Archive for July, 2014

Can Someone Help Me to Find Bojon Town?????

I don’t believe that Bojon Town is just a place.  I think it’s more than that.  But I’m not ready to have that conversation now, because I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of people are confused about exactly where Bojon Town is.  So, I’m going to try to give my thoughts on the location, and I’m going to open it up for discussion for everyone to give their definitions of the actual physical boundaries.

My boundaries are simple and inclusive.  I-25 on the west.  Northern Avenue on the south.  Santa Fe Drive on the north, and the part of Northern  Avenue that goes down to Santa Fe Drive on the east.  

OK, now in my definition, Bojon Town covers Box Elder.  It covers people living in Kurja Vas (i hope i got the spelling right) .  It goes down to where the Hund’s had the swimming pool.  It covers every house and business on Northern Avenue.  It goes down to School Street and out to Hill Place and Topeka.  It includes Agram, Russ, Egan, and a lot of other streets.  It even covers some houses on Santa Fe Drive.  It’s a pretty big area.

Now, there are a few people that have a vastly different view of where “Historic Bojon Town” is located.  There was a nice slideshow in an article about a movement to have Bojon Town declared a historic district.   The problem is that the pictures were of either:

a) the 1100 block of Eilers
b) Eilers Bar

If you didn’t know anything about Bojon Town and this article was your only exposure to the place, you’d think that Bojon Town was one block with a bar across the street.  I’m actually ok with including this block and this bar, but frankly, the 1100 block of Eilers is about as historic as…well…..me!  It was built in the mid to late 1950’s, about the time I was born, and at the time they were built there were houses in the neighborhood that were already 40 and 50 years old.  I mean, I like self-promotion as much as the next guy, but please don’t try to define my neighborhood as your block and business.  The rest of us may have a bit to say about it.  I think that people who remember Butkovich Clothiers, Medved’s 66 Service, Veteran’s Tavern, Anzick’s Restuarant, B&B Recreation, Okorn Jewelers, Gorsich’s Market and Anzlovar’s Shoe Repair might be a bit surprised to find that those places weren’t in Bojon Town.

That brings me to something that I also need help with.  The young lady who wrote this article used two people for their research.  One who grew up in the 1100 block of Eilers in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and one that didn’t move into the neighborhood until well into their adult life.  I mean, if you want to talk about the history of a historic neighborhood, why not ask people old enough to have actually lived it.  So, in talking with my parents yesterday, there seems to be a few people in the age group of 80+ that still remember a lot about the place.  I’m trying to make arrangements to talk to some of them for future stories.  So, if you know someone like this, please let me know!  I want to get their story.  And if you want post where you think Bojon Town actually is, please let us know!

Where Can I Get a Drink in this Neighborhood?

OK.  I promised, and I know it’s been a while.  I did get some good feedback from the last article.  Just an update.  I am now a disabled writer, officially sanctioned by the Department of Social Security.  Check your kids, Bojons!  Don’t let this happen to them.

OK.  Here’s a scenario for you.  It’s 1965.  I’m 9 years old, sitting in front of my Grandpa Medved’s gas station.  A guy pulls up and says ‘Hey kid, where can I get a drink around here?’  Now, first off, if you were born after 1980, you’re probably appalled that an adult would ask a 9 year old a question like that.  But it was a different time, and a different place.  So, here would be my answer.

“You can go across Santa Fe and on the next block is Pepa’s.   (now known as Eiler’s Bar).  The people are nice and they have good candy.  If Jiffers is there, he always buys us pop and candy.  If you turn left on Eilers and go down to Northern, the Circle Lounge is just to the left.  I’ve never been in there, but we peek in and there are really pretty ladies sometimes.  If you go right, there is Vet’s Tavern.  That is the best place on that side of Santa Fe.  The old guys really treat us good and my dad and Grandpa Barnett take me there to bowl on the bowling machine.  I’m pretty good.  If you go another block, there’s a bar that Mikey Dovgan’s dad owns.  We don’t go up there much, and when we try to look in, Mikey’s dad hollers at us and chases us off.  If you stay on this side of Santa Fe, you could go down to my Uncle Joe Anzick’s Restaurant and Bar.  They have the best hamburgers and fries in the world, and the guys that drink at the bar buy us candy.  Chip Pechek is the best.  I never saw Chip in a bar that he didn’t buy me something or give me money.  You can go around the corner from Anzicks, and you can get a beer at the pool hall.  It’s the most awesome place in the world.  Just don’t tell my mom that I said that.  I’m supposed to stay away.  Oh, and I almost forgot, we’re standing in front of my Grandpa Medved’s Liquor Store.  It’s full of bottles and the back has cases piled to the ceiling.  I climb on them and hide sometimes.  Do you want me to get in the car and show you?”

 

Not a conversation you’d expect from a 9 year old now, but like I said, a different time, and a different place.  You could definitely find a drink in Bojon Town when I was a kid.  Here are a few of my favorite recollections of alcohol and my childhood.  The bars were cool.  Eilers had a really down to earth, working man’s feel to it.  The bar was not this polished piece of woodwork.  It was clean, simple and serviceable.  The booths were cool, handmade, always freshly painted.  Good candy.  Good bar stuff too.  Big pickles, Slim Jim’s and other healthy foods.

Anzick’s had the polished piece of woodwork for the bar.  It was awesome, and looked really high class.  I can barely remember my Uncle Joe, but I do remember my dad’s cousin Johnny and my Aunt Jennie running it for a while.  The pool hall was the pool hall.  A big glass case filled with candy, cookies, all kinds of goodies, covered on top with naked pictures of very large women with many folds and flaps.  I remember not wanting to look at them but not being able to help myself!  Aaargh!  A couple of coolers with pop and 3.2 beer.  Two awesome full size Brunswick Tournament Model pool tables.  A jukebox.  Always 2 pinball machines.  In other words, heaven.  I’ve written about this place at length, so I won’t bore you here.

Vets was also cool.  A big place.  It had a big main bar with some booths, a big room in back, and other rooms that I never saw.  The old guys that worked there, I know I’m going to get their names wrong, but here it goes.  Elines and Zup.  I can see them.  I remember when we were 8, we bought Copenhagen from Zup.  He knew who we were and he knew no one in our family used snuff.  He asked me who it was for,  and I froze.  The first name that came to my mind was “Father Dan”!  Zup busted out laughing and sold us the Cope.   Always good to include a priest in your lies!  We chewed the snuff.  We puked.  We never chewed again.  They had this really cool bowling machine, with regular balls and the fold up pins.  They had tournaments and a big score board and they had prizes.  And I was good, so I got to play with the men.  I even had my name on the wall with the high scores a few times when I bowled 300s.  I should have known then!  I remember one night when I was 14, I was bowling with my dad and Grandpa Barnett and I was tearing it up.  Zup’s son Bill was tending bar.  He was probably in his late 20’s, early 30’s, a really cool guy.  I went to the bar to get my dad and Grandpa a beer.  Bill pours 2, gets a shot glass and pours a shot of Jim Beam and slides it to me and says, ‘It’s on the house’.  No shit!  I drink the shot, and he just laughs because I didn’t choke or anything, since I may have had a shot before that some time in my life.  Like I said, different times.

Kids drank and adults kind of looked the other way unless it got out of hand.  I can remember going to weddings at St. Joe’s Hall in the Grove.  My cousins Mike Deverich and Dennis Skender and I would keep each paper cup from every beer we drank at the wedding.  I remember drinking 8 beers when I was 12 years old.  My Auntie Ann Skender took me home that night with Dennis, and before bed, she made us screwdrivers with cherry vodka.  She was a cool lady!  I miss her.  She had a totally unique perspective on things.

The Holy Name Society was a group of men that met a few times a month in the basement of St. Mary’s Church to drink, smoke and cuss.  They used to keep a case of whiskey in the hallway behind the kitchen in the basement.  We used to help ourselves.  The same guys had a club, called the Preseren Glee Club, where they bought a big mountain retreat and they go up there and drink and smoke and cuss.  I went up with Terry Yoxey and his dad one day.  The men were going to paint.  They started drinking, and nothing got painted.  They didn’t pay much attention, and Terry and I both bagged a six pack of Walter’s.  11 years old.  We had a bb gun with us.  Two eleven year olds with a twelve pack and a gun.  Different times. Well, actually maybe not.  We just used the bb gun to try to shoot chipmunks.  We’re lucky we didn’t shoot our eyes out.  We guzzled alter wine. Father Dan liked a very dry, white wine.  It didn’t taste great.  It didn’t matter.  We drank it if we could.  Father Claude liked this swee red, like a Burgundy.  Loved that wine.

 

I had a few alcohol memories that are almost Bojon Town related, close enough to include.  Hey, it’s my blog!  I had a really good friend in about 5th, 6th and 7th grade named Alan Marck.  Good friend.  We really got along well.  He lived across the bridge, though.  His mom and dad owned Northern Avenue Liquors, and they lived in an apartment in the back of the store.  He had a room in the basement with his toys and stuff, which was right next to the liquor storage.  So, we filched a bottle now and then.   My mom and dad had an old washing machine in the shed, and I had a bottle hidden in there.  One of my sisters found it and turned it in.  My dad started locking the shed because he thought a bum was getting in and sleeping and hiding his whiskey.  Alan’s parents never went to church, but they sent him every Sunday.  They gave him an envelope for the collection place with $25 every week, which as my Uncle Cheech would say, was a lot of geedis for those days!  Alan had a policy.  3 weeks for the church, week 4 for Alan.  He’d walk to the church and hang around until I got out, and then we’d be off to blow the $20.  Sorry God.  I was young.

 

Gus’s Tavern was close to Bojon Town, in distance and attitude.  Right across the bridge, on Elm Street.  Big beers, and the best Dutch Lunches on the Planet!  Anyone still remember those huge St. Bernard dogs that used to live behind the bar?

One last nightmare….er….memory.  16 years old.  Driving my awesome 1962 Chevy Impala that I bought from Uncle Hazhie for $200.  Coming home from the Mesa Drive in after splitting a case of Coors and a bottle of Sangria with Tommy Skul.  We get right in front of the old Martin Music, and I get pulled over by a state patrolman.  I’m driving by leaning my head on the window frame and trying to follow the white lines.  The cop asks me where I live, and tells me to drive my ass straight home and park my car.  He follows me and watches me until I get in the house.  Like I said, different times.  I’m not proud of this stuff (well, some of it, maybe a bit) and it’s not an approval of the consumption of alcohol.  In fact, I rarely even have one drink any more.  It just doesn’t work for me like it used to.  But man, it was a big part of a lot of memories when I was a kid.

 

On a Bojon note, a really cool site to check out about Bojon Town.  A little tilted towards Eiler’s Street, but still a cool piece.  Nice to see interest in the old neighborhood.  http://www.cpr.org/news/story/pueblos-old-bojon-town-could-become-national-historic-district

Until next time……………..