What Makes Bojon Town Special?

I spend lots of time thinking about this question.  Here is this patch of land on a bluff overlooking the Arkansas River.  It’s maybe 2 square miles, if you count all of the land inside of the borders that I listed in my last post.  There are no breathtaking sites, unless you like looking at a rusty old steel mill with old railroad cars lining the fences.  There are no architectural wonders, and when I was growing up, there were no parks or recreation centers.  I go back now, and I ask myself what made this place so special to me.  Here’s my list.

Family

How many of you have a relative or two close by?  When I was growing up, I had the following people living within 5 blocks of my house.

Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Anzick

Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Kocman

Grandma and Grandpa Medved

Grandma and Grandpa Barnett

Great Uncle Steve and Great Aunt Francis Hiza

Great Uncle Cheech and Great Aunt Mary Brunjak

Great Uncle Frank and Great Aunt Julie Anzick

Great Uncle Joe Anzick and Great Aunt Jenny Anzick

Great Uncle Tony Anzick

Great Uncle Rudy and Great Auntie Elsie Kocman

Great Uncle Eddie and Great Auntie Celie Kocman

Uncle Dave Barnett

Uncle Joe Barnett

Uncle Danny Medved

Uncle Kenny Medved

I’m not going to list cousins, because I only get so much disk space here.

I know I missed somebody.  I can’t help it.  I’m getting old.

Now, realize that at this time, in the early 1960’s, I could pretty much walk into any of these houses at any given time, because no one locked their doors.  If someone was home, they’d feed me.  If no one were home, I’d feed myself.  This did have some drawbacks, as you’ll see in later stories.  Let’s just say that with that many relatives, a lot of things that I did got back to Chuck and Audrey before I managed to get home.

The Places

The Station

The Pool Hall

Anzick’s/Ducic’s/Strilich’s/Grand Prix Restaurant

Eiler’s Bar

Veteran’s Tavern

Butkovich Mercantile

Gorsich’s

The Shoemaker

St. Mary’s Church

St. Mary’s School

Edison School

Newton’s Lumberyard

The Tracks

The Crab Ponds

The People

Dozens of people.  You saw them every day.  They knew you, knew your family, knew your life.  Everyone knew everything about everybody.  I’m just taking a guess and say that there were probably less than 500 homes in Bojon Town.  Someday, out of curiosity, I’m going to count them.  Here’s a short list of some of the cast of characters, other than family,  that influenced me in one way or another:  Joe Lepik, Chico, Fritz, Father Dan, Horse, Teedles, Fox Volk, Squanto, Muggsy, Smitty, Ronnie O, Jerry Bennett, Tini, Popeye, Fox Perko, Fox Volk, Bobby Okorn, Cactus Krall, and many others that you’ll hear about in coming stories.  You might have noticed that Bojons are big on nicknames.  More on that later.

I never got a cool nickname.  The people that liked me called me Little Mikey.

Well, maybe it’s not quite true that I never got a cool nickname.  I did manage to pin one on myself that caused me endless grief in my life.  When I was about 3 or 4, I went exploring.  My mom likes to refer to it as me getting lost.  I wasn’t lost.  I was right where I was.  Everyone else was lost.  But, since my mom was lost and didn’t know how I was going to find her, she called the police.  They found me.  They asked me if I was lost.  I told them that I wasn’t, but my mom was.   They asked me my name.  Now remember, I was 3 or 4.  I am told that I had a hard time pronouncing my middle name, Patrick.  So, I told them my name.  Michael Patrick.  But it didn’t quite come out like that.  What everyone heard was the words that still haunt me.

“Mikey Pookie”.

‘Where do you live, Mikey Pookie”?

“In Mikey Pookie’s house”.

I’m sure you get the picture.  I’m doomed.  I hung myself with the most horrible nickname known to man.  So, depending on who you are, I’m known to you as either Little Mikey, Mikey Pookie, or for a select few of the ladies in the neighborhood that never fully appreciated me, That Little Bastard”.

I’m 55.  Uncle Kenny calls me Pookie whenever I see him.  Out of everyone that calls me Pookie, he’s the only one that gets a pass.  Nothing he can do would ever make me mad.

I was walking down the street in Cripple Creek a few summers ago.  The street is full of people.  I hear a voice hollering from the other side of the street.  “Hey Little Mikey!!”.   55 years old, and I’m still Little Mikey and Mikey Pookie.  Be careful when you wish for a nickname.

The Events

BB gun fights with the Salt Creekers

Rock fights with the Salt Creekers

Rock fights with anyone with an arm that could chuck a rock

Snowball fights

Week long water fights (anyone starting to see a pattern here?  Bojons like to throw things and fight)

4th of July bombmaking, demolition, and pop bottle rocket gun fights (fighting and blowing things up.  Another Bojon past time.)

Football at St. Mary’s

Baseball at Edison

Train Hopping and hanging out with the hobos down at the tracks

Playing Corks

Well, enough for today.  You can count on a lot of the  people, places, events, and family listed above to show up again, with more details.  I’ve also commissioned a professional photographer to visit Bojon Town with me and get some pictures of the places.  Thanks Velma!

If there’s anything you’d like to hear about, leave a comment.  Pookie takes requests.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Matt Elliott on January 27, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    So randomly, I googled ‘Bojon Pueblo’ and came across your blog, and started reading! Great stories! Then I ran across the ‘Mikey Pookie’ story, I remember my Auntie Gela telling that story, like only she could ( She’s probably the best storyteller I’ve known!), in her kitchen, I couldn’t have been more than 10! All I know is I almost wet my pants laughing that night, and it was the one that really stuck in my head ( I’m sure she had honed it into a tour de force, through years of practice, by that time)! So I immediately texted my mom,’I just read this blog Honey, I know this is one of our relatives’ along with a link! Sure enough, a half hour later she replys,’Yes, this is written by Micheal Barnett my cousin Audrey Barnett’s son. Too, funny!!! Auntie Gela is Grandma Medved.’ Of coarse! So I’m a long lost cousin, Kay (Samples) Elliott’s son Matthew, my grandma is Stephanie , Gela’s sister, you can pretty much fill in the family tree from there! Thanks so much for posting the blog! That story, in particular , took me back to that special, almost magical, night at your grandma’s, telling her yarns, to only have the entire room explode with laughter and tears(the good kind)! Thanks Matt Elliott

    Reply

    • Matt, it is really cool that you found this. I remember your mom being the sweetest person. Hanging out at the grocery store when I was a kid was always a treat, and your grandma and grandpa were always so nice to me. One of the great things about Bojons were the names. I never thought of your grandma as Aunt Stephanie. She was Auntie Steffa. It really hit me when you mentioned Auntie Gela. I have never heard any of her nieces or nephews ever call her Auntie Angela. It was Auntie Gela. I actually got to bowl with your grandpa in a league back in the late 80’s. I’m betting that your mom has a lot of the same stories about the neighborhood that they grew up in, since it was a lot like Bojon Town. I hope you keep reading. I’ll keep writing as I get time, which is hard to come by these days. I’d like to get to know more about you as well.

      Reply

  2. Posted by Richard Puntar on January 13, 2014 at 11:33 am

    What about Puntar’s Mercantile

    Reply

    • That one was probably before my time. My mom gave me a gift for Christmas. She wrote about her life growing up in Bojon Town, and I think she actually mentioned Puntar’s. Where was it? I know that there were some stores up closer to the bridge on Northern, but they were all closed when I was a kid.

      Reply

  3. Posted by Mike Deverich on March 8, 2015 at 7:34 am

    A little more about the pool hall, Paul and Tig owned it and sold it to Vern Davidson who sold it to Rattles ???. then Danny Kochaver ran it for several years. I discovered the delights of the pool hall during the day, it was a gambling joint that opened at noon. If you were there before opening we would pitch quarters against the curb. The card games played depended on how many card players were there 2 players ,gin 3, pinochle, 4 7’s or pinochle 5 Tonk. The place was loaded with characters Lottie, Kingie, Crams, Granite, Squanto, Moss, Friggie, Jimmie Gradishar, John Zobeck, Vune Billy Porter, Jerry Mauro. The main attraction was $3-$6 tonk ( in 1975 that was pretty serious cash). If you didn’t get a seat you became a sweater that sat behind a player and ” sweated ” his cards.They raided the pool hall in ’76 or ’77 and hauled Kingie (Chinese) Lottie ( concentration camp survivor ) Granite (farmer) and Crams (old Bojon) they missed the 5th because he went to the bathroom. I earned my doctorate in life hanging around that place and for the money I lost it was worth every pennie of it.

    Reply

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