Oconto County WIGenWeb Project
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Memoirs:
 contributed by: Davis Cisler from the scrapbook collection of his mother
Miriam C. Barribeau CISLER

OCONTO COUNTY REPORTER
Thursday, Dec. 24, 1970
Page 5 - Section 1
WINTERS AREN'T WHAT THEY USED TO BE

By FRED PECOR


 

Fred Pecor
I have many memories of Christmas but the one that stands out most in my mind is attending the first Midnight Mass to be held in the "new"  St. Peter's church (city of Oconto). I was about 10 then (that's 77 years ago !) but I can still hear Dr. Armstrong and Dr. Stoeltlng singing and Delaporte playing the violin. Father Valiant was the priest then. When we'd go home, the tree would be up and the gifts were underneath. Mostly we got clothes we needed, but once I got an elephant with a bobbing head that I kept until a couple years ago when it somehow disappeared.

Some of my best memories are of Christmas vacations spent on the ice of the Oconto River. In those days nobody ever said; "There's nothing to do." As long as you had a pair of skates you were in business. I still have my clamp-on skates, made with a spring on the end so the toe didn't touch the runner. The river used to be black with people out there skating.

One  of  our favorite pastimes was to skate down to the hospital to watch the town's famous fancy ice skaters - Maggie Edwards, Ollie Koffman and Charles Dunton. They also had horse racing matinees. People would take the wheels off their carts an put on runners  and then rave from the lighthouse to the hospital.

One day a bunch of us decided we were going to skate all the way to Green Bay. We got as far as Pensaukee when our ankles gave out and we decided to turn back and walk home.

Those were the days of "togetherness". Almost everyone had a homemade sleigh, and I remember the fathers would go from house to house collecting kids, bundle them down in the sled, and pull them around the neighborhood. I had a sleigh of my own and a pair of Newfoundland dogs tI broke to harness. I used to drive them all the way down to the Norwegian settlement on the North Shore (of the bay in Lake Michigan). The fishermen would come in with their sail sleighs loaded with perch and I'd buy a burlap sack full for a dollar and take them home for my mother to salt.

Those were the days ..........


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