We’d let a whole month slip by without a beer trail ride. Time to get going. We chose The Hangar at 1485 20thStreet, as our first stop on September 12. True to its name, the Hangar sits on the edge of Wittman Field. The east-west runway is clearly visible from the patio behind The Hangar.
We parked in the gravel parking lot behind the building. No one was seated at the outdoor patio, but had there been an air show it would have been packed.
We weren’t here for dinner, just beer, so we bypassed the relatively empty restaurant and entered a very crowded barroom. It was the tail end of Happy Hour so there was a deal on the beer. I’m not too sure what it was, but the bartender kept handing us a lot more change than we expected. Don and Elaine drank Alaska Amber; Marv, Judy and I had New Glarus Spotted Cow. Gary, our designated driver, had nothing. We took a small table away from the circular bar where we all could sit down, talk, drink and munch on popcorn.
Originally, this restaurant and bar were known as The Charcoal Pit. And the burgers and brats were grilled over charcoal. It also had an aeronautic theme. The owners decided to retire and the business passed to a daughter and son-in-law a year or so ago. So, except for the name, some menu changes, and a few decorative changes, the place seems the same.
The Hangar plays up its aeronautic theme with lots of photos of planes and parts of planes–a large wooden propeller from an old plane hangs on one wall. Photos of EAA participants and / or their planes hang on other walls. One photo shows the maiden flight of the China Clipper flying over the Golden Gate at San Francisco before the Golden Gate Bridge was built.
All this led us to talk about our flying adventures. We agreed the glamor of flying is long gone. I recalled flying British Airways to London back in the early 1980s with my mom. Our dinner came on real dishes with real silverware and glass tumblers. Not any more. All of us had stories of delayed flights, lost luggage, crowded seating. Sigh. Somehow makes train travel sound good.
Three men and nine bottles of Coors were at a table next to us. We assumed they were in Oshkosh for some aviation event, but we were wrong. They were here for a golf tournament at the Oshkosh Country Club. Did we know where that was? Don and Gary did and told them the course was very nice, though I don’t think they’d ever played it. We suggested that since they were in Wisconsin (the Chicago area was their home) that they should drink our Wisconsin beer: Spotted Cow.
Judy and Don come from larger families than the rest of us and are the youngest among their siblings. Judy told us one of her older sisters had died. Not unexpectedly as she had been ill for a very long time. “She was a great cheerleader in high school,” said Judy. So Judy practiced the cheers. She took us back to a time when football cheerleaders wore long full skits and bulky letter sweaters. And the cheers were very different too. With that we began reciting some that we remembered:
“Baby in the high chair
Who put her up there?
Sis, boom bah
Golden Raiders Rah! Rah! Rah!” (The Golden Raiders were Sheboygan North’s team.)
And Also from North: “Two bits, four bits / Six bits a dollar/ All from North High/ Stand up and holler.”
Or this one:
“Big apple Little Apple
C’mon team we’re rootin’ for you!
With a struttin’ to the left
And a struttin’ to the right
C’mon team let’s
Fight! Fight! Fight!” This one was from Chilton.
At Marvin’s high school in Illinois, they didn’t strut—they boogied.
And, of course “Let’s do that locomotive/ And do it slow…”
The kids in the stands in those days knew all the cheers and yelled. I’m not saying that was better than today, just different. Now at the college games we go to, the cheerleaders are mainly doing stunts and their outfits are skimpy compared to those worn in the 50s and 60s. They no longer call themselves cheerleaders, but instead refer to themselves as stunt squad members.
Oops, our glasses were empty and we had decided that our second stop would be our supper stop. We said good-bye to the guys from Chicago and left the bar.