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Community voices

Enclosed is a poem written about Rib Lake back in the 1920s to 1930s. I assume it was written by a man who was a shoemaker and he produced handmade shoes.

He had a home at about 1225 Railroad St. in a small home which is still being used as a home to this day. Very near to that house was a home and the owner was James Novak, a butcher by trade. He married a lady there who had several children. A boy who was the eldest, William was his name, somehow learned the poem and was able to recite it upon request, My father, Frank Tauber, ran the tavern near the north end of Main Street across from the Legion Memorial Park where the army tank sets.

I was only a teenager and ofter tended bar to give my father a break. Bill came in one night with his friend Gerry R. and they would play the juke box and have a few rounds of Christian Bros. brandy and a beer for a wash. After consuming a “few starters,” Bill would suddenly start to recite Shoemaker Swenson’s poem. I enjoyed it very much and still do.

Shortly after I finished high school I worked at the shoe factory. Then the Korean War came along and me and my friends decided to join the Air Force for four years.

While in the Air Force, I asked my sister Delores to get Bill to recite the poem and copy it for me and send it to me. For some reason Bill couldn’t recall the end that night so she sent the poem on to me. But as it is, it still sounds good and has humor to it.

During World War II Bill was a medic and got to serve in the area of Japan. Later they sent him to Germany to attend to the Jewish prisoners, so I assume he has seen his share of what the hellish wars were about.

Could you find room in you kind heart to print this in your paper?

After 13 years of working in the shoe factory in Rib Lake I chose to leave Rib Lake and go into police work. I got on the Appleton Police Department and my youngest son also retired from it. I have a home on Spirit Lake and have been here in Appleton from 1967 until now. Could you please honor me and Bill to see this in your lovely paper?

God bless and peace.

— Ronald Tauber, Appleton

Rib Lake Poem

Rib Lake is the place In the universal space And I heard so many say it is no good.

But let me tell you this We got more and better biz Than most the places around our neighborhood We got mills we got logs In the lakes among the frogs And a lumber-yard that extends for many yards We got brandy 90 proof That will make your belly move In old Olympian it was distilled by the gods A drug store you can see Selling Rocky Mountain Tea And sum other drugs and medicine you may need Such as Carters Liver Pills Ice cream and sum grills Also sum psysipidilla seeds And a baker’s shop that makes you fat And some sweets that sure will make you thrive And we got a money bank That is No. 1 in rank It is reliable and it never failed us yet Put your money in the safe Work and pray and do behave And when you’re old you’ll be safe from cold and wet A department for the fire We got that we admire One can always got to bed and feel safe secure When they come with hose and spout All the fire will go out And it hardly pays to have your house insured We got boys we got girls with some fascinating curls And a face as sweet as any can demand And they dance and they play and they swear And they pray Anything that suits a purpose just at hand We’ve got churches we got schools We’ve got smarties, we’ve got fools Plugging Algebra and Latin mostly slang Lot of good religious folks Churches mostly orthodox Only one freethinker in the whole shebang And a lively music band sometimes playing on the stand Noted for good music and some harmony And some taverns selling pop, always gentleman on tap Where the boys can have their beer with cards and dice.