Barney & Bowling

My father, Barney, loved to bowl... He bowled almost as often as he fished... bowling in the winter months, fishing in the others. Mother says at times he bowled three or four times a week. He was on a couple of leagues, some years on four and he also subbed. He was in big demand as a sub and couldn't say no. He worked hard all day but never said no to bowling afterwards and that was hard work too. Sometimes he would bowl on two leagues in one night, subbing for someone on one. That meant he would bowl on the 6:30 league and then the 9 o'clock league which didn't get over until 11. Often he would stay and play cards after bowling. He was gone a lot... I don't know how Mother put up with it... but she never felt neglected or minded at all.

Grand Island had two bowling alleys in the early days. There were five lanes in the basement of the Liederkranz and there was Rockwell Lanes on 2nd Street. Then in the early 60s a new bowling alley was built, Meves Bowl on East Bismark Road. One of Barney's "dreams" was to own a bowling alley. In 1963 he bought the failing Rockwell Lanes and attempted to keep it open while competing with the new, modern Meves Bowl.

Ronnie & Sharry Reher were cleaning out an old cedar chest to give to their son and daughter-in-law and found a full page notice from the May 23, 1963 Grand Island Independent announcing Barney's purchase of Rockwell Lanes. I had to break it into four sections to scan it into the computer... but will include most of it here.

Remember... clicking on any picture will make it larger, then try clicking again for larger still. Use the Back button to go back to the article.

Notice the ladies bowling in their full skirts...

I was in college when Daddy bought the bowling alley so don't have many memories of it although I think I must have worked there that summer. I know Jerri worked there the year he owned it. There was a snack bar and they served maidrites (loose meat hamburger sandwiches) and hot dogs, I believe, and the best chocolate malts I've ever had.

I showed the page to Mother and although she surely had seen it, she didn't remember it. I know I had never seen it. Mother said she has blocked that era out of her memories because she never wanted Daddy to buy the bowling alley. They had to sell their beautiful home on Bismark Road to buy it and moved into a rental house on Sycamore. Not a fun time in her life. Lots of people were surprised that he bought it and thought it was a mistake. The building and equipment were old; they still had young boys doing the pin setting. As things tend to be, it was more work than you might think, being open every night, weekends, and holidays... not the fun you think when you want to make a hobby into a business.

My sister, Jerri, said... I don't remember seeing this article, although I probably read it at the time it was published. I loved the year in the bowling alley and remember working there was fun, because we weren't too busy... I got to bowl a lot and play the pin ball machines and got real good at both. I also fell for one of the young pinsetters. I don't even remember his name now, but do remember his face. Mom and Dad were mortified and thought he was a loser... :) We didn't date really, but just had fun at the bowling alley. The maidrites were almost as good as those at Nifty Drive-In. It was too bad the business failed--but was the only failure that I remember that my dad had. As Jodi mentioned, Daddy was gone a lot bowling when I was in high school, but it was ok, because it left a lot of time for Mother and I to spend together when I was a senior; and even though he was gone a lot, he was still a good father and provider.

The newspaper clipping was a real treat!! Thanks Ronnie and Sharry!!
These are just the kinds of memories I hope to add to Rare Ramblings...


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