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Kudos to Tama News-Herald readers

The Way I See It

April 16, 2011
By John Sheda
Last December I sent in an article about growing up in Chelsea that I shared with with readers of The Buchanan County News. Chelsea is one of those unique little towns just like all the other little towns across Iowa and the U.S. I shared about my experiences in Chelsea and that first article was called, “The Christmas Tree Story.” Well, I thought that maybe someone in the local area might also enjoy the story, so it was sent to The Tama News-Herald and by golly, it was printed.

 Since that time, I’ve written weekly (and WEAKLY at times), about a variety of subjects but also more stories about Chelsea in the 60s. And I’ve heard from so many of you. You have shared your stories to me, sent me newspaper clippings and photos and even said that you’ve enjoyed the columns. Maybe enjoy is a bit of a stretch so how about interesting? No? How about....ok ok..........let’s forget it then. Haruuumph!!

 Writing this column is great fun for me. Heck, I made my very first sauerkraut recipe from one of you and it was pretty darn good. I had a little three year old granddaughter that didn’t think it was a keeper but ya can’t win ‘em all. So at this time I want to thank the many readers and especially the ones who have taken the time to email or phone me with you thoughts, comments and yes, even recipes. 

 Kudos to Roger from Tama, Dean, Kathy from Chelsea, (I made your pot-roast just the other night, Kathy), Arlene from Chelsea, James Hall, Bruce, (my former basketball coach; sure glad to hear from you, Bruce). Heck figured he was long gone!!!!! Just kidding, just kidding. Whatever happened to Channing Hall, Bruce?

 Thanks also to Dave Hrabak from Belle Plaine. Dave owns Hrabak Funeral Home and I see him from time to time. Last time I saw Dave, he came up to me and asked me how I was doing. Hah! Like I’m gonna tell him. I know exactly what he was thinking. Sizing me up!!  Dave, I am just fine and dandy thank you!!!  Am not gonna tell him all my aches and pains......

 Marcella sent me a great email and Des Moines Register newsclipping from 1947, featuring Chelsea and even our little grocery story as well as my granddad, Anton Sheda. Everyone in Chelsea at that time spoke Boheme. Marcella also sent me some old Chelsea photos. So greatly appreciated.

 I also received calls and emails from Veryl of Tama, Virgina from Arizona, Bettie of Tama, Don and Faye and Larry. Many of these people still receive the Tama News-Herald but reside in Colorado, Texas, Florida, California and even somewhere in South Dakota. 

 Dean sent me detailed information about Swalm’s Drug Store. Their names were Al and Charlie and their talking crows were Jim and Joe. All us kids were fascinated by those talking crows. And they didn’t say anything except, “What For.” But back in those days it didn’t take much to impress us Chelsea kids. Dean informed me that Al Swalm won the Wisconsin-Illinois League batting championship way back in 1913. Wonder if that will ever be a Jeopardy question? “Ah, Alex, I’ll take Chelsea memories for $800, please.” But Dean did catch me on something. He said, “John, I’m surprised you didn’t mention Kid Mustard as one of ur characters.” Hmmm, Dean, I don’t remember a Kid Mustard at all. Does anyone else???

 I received many other emails and I know some have been left off. For that I am sorry. Not real sorry, mind you but sorry enough, don’t you think? Ok, Kudos also to Ron from texas, Shirley, Peggy, John W. (my very first email) and John, Paul, George and Ringo.

 Whew! Enough of that. But in closing and speaking, talking and writing about Chelsea, here is a trivia question for ya. The Community Dance Hall in Chelsea was called the “ZCBJ Hall.” The letters represent Czech words. What are the words? From Jeopardy, this is a daily double. Oh and speaking of “doubles”  its’ time for one.

Email me at if you would like to opine. Cuz, remember, “the spin stops here.” 


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