Friday, April 10, 2009

Mike Sylwester Remembers the Uhlig Family

I had a classmate, Ken Uhlig, who lived about 500 yards southeast of the football field. Now there are a couple men’s dormitories and some other buildings in that area, but that area still was mostly empty in the early 1960s. His father Walter taught religion. Ken's parents both were able to communicate in sign language fluently, because they previously had worked with deaf people. The Uhlig family had six kids, but I remember only Diane, a classmate of my brother Steve.

At that time, the Uhlig home was at the very edge of town. Behind his home was a creek area, I think it was called Little Creek (a word we Nebraskans pronounced as “crick”). Ken Uhlig had lived in this house for a long time and had explored the creek area in great detail. I would visit him, and he would lead me and show me around. He showed me mudfish, toads, birds nests, and other such stuff that I as a young boy thought was very interesting. Ken loved to climb around in the mud and bushes and get dirty.

Ken Uhlig, eighth-grade student at St John Elementary School in Seward, Nebraska

Ken was smart and had a good sense of humor, but he was not interested much in sports, although he was reasonably athletic. He was not interested in trying to be popular. He followed his own interests independently from a young age.

Ken was the guy who talked me into delivering newspapers to earn money. About a year after we had been living at Faculty Lane, he visited our house and told me that there was an opening for a paperboy delivering the Lincoln Star. He himself worked as a paperboy. He told me that I could earn about $10 a week delivering on the route that had become available. For me, who was about nine years old, this was a fantastic opportunity. I excitedly took Ken to tell my Dad, and Ken told sold my Dad on my doing this job. And eventually I was hired for the job, and I think Ken got a few dollars as a commission for recruiting me.

The Klammers lived near the Uhligs for a while before the Klammers moved out to remote Columbia Avenue with us.

Eventually a couple of dormitories were built in that area for the male college students. At the end of the school years, some kids would fish through the garbage dumpsters near the male dormitories, looking for grown-up male stuff, especially Playboy magazines. I think Ken was one of the kids who found some stuch stuff. Or maybe the Klammer boys found them. Or John Garmatz.

I don't remember whether I ever looked at the pages inside such found magazines. I think I just looked at the covers, or maybe read some of the articles. My memory is hazy about those details.

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