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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, April 19, 2014

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Readers Blog

Enderis Park Summertime

It is summertime in Milwaukee.  Makes me look back to my time growing up near Enderis Park in the late 60's and early 70's.

 During this time the park was a center point for the West side of Milwaukee. The City sponsored activities for kids and adults.  

For the kids, there were paid coaches supervising games such as Capture the Flag and Jump the Shot. College students hired to have fun! There were baseball teams that traveled to the far away parks such as Cooper and Center Street.  Basketball led by Tom Desotel with his famous high school summer league. Strikeout on the tennis backboards.  Tennis lessons with one of the first set of lights for nighttime playing.  A wading pool for toddlers.   Box hockey with fruit crates and even a monster box, 4-square(not the App), an annual end of summer festival and event days such as Crazy Hat and my favorite, Dress Like a Hobo(no one would allow that now!). Cricket Hour nightly at 6:30pm.  The kids came from 68th street school, MGC, 81st street school, Pilgrim Lutheran and others.  All local.  Usually on bikes. Unlocked for the safety of the park was never questioned.  Ok, maybe the one time when the out of area "greaser" caused a ruckus. 

At 2pm every day along came the red VW Microbus which carried the snacks and snow cones for sale. Today we would call it a food truck or hot truck yet then it just went by the simple name of Ding Dong.  

At night there were slow pitch leagues on the dirt diamond, band concerts and the occasional visit of a hidden gem of a jazz singer called Penny Goodwin.  They played Enderis Park hoping to get a chance maybe to open for John Gary at the big time Washington Park Bandshell.

In the winter there was ice skating with a chance to play Crack the Whip.

For those years in the late 60's, early 70's, it was part of the American dream.  Kids having fun playing outside all day, away from home yet safe, meeting new kids for sports, arts, chatter.  Gosh, how could this happen without even a Facebook page.  

My friends have all scattered but when we get together there is always laughter of the memories from that time.  Most of all gratitude for having experienced those years.  On these hot summer days, part of me still goes back to Enderis Park and brings a big smile

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

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obs | July 18, 2012 at 7:40 p.m. (report)

35284 Great memories. i remember the scavenger hunt and going to Genlemans Choice barber shop on lisbon to collect bottle caps from the coke machine. My mom would always save popsicle sticks all year knowing they were going to be on the list and I would always have the most. my Uncle Joe loved to watch the girls softball games with his friends from the neighborhood. nice remembrance

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