September Journey with Phyllis Buell

Syracuse Journal-Democrat

Before and After?

Nebraska City has always been one of my very favorite places to visit.

For many reasons, it has been quite a while since I have had that privilege.

During the years we lived south of Syracuse (Jan. of 1951 till Jan. 1964), we traveled there quite often.

Last week, I traveled that same route and not very much of it was familiar to me!

I was pleased the traffic wasn’t very heavy or I would have been holding it back as I tried to find my way. Indeed, I would have been “the old lady that didn’t know where she was going.”

Hwy #2 didn’t take me down the streets of Dunbar to Nebraska City any longer.

So many things were different. Progress? Somewhat, change – for certain.

Ulbrick’s cafe? Gone for many years, I know. I remember lots of good meals there. The recipes still exist, but even those same recipes can’t create the dishes like Mary could.

Berthold’s Greenhouses and the gracious owners hosted me many times as I perused the buildings of plants. Grandpa Berthold would often cut me a rose from the old, old plant that grew in the northwest corner of the north greenhouse. That memory still brings a smile.

Woolworths five and dime. Always, good value and service.

J. C. Penney’s had everything you needed.

. . . the brick building that housed the News-Press. The big presses were seldom idle. Hyde Sweet was the brother of C. A. Sweet, our landlord.

One fall Sunday afternoon when Ken was a baby, Floy and Charlie stopped by the farm and took us to Nebraska City to visit Hyde and Zelma Sweet. That big old wonderful home seemed like a palace to me. Then we went on for a great supper at the fore-mentioned Ulbrick’s Cafe.

Hyde sold me the first typewriter I owned for $40. Wish I still had it. Now, as I look back on his career, I wonder if he used it himself to crank out some of the 2000 words a day for seven days a week, 52 weeks a year for the length of his 55 year career he is credited with achieving?

The beautiful park areas in the city still call to me as much as they ever did.

As noon approached, I joined the drive up line at one of the fast food restaurants and ordered my lunch. Then, I drove to Wildwood and had a delightful picnic for one there.

Steinhart Park was the site of many 4-H club picnics for the years we lived in both Otoe and Cass County. Indeed, those were the good old days.

Ken learned how to swim in the pool there through the Red Cross lessons. We carpooled with the Slosson and Hill families to attend those lessons before Syracuse had a pool.

If I closed my eyes, I could see some of the early years we would go to Nebraska City to see the beautiful fireworks on the 4th of July.

It was a real summer treat to take blankets and find a spot on the hill at Steinhart Park. That was a tradition we enjoyed for several years with Bernard and Lorraine Holscher, our Syracuse friends.

As I gathered up my solitary picnic leftovers, I smiled as I recalled all of the special memories Nebraska City has given me and I hoped “she” would be there for many more years to nurture and inspire visitors and residents of the present and future.

Thanks for the memories, Nebraska City.

Phyllis Buell, September Journeys