There Was No Keeping These Pals Off the Ice  
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Ed Patenaude So I’ve Heard

This is hardly the time of year to talk about ice-boating on Webster Lake, but the calendar doesn’t control recollections, particularly when old friends are involved.

The story line developed in this corner some time ago, so readers are now privy to a discourse between Edmund A. Martin, who wrote a letter, and Anthony J. Mikolajczak, with verbal disclosures. When we left Ed and Tony, they were back skimming the ice from Beacon Park to Killdeer Island in separate boats in the late 1920s or early ’30s. The conditions were ideal and the teens lost track of time, finding concerned fathers when they returned home after 1 a.m. “Our dads were friends,” Tony recalled.

Now, Mr. Martin brings a “terrible experience” to the fore. It was on another January evening, with a minus 10 degrees reading. Ed was at the approach to Canavan’s Point at Killdeer when he crashed through the ice. “It took me awhile to get out and when I did I looked like a frozen fish,” Mr. Martin said. Tony used a different analogy. “He froze stiff like a board.”

Fortunately, one of Mr. Martin’s aunts, a Mrs. Schremser, lived close by. “She gave me some hot tea and a change of clothing and another friend, Abel Cyr, drove me home,” he said. A warm bath and a good night’s sleep righted things.

“Tony retrieved my boat, brought it to the shore and returned my sail,” Ed said. “It might be hard to believe, but we were out there the very next day.”

“We were the best of friends,” Mr. Mikolajczak said. Tony had a cockpit iceboat and he helped Ed build a cockpit boat of his own, the men allowed. Then, both their ice wagons had a passenger seat.

“You could take a girl for a ride,” Ed Martin volunteered.

Mr. Martin also picked up on Albert G. Chlapowski’s recollections of the fire that destroyed The Barn, a dine-and-dance place on Thompson Road in Webster in the late 1930s. Mr. Chlapowski was an elementary school pupil at the time and had to leave his home, across from the fire scene, to go to St. Joseph’s School.

One of Mr. Martin’s cousins, Art Weinert, was with The Barn house band when the place burned down. “Art played piano and accordion, Norm Bordeau was on sax, Bernie Leinweber on guitar, and Paul McGeary on drums.” Mr. McGeary, also a comedian, entertained during breaks. The group moved to The Club Dining Rooms in North Oxford after the fire, Mr. Martin said. The building was subsequently purchased by the Oxford Council Knights of Columbus and is now a day care center.

Bardy-Barnes Nursery was a relatively short-lived business that passed from the Webster scene some decades ago. Edmond “Sam” Bardy was one of the principals, and he knew a lot about horticulture.

The shop was on Thompson Road, on one of the lots now occupied by Place Motors, the Ford agency. Mr. Bardy was captain of the 1945 Bartlett High School football team that included some class of 1946 starters. Friendships developed and Sam attended reunions of that class as well as his own. His nickname came because he tried to emulate Sammy Baugh, the great Washington Redskins quarterback, as a kid.

For a wannabe quarterback, he turned into a pretty good lineman, according to the introduction given for Mr. Bardy at a class of 1946 reunion.

Sam Bardy’s horticultural studies didn’t go to waste with the closing of Bardy-Barnes. He taught the subject at a school in or near O’Fallon, Mo., where he lived many years. Besides flowers and football, there was another priority in Sam Bardy’s life, the Marine Corps. He’d leave his business to march in parades with a Marine Reserve Unit, his brother-in-law said last week.

Roland G. Lavallee added a sad note: Sam Bardy, 80, died June 11.

L. Roland Choiniere had a McDonald’s tray in his hands and an observation in mind on a recent afternoon: Webster was incorporated in 1832, so 2007 is its 175th birthday,
-Courtesy Of
Telegram & Gazette

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