Do you remember: growing up in Reed City?

By Richard Karns

Special to the Herald Review

My grandson is 14, and the differences in how he sees growing up in Reed City is miles apart from what we remember.

It is fascinating talking to young people and telling them the way it use to be. Jared and I spent several hours together on Sunday. When I picked him up, I asked how school was going. He said fine, and that he had been bowling, and how much fun he had. He shared with me that it had been about five years since he had been bowling. I said I think it is close to 50 for me. He looked at me and asked if we had bowling back then and I had to smile.

Reed City used to have two bowling allies, but the one I remember was run by Howard and Donna Borck in the basement of the Osceola Inn; my bothers worked there setting pins. I would go with them sometimes, and I liked setting down in the pits watching the pins get knocked down. It was the routine after setting the pins to stop at MayBell’s (Nestle Inn) for a hamburger and a soft drink. It is hard to imagine now days that a restaurant would stay open until 11 p.m.

I was telling Jared that we had a lot of opportunities for entertainment right here in Reed City.  I said we had a theatre that you could go to for a dime, and my grandson said, "A dime? How much was popcorn?"  I told him that I didn’t know, because we didn’t buy any. Our routine was to buy a five cent holiday caramel sucker that could last the entire movie, though mine never did. I told him that on some Saturdays in the afternoon, my two sisters, nephew and I would go to the show. We would watch the serial (one I remember was "The Lost Planet," or Superman), and of course the cartoon. If we were lucky it could be a double feature. When we reached the age of 12, the cost went up to 25 cents.

I got a job cleaning the theatre when I was 16. I remember when in high school we would go to the Indian POW Wow on Halloween. We would have donuts and cider, then go to a scary movie. Do you remember the Indian POW Wows? We had a real community building where many events where held (it stood where Rite Aide is now). We would go rollerskating and you could also play shuffleboard in the basement. That is where the library was, too. If my memory serves me right, Mrs. Veldmen was the librarian.

This brought to mind other things that a person growing up in Reed City couldn’t believe. Do you remember when a gas station was full service? You would not only buy gas, but you got your windshield washed as well. I use to go to Ray Whites Standard Station, and Jack Swift always did those things and would check the water level in the radiator, too. The amazing thing to try to tell someone of a younger age was that the different gas stations would try to entice you to come to their station by including dishes, like frosted covered glasses with pictures of different things scenes like the Mackinaw Bridge. I remember mom getting a complete set of gold colored glasses with a picture and a large plate.