Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The East End Community

We need to acknowledge the contribution of Mary Pharo Meldon in making this project possible. Not only had she saved copies of The Blue Room Belch, but she had preserved pictures of many of those mentioned in the paper. Some of her pictures, although not directly related to the stories in The Belch, were just too precious not to include. Enjoy.

In no particular order --Edgar Pharo, Arthur Pharo, Stanley Pharo, Matt McMorrow (piano player), Emma Pharo McMorrow, Stanley Pharo, and Aloysius Pharo

Following the 1937 Flood. Ray Pharo is the tall man pictured next to the "Boil This Water" sign.

The predecessor to Pharo's Cafe -- Chris Pharo's Place. Note the water trough in the foreground for the horses.

Scene from Pharo's Cafe.

Les Meldon and Ray Pharo
Mary Pharo Meldon and Les Meldon

Doc Prinzbach's Drug Store after Car Crashed into Store Front

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

East Enders

This transcription of the articles in The Blue Room Belch is dedicated to the men and women who lived and worked in the East End Neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio during World War II. The articles reflect the sense of community and the sense of humor of those who frequented Pharo's Cafe. Listed below are the names referenced in the book.  I took the liberty of adding the names of my father and two brothers, Johnny, "Bud" and Bob Jones who lived in the same block as Pharo's Cafe and served in World War II. Apparently my grandfather, Fred, did not join his neighbors at Pharo's.

Many of the names are familiar to me. I'm told my Uncle Bob worked for Joe "Wimpy" Fischer at his grocery. Bob Kroner was my Dad's best friend and was responsible for my Mom and Dad meeting each other. I hope you enjoyed their stories as much as I did.

Kathy Reed

Friday, October 26, 2012

Just to Remind You - Vol. 1, No. 7 - March 27, 1945

Don't forget gang, it's George Prinzbach who pays the postage on all the papers we send out. Never let that slip your mind. He still is very much concerned about each and every one of you.

Note: This was the final edition of the Blue Room Belch. Within the next six months, the "boys" in both the European and Pacific Theaters would return home to the welcoming arms of the "gang" at the Blue Room of Pharo's Cafe.This has been a labor of love recognizing the great people of the East End Community in Cincinnati, Ohio. I'm proud to know that over four generations of my Jones family planted their roots in this community.

This transcription would not have been possible without Mary Pharo Meldon and her nephew, Mark Pharo. Mary's family ran Pharo's Cafe. She preserved the issues of this newspaper that I had the privilege of transcribing.  Mark Pharo, a recent acquaintance, was the liaison between his aunt and me and provided me with many of the pictures. Many were from the collection of Mary Pharo Meldon. Mary graciously invited me to lunch with Mark and agreed to loan me the fragile papers.
Lou Guntzelman

Lou Guntzelman, pictured at the right, was the editor of the Blue Room Belch. As I've transcribed the articles, I've come to appreciate his sense of humor and world view. He was truly a man of his community who provided a great resource for "the gang" serving in World War II. I can imagine the smiles of the men and women, often serving in very difficult situations, receiving a copy of the Blue Room Belch.  Even the title has to bring a smile to your face.

Those familiar with the East End know that the neighborhood has undergone a lot of change over the years. The ever-present threat of floods has made governmental agencies interested in buying up and tearing down many of the homes that existed during this period. Contrast that with the current "gentrification" of the neighborhood, with homes and stores being replaced with condos up and down Eastern Ave. They often sell for more than half a million dollars. Even the name of the street was "gentrified" changing from Eastern Ave. to Riverside Dr. Thanks, Lou, for bringing the neighborhood to life.

I must also acknowledge the contributions of Bryan Phillips who has a facebook page on the East End, Columbia Tusculum and Linwood Communities. Click on "Photos" and you'll have the chance to endlessly explore pictures of the old neighborhood.

It has been my pleasure to bring a snapshot of this time and place to the children and grandchildren of "The Greatest Generation."

Kathy Reed

Mail Bag - Vol. 1, No. 7, March 27, 1945

This department reports progress. It was a little light but we understand all of you can't find time to keep up your contact with those that are near and dear to you and also write us at every little whip-stitch. So, no hard feelings. Write when you can. We did have cards from Tom and Joe Higgins telling us of their new APO. They left for parts unknown. Dick Steele, Dave Gruber and Jim Breving also wrote fine letters. Thanks fellows!

Howdy Fellows! Vol. 1, No. 7, March 27, 1945

When Ed. Boland hit here, he told me that some of the fellows aboard the good ship Cumberland Sound enjoyed reading this paper. Well, Praise the Lord. Whoever thought I'd hear something like that. Imagine anyone enjoying something like this. So to all you birds, thanks a million and here is your first issue with our compliments.

If you ever hit Cincinnati, drop in the Blue Room. You may be a stranger coming in, but you won't be going out.

Photo Credit:  Shelly Kneupper Tucker
This Eclectic Life
Used with Permission

For more information about the Ship Cumberland Sound and its crew, please visit http://cumberlandsound.org/ This ship was a "sea plane tender."This Eclectic Life

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Father Smith Now Star Gazing; Shinzo Heldup, Vol. 1, No. 7, March 27, 1945

EXTRA! EXTRA! Fenessy went to work again. Don't be alarmed -- he's not on anything movable. He is working for the Cincinnati Post. His job is to melt the used type metal so it can be used again. So far he has succeeded in burning his own neck, but has failed to injure anyone else in the building. Give him time.

By this time, most of you know we are having a horseman holiday. No races anywhere in the good old U.S.A.

Sgt. and Mrs. Jim Robinson (Doll Herking) are the proud parents of a little girl, born Dec. 15th. Incidentally, Sgt. Jim has an A.P.O. number now.

Our first war trophy adorns the Blue Room. Simon sent a Nazi helmet to hang in the place. Benton is trying to keep in shape for the return of the old Ram Rod. How many of you recall the threat that Ram Herking made about giving the old Dog the lift and slam the day he came home. How about that Ram, does that still stand?

We don't have a kitchen in the Blue Room anymore. The back room is now the Dog House or Benton's Benzine Department. The Dog will invite or entice you into his den, and when you come out you're cleaned. Name your own game, choose your own weapons, makes no difference to the Dog. I made a few trips back myself and came out feeling like I made a few round trips in a concrete mixer. I'm still dizzy and broke.

Joe Rechtin stops in as usual and wants to know if Wayne is home on the rotation plan. Rechtin can't understand why Uncle Same don't let his herring out for a short snorter or something. Joe says, "Wayne is my dish."

Joe Pharo is stationed close enough to home to be able to drop in for weekends now and then. Norb Pharo is still taking the usual amount of kidding about his card playing and his age. Joe Usher and Bill Bridges drop in every Sunday afternoon and spread their net to catch poor fish in a poker game. And do they get 'em. The women seem to predominate in numbers now that all of you GI's are away. But just wait, there will come a day.

Father Schmidt is getting so good that he can now give you a complete forecast on your future by just looking at the moon and the stars. If any of you want your horoscope read, just write to Ed Q. Smith c/o the Blue Room. Please enclose your date of birth and $1. If you want the deluxe reading, send $2.

Dixon and Shinzo are the two men pictured on the right.
Photo Credit: Mark Pharo
From the Collection of Mary Pharo Meldon

Shinzo Heing was held up and his paper money taken away from him the other week on his way down Torrence Road. Some 8-ball got him in broad daylight.

Doc Prinzbach said he is going to take a vacation for about three months whenever Jule gets home. Mr. Prinzbach is only working 12 hours a day.

Social Events, Vol. 1, No. 7, Tuesday, March 27, 1945

With all the ice and snow we've been having, I can tell you the skis and sleds are getting a workout. Your overstuffed editor hasn't mustered up enough courage to take a whirl at the skis as yet, but give me time. Benton took Fennessy out one night for a bit of skiing and I hear from the Dog that Uncle Bulgey did OK for the first half of a trip, so maybe I'll take a shot at it.

New Year's Eve was headed for one of those slow evenings with nothing planned in advance. Some of the gang gathered in the Blue Room during the course of the afternoon and evening and no one knew what was up when shades of night started to fall, but as the action took place, Good Old Bill Buerk came through. Buerkmanor was ours for the night. And what a night! Your editor is just a little bit hazy as to all that went on, but I was there.

Fennessy sure did look sweet in one of the girl's nighties. I remember that well. And another thing that is very clear in my mind is that I was NOT taken for a ride just before lunch was served as I was at a previous party. In fact, I was the cook, apron and all. Benton liked my cooking so well that he gave the Bee the cold shoulder for the rest of the night. He even winked at me, imagine.

But all in all, it was one swell party. And to Mr. and Mrs. Bill Buerk, thanks a million for a hell of a swell time. We all liked it. Monday, January 1st, found quite a few patrons of the Blue Room suffering from "sinus" trouble. Doc Flagge would look like Ned in the third reader if he tried to ease the pain. It was brutal.

The balance of the week went along at the rate of 24 hours a day with nothing out of the ordinary happening. But Saturday, January 6th, we found out that Mr. and Mrs.Wm. Buerk were married five years. Here we go again. Yeah, the same damn thing over again. I don't have to tell you guys and gals that all the Blue Room bunch needs is just an excuse to throw a party or get plastered. Well, that's all it was -- just the excuse we needed and we were off. All of you know damn well what that meant. What a night. Sometimes I wish Bill and Pat Buerk weren't so damn nice.When you go to their house, the place is yours -- they even help you wreck the place.Why don't they get tough once in a while and tell us to scram? Instead, they ask you to stay for breakfast. I think their only salvation will be if they move so far away they won't be bothered with this gang.

Well, after that, we let Saturday, January 13th slide by with no action, but the 20th found us at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Dog Benton. Again, more drinks and more "sinus." Well, it's hard to say who was the best host. It was another rare occasion. The 27th, it was Mary Ellen Butler who took the gang out of the cold. I'm telling you, the pace is getting too fast for the old Neighbor. But rest assured, I'll try to survive till the real party takes place and each and every one of you are present.