Opinions

Sat
18
Feb

Memories of picking beans and Friday nights in Shawano

Last week, I completed a series of articles written from notes by my Aunt Arline Roggenbuck, daughter of Walter and Martha Robenhagen. This is the first article in a series I will be writing about my memories of growing up in the 1950s and 1960s. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents, Walter and Martha, and I hope my memories will take you back in time.

I was in kindergarten when we moved from Shawano to Marion. I remember crying and not wanting to leave. I would miss my grandparents who lived down the street from us on Lieg Avenue. I would miss my aunts and uncles, cousins, kindergarten classmates and my teacher, Miss Howe.

Fri
10
Feb

Aunt Arline reflects on life, past and future

Today’s article concludes the four-part series written from notes by my Aunt Arline (Robenhagen) Roggebuck. Aunt Arline was the daughter of Walter and Martha Robenhagen, my grandparents. Next week, I will tell you about my memories of my grandparents from the 1950s and 1960s.

Aunt Arline wrote: “Our summers were busy. We had to pick potato bugs (no insecticides) off the entire large potato field. We always had to do our work before we could do anything else. I remember wanting go to a Fourth of July parade, but I had to unload hay into the hay mow and then push it down along the edges. The mow was small, but it all had to go in. I didn’t get to the parade.

Fri
03
Feb

Christmas celebrated differently in early 1900s

This is the third article in a four-part series from notes written by my dad’s sister, Arline (Robenhagen) Roggenbuck. Thank you for your phone calls, comments and cards telling me the memories this series has rekindled. Here are more of my aunt’s memories in her own words:

“The wash tubs were brought back into the kitchen for Saturday night baths. I remember all too well the times during the Depression when the only soap available was Fels Naptha or P and G laundry soap. Baking soda or salt did double duty as toothpaste.

“A hair curler on occasion would rest in the lamp chimney and when hot enough to sizzle when touched with a wet finger, we’d crimp our hair. Many times, the smell of scorched hair filled the room.

Fri
03
Feb

Letter: We need truth in government

To the editor:

It is a time in our history when we can’t believe everything we hear. Even our new president is notorious for false claims.

We know that, before becoming a candidate for president, Donald Trump told the public that he had proof that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. He only admitted that Obama was born in the United States and thus a legitimate president when the lie started damaging his favorability ratings shortly before the election.

Since becoming president, Trump has lied about the size of the crowds at his inauguration by saying they were larger than at Obama’s. His claim can easily be disproved when looking at pictures of each crowd.

Fri
03
Feb

Letter: Russian hacks no joking matter

To the editor:

Tim Ryan missed the most important point in his article about the recent evidence of Russian meddling in the American political process (“County Dems hit by Russian hacking incident,” Jan. 20).

Ryan begins his article derisively when he asks if Shawano County is “holding tantalizing secret information that Russian President Vladimir Putin would like to get his hands on?” He concludes by saying the cost of repairing the hacking damage is comparatively small.

End of story? Hardly, at least not the end for responsible journalists. Instead of joking about the Russian hack and minimizing its effects, someone at The Shawano Leader needs to recognize what’s most important about the hacking incident. The Russian hacks are attacks on our democracy.

This is not a joking matter. The hacks transcend the political parties. This is serious business. This is about how our society functions or fails to function.

Fri
27
Jan

More insights into life in the early 1900s

My father rarely talked about what life was like for him growing up in the 1920s and ’30s. Recently, my cousin, Lynn (Roggenbuck) Erbach, sent me a copy of notes written by my father’s sister, Arline (Robenhagen) Roggenbuck. The pages from her notebook gave me an insight into the joys and struggles of life back then. Here, in her own words, are more of her memories:

“I shared a bedroom with my sister Olga until she left home to marry. During the earlier years, our bed was far from comfortable. Our mattress was ticking filled with cornhusks. No Beauty Rest mattresses for us. As we turned, the dry cornhusks would snap and crackle. Usually at harvest time, the mattress would be filled with new husks.

“The Depression years were tough. There was little money to buy anything new. One year, my mother spent a total of $5 for her years clothing. $1 for a cheap pair of shoes, $1.95 for a corset she needed due to backaches, and the remainder for dress material.

Fri
27
Jan

Letter: We must be vigilant to avoid being taken in by ‘fake news’

To the editor:

We are living in the era of “fake news.” We can no longer trust what we are told. The internet is rampant with stories that, unless checked, spread like wildfire.

In The Shawano Leader’s Jan. 21 edition, journalist Tim Ryan quoted members of the Shawano Republican Party as saying that individuals were being paid to protest against Trump during the inauguration on Jan. 20. The website Snopes.com calls the claim a hoax. We need our news agencies to report real facts, not easily rebunkable falsehoods. A comment pointing out the Republicans’ false claims would have been appropriate.

Could the Trump Administration return us to the values of the 1980s, when students had a better knowledge of how government works? I’m hoping this Republican comment is true. I’m hoping it includes a thorough understanding of the amendments to the Constitution, especially the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech and the rights of assembly and petition.

Fri
27
Jan

Letter: Clintonville schools need more than new facility

To the editor:

The Clintonville School Board at its last meeting voted to place a referendum asking for $24 million bonding to pay for a new elementary school and demolish the existing buildings on 8th Street, including the historic 1918 former high school.

I spoke at the meeting in favor of placing a priority on improving the performance of our schools in educating our children rather than concentrating on brick and mortar improvements. The recent report card from the state found our school “underachieving.” When I questioned the superintendent about the decline of academic performance, I was told it was due to a high level of poverty in our community and the families of students.

I asked the board to look at funding incentives for teachers to live in our community, to raise the salaries of teachers to attract and keep outstanding teachers, and to provide help to students who are struggling. These actions take money that cannot come from bond revenue.

Fri
20
Jan

Aunt Arline’s notes provide look at life in early 1900s

Like me, many of you had parents or grandparents who lived in the early 1900s. My dad, Milton Robenhagen was born in 1918. His sister, one of my favorite aunts, Arline (Robenhagen) Roggenbuck, was born in 1920. Many of you knew my Aunt Arline. She lived in Shawano all her life until her passing in 2007. She married Gary Roggenbuck, a war hero who received a Purple Heart. He drove truck for Badger Breeders. He died prematurely from a bee sting, leaving my aunt, a mother of six, a widow.

Life back in the early 1920s, ’30s and ’40s was much different than life today; simpler yet not easier in many respects.

Sat
14
Jan

Community rallies to give Legion post new roof

I recently received a communication from the commander of American Legion Post 117, Al Boyd. He asked me to help him give well-deserved thanks to those he referred to as “angels of our community.”

Commander Boyd explained: “We needed to put a new roof on our building. After two months of fundraising, things did not look good for our grand old building. Problems kept cropping up, and it looked like we were putting money into an endless pit.”

Boyd continued: “Then Audrey Criscione, Paul Hintz and Steve Lovelady came into the picture. A Friday night fish fry with a social media post, a newspaper story and word of mouth made it a Friday unlike any Friday we have had in years! The wonderful folks of Shawano showed up en masse. We ran out of fish and still they came, leaving donations.”

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