Fred H. Keller | Retrospect
Sussex columns, ads show unique history
Recently, there was a column in the Sussex Sun about a Lisbon farm wife who from 1932 to 1962 was a newspaper correspondent, about happenings in Sussex, Lisbon, Colgate and Lannon, which was her beat.
This was Maude Brown Kraetsch, who was affectionately nicknamed "Mrs. Scratch" by the locals who read her columns.
The following are a series of her tidbits, sometimes word for word, and other times paraphrased, all from a June 9, 1949 series of columns in the Menomonee Falls News.
"Mr. and Mrs. Albert Greengo of Sussex and Mr. and Mrs. William Joecks of Menomonee Falls were guests of the Donald Joecks family in Lannon this recent Sunday."
And, "The Lannon Puddles baseball team has just received a set of new uniforms, a donation by Scientific Cleaners of Milwaukee. They used them to play Merton and won the game 5-4."
"Mrs. Henry Hecker (of Lannon) celebrated her birthday with a family reunion at the Sussex home of her daughter and family, Mr. and Mrs. Ernie Pfeil."
Meanwhile, there was a much smaller column on Colgate happenings. The major Lisbon-Colgate paragraph was that the Colgate located Holz family had a reunion at a park in Fond du Lac.
Next, Mrs. Kraetsch had a promotion for a local benefit dance that would be held at the Brookfield North Avenue and Calhoun Road Log Cabin on June 15, 1949 with Don Mierow's band providing the music. I was 17 at that time and occasionally sneaked away to the log cabin for fun and games, as they didn't question a young man who was already 6-foot-5.
Now, what was really interesting were the side adds on the 1949 MF News. One of the side ads next to her column talked about a then new camera, a "Polaroid (Instant) Land Camera" which would take a picture and quickly spit out a developed picture.
Another side ad was the Menomonee Falls movie house featured Bob Hope and Jane Russell in "The Pale Face." Then coming up was Rex Harrison, Linda Darnell and Rudy Vallee in "Unfaithfully Yours." Added features would be a novelty piece, news reel and a Popeye cartoon.
Roxo "soda water," a division of the Waukehsa Bon Ton Co., advertised a dozen quarts, plus one, for $1.45 at the Falls Beverage Co.
At the Menomonee Falls A&P grocery store, coffee was priced at $1.15 for three pounds, while evaporated milk was 11 cents a can. Even better was sliced bacon at 47 cents a pound.
The competition to A&P in the Falls was the National Food Store. The store specials were 10 cents for a loaf of bread and hamburger at 55 cents per pound.
For Lisbon farmers, one could get a McCormick-Deering tractor for $995.
Goodrich was offering car tires for $15.95 each.
Lisbon farmers could call Walter Ruushka (who advertised himself as "The bull on wheels") who was offering his services as an "Artificial inseminator" to breed farm cows. His telephone number was 31L.
In the real estate section adjacent to Mrs. Kraetsh's column there was an advertisement for "a modern four room home and garage" on a 60-by-130-foot lot for $9,500."
There were several rendering companies doing business advertising that they would pick up Lisbon farmer's "Dead and disabled horses and cows."
Notable was the Northwestern Rendering Co. in North Lake that had special "Highest price paid per head" and "50 cents per 100 weight for dead hogs."
Meanwhile, for the ladies, a Frigidaire refrigerator model could be purchased for $181.75.
However the very best deal was at The Held's Recreation, which advertised "T-bone steak, french fries, toast and coffee for $1."
Kraetsch wrote her column, accompanied by advertising promotions, for 30 years. She was born in 1886, married Lisbon farmer Alvin Kraetsch in 1908 and died in 1964, two years after her husband.
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