were popular enough to win. Lusk won also because the voters apparently believed Burroughs was less desirable as a machine politician. It was said of Burroughs that he was in the peanut business and into politics for personal profit. He had a machine but it slipped a cog in the avalanche of votes for his opponent. The question is, will the continuation of the present policies under Lusk prove more desirable? A new machine but still a Democratic machine.
The one metropolitan area, Albuquerque, has one quarter the votes of the total state. The Republican candidate lives there. He, Mr. Cargo, is an Anglo from another state. Lusk is likewise an Anglo but a native son. There is a long record of Spanish American support for native sons, particularly if they are Spanish American. Lusk is not, of course, but he has the inside edge and likely will be the next governor. How successful he will be depends on how sound the policies are that he has inherited. I wonder what Cargo could have done?
I am not so sure, in the Alabama elections, that the public has nominated the wrong person. If I were an Alabamian, I rather think I'd vote for Mrs. Wallace myself. I believe George Wallace is correct about the right of the individuals in any state and the right of any state constitutionally to run its own affairs without federal dictatorial interference. The racial integration problem is after all a state problem and Wallace may not be a radical segregationist at all, merely a state and individual rights advocate. If the Integrationist, Federal, Big Government advocates, those Nationalists who presently control the Federal Government, are not disappointed in the failure of the Negro element to change the picture, I'd be surprised. It is a healthy sign that things may change in the future and the federal know alls may stop, have to stop, sticking their noses into private lives and state affairs. The all wise Federal dictation so often is not wise enough!
May 20, 1966 Having lived in the early decades of this century, I am acutely aware of the growth of the Welfare State, now called "The Great Society". I keep remembering Harry Hopkins' summation of the policy of Franklin Roosevelt's first administration. It went something like this: Tax and tax, spend and spend, elect and elect. The Democratic party has consistently followed this policy. It throws caution to the winds, money spent recklessly doesn't matter, just so the people are fooled enough not to realize they, the voters and taxpayers, pay for what they are told they want and so elect and reelect the administration. I just heard a California state chairman claim, in effect, brag, that the Democratic party knew how to please the people. Give them what they want or what they have propagandized into believing they want. It's the same old "tax, spend and elect theory".
All this growth of Big Government and Federal dictation has become in fact a growth in Socialism. The public, the voters, avaricious as the underprivileged are, think they are getting what they want. All they are getting, however, is the perpetuation in office of the Socialistic appearing, but conniving, scheming, self fattening, nouveau riche politicians. They forgot or never knew the days when a dollar was stable, when a dollar purchased a dollars worth of goods instead of a fractional amount, (that is), more dollars that buy less. This false prosperity is (achieved) at the cost of individual freedoms. Those who are prosperous are the politicians in power.
May 21, 1966 Here I am at age 65 and I feel I must take stock of myself. I honestly think I am well off, happy and more content than discontented with my circumstances. I suppose my life has its (somewhat dramatic) ups and downs. The "down" part started suddenly enough some 30 odd years ago. Up to that time I had been on the upgrade, slowly progressing then the "roof fell in". Since, I've been sliding down the hill of life, not fast but slipping. Physically I am certainly worse off each year. The rheumatism and the loss of one leg has me struggling but I am not defeated. Yet, how can I look forward optimistically to better days and less struggling? Now in a wheel chair I am only able to stand up and move around the kitchen by hanging onto the sink, table or chair. Little things are big chores but I have time, energy and no real worries or responsibilities and enough depreciating income. Moreover, I feel the love of my son and his family nearby. Living alone but not as alone as I have been, I think I shall keep on and optimistically expect I will be able to (manage) for an indefinite time. When the Lord says "Your time is up", I hope to be ready.
June 6, 1966 I've thought about products repeatedly advertised on TV. How could anyone not help feeling "clubbed" with claims in program after program? I realize you have to have advertising to have the variety of program entertainment. The advertiser has to have a sales message, something to say. To sell by advertising it must be attractive, even dramatic and hard¬-hitting. However, the claims are frequently so "far out", even ridiculous, I wonder how they can be effective, how enough people believe the obviously dreamed up, magical qualities of the products. Maybe this is where repetition comes in. Repeat claims enough and the viewers will unconsciously accept them as fact. Detergents (for example) always have some special ingredients, colored crystals with a copyrighted name, therefore superior cleaning power. Doves fly in kitchen windows because the dish washing compound is so gentle on the hands. And so it goes. Obviously if there is a chemical added or formula changed, the reason is not to improve the product but to improve sales. "Reason why" copy often is not honest reason. No one should buy an advertised item. Yet we do. Exaggerated, even fake, qualities seem to pay for TV programming.
I confess to being influenced by such advertising. I can analyze myself. Take Kent cigarettes which I have smoked and continue to smoke. Why? Kent advertises the micronite filter, one of the many filtered brands available now. Did I switch to Kents for that reason and refuse to "fight or switch" to another brand? No, I began buying Kent cigarettes because they were acceptable and mild (to my palate) and due to the filter were longer like the Pall Malls I had been smoking. I could remember the easy, short name. The neat, white packaging may have influenced me originally. I have continued to use Kents, all counter claims of other cigarette ads not withstanding, simply because they are as good as any, satisfy my taste and over time buying them became a habit (to the point where) other ads so far are ineffectual. Influenced once, I have become a scoffer of claims since. Hammer home the name, repeatedly, is the one thing all advertising aims to do. Kent messages did not influence me but I did remember the name and did try them and finally bought them regularly. The content of the ad, the message, the claims made are only incidental to provide a means of repeating the name. But I ask, what chance do other advertisers have to convert an (habitual) user to their product? An expensive process, obviously!
June 28, 1966 I got to thinking about milk, more specifically, the lack of real whole milk or real cream. These days I have had to come to accept what most do "Half and Half" cream. "Half" what and "half" what? Skim milk and 10% butterfat ? As I understand it, cream is defined by the amount of butterfat it contains. About the highest percentage of butterfat ordinarily obtainable at one time was 40%, that is, 40% fat and 60% skim milk. Milk from the dairies in the old days before pasteurization and of course, homogenization used to be certified by the dairies usually as 7% at least. Coffee cream was up to 20% butterfat and whipping cream was up to 40% butterfat. The best ice cream had cream in it. Today there is very little cream in ice cream. Iced milk is even sold! Dairy Queen ice cream is maybe 3% butterfat. What happened to the butterfat? I long for the buttery taste of cream and the rich cream in ice cream. I would, of course, remembering the narrow necked milk bottles with solid cream down to the thick part of the bottles. Until about 1940 Erhlenbusches was the one ice cream maker in Columbus who without any advertising whatsoever could not make enough "real cream" ice cream to meet the demand. After a death in the family, the Erhlenbusches gave up the business. No other Columbus dairies ever approached the quality of that ice cream!
June 29, 1966 Third Avenue, which bordered the south side of our yard on Roxbury Road, was hard surfaced macadam, later asphalted, when I was a boy of six or so. In the summers (circa 1907) I could hear the rumble of the ice wagon and the hoof beats of the horses drawing the heavy load as it approached our house. If it was hot it was the signal for me to go out to the street and await Mr. Pallius and watch him cut our piece of ice. He would take his tongs and pull a 300 lb. block toward the tailgate, measure off 50, 75 or 100 lbs. which our card in the window indicated we wanted. Deftly he would scratch a line along the ice with his thin, steel, ice pick, digging deeper and deeper until the desired piece split off. Then he would hoist the chunk onto a thick leather shoulder piece and leg it into the house. Old "Cliff', a short, chunky guy, always had a smile for me and a friendly call for mother, shouting "Ice man". For boys like me, nuisances that we were, he sometimes offered us a chip of the cold, slippery ice. We were cautioned about the danger of getting into the wagon for the ice chips. We did anyhow, sometimes. It was fun to defy "Cliff". The ice wagons, not too hygienic I suppose, have faded from the scene. So have the ice boxes with their messy drip pans which had to be emptied frequently. The new electric or gas refrigerators are definitely one of our modern blessings.