I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving and are taking a break between the holidays for a weekend off. There will be time enough to get the tree or bring it out of storage in the next week or two. I must confess that I did hang some outside decorations up before Thanksgiving when the weather warmed up a bit and the skies cleared long enough to let the sun come out. The decorations were lit after Thanksgiving, not before.
On Wednesday, Nov. 16, the Herald ran a story of three businesses that are either closed or being sold on County Highway X in the Town of Lafayette. The three — High Shores Haus, Goodies and La Grander’s — have all played a part in my life each in its own way.
High Shores Haus was the place my wife and I usually went for our anniversary and out to eat for dinner when our girls are home. It had a nice view and some pretty good food. In the summer it was fun to look out over the lake and watch the boats. Fall and spring brought a changing view of the lake, and it was fun to watch the ice get thinner and grayer until it disappeared.
Goodies, unfortunately, I did not frequent very often. It is not that their products did not measure up, for the times I bought things from the store they were excellent. Perhaps when you get a certain age and when you no longer have kids at home, you let your mind forget that such a store existed.
I will say for purely sentimental reasons I will miss La Granders’s the most. I knew Mr. Robert La Grander and was probably one of the few people who knows where Chili, Wis., is. Mr. La Grander was born in Chili and grew up in the Marshfield area. He also married a Marshfield girl, Carol Weinfurtner — in Marshfield Weinfurtner is a common name. I believe he knew my mother-in-law as they were the same age and both grew up and went to school in Chili.
La Grander’s Drive In and Ice Cream was not known for its five-star cuisine. The food was pretty basic — the cheese curds were great and the root beer floats were outstanding. But it was the joy of sitting outside in a gazebo, across from Lake Wissota in summer that brought back a lot of memories. When our girls came home in the summer, we always went out to La Grander’s for lunch or dinner.
The down side of La Grander’s was the noise and increased traffic on County Highway X. Sometimes people driving like idiots and of course every so often there would be a car wreck or two. I remember taking a crew and going to La Grander’s after a car accident to get something to drink. Mr. La Grander gave us all a large root beer on the house for being with the fire department. He certainly did not have to do that.
Changes in shopping trends happen in any and all communities. The was a game on Facebook a while back that asked you which stores were no longer in business since you were a kid. Well I can think of a few: Mc McLennan’s Department Stores, Woolworth’s Department Store, Radio Shack, JC Penny, a lot of Sears stores, Goodyear tire stores — feel free to add to the list.
We as consumers are quick to demand things and quicker to take our loyalty elsewhere. We do not reward things that last both in stores and in people. We are always on the prowl for the new, the different and the exciting. Take the new iPhone; in 18 months there will be a new and better one.
I doubt that High Shores Haus, Goodies and La Grander’s will be quickly replaced. For personal and business reasons it will be very hard to re-create those stores, and it will be very hard to find people who were willing to work so hard to make us happy. Seeing those businesses stand closed and shuttered on County Highway X in Lafayette reminds us that life brings changes and we will just have to adapt. That does not make it any fun though.