I recently received a letter from Dorothy Prothero (nee Belongia), a Wauwatosa Village resident who knew Buddy Schumacher. She just wrote a column on her recollection of the 1920s for the Wauwatosa Village Neighborhood Association’s October 2012 newsletter, my book was mentioned at the end.
I’ll share a few of the items Dorothy sent me, as well as some of the items she mentioned in the newsletter.
From her letter:
- At the time of Buddy’s kidnapping, she was just shy of 5 years old, living at 91 St. James St., which later became 7331 St. James St.
- She knew Buddy and his friends, but since they were a few years older than she, she didn’t play with them.
- She recalled her parents telling her Buddy had been kidnapped and nobody knew what had happened. Also, that all the kids in the neighborhood talked about it and it was very scary.
- She knew the boys who were with Buddy the day he disappeared — Arnold Yunk, Gordy Wolfe and John Wolfe — and knew them for years afterward.
- She lived next door to the Yunk family on Alice Street (later 74th Street) for a time, and recalls that Arnold was sent to prison at one point.
- Edwin (Cardy) and Fred Armstrong, Buddy’s uncles, were card playing friends of her parents.
From the newsletter:
- Most of the streets were made of dirt and gravel, and a water wagon, pulled by horses, sprayed the streets to settle the dust.
- Most people didn’t have horses or cars. They got around on foot or on the streetcar.
- In the summer, kids would routinely walk from the Village to the Wisconsin Avenue shops and to the lakefront!
- There were band concerts in Root Common every Monday night in the band shell across from the old Drew’s building now occupied by Yo Mama.
- In the winter at City Park (now Hart Park), the skating was outside. A man would burn wood in a warming shed, which was crowded and smelled of wet shoes and skates.
- National Tea would make peanut butter in a big bowl and sell it by the scoop.
If you’d like to become a member of the Wauwatosa Village Neighborhood Association or desire more information about the group’s activities, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.The group is also on Facebook.