Clare County Review & Marion Press

Postcard from the Pines: Free Fish and Chrome Fins

Bernies NW Main and Mill Corner 1956

Yup. Free fish this weekend, or at least the chance to catch some. All you have to do is go out there on the hard water and catch them, no fishing license required for those old enough to need one. Of course, you must obey all of the fishing rules, other than the license requirement. Michigan throws two Free Fishing weekends a year, one in February and one in June. If you are a fair weather angler, June is for you. If you are a serious devotee, you do both and go out in the harshest month of all,and deal with the weather Mom Nature and her friends throw at you.
Our family has gotten together to fish in February since the grands were little kids. They are now all over 21, two are married and have children and obligations of their own. But when the fishing weekend rolls around, they are kids again and plan to fish. The story is much the same for the rest of the Clan. When the Traynor’s hit the ice on Free Fishing Weekend, they hit the ice in force.
The Clan is, of course, armed with all of the necessary fishing equipment, and then some. They haul shanties and heaters, one or two small grills and several coolers of food and refreshements onto the ice. They want for nothing but a good catch, which they seldom make. They most certainly have a good time together, a picnic on the ice, and they go over the limit for good fun every time.
The Gardener and his brothers are testing the ice in a couple of locations this week in preparation for the weekend. The rollercoaster weather will likely make for rough going if the warm temps and rain appear, then turn to snow and ice. A plunge into the freezer for the weekend is almost certain. We’re stuck in a crazy rut.
As a family we hope to resume our Annual Traynor Family Fish Fry event this summer. Fish for that get-together are courtesy of brother Skip who treks north each July for a certain fish run on the St. Mary’s River. After nearly three years, it will be a great pleasure to dine on fresh fish with the Clan again.
What are the odds that, in a town with two Studebaker’s, both would turn up in a random photograph taken on Main Street? They did in the ca.1953 photo we used here a few weeks ago. There are six vehicles seen along the street. There are four whole vehicles and parts of two others. Two, one parked and one at the intersection, are Studebaker’s, one is an Oldsmobile, next a Chevrolet and what appears to be a Buick is next. At the intersection the tail light of another vehicle is next to the door of Border’s Store, either in passing or parked there. This is quite the display of early 1950’s American made, chrome laiden, vehicles.
What makes this photo interesting, besides the Main Street stores and vehicles, is the fact that there were two Studebaker’s regularly in the Marion area, and both are seen here. One belonged to Maynard and Ruth Downing. They lived just west of the Village Limits, and son John still does. The Downings farmed and Maynard worked for Michigan Gas Storage. Ruth Downing taught school and was a long-time Kindergarden teacher for the Marion Public Schools. Mrs. Downing drove her Studebaker to work each day. Her last Stuebaker could be seen by passers-by for years, it’s rear end or maybe the front, protruding from a storage building near the barn.
I am not certain about the owner of the other Studebaker, although it may have belonged to LaVere Williams, a long-time employee at Van’s Drug’s, where said car is parked. The answer to that question likely gone with her son, the late Stewart Williams.
As for the Chevy, Olds and the Buick, there were plenty of them around. My parents had a Chevy like the one here, purchased when I was born, and later in the 1950’s dad had a couple of Buicks and an Oldsmobile, much like those seen here.
There was a time in our little town when people were known by the vehicles they drove. Those in the know could stroll along the sidewalks or drive down Main Street, and name those who were shopping and where, just from the parked cars. It was an interesting skill. No one could ever hide a Studebaker!
Thanks to Bernard Prielipp for the talk about cars. This week we’ll give you another Main Street shot with some more classics. I can tell you that the black Ford on the right, was driven for many years, and kept spotlessly clean, by Vera Liscombe of Blevins Street. I can also say that she liked to park in that particular spot when she came to shop at Bernie’s IGA.

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