Lawrence Schuetz

Narrator: Lawrence Schuetz
Date Of Interview: June 10, 1986
Place Of Interview: Narrator’s home, located at 6037 Lincoln Avenue, Morton Grove
Interviewer: Yvonne Ryden
Recorded For: Morton Grove Historical Society
Transcribed For: Morton Grove Public Library
Tape Running Time: 38 minutes



Lawrence Schuetz has been living in the family home for sixty-five years. The house was built on land that had been owned by the Haupt family. Lawrence’s father had bought the two-acre site from the Leo Haupt estate.

Lawrence tells several interesting anecdotes about his childhood. He also mentions other aspects of life in Morton Grove.

During World War II, Lawrence reached the rank of captain in the United States Army, and he served overseas for nearly two years. After his war service, he joined the family business in Morton Grove.


LS: Lawrence Schuetz
Q: Question asked by interviewer, Yvonne Ryden


Q: Mr. Schuetz and I have been sitting here talking about the early days of old Morton Grove. Mr. Schuetz, would you begin by just telling us a little bit about your grandparents.

LS: Well, my grandparents on my mother’s side landed in Morton Grove in 1885, and then they moved to Skokie up on Emerson Street where my grandfather bought a farm. From there, my mother married my dad, and they bought a farm in Skokie right on Dempster and Niles Center Road. And my dad sold that farm, and we moved here to Morton Grove — that’s sixty-five years ago — on a two-acre plot that had belonged to the Leo Haupt estate. And that’s about all I can tell you there. Now what else do you want to know?

Q: Tell me about you father’s family.

LS: Now on my dad’s side of the family, I never knew his mother or dad, but I knew all his brothers and sisters. We all lived around this part of the country, except a few after they got married and moved away. One moved to Wisconsin, I know, and one moved to Iowa. But the boys all stayed around here at Morton Grove and Wilmette, places like that. But that’s about all I can say about them.

Q: Well, tell me about some of his brothers.

LS: Well, his brothers were all farmers. And his sisters were all farmers, too, except, you know, they…

Q: They married farmers.

LS: They married farmers, yes. The one in Wisconsin had a big farm. The one in Iowa’s a farmer, you know. I guess the one that moved to Wilmette, she wasn’t a farmer. You know, she married a man that was a carpenter or something like that. But otherwise, the boys were all farmers, though.

Q: And your father was a farmer in this area?

LS: He was a farmer in this area. When he came from Indiana, he moved with the family. They moved to Winnetka and from there he came here. And I don’t know how he met my mother or anything else. It never was said to me, you know. But I know they used to meet at the dances in Skokie, at the old-time dances at the dance hall out there on Saturday nights. And that’s where he met my mother.

Q: Well, that’s a pretty decent way to meet somebody. (laughs)

LS: Oh, yes. And it used to be a lot of un at the dances down there, I guess.

Q: You mentioned that he owned property at Dempster Street and Niles. He farmed at Dempster…

LS: Dempster and Niles Center Road, yes.

Q: …and Niles Center. You say near where Fergus is.

LS: Yes, at where Fergus is now–just north of Dempster Street it was. We had a 24-acre farm there. And when they started bringing the el line out, that’s the elevated line, the people that knew about it started buying up property around there, you know.

Q: And you mentioned property up near where Old Orchard is now.

LS: Well, that was my grandpa’s farm.

Q: That’s where your mother lived, then.

LS: Until she got married, yes. She lived with my grandfather, and he had his farm up on Emerson Street. He had part of the property north of Emerson and some south, and it’s just right across the street from where Old Orchard is now.

Q: Yes, Emerson Street is now called Golf Road.

LS: Emerson Street is now called Golf Road, yes. And he was just a little bit west of Skokie Highway.

Q: And that was all his farm?

LS: It was his farm, yes.

Q: When your parents moved to this location on Lincoln Avenue and bought the property from the Haupt estate you already had been born.

LS: Yes, I was born.

Q: You showed me some interesting pictures with several children. You were the which child in the family?

LS: The fifth.

Q: Out of eight?

LS: The fifth out of eight, yes.

Q: And older than you were four. Can you name them?

LS: Yes. Well, see, older than me were Mike, Pete, Marie and John, who was better known as Hans around here. And younger was Eddie, Florence and Mona. Out of that there’s only Pete and Eddie and myself and Mona are still alive.

Q: Great. That’s wonderful. Now let’s go back to your grandfather on your mother’s side, because you’ve shown me some very interesting documents.

LS: Well, I have my grandfather’s military pass from Germany, which dates back to 18–, was it 1841?

Q: Yes

LS: And then I also have their pass to come to this country, which was in 1885. And I also have his naturalization papers which were in — I forget what year it was in — 18–, 1882. That’s when he became a citizen of this country. And he was a pretty strict old German. I know even to the day he died, he said he couldn’t speak a word of English. Until somebody spoke English in the room and said to tell the doctor to give him a certain kind of pill. He said, “I understood what you said.”

Q: (laughs)

LS: So he knew.

Q: I notice that your mother’s name on that pass was Mary Magdalena.

LS: Yes. She used the name Mary all the time.

Q: Was she ever known as Marie?

LS: No, Mary she was known as.

Q: But I notice she named one of her daughters Marie.

LS: Marie, yes. That was my oldest sister. And my oldest sister was married to a mayor of Morton Grove when he died. She was married to George Loutsch. I guess they were just married about nine months when George died. He got some lump on his neck. He went to Mayo Brothers, and they said, “Go home and wait until you die.” It was cancer.

Q: Oh.

LS: And they lived above the butcher shop. They had the butcher shop over here…

Q: Right. Right up on Lincoln Avenue.

LS: …and then Marie, it was getting kind of rough on Marie, so she said, “You either got to go to your folks’ house to live or to my folks’ house.” You know, she said, “I need a little extra care, need a little extra people to help and stuff.” So he said, “I’ll go to your house.” So we put a bed back in that room for him, that room right back there. And he’d sleep back there, and all night long we kept the fire going in there. He’s sit in front of there all night long, smoking one cigarette after another — he’d smoke three, four cigarettes, he’d have to retch back, you know. It was rough. Then he got sciatic nerve trouble on top of it.

Q: But it was cancer of the neck?

LS: It was cancer, something in here, but I don’t know what it is, what they called it at that time. But he was mayor of Morton Grove at the time he passed away. You’ll see his picture on the wall up there in the village hall there, you know. I guess he’s in a sailor suit.

Q: It’s one of those rows of pictures along the wall?

LS: Yes, right as you enter near the entrance with all the mayors, you know.

Q: Now, let’s talk a little bit about after your family moved here to Lincoln Avenue.

LS: Well, first it took a long time to get the place in shape for my folks, you know. Then, after that, my dad started his garden in the back, and when that was all set, then he went to work over at Poehlmann Greenhouses.[1] And just what he did over there or how long he worked, I don’t really know, you know. But he spent some time over there. And after that, he quit and just retired, just took it easy. My mother, she did a lot of work. All she spent her time for was St. Martha’s Church. We’d have their picnics or dinners and she would be here making sausage in the basement of the dinners and all that kind of stuff. Well, she had some of the women in. They would always come down here in our basement and make maybe four or five hundred pounds of sausage.

Q: Right here?

LS: Right here in the basement. Oh, yes. And that was the biggest deal, you know, they had over there.

Q: Well, was there a St. Martha’s Church when you were a child?

LS: Oh, yes. It started about that same time.

Q: Well, you mentioned that you went to school at St. Peter’s.

LS: Yes. It wasn’t there when were in school at St. Peter’s. It was just . . .

Q: There was a church but no school?

LS: Oh, out here? There was no church. Yes, there was a church that started then, and there was no school. And we had to walk to St. Pete’s all the time. Regardless of there were no streets. It was mud. No sidewalks. No buses. We just walked whether rain, shine, didn’t make any difference. We went to school.

Q: Oh, about how far a walk would you estimate that was?

LS: Oh, about a mile, little better than a mile, mile and a half maybe. Between a mile and a mile and a half. But it didn’t make any difference what the weather was — we went.

Q: (laughs)

LS: And mud didn’t make any difference. We got home, we’d just have to clean our shoes off.

Q: Now did you go all your whole grammar school career over to St. Peter’s?

LS: Yes.

Q: And where did you go to high school?

LS: High school I went to DePaul Academy. There were no other ones around here.

Q: Now, where is DePaul Academy? Is it down near Fullerton where . . .?

LS: Yes, 1010 Webster Avenue. Where the university’s at. And to do that, then they had a bus running by here. I had to take the bus to the Western Avenue el station. I got on the el and took that down.

Q: I see. There still is a bus that goes to the Western Avenue el station.

LS: Yes, it’s still running. They had a jitney bus at that time. In fact, my uncle used to drive one at one time.

Q: You mentioned you had a brother who was just a little younger that you. Did he go to DePaul Academy, too?

LS: No, Eddie just went to business college. As a kid he worked for Dahm’s Grocery Store. He liked to work in that line. And then he worked for, then he became a butcher and worked for, uh, Mike’s Market in Morton Grove. He was a butcher over there for quite a few years. And after the war, what did he do? Oh, well after the war, we all worked over here. We had a liquor business. We all worked over here after that, see.

Q: I see. When you grew, when you were older and mature, what did you do? After you finished at DePaul Academy?

LS: I first started in at Stern Clothing Company. And that was in the Depression. They went broke, so then I went to work for National Tea [a chain grocery stores]. And I worked for them until I went in the service. I was a manager.

Q: You worked for them until when?

LS: Until I went into the service — the Army.

Q: Okay. World War II?

LS: World War II. Before that I worked for them and became a manager and was a manager for a store out in Des Plaines for a few years. Then I went over to Park Ridge. And then the war started–I was supposed to go back after the war, but I went in here with the…

Q: Into the business here?

LS: …business here with them, yes.

Q: Now tell me about the business here.

LS: Here? We just had a wholesale liquor business.

Q: Well. Now we’re talking after World War II.

LS: Yes. Well, they started the business in 1933. I mean when . . .

Q: When Prohibition ended?

LS: When Prohibition was repealed . . .

Q: All right.

LS: . . . they started the business.

Q: A wholesale liquor business?

LS: Wholesale liquor business. They sold only to taverns and the liquor stores.

Q: That should have been a good business.

LS: Before that, my two brothers, two older brothers were in the garage business. They had a garage on Dempster Street here where McDonald’s is right now.

Q: Well, now, I heard Mr. Bauernfeind…

LS: Joe?

Q: Yes. Did he?

LS: He had a gas station on Dempster Street. He was part-owner. He was where that Tom’s Hot Dog Stand is now, or the hot dog stand.

Q: Now I thought that was Fred Huscher’s . . .

LS: Yes, that was Fred Huscher’s at one time.

Q: Okay, so, I see.

LS: And Joe, I don’t know if Joe still owns it or not, but Joe was in there and rented it from him for a long time. I don’t know what the set-up is there now. But my brothers had a garage where McDonald’s is right now.

Q: Right. In fact, I think I can almost picture it.

LS: The Highway Garage it was called. Then it became a bowling alley, Schaul’s Bowling Alley.

Q: I see. Somebody local owned that bowling alley?

LS: John Schaul from Morton Grove and Niles. The Schaul brothers owned it. And, when I guess McDonald’s bought the property and tore it down.

Q: Now I noticed large garages right here to the south and back of the house. Is that where the business, you wholesale liquor was?

LS: That’s where our liquor business was, right there. Right here on the property, so I didn’t have far to go to work.

Q: No, you sure didn’t. Just walk across the yard.

LS: Just out the back door, yes.

Q: Let’s talk about you. Where you were born and what’s your birthdate?

LS: Well, myself, I was born on Niles Center Road there in Skokie.

Q: Right at home?

LS: It was Niles Center Road, Niles Center, at that time. And I was born right at home, yes. At that time you didn’t go to the doctor. You had midwives come in, you know. And that’s where I spent my early days.

Q: Do you remember the address?

LS: There was no addresses at that time.

Q: All right. Well, where in Niles Center was it? If I were going to try and find that place today and say, “This is your birthplace.”

LS: Well, you’d look for where Fergus Ford is there, or what’s there? There’s a triangle right there between Dempster Street and Niles Center Road up at Skokie Highway. They come together.

Q: Oh, all right. By Fergus Ford.

LS: Yes, and then we were right across the street from there. That’s where I was born.

Q: I see. And when were you born?

LS: December 29th, 1911.

Q: You would have been an income tax deduction if there had been an income tax at that point.

LS: I don’t really know.

Q: Well, there wasn’t one. (laughs)

LS: I don’t think the folks made enough money on the farm to afford the income tax anyway.

Q: (laughs)

LS: And then we come over here, and, like I said . . .

Q: How old were you — you showed me a picture of the other house, like a frame farmhouse, before you moved into this lovely brick home. How old were you when you moved in here?

LS: Well, I must have been — let’s see. I was born in 1911 and I’m here 65 years, so…

Q: Okay. Fine. You just mentioned to me that the doctor did not deliver you.

LS: No, it was a midwife, according to what my mother says.

Q: And, when you got sick, who was the doctor?

LS: Doctor Sintzel.[2] He came up in horse and buggy, or we might have to go down there horse and buggy, but most of the time he came around, though. They made house calls in them days.

Q: Let’s go back a little bit. You told me about your grammar school days at St. Peter’s in Skokie. What did you do for fun?

LS: Down there? Not too much. Well, we worked most of the time. All summer long you worked on the farm. So there really wasn’t any fun. Then a few neighbor kids, we’d go down Dempster Street from Gross Point Road, it was kind of a slant when it was paved there. We’d go down on our wagons, you know.

Q: Yes. Like a coaster wagon.

LS: Yes. There was no traffic there you had to worry about then, you know.

Q: And you talked about playing baseball. Where did you play?

LS: Here, that was here after we came to Morton Grove. When we were a little older, then we started in with softball here. I was about fifteen years old then. And we had quite a –well, you can ask anybody from Morton Grove what fun we had.

Q: Now, where was the baseball field?

LS: We started one back here, but there was one over in Wayside Inn [north side of Dempster, east of the river], too, but we started one back, back in the field there. We had our own . . .

Q: Was there a league or any kind of organized . . .?

LS: We played — well, we had organized baseball here a little later. Oh, yes, we had a . . .

Q: (laughs)

LS: . . . we had a rough, we had a rough league in Morton Grove here at that 14-inch softball. I’m trying to think how many teams we had. About eight teams? And we really had a league that was really a good one. And there were some hot fights over there. We went off the field.

Q: (laughs) You mean if the wrong team won, there was a fight after the game?

LS: Yes, sometimes politics got a little involved in it too, you know.

Q: (laughs)

LS: But . . .

Q: What kind of politics?

LS: Well, the local politics, you know.

Q: Yes.

LS: Because then there were only about twelve hundred people in town. It was little — you knew everybody, see?

Q: I see.

LS: It was a lot different than it is today.

Q: Do you remember being sick as a child? Or were you ever sick enough to have the doctor come?

LS: Not that I know of.

Q: I’m sure people didn’t have the doctor come for routine things like the measles…

LS: No, they didn’t. No. The only thing, one day I was, they tell me I was eating a pear when I was a kid, you know, real, real, small. And my brother blew in my ear and I started laughing and I started choking…

Q: He did what?

LS: He blew in my ear, and so I started laughing, you know, o-o-o (makes sound) . . .

Q: Oh.

LS: . . . and I, I started laughing and then I choked on a pear, so they finally got it out of my throat there. It was just like a person chokes on a piece of steak or something today.

Q: (laughs) He blew in your ear and you choked on a pear.

LS: Well, I mean I started laughing and that’s when . . .

Q: Yes, sure . . .

LS: . . . it happened.

Q: . . . you choked. Right. Do you remember any things of interest to other people in Morton Grove?

LS: Well, I can tell you another little story about my one brother, my brother, John.

Q: All right. Now this is the one that was called Hans.

LS: Hans, yes. When — oh, he was still a young kid, you know. One of my dad’s brothers lived in Morton Grove here was sick, so my mother and dad were going up to see him because he was pretty bad. Of course, you had horse and buggy, like I say, in them days. And he wanted to go along. So they said, “No, you can’t go along.” So when they got home — they never stayed long — when they got home, he was missing.

They searched everywhere and got all the neighbors out, looked everywhere for that guy. And they couldn’t find him. Well, they didn’t know what they could do. So, they had searched all the ditches and everything else. Then came all the way back to Morton Grove, checked everywhere. So finally — I don’t know what time in the morning it was — my mother said, “Well, I guess I’ll make some coffee.” In them days they had a bench behind the table. Pulled the bench away, here he is laying sleeping — on that bench. All the while he was right there in the house on that bench sleeping. Nobody thought of looking there.

Q: Yes. That was interesting. Do you ever remember anything like picnics?

LS: Oh, yes, we used to have, we used to have picnics all . . .

Q: I meant, you had a big family. You could have a picnic by yourselves.

LS: Yes, we always had family picnics and stuff like that, you know. But always on the farm or the whole family would gather sometimes, you know, in the summertime.

Q: Well, when you say family gathering, would it have been like your father’s brothers or did you have relatives on your mother’s side?

LS: It would be mostly on my mother’s side that would gather, you know, because my dad’s side they never did go for that stuff too much. But my mother’s side always came, you know. The Conrad family.

Q: Now your mother’s maiden name was Conrad, right? Because her parents were Michael Conrad . . .

LS: Yes, Michael Conrad. Michael and Mary.

Q: And she was born in Germany. What town?

LS: Fuhrkenfeld, in Schweitzenwahl.

Q: Do you know how old she was when she came here?

LS: . . . (pauses) . . .

Q: We couldn’t read the German on that paper.

LS: I’d have to figure it out, but I guess she was still a little girl. But she remembered coming . . .

Q: She was little enough that she would have gone to school in America?

LS: She remembered coming. That they got off their train in Morton Grove and went across the street to the tavern.[3] That’s the thing she remembered about Morton Grove, you know. And then I don’t know who picked them up or what, then they got a ride to somewhere. I don’t know what.

Q: Okay. That was interesting. Let’s go back a little bit to World War II. You mentioned that you were working at National Tea. Was it in Des Plaines or Park Ridge?

LS: At Park Ridge I was working. I was managing the store at Park Ridge on Touhy and the Northwest Highway at the time.

Q: Oh. That was a good job.

LS: Yes, that was a fairly good job, but them days they didn’t pay like they do today, you know. (laughter) Salary wasn’t near what it is today. But then I was drafted into the service and went in on the second draft, but I went down to . . .

Q: Well, you were single.

LS: I was single, yes. And my number just happened to come up. And . . .

Q: So you went into the Army.

LS: I went into the Army. And the first day, ninety-six of us went down for examination. And I was in charge of a busload, the other guy was ____________. I just said to the guys, “Here’s your tokens. “ I said, “Get there. Get there.” You know. But anyway, we were all examined–it was on a Friday. I can remember. I’m Catholic and them days we couldn’t eat meat on Friday, you know. So anyway I was taken in.

We went to Rockford — Camp Grant. And the first guy to meet us out there was a Catholic chaplain, you know. And he says, “Now you’re all here,” and he said, “I want to let you know. Anybody’s who’s Catholic, once you’re in the Army you can have meat on Friday.” And, he says, “Right now,” he says, “there’s a beautiful steak dinner waiting for you over at the …”

Q: (laughs)

LS: We got over there, and it was just a little cold salmon. That’s all it was.

Q: Oh!

LS: He was just kidding us, you know. But . . .

Q: But was that true that you had a dispensation during . . .

LS: Oh, yes. During the war, yes. All Catholics had, were dispensed during the war, yes. And, well from there, we went up there on Friday, and Saturday morning — this was back at a _______ — we all took our shots, and we were checked in and all. Took our shots.

Got our equipment, and by about noon they said, “Well, anybody that lives within a hundred miles of Chicago can go home, but be back by such and such a time on Sunday night.” So we had a bunch, few of us from Skokie here, you know, and Morton Grove — most of them were from Skokie. We got together and we rented a limousine and come home. And we knew we’d get back because my brother ran us back. But anyway . . .

Q: Now you wouldn’t have had, been issued a uniform at that time, would you?

LS: Yes, yes, you were issued the uniform.

Q: You did have it? You came home in a uniform?

LS: Oh, yes. In fact, I got a picture around here somewhere. And, so anyway, the next morning we got called out, and I was heading for Fort Sill, Oklahoma, for my basic training. Took my basic training, and I was twenty-nine years old. They come through with the law or whatever you want to call it, that anybody over twenty-nine years old be released. So, I guess that was about in the beginning of October or something like that, end of September. So, I’m waiting around there for almost two months to get my release, you know, but I’m working with the company officers down there on stuff that was interesting like survey and stuff like that. So, finally my release come through. I got home the last Saturday in November.

And the PALS Club from Morton grove, you know, it was the serviceman’s club, they were having a dance that night, and I went, I was up there, you know. And then I knew Mack Falknor who was a judge at that time, he asked me, “How’d you like the Army?” “Well,” I says, “what I seen of it, I enjoyed, but I don’t want to do anymore of it,” you know. Well, the next Sunday, was the day, you know, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

Q: So you . . .

LS: Then I was called back in February. I was back in again.

Q: Why?

LS: Because they just took you right back in. They only released you because you were twenty-nine years old, but they called you right back in. So from here I went to Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Right back in the artillery.

Q: Is that where you spent your Army career?

LS: No, no, no, no. I spent some time at Fort Sill, and one day we were going out. I went to radio school down there as a buck private–and one day, the security battery commander was Captain Steinbacher, had never met me, you know, because I was going to school. So he told the corporal there in charge of quarters, he wanted to see me. So I went in and talked to him for a little bit. He said, “When do you expect to get through with the radio school?” I said, “I’m supposed to be through about Monday or so.” Whenever you can take so many words a minute and give so many words, then you’re through. Then I said, “I should be finished by now.” So anyway, he says, “Okay. Report back for duty.” So when I reported back, I said, “What do you want to do?” He said, “Well, you know radio now, you know.” He said, “Eckenrod’s a radio man.” He says, “You be a scout. Come out scout with me for a few days.” So we went out on a field problem one day, and he made me — oh, he made me a scout corporal right away. Gave me corporal stripes. I never knew whose job this…

Q: You were made a corporal right away?

LS: Right away after that. Then another day when I was still down there, he turned around — Corporal Gilette and I were both in the back seat; it was a jeep ________ — he turned around and said “You know anything about supply?” I said, “NO . . . (TAPE STOPPED AND RESTARTED)[4]

Q: When Crackers interrupted us, you were talking about being made a corporal and you were in a jeep . . .

LS: Yes. And we were riding out in the field on a field problem one day, and Captain Steinbacher turned around and said, “Do you know anything about supply?” Well, I didn’t know who he was talking to, but Gilette didn’t say anything, so I says, “No, sir.” So he said, “Well, you better learn.” In about three days, I was supply sergeant. And I didn’t know anything about supply. So that’s my breaks in the Army, you know.

Q: I’ll say.

LS: And then I had to take a test for OCS one day. And that’s the second one I took. I was home on leave right after that, and my good friend come in one morning after I got back. He said, “Stay in bed this morning,” he said, “ because you’re going to OCS at Fort Sill.” Well, here I am, I just had a high school education; everybody else down there’s got a college education. But I made it through, so…

Q: But you had a good high school education.

LS: I went through OCS at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. So I went to Fort Jackson in South Caroline, after and became an officer.

Q: Now wait a minute. Where did you get your officer’s training?

LS: At Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Q: All right.

LS: And I became a second looey out of there. One of those ninety-day wonders, you know.

Q: (laughs) That’s what they called them.

LS: And then I went out to, well, three of us decided we were going to go out to the — you had a choice, you know.

Q: Then is that when you went to Fort Jackson?

LS: Yes. Well, three of us, we decided we’d go out there. The 263rd Field Artillery Battalion at Fort Jackson, not knowing anything about it. So we all went out there together and reported to the general — no! First of all, we got a cab. Nobody knew where the 263rd Field Artillery Battalion was. Nobody had ever heard of it. Well, it took us a while to find it. It was a new battalion they were starting in the 101st Infantry Battalion, I mean 26th Division, you know. The YD — Yankee Division.

But anyway, we reported to the general. The general says, “Is Hubert Hugo there?” Sears, Hugo, there; me he put to the 101st Field Artillery Battalion. Well, I got in supply right away, and within three months I had my first lieutenant’s. So I was pretty lucky all the way through. Later on I became a captain. That’s when I got to be the battery commander. That’s the way I finished up the war all the way through Europe. Went through the European campaign all the way through. Germany, France. France, Germany, I should say.

Q: So you saw a lot of that.

LS: France and Germany, yes. Belgium. Luxembourg.

Q: Pretty, pretty, area, but not in wartime.

LS: No. We were traveling all the back roads, too. Well, it wasn’t — it was all right, but I mean . . .

Q: How long were you over in Europe? Can you figure that out? Like a year or?

LS: Oh. (pauses)

Q: More?

LS: (pauses) It was pretty close to two years.

Q: And when you came back did you have to report to Fort Sheridan?

LS: I report to Fort Sheridan and then I get my release from there.

Q: And that’s when you came back here and went into the family business.

LS: Yes.

Q: Were you a salesman or were you a . . .

LS: I belonged to the salesman’s union, but I usually stayed on the place and took care of the business coming in there, you know.

Q: I would think you’d have made a good liquor salesman.

LS: No. Now I can’t even take a drink.

Q: (laughs) After the war you went into the family business, which was the wholesale liquor business, and it makes me think of a friend of mine who lived in Skokie and felt — oh, well, they called it Niles Center then — and she used to insist that they should call it Tavern Town. Talk a little bit about some of the places in this area.

LS: Well, there were quite a few of them around this area at that time. In Morton Grove, you had the Lincoln Tavern, the Dells, Ridge Inn, which were pretty famous places. Then you had — I forgot what you call right down the street from me here; it’s now . . . (pauses)

Q: Bringer Inn?

LS: No.

Q: On the other side?

LS: Mueller’s used to, it was Mueller’s for a while, and now it’s the Italian restaurant [Villa Toscana] there. But they used to have — you could always go and get a glass of beer in Prohibition days in all those places, you know.

Q: Oh, well, yes, I’m sure that was true all over the country. (laughs)

LS: Yes, but some of the more famous, well, they used to have, like Mick Schmidt’s in Skokie and Charlie Lander’s — those are places where the Cubs ball players used to come out, like Hack Wilson and Malone . . .

Q: And this is during Prohibition.

LS: Yes.

Q: This would, these would have been more like, uh, well, I don’t say speakeasies, but they probably were. Where you could go . . .

LS: No, no, they weren’t speakeasies. But you could go and get a — well, if there was going to be a raid, somebody, they were tipped off, you know. And I’ve even been in places where they had liquor during bootleg days, and they keep it in a water glass. Anybody wants a shot, okay. Somebody strange comes in, they just tip the glass over. There’s no evidence, you know. I’ve seen that quite a bit.

Q: You mentioned making movies in . . .

LS: Yes. Mike Schmidt’s place. Niles Center was used for early-day Western movies, and Mike Schmidt’s tavern at the time. That’s where the parking lot is right in the center of the town now. They made quite a few movies down there.

Q: Now was the tavern on that location?

LS: Yes, big old tavern. Mike Schmidt’s. Right where that parking lot is now.

Q: All right. Duffy’s.

LS: Yes, it became Duffy’s later on, yes. And they used that for Western movies and stuff. That was back in the old days when they had made the movies in Chicago yet, you know.

Q: Yes. On Argyle there was a place.

LS: Yes, S & S or whatever it was.

Q: S & A?

LS: S & S.

Q: Are there any other remembrances about life either in Niles Center or Morton Grove? You mentioned that Niles Center and Morton Grove were nice places to live. Why?

LS: Well, because, really because you knew everybody, you know. And you had your friends and you got together all the time, stuff like that.

Q: How big was Morton Grove at that time?

LS: Oh, about a thousand people when we moved here.

Q: Was Skokie larger?

LS: Skokie was a little bigger, not too much.

Q: Would you have known most of the people in Skokie?

LS: Yes.

Q: Was there much interaction between?

LS: Yes, you knew most everybody in Skokie. Sure, you knew just about everybody. If there was a funeral, you know, a wake, it was always held in the home because there were no undertaking parlors, you know. So, your folks knew everybody, so you’d go along to the wake, you know, and you got to know everybody that way. Sure, you got to know everybody.

Q: You mentioned the ice cream wagon as one of the nice remembrances.

LS: Yes.

Q: Tell about it.

LS: That came around every Sunday afternoon. And my mother would go out with a great big bowl and have that filled with ice cream. That was the only time we had ice cream. And was it good! Oh, boy! I think the man that sold us was Gus, no, wait a minute — Parenti was the old man’s name. I can still remember his name. But he always stopped every Sunday, and he went to all the houses, but you only paid about a quarter for a great big bowl, you know.

Q: Did he make it, do you think? Or did he buy it?

LS: I guess he made it. I don’t know.

Q: When you say the wagon, was it a horse and wagon?

LS: Horse and wagon, sure. They had no vehicles in those days, you know. They had no buses or, I mean, no cars in them days.

Q: How did he keep it frozen?

LS: I guess he used dry ice.

Q: Or ice maybe.

LS: Ice maybe. I don’t really know.

Q: Do you remember the first automobile you saw?

LS: I remember the first one my dad bought.

Q: All right. Tell us about that.

LS: The first car my dad bought was a Buick, nice big Buick, with bright wire wheels.

Q: (laughs)

LS: It was a beautiful car. That I can remember, yes. It was a beautiful automobile. I can remember the first truck he bought was a Nelson Moon.

Q: And do you remember him learning to drive?

LS: Well, my dad I don’t remember learning to drive, but one Sunday morning, going down Dempster coming from church, somebody hit him. And remember these cars had running boards. It cut the running board off of his car. And that — they had that metal part on the outside, you know — and it come to a point and right up to his back. Right up to my dad’s back. It didn’t hit him, but from that day on he would never drive another automobile.

Q: Was he seriously hurt?

LS: No, he wasn’t hurt at all. It didn’t even touch him!

Q: Oh.

LS: But when he seen that thing right up against, right by his back, that was it. He wouldn’t drive another car.

Q: Well, then did you boys…

LS: Well, my oldest brother could drive. He was sixteen then or something, and he could drive, you know.

Q: I’m surprised there would have been an accident. Were there that many cars?

LS: No. It just so happened that he was coming home and he was going to make a right-hand turn off onto Niles Center Road off of Dempster, and he had his arm out, but this guy was coming down — the only two cars on the street — and they . . .

Q: (laughs)

LS: . . . hit in the side. He hit him.

Q: Hard that two cars could meet like that.

LS: Yes. But my dad seen that piece of the running board with that metal piece on there right up to his back. He’d never touch a car after. Never drove a car. Never drove a truck either.

Q: When did you learn to drive?

LS: When I was about twelve years old.

Q: There wasn’t much traffic around.

LS: No, and I had my first accident when I was fourteen. And my brother’s car was turning in the driveway here, hand signal and everything else. And somebody came and hit me in the rear. And it was on a Sunday afternoon. So I got out of the

car. The guy backed up and started away. And I got his license number and ran in the house — of course. I was just a kid, so I called my brother at the garage, told him what happened. He said, “You sure that’s the license number you got?” I says, “I’m absolutely sure of that.” You know. So he said, “Well, let’s go see Judge Falknor.” So we went over and seen Judge Falknor. He wrote out a warrant for the man’s arrest, gave it to the constable to serve, you know. And took, I guess, from Sunday to Thursday before he caught up with him. His name was John Paul Jones.

Q: No!

LS: And he worked for the Florsheim Shoe Company at the time. He said, well, he had a sick person in the car; he was in a hurry or something. Well, the judge said, “You want to pay all the expenses including the constable’s fees and my fees, fixing the car and everything else? Okay, otherwise you’ll stand trial for leaving the scene of an accident.” He paid everything.

Q: Good. Of course.


Q: We stopped taping at this point so we could hear the chimes of the clock. Would you talk to me a little bit about that beautiful grandfather clock? What’s it called. You gave me the name of it.

LS: That’s a Herschede. That’s an old-time clock. I’ve had it into Chicago Clock Company when I moved, let them move it, because in order to move a grandfather clock, you got to get a clock company to move it for you. You cannot move it yourself.

Q: Oh.

LS: See, they have to take it all apart in order to do a good job.

Q: Are you talking about moving it even in the room?

LS: Yes. Well, in the move, he could probably just push it a little bit or something. But you cannot move it, because you’re going to disturb all that stuff in there, all these chimes in there. But, see I moved it from the house next door over to here. And another time, I had to take it in, and they come and just take everything out of it. They don’t take the shell along. They just take all the stuff in the inside out, see. But the man there at Chicago Clock told me, he said, “That’s one of the best grandfather clocks that’s ever been made.”

Q: How old is that clock?

LS: I have no idea.

Q: Well, tell me about how you happened to get it here.

LS: My neighbor, it come from my neighbor. He had it, he got it when he and his wife got married, at the wedding. Then it wasn’t a new clock, and he was married over fifty years, so it’s go to be at least — I don’t know — probably seventy-five years though maybe later. I don’t know.

Q: It has beautiful chimes. And I should probably have recorded it rather than talk about how pretty they were. Thank you so much, Mr. Schuetz. This has been a very interesting interview, and you’ve had a lot of interesting things to tell us. I appreciate very much the fact that you were so gracious and so informative.

LS: Okay.

Q: Thank you.


[1] Poehlmann Brothers Greenhouses, the largest in the world, had three plants. Plant A was on Lincoln Avenue where Baxter’s Laboratories are located now.

[2] This would have been the older Dr. Sintzel, who lived in Niles Center.

[3] Probably would have been Christ’s Tavern where the Morton House is now.

[4] Crackers, Mrs. Schuetz’ springer spaniel, interrupted us. Crackers is the fourth springer spaniel of that name Mr. Schuetz has owned.

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