Saturday, September 29, 2012

Purely Personal, Vol. 1, No. 1, Monday, January 24, 1944

Bill Bridges sports a new set of choppers (teeth). How he came to lose the regulars, I don't know, but he sure grins like a chipmunk.

Benton and Norb have a new herring who goes for a loss of anything from 50 smacks a week or more.

Listen gang, don't come back to the Blue Room looking for the "Pink Tuna" Norb Pharo. He is no more. One of the most improved herring who can now be classed as a shark is Norb. That is strictly on the level. Maybe it took him this long to learn the Blue Room method, but he sure is making up for lost time. So let dreary and "Host Man" Young and a few others take warning.

Now if you want the least improved herring, it's still me, Neighbor. I'm still classed as the faithful fish. The fellow who raises a one card draw with a pair of Jacks. And when it comes to horses, why I'm just about as useful as a glass doorknob on a country outhouse.

Would you believe it? The place is so bare that even Miles Egan plays "crazy eights."  Trump that!

Homer Marksberry, the Parish Bull, is still the action man.  Never a dull moment when he hits the front door. "Uncle Bulgey," better known to you as John Fennesey, has the best racket of them all. He goes out to some Food Shop and buys about 30 cents worth of Shad Roe* and brings it in and feeds it to Benton.Then he takes the "Dog" for a loss on the marble machine to the tune of $$$$$$$. Nice work if you can get it, and Fennesey sure does.

A nice quiet evening in the place consists of a heart game by Reichelt, Schmitt, Burlap, Norb and maybe Fennesey. All five of them will be ducking and trying to "get under the rock," then someone slips somebody the Queen of Spades. Then when the building trembles, it sounds like a combined picnic of Boilers, bakers and Teamsters, only a little louder and more profane.

We still have those card games where everybody loses and Murphy grabs the broom to sweep the profits off the floor with nary a penny does he find. I guess as long as the world holds our kind of people, there will always be a "Blue Room."

Joe Rechtin still drops in licking his chops and wishing Wayne Hogan was around. "Yeah, yum," says Joe, "I sure wish this war was over."

Did you ever hear the story about the fellow who was going to give his girl a wrist watch for Christmas? Well, he dropped and broke the case, so he just gave her the works.

* Definition Credit:

Friday, September 28, 2012

New Year's Party Attended by Blue Room Patrons, Vol. 1, No. 1, January 24,1944

There wasn't much along these lines until New Year's Eve, then all hell broke loose.The action took place at the home of Mary Ellen Butler and from all the talk the following day there was nothing left for the imagination. It was a Blue Room party supreme. Your writer had an invitation, but due to personal reasons did not attend.

After looking over the ones that did attend on New Years Day, I wondered. Many cases of sinus trouble showed up, sore throats, lost voices and numerous other ailments brought on by anything but drinks.

Every good member of the Blue Room KNOWS that drink hurts no one. It's those other ailments that always crop up after an evening of pleasure.  Any of you birds that have made the rounds know that. You also know that there is only one cure for those ailments, too.Go back and get a little hair off the dog that bit you. That's just what they did. All activities started all over one night at Butler's. If you can remember the words of a certain Christmas song you can call to mind the following line, "All is calm, all is quiet." That, my good friends, was the Blue Room on Sunday, January 2nd.

The few that were there were shot with service.  "And I heard them exclaim as they drove out of sight, Happy New Year to all -- and I'll see you on Decoration Day."

Thursday, September 27, 2012

First Edition of the New Year, Vol. 1, No. 1, Monday, January 24, 1944

New Years 1944
Photo Credit:  Stars and Stripes

Howdy gang -- and we're off. This, my good friends, is the first edition of the Blue Room Belch. How all this came about, and will continue, is another thing.

No doubt most of you know that Bill Kroner was forced to leave the Air Corps due to that shoulder of his. Much to Bill's regret, he was given a C.D.D. Section 2 (Certificate of Determination of Disability) and sent home.  Well, being the man that he is, his first thoughts were of those who didn't get to come home. The importance of mail to those in the service must mean more than the "stay at homes" realize.  So Bill hit upon the idea of a local publication that would deal with news that might have some interest to our gang in service.

Bill will look after the printing of this sheet, but like all GOOD publications, it takes more than just printing.  So he contacted Frank "Dog" Benton and asked him to act as Circulation Manager. In other words, the "Old Dog" was to see that everyone in our gang that he could reach would get a paper.  Well, you know the "Dog," the answer was "SURE."

Then making up the sheet and getting hold of local news or nonsense was something else.  So yours truly "Neighbor" was asked to make up the first sheet. Whether I ever get the chance to make up another one is a horse of a different complexion.  I'm afraid that when the return mail starts hitting the Blue Room, I'll look like Ned in the third reader. But I have one consolation, and that is: you can't head me off on this one, but "oh my" look out for the next.  If your next Editor happens to be "Cocky" Sellers, I hope you will understand.

And now about mailing this to you, get this straight, "THIS PAPER IS NOT FOR SALE." The cost of postage will be taken care of by the good patrons of the old Blue Room.  So please don't embarrass us by sending us anything other than your candid opinion of our efforts.  Our only hope is that somewhere among this nonsense you may find something that holds a little interest to you.  Should you care to write to us, just address your mail to anyone of the three of us, Frank Benton, William Kroner, or Lou Guntzelman and make it 2470 Eastern Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Blue Room Belch?

Christopher and George Pharo

In the past few years, I've become interested in the neighborhood where four generations of my family lived and thrived -- Cincinnati's East End. I've discovered that this neighborhood, like the Ohio River it borders, is in the blood of those connected to it. Over the past year, it has been my pleasure to meet several people from the East End.

I recently met Mark Pharo, whose family owned a bar in the East End almost directly across the street from St. Rose Church. Pharo's Bar was a well-known hangout in the 1940s at the time of World War II. Mark's aunt had old copies of a newspaper, the Blue Room Belch, that was written by bar patrons and mailed to more than 60 neighborhood service men and women during the war.  It's a slice of life in a neighborhood that has seen better times, but was once thriving.  In this bar, not only did everyone know your name but also your nickname.

The "Blue Room" in the bar served as a gathering place for the neighborhood. Read along with me as I share the stories they told about their friends, their community and a way of life we'll not see again.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps
Location of Christ. Pharo's Place on Eastern near St. Rose Church