South Side Winters in the 1940s

An old sled

Memories of Tremont Avenue

by Ken Scigulinsky

During the fall and winter, because of early darkness and the cold, my friends and I no longer played on Tremont Avenue or on the playground. In our homes after school, we read comic books or listened to serial radio shows that seemed to be attuned to kids. Jack Armstrong was one of my favorites.  I also occupied my time playing at my friend’s house or visiting the Jefferson Library.

Merrick House, a huge community asset, provided some fun in the winter as well as the summer. There was an inner area on the Starkweather side of the Merrick House that was flat and paved (that configuration no longer exists). It was hosed down during freezing weather to provide a large ice-skating area for casual skating as well as ice hockey. Boundary lines were painted on the ice to define the cage area for the goalie position. My friend, Andy became an oddity among my group when he was hit in the mouth with a puck while playing goalie. The puck chipped three front teeth in a staircase pattern, giving him a very distinct appearance and a badge of toughness.

I never played hockey and the skates I used were handed down from my cousin with blades rounded over. I never got them sharpened since that would have cost $.75, way beyond reasonableness for my mom. Later, however, I did convince my mom to give me $.25 to buy a bleacher ticket (tickets for the lower stands were $3.60) to watch the Cleveland Browns play on Sunday at Lakefront Stadium.

My friend, Red, and I took the 2-cent bus to town and walked down to the stadium. We knew the names of a few of the Browns players but the one most noteworthy to me was Otto Graham. He seemed to be mentioned everywhere. There was always hope that a field goal would land in the bleachers where we sat, but that never happened.

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