Green Bay, Wisconsin
October 27, 1999
Stanley arrived in Green Bay, Wisconsin today. So many questions he had. He said he wanted to know things about Wisconsin first. I told him that might be a little boring and might seem like he was back in school, but he said he wanted to learn about Wisconsin. So letís get the boring stuff out of the way before we get to the good stuff - like football.
First, Green Bay, Wisconsin is 1,445 miles away from Stanton, Texas. Stanley is far away from home.
Stanley arrived a little too late to see the beautiful colors of the leaves on our trees. In fall, the leaves turn all sorts of colors from bright red to brilliant yellow. Mixed in with other green trees, this makes for quite a sight. People come from other states just to see the fall colors.
Now, what else can I tell you about Wisconsin?
ďWisconsinĒ is based on the Indian word "Ouisconsin" believed to mean "grassy place" in the Chippewa tongue.
We gained statehood on May 29th, 1848. See! I told you this was going to sound like being in school. Itís going to get better, I promise.
Wisconsin has an area of 65,503 square miles (a lot smaller than Texas) with land area of 54,314 square miles and water area of 11,190 square miles. Thatís a lot of football fields!
I donít know how many of these you heard of, but some famous people born here in Wisconsin include:
Chris Farley - an actor from Madison
Eric Heiden - Olympic speed skater from Madison
Harry Houdini - a magician from Appleton
Liberace - a piano player from West Allis (near Milwaukee)
Charles and John Ringling - circus owners from Baraboo
Tom Snyder - a newscaster from Milwaukee
Orson Welles - an actor and producer from Kenosha
Frank Lloyd Wright - an architect from Richland Center
Bob Uecker - a baseball player and announcer from Milwaukee
Maybe your mom and dad can tell you more about them. If they canít, Iím sure your gramma or grandpa can.
Some of the things that we produce here in Wisconsin include cheese and dairy products. Cheese, cheese, cheese. If you ever watched a Green Bay Packers football game, Iím sure you have heard them talk about cheese. Along with the cheese comes the cows and the corn to feed them. Cranberries grow in the northwestern part of the state and Wisconsin is one of the big producers of cranberries (think about that one when you see the cranberry relish at thanksgiving time).
Our heavy industry includes food processing (meat and vegetables) and paper products. Just about all of the Bounce fabric softener in the US is produced here in Green Bay.
Tourism is a big part of our financial picture as well. Remember those leaves I told you about? That brings a lot people to our state as does the Green Bay Packers. A lot of money is spent every time the Packers play here in town.
Letís see. The state bird is the Robin. The state tree is the sugar maple (lots of homemade maple syrup is made up here).
The state flower is the violet. Back in 1908, the Superintendent of Schools had Wisconsinís school children vote for the state flower and the violet won. It wasnít formally adopted until 41 years later. The state also formally adopted the Robin as state bird and the sugar maple as the state tree at that time as well.
I can see Stanley is getting a little fidgety. Letís start talking about Green Bay.
First, a little information about our city Ö
Donít let those averages fool you, it does get hot here and very cold. Some summers it gets up over 100į in July, but not too often. Usually, the hottest it gets is in the upper 90ís.
Cold? Yes, it gets much colder than that 15.9į shown above. I can remember one year where it did not get above 0į for 10 days straight! Temps of -25į and wind chills of -45į. Thatís cold! Stanley doesnít look like heís dressed for the cold weather, so itís lucky heíll be back home before the cold weather sets in.
Iím writing this part early in the morning on Halloween. Usually itís very cold for Halloween. The trick-or-treaters usually have to wear winter garments under their clothes. I play creepy sound effects for Halloween and last year I had gloves on while setting up my stereo in the garage. This year should be very nice with temperatures in the low 60ís. We should see a lot of children at the door. About time the trick-or-treaters got a break.
Then thereís the snow. Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures of snow. Never think to take pictures after clearing out the driveway. The usual snowfall is about four to six inches. It can be very wet and heavy or very dry and light (it gets wetter and heavier in warmer weather - around 30 degrees). I have had snow over my knees the entire length of my driveway and drifts in front of my house up to my waist. For those who like it (I donít), skiing and snowmobiling are big wintertime activities up here.
The city does a very good job plowing our streets. An average snowfall doesnít bother us too much. If we get a lot of snow (a foot or more), usually things return to normal in about a day or so. When the streets get icy, the city throws down a mixture of salt and sand. The sand helps with traction and the salt melts the ice (and rusts our cars if you let it build up).
Other than that, Green Bay is a pretty good place to live. I had the opportunity to move here from Chicago in 1974 and jumped at the chance. People are friendly up here and we have a low crime rate. Researching some information on the web about Green Bay, I found Green Bay is:
One of the 50 fabulous places to raise your family (book by Melissa Giovagnoli - (I have no idea who she is)
One of top 10 safest cities with a population over 100,000
One of top 30 kid-friendly cities in the US (by Zero Population Growth)
One of the top 50 Reader's Digest best places to raise a family
One of the top 125 best places to live (Money Magazine - 1996)
The economy is very stable because of the type of industry located here. Paper and food packing are major industries. Green Bay is known as the toilet paper capitol of the world (and everybody needs that). Everybody eats, so the food packing is also very stable. In fact, thatís how the Green Bay Packers got their name. One of the local canneries sponsored the team when it got started, and they called themselves the Packers.
Speaking of the Packers, thatís a big part of economy as well. Every home game is worth about $2 million to the local economy. Thatís big bucks! That doesnít include the ďdrawĒ the Packers influence for the rest of the year. The Packer Hall of Fame and Packer merchandise add to the total as well.
So yes, we have a football team. The smallest city to have one. Unlike other teams in the NFL. the Packers are owned by the city population. The Packers offered stock and everyone in the city was allowed to buy one share. To raise money for new facilities, the Packers offered a new series of stock a couple of years ago. Again, only one share per person. Naturally, we bought one.
Iím kind of disappointed right now. So is Stanley. I went to the Packer web site (thatís when I sent you the web cam e-mail) to get some information about the team and found out they did something to the site which doesnít allow me to copy the text (first time that ever happened to me).
So, I hope you have access to the web. Try these sites to learn more about the Packers.
This is the official Green Bay Packers web site. Lots of history about the team (including how they got their name), when it was started, player information, the web-cam - everything is there.
This is official Green Bay Packer fan club web site. Check out the photo gallery. There are pictures of the tailgating before the game, the fans, and be sure to check out the pictures of the cars. People do some funny things to their cars up here.
That sure cut my section on the Packers short - sorry. The Packers will be playing the Cowboys on November 14th. Iíll be thinking about you when that game is on. Naturally, Iíll be cheering for the Packers.
Well, Stanley just noticed this ďUncle SkullĒ thing on my computer desk and heís wondering what thatís all about.
I have a nephew who bought a Harley a couple of years of ago. He knows how much I want one, so in the spirit of ďbikingĒ he started calling me ďskull.Ē His three year old daughter (at the time) started calling me ďUncle SkullĒ and the nic-name stuck. My wife sure didnít like being called ďAuntie Skull.Ē
Before I get to some more pictures, I have to admit Iím kind of a big guy. I really wanted to play football when I was younger, but my mom wouldnít let me - thought I would get hurt. With my size, I thought I would make a good defensive lineman. Maybe all pro material. Iíd say youíre pretty lucky to be playing football.
Now for some family pictures and stuff about me.
This is me and my wife, Pat in front our house. You can tell we are Packer fans!
We have two daughters, Lisa and Nicole.
Lisa is 23 and just got married to Kirk 3 weeks ago.
Nicole is 20 and kind of just doing her thing right now.
You already know I like motorcycles and the Packers. Some of my other interests and hobbies include shooting, hunting, fishing, listening to music, photography and surfing the web.
These are my girls and Kirk. Nicole is in the gold, Lisa in blue and Kirk is - well, heís the only guy in the picture.
This is my dog, Honey. She loves going for a ride in my truck. I have no idea how she does it, but she knows when itís Saturday. Any other day of the week I can grab my shoes and put them on and she just lays on the floor. On Saturday, she goes nuts when I get my shoes on. She starts barking and running around, wanting to go for her ride. I canít get out of the house without her. So I take her for a short ride and get her a cheeseburger at Burger King.
Like a good, well-trained dog from Wisconsin should be, she loves cheese!
Hereís one last picture of my wife in Door County. This was taken just past the peak of fall colors (remember those leaves I told you and Stanley about? The picture really doesnít show the full beauty of our trees in the fall. It is very pretty up here.
So thatís it Freddy. I hope you and Stanley learned a little something about life here in Green Bay, Wisconsin.