Join Waukesha resident Brien Lee and his blog, Sir Fido, as they explore the city and report on the interesting things they find.
Email Brien at email@example.com.
I know St. Nicholas Day was the sixth, but many people, like us, do "stockings" at Christmas. We often tease about putting coal in the socks of naughty children, but have you even given or received coal? Real coal?
These days one can buy black-colored fake coal candy or gum. This year we bought chocolate wrapped in black celophane that was supposed to represent coal. But not counting charcoal, where would one purchase real coal in Wisconsin? In an antique store?
Even though coal is still the most common substance used to generate electricity in the U.S., it's been a few years since the coal man made his last visit in this neighborhood. It's been many, many years since my company in Milwaukee quit using coal to fire up the boiler, but the boiler is still there - the coal room beside it. And coal! Clean-burning anthracite coal remains right where it was last dumped into the basement many decades ago.
The basement's wood floor still reveals hoof divots from when horses were stabled there. We often wondered what the building had been in it's previous life. Many thought it was a church because of it's arched windows, but I have my doubts.
I bring this all up because my company closed it's Milwaukee location December 8th. My last day in Milwaukee was Tuesday the 23rd. The end of September I heard that we might be moving to Racine in three year's time. The following week it was official - we'd be moving in three months!
We've been in business for over 90 years and at that location probably 70 or 80 of those. My grandfather started the company and my father worked there long before I got my 22 years in.
How much stuff do you think there was to clear out of the three-story buildings used by this corporation for most of a century, when even coal from the 50s or 60s was never thrown out? Lets just say Miller Compressing and the moving crew were kept very busy.
So now I have to drive 70 miles per day to work in Racine County, but at least I don't have to look for another job. I leave behind a lot of memories but will have plenty of time to think about them in the two or so hours a day of driving.