Have your grandparents ever told you about the days when they walked eight miles to school in 6-foot snowdrifts -- all uphill?
Well, after reading a recent answer about people walking and driving across a frozen Mississippi River, Joe Haas couldn't wait to share tales about his father that rivaled those oft-heard tales.
He said his father grew up on a farm just east of his own place in rural Mascoutah. Winters sometimes were so bad that they would stretch a rope from the house to the barn in the fall to make sure they would be able to get to it in the snow.
"They would have snow so deep that they would dig out of the top of the upstairs and dig down to the door," he said. "They'd push the snow back and they would make a tunnel to the barn. There were many times they couldn't see the top of the fence posts in the pasture because the snow was so deep."
Children skied to school -- when they could make it. A neighbor would take powerful Belgian horses to plow a path through town. And, as Virginia Niebruegge, of Collinsville, remembered her father-in-law doing, Haas said his father thought nothing of loading pigs onto a horse-drawn wagon and driving it across a frozen Mississippi to market in St. Louis.
"He said there were people going back and forth all the time."
More winter leftovers before we welcome spring Wednesday:
Media gold mine: My answers about St. Louis TV and radio are always among the most widely read. So, I feel remiss for being slow to announce a new treasure trove for local media junkies: www.stlmediahistory.com.
After thousands of hours of work, noted St. Louis media historian (and one of my favorite sources) Frank Absher launched the website early this year, and he obviously did his homework.
With a click of your mouse, you can find information on thousands of publications, stations and personalities in radio, television, advertising/PR and the print media (including an article on the News-Democrat).
Remember, for example, KSDK-TV meteorologist Bob Richards? You'll find his dates of employment -- along with a two-minute video clip of one of his forecasts. Miss Harry Caray? Under radio personalities, there's a nine-minute recording of him calling a 1962 St. Louis Cardinal baseball game.
It's a history of stations, hall-of-famers, etc., along with plenty of fascinating pictures (including a shot of Belleville's WTVI-TV and a WTVI ad for "Amos 'n Andy") -- and he'll be adding to it continuously, so return often. As you might eventually hear Jack Buck say there, that's a winner.
Book it: Fans of Carol Daniel won't want to miss seeing her being interviewed by KMOX colleague Charlie Brennan at Brennan's next Fontbonne University Book Club meeting.
Daniel, of Caseyville, will be discussing her recently released book, "All I Ever Wanted: Relationships, Marriage, Family." It tells of the 30-year broadcasting veteran's effort to juggle a husband, two sons, a life on TV and radio -- and plenty of sleep deprivation.
It's at 10 a.m. Friday at KMOX's new home, the Park Pacific at 200 N. 13th St. It's free; just register at www.kmox.com.
Happenin' place: Several readers wrote and called to confirm that the Capitol Restaurant at 24 Public Square in Belleville was indeed where Joann Lukowski, of Columbia, spent many of her Friday nights as a teen in the '50s. It was a particularly cherished memory of Carol Wahlig, of Belleville, because her friend Janet Reissen was the daughter of Capitol owner George Reissen. With a juke box playing stacks of wax, she remembers it as a "really nice place."
New shoes to fill: The latest reports are that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has traded his trademark red shoes for a pair of $200 brown loafers fashioned by Armando Martin Duenas, a shoemaker from Leon, Mexico. Since the announcement, Duenas has said his phone has been understandably ringing nonstop.
Partial oops: In a recent trivia question, I mistakenly asked for states named after "European" monarchs when I meant to say "English." By the time I corrected it the next day, retired Master Sgt. Jim Filanda had added Louisiana to the list -- named in 1682 after King Louis XIV of France. Nice catch, Jim.
What is the most common street name in Britain?
Answer to Thursday's trivia: On June 16, 1743, King George II of Great Britain led British forces in a victorious attack on a French army at the Battle of Dettingen during the War of Austrian Succession. With Austrian, Dutch, Hanoverian and Hessian troops at his side, it would mark the last time a British king would personally lead his troops into battle. But although his heroics were admired, the British people also feared that the king might be subverting British interests to those of Hanover. George II, you see, also was the last British monarch to come from outside Great Britain. He was born and raised in northern Germany, and his grandmother, Sophia of Hanover, was at one time second in line to the British throne.
Send your questions to Roger Schlueter, Belleville News-Democrat, 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427 or email@example.com or call 239-2465.