Paul grew up on farms in southeastern Wisconsin in the 1950s. He played football and graduated from Burlington High School in 1962.
1960 as I Remember
1960 as I Remember
1960 was a special year for me. After overcoming difficulties at home and in high school, I started to change from a boy to a young man.
In this article, I first recall events in school and at home during the first half of 1960.
Next, I look back on a memorable Fourth of July village picnic and baseball game. I also remember a train trip up to Marshfield to visit my grandparents.
In the fall, I recall the first semester of my junior year. Football and academic highlights are noted.
Finally, playing Santa Claus for my younger brother and sisters will always be cherished.
Events at School During the First Half of 1960
As 1960 dawned, I was a 15-year-old high school student who had just received a portable typewriter from mom and dad for Christmas. This was a most welcome gift because I needed a typewriter. I was taking typing in school with Ms. Kottke and doing horribly. Mom and dad knew that and because they feared I would fail typing, they got me a typewriter so I could practice at home.
Fortunately, I was doing very well in my other sophomore classes. I remember having geometry, biology, speech, second-year Latin, and physical education.
In addition, I was also enrolled in a first aid class in that second semester. I had had driver's education classroom instruction during the first semester, Now, Mr. Moore was giving every student 3-5 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction. This training was all in preparation to get a temporary driver's license at the age of 15.
My Latin class was especially fun because we put on a play in April. I had a minor part in the play and remember a classmate, Rodney, giving me a ride to the school and back in the evening in his little sports car.
Work at Home During the First Half of 1960
At home, I was the oldest sibling in the family. My eldest sister Beatrice was 12 and in the sixth grade. The second eldest sister Patty was five. Philip had just turned three and the youngest Connie was only seven months old.
We lived on a 117-acre dairy farm north of Honey Creek in 1960. As the oldest, I was expected to help mom and dad in the barn after school. Although I didn't milk cows, I had to feed them and then clean the manure from the gutters in the barn.
Every day we fed 15-20 head of cattle corn silage, grain, and hay.
Before feeding, I had to first climb 30-40 feet up into the silo and then fork down enough silage for either a morning or evening feeding.
The grain was kept in a bin upstairs as well as the hay in a big haymow. After opening a trapdoor on the floor of the bin, I released grain which fell into a cart below. Hay was released downstairs by first opening another trapdoor on the floor of the haymow and then throwing bales of hay down a chute that landed in the cattle manger.
After feeding all the cows corn silage, grain, and hay, my final big job was cleaning the manure from the gutters. There were two rows of 4-6" deep gutters behind the cattle. Using a shovel and a wheelbarrow, I first shoveled the manure into a wheelbarrow. When the wheelbarrow was full, I then had to wheel it to a manure spreader parked next to a side door of the barn and dump it into the spreader.
In the winter of 59-60, the weather was so cold that it froze the manure on the spreader. Dad, therefore, decided to dump the manure into a big pile outside of the barn. This made my job more challenging!
Paul in 1959
Dad and His Cows in 1959
The Summer of 1960
I remember the summer of 1960 for three significant events in my life.
- The Honey Creek Village Community Fourth of July Picnic
- A Three-Day Vacation to Marshfield, Wisconsin
- Burlington High School Summer Football Practice
The Honey Creek Village Community Fourth of July Picnic
After my sophomore school year ended around June 1, I was busy helping dad plant the remaining acres of corn. Shortly later, we had the big job of making first-crop hay. I usually stacked the baled hay on wagons and then helped dad unload the wagons. We did this by putting the bales on an elevator and then sending them up into the barn's haymow. Most of the time, dad would put the bales on the elevator and I would stack them away in the haymow.
Around the middle of June, I became excited when I learned that the Honey Creek village community only one-half mile away was holding a Fourth of July picnic celebration at the Honey Creek School. The picnic did not interest me as much as the community softball game being held after everyone ate.
It seems like only yesterday that I was playing in the game. Many adults also joined in the fun with boys aged 8-15. My dad who loved baseball was playing on the opposite team and pitching. Wendell Earle was our team's pitcher.
During the game, I got up to bat and socked one of dad's pitches over the center field fence for a home run. As I was yelling and celebrating rounding the bases, everyone at the picnic had known that I had hit a homer.
Honey Creek Village School
A Three-Day Vacation to Marshfield, Wisconsin
Immediately following the Fourth of July picnic, I became unhappy and depressed. Life at home was boring and I had nothing to look forward to. I had no friends around Honey Creek and no transportation to Burlington when I was not helping on the farm.
Sensing my unhappiness and depression, mom suggested that I take the train up to Marshfield and spend a few days with grandma and grandpa.
I readily agreed with my mother's suggestion. Going away on a trip to spend some time with grandma, grandpa, and my youngest aunt would certainly cheer me up.
On or around July 13, dad took me to the train station in Burlington. At about 9:00 p.m., I boarded a Sioux Line train bound for Marshfield.
After spending most of the night on the train, I arrived at Marshfield early in the morning. I cannot remember who met me at the station but I quickly made my way to grandma and grandpa's house about a mile away.
The house was at 903 N. Walnut Ave. and it hadn't changed much from my memories of the early 1950s. All the rooms looked the same and I noticed the same old wall telephone that you had to crank before using it in the dining room. My old bed in the unfinished room upstairs also still looked the same.
Uncle, grandpa's elder brother, still had a room in the house. Uncle Leo, mom's mentally retarded younger brother, was also sitting in the same chair in the TV room. Aunt Mary a little older than me who would be a high school senior in the fall had her same room upstairs.
Grandpa's activities, however, were something I had not paid attention to before. When I got up at about 6:30 the next morning, I saw him sitting in a rocking chair and drinking beer. About a half-hour later, grandpa left for his job as an attendant at the Marshfield Wildwood Zoo.
In the afternoon, when grandpa didn't return home immediately after work, grandma suggested that I look for him in a tavern three or four blocks away. Sure enough, grandpa was sitting at the bar drinking and shooting dice.
Grandpa had his faults but he was always good to me and my siblings. Grandma said that he was sober the last year of his life. Fortunately, I got to see him before he passed away in October 1961.
While in Marshfield for a couple of days, I think Aunt Mary took me roller skating one evening.
I only followed sports news and read in a newspaper that the Milwaukee Braves were four games behind the Pittsburg Pirates in the baseball standings.
It was a very good short vacation. After I returned home, I started to look forward to high school football practice that would begin on Monday, August 22.
Sioux Line Station in Burlington
Grandma and Grandpa's House in Marshfield
Burlington High School Summer Football Practice
August 22, 1960, was circled on my calendar. That was the first day of summer football practice. As a junior with one year of experience on the junior varsity team, I was excited to be on the varsity football team.
Before the first day of practice, I had to have a medical physical and a dental exam. I passed the physical but needed to have a tooth pulled before the dentist signed off on the exam.
My dentist was in Burlington. Getting a lower back tooth extracted was one of the most painful experiences in my life.
August 22 finally arrived. On that morning, all varsity players received their football equipment. That included shoulder pads, rib pads, hip pads, thigh pads, and a helmet. I was responsible for providing a mouthpiece, football shoes, and a jockstrap.
For the first week, we had two practices per day — one in the early morning and the other late in the afternoon.
I was assigned to play left tackle on offense. All of the other offensive linemen were also juniors. The seniors were on the defensive team.
In addition to conditioning exercises, I learned run and pass blocking. We also had numbered play calls with blocking assignments.
I remember our scrimmages being tough because the defensive tackle opposite me, Paul B., was five inches taller and 40 pounds heavier than me.
After the end of two weeks of practice, our school began in September on the Tuesday after Labor Day.
Memories of the 1960 Football Season
Our 1960 varsity football season ran for nine games from the first week in September through the first week in November. Burlington High School was in the Southern Lakes Conference although we played two non-conference games.
I specifically recall the following events.
- Our first pre-game pep rally
- Watching game film
- The Waterford game
- Breaking Jimmy W.'s leg in practice
- The Mukwonago game
Our First Pre-Game Pep Rally
As I recall, our first pre-game pep rally was held on Friday afternoon before our evening game. The varsity football team players and coaches were on the stage of the high school's second-floor auditorium.
The offensive line stood in formation facing the study body as Coach B. introduced us all by position and name. When Paul Kuehn was announced as the starting left tackle on offense, I never felt prouder in my life.
Watching Game Film
Throughout the season, we always assembled in the team room for previous game film reviews on Mondays before the start of practice.
As the film was projected on a big screen, we relived the previous game. Coach B and his assistants critiqued both our offense and defense. Many times the film action was stopped, rewound, and/or run in slow motion to analyze our play. Coach B did not hesitate to call out players for missed blocking assignments or for running backs not going through an opened hole in the line.
After reviewing the previous game, an assistant coach would give a scouting report of the team we would be facing next. Sometimes we could view the film of our next opponent.
The Waterford Game
The second game of the season was our home opener and it was Parents Night. All of the varsity football team players' parents including mom and dad were in attendance.
This was a non-conference game against Waterford High School only eight miles away. Waterford's starting quarterback, Jerry S., attended the same grade school as me in Waterford.
I still clearly remember two plays in the game. One was while I was on offense and the other while our defensive team was on the field.
In the first quarter, we had first down on about our 30-yard line. On the first down call by our quarterback, Dennis L. took a handoff and went 20-25 yards around the right end for a big play. Unfortunately, our drive stalled and we had to punt.
Later in the game, while the offensive team and I were on the bench, the Waterford halfback Benavides took a handoff around the right end and ran about 80 yards for a touchdown. It was so frustrating seeing him run close to the sideline right in front of our team bench and coach!
Waterford won the game 19-0 and I never heard the end of it from my dad.
Breaking Jim W.'s leg in practice.
In a practice before the seventh or eighth game of the year, I broke Jim W.'s leg in practice. During one scrimmage play, Jim W. was lined up as a defensive tackle opposite me. While blocking Jim, I accidentally broke one of his legs.
The result of this misfortune was that I now had to play both offense and defense for the remaining few games.
The Mukwonago Game
Finally, how can I forget the Mukwonago game in 1960! It was the eighth or ninth game of the year.
Leading up to the game, a Burlington Standard Press sportswriter by the name of Wolf predicted that Mukwonago would beat Burlington. Trying to inspire our winless team, I wrote on the chalkboard in the team room, "Wolf says Mukwonago by 10! Will it be that way?"
We wound up tieing Mukwonago 6-6. Before scoring the tieing touchdown, Andy W. ran a kickoff back that I originally thought was a touchdown. As the referee spotted the ball on the five-yard line, I noticed that Andy had a bad nose bleed. That didn't stop Andy from catching the tieing touchdown on the next play!
1960 Football Team
1960 Football Action
Remembering My First Semester Junior Classes
My first-semester junior classes lasted from September through the middle of January. When not engaged in football activities, I recall the following.
- My academic classes and teachers
- An English class U.S. presidential candidates debate
My Academic Classes and Teachers
In the first semester, I was enrolled in a college-prep course of study. My academic classes included advanced algebra, chemistry, English, Spanish I, and world history. Each class and teacher is now briefly discussed.
Advanced algebra was my favorite subject. Mr. Geiken was my favorite teacher and he had previously taught me algebra and geometry.
Chemistry was my second favorite course. Mr. Connors was my teacher and he stimulated an interest in chemistry that led me to major in it in college.
English was taught by Ms. MacCready. I recall reading interesting Shakespeare plays in her class and also engaging in a debate.
Spanish I was an interesting class and it was taught by Mr. Thews. This class stimulated my future interest in studying foreign languages.
Finally, Mr. Belden was my world history teacher. He assigned A Tale of Two Cities as a required book to read. When he discussed the book with me, he knew that I had not read it with comprehension.
Junior Class High School Teachers
High School Teachers
An English Class U.S. Presidential Candidates Debate
1960 was a U.S. Presidential election year. Ms. MacCready thought a debate between supporters of the Republican candidate Richard Nixon and the Democrat candidate John Kennedy would be a very good idea.
I recall that in October Nancy S volunteered to argue for Richard Nixon and I argued for John Kennedy. I attempted to show that Kennedy's economic policies were better than Nixon's. Nancy seemed to focus on foreign affairs.
The debate was challenging and exciting but I cannot remember who won it.
Playing Santa Claus at Christmas
Finally, I remember playing Santa Claus for my younger siblings on Christmas Eve. As I walked into our house with a big sack of presents, The expressions of awe and joy on my brother's and sisters' faces were priceless.
Playing Santa Claus on Christmas Eve
© 2021 Paul Richard Kuehn
Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on October 04, 2021:
Yes, I am happy 1960 wasn't the end of my story. My interesting and challenging life was just beginning.
Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on October 04, 2021:
Thank you, Liz! The role in the Latin play was very minor.
Denise McGill from Fresno CA on October 04, 2021:
It was a momentous year filled with some great memories. Aren't you glad that year wasn't the end of your story?
Liz Westwood from UK on October 04, 2021:
This is a very interesting account of your memories from 1960. I was impressed by your role in a Latin play.