Herbie Geissinger with the high squeaky voice, ran a restaurant in COALDALE on Second Street a long timeago. It was a one-man operation, but to impress strangers patronizing the place, Herbie would take the customer's order at table-side -- yell back to the kitchen : " Sunny side on two with toast an' homefries ! " -- then run back into the kitchen and whip up the order. He pulled that trick so often he got to belive he had a paid cook back there in the kitchen.
Geissinger's establishment was in the center of the town's business complex of those golden day's. Mike Clark's Men's Store, Melley's Pool Room, Meyer Dumchin's Jewelry Store, McTague's Theater, " Tat " Keeshan's Food Store, John Huckster Shop, Malloy's Saloon among others, and Rossi Mosco's coverted coal-bin made up the business enterprises that dotted the block-long empire.
To add to its convenience for customers -- it was paved with brick from Ruddle Street to Water Street. Old man Wasserman didn't care too much for the brick surface, especially in the winter. The slippery surface caused his horse and baker-wagon too many skids coming downhill. There were times the horse would slide into home-base sitting on his tail with the weight of the wagon and Wasserman pushing him forward.
Rossi Mosco's stand -- a tiny, hole - in - the- wall in the cellar of the building that now houses the COALDALE AMERICAN LEGION, was the focal point in the lives of " DAUBER " PARFITT, " PAL " EVANS, " BUD " GRIFFITHS, WENDELL PHILLIPS, EVAN SNEDDON and all the rest of the guys from town -- and from SEEK -- who stacked themselves inside the place like cordwood. Rossi's claim to fame was his ever-present box of shiny,big, succulent, magnificient apples.
So -- here's what I'm getting at. This one particular block housing Coaldale's business section is where football greats like LOU LITTLE, LUD WRAY, " DOGGIE " JULIAN, HARRY STURHLDREHER, " CHIEF " WHEELOCK and hundreds of others got there first real impression ot the town when they arrived to do battle with the BIG GREENS. They figured -- a hick town with a hick team -- easy pickins ! Hell, after a game they could hardly sip Herbie Geissinger's oyster-stew past their swollen lips.
Meyer Dumchin's Jewelry Store was the Tiffany's of Coaldale. You name it -- Meyer had it ! Diamonds, pocket-watches, watch chains, tie-pins, cuff-links -- even big fraternal rings bearing the insignas of the MASONS, KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS or the BENOVELENT AND PROTECTIVE ORDER OF ELKS. I often wondered if CASEY GILDEA bought those little gold footballs the BIG GREENS wore on their watch-chains from Meyer. Casey gave them to the team after they WON 1922 CHAMPIONSHIP HONORS.
Even Meyer Dumchin was inhibited with the football fever that affected everyone in COALDALE. His two sons, Meyer and Max, played a wonderful brand of football for TOM RAYMER'S great teams of the roarin' twenties. When the kids would press their little noses and smeary fingers onto Meyer's windows he'd rush to the door and yell out : " Get away from de windows 'n let de sun shine on de diamonds ! " Even if it was raining cats and dogs at the time.
An interesting note was the after-school and all-day- Saturday clerk who worked in Mike Clark's Store for Men. Today, he is none other than HIS EXCELLENCY, THE MOST REVEREND FRANCIS J. FUREY, BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE OF SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS. An ALL-AMERICAN PLAYING FOR THE VATICAN TEAM.
McTague's Theatre ran first-runs starring Francis X. Bushman, Tom Mix, " Hoot " Gibson, Yakima Canutt, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Loyd, and all other movie-stars who were no strangers to COALDALE -- even though they arrived in a film container. When John McTague installed " talkies "in his cinema house -- all the kids in COALDALE
forgot how to read lips anymore.
Second Street was a man's world. In its saloons and Melley's Pool Room the sporting event of the day was the foremost topic of conversation. It was here you shined -- either with your BOOZE or on your SHOES. Tom and Dan Malloy did a thriving bar business and Melley's Pool Room shoe-shining stand turned out the best glossed-shoes in the coalfields. And let's not forget Levengood's Barber Shop. He hummed -- "teedie - de, teedie -- dum" all the time he was cutting your hair.
It was on this street you boarded the olive-drab colored trolley-cars to the other towns of the valley that were offering more excitement than COALDALE that paticular day. When you walked SECOND STREET you walked Fifth Avenue of New York -- Madson Street in New Orleans -- State Street of Chicago or through Paris' Arc de Triomphe -- in reality, the avenue of victory for the COALDALE BIG GREEN.
Take down your street signs, old SECOND STREET ! Place instead the banners bearing the LATIN : " SIC ITUR AD ASTRA ! And if you should ask what it means -- surely you know. " This is the way to the stars ! " My street of wonderful memories.
Submitted by : RICHARD C. REHATCHEK