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The Sheda Reunion

July 24, 2011
By John Sheda
About 10 years ago or so, someone in the Sheda clan decided it would be great to get all the Shedas together for some kind of reunion. Crazy idea at best....scary at worst. But nonetheless, it happened. And, this coming Saturday, July 23, in Independence, Iowa, the Sheda annual reunion will once again take place. Many people have commented that Indpendence might just be the appropriate place to gather all the Shedas together. 

 So, I have already contacted the local police, the county lawmen and all mental health officials to be on high alert this weekend. Some of the group are coming in as early as Thursday and some will stay as late as Sunday. Gulp!!!

 Let me begin at the beginning. My dad, Tony and my uncle Bill started the whole thing in a strange sort of way. My Granddad, Anton Sheda #1 was kind of a big shot in Chelsea. Back in its’ heyday, Chelsea was a roaring metropolis of around 450 people. Grandad Anton had a little money and sent Dad and Uncle Bill to Columbia College, (Loras College today) in Dubuque. These two men headed proudly for college but school just wasn’t “in the cards.” Starting in September of the early 1930s, Dad and Uncle Bill were kicked out of this beautiful college by early November, (yes, same year).  

 And their crime? Bad grades? Nah! Sneaking into the girls dorms? Nope! My dad and Uncle Bill got kicked out for.....GAMBLING. Not a no-no today but in ‘35.....definitely a no-no. So home they went. Except that Grand-dad Anton wasn’t a happy Sheda. Not at all. After all, he had an image.....remember, he was a big shot in Chelsea!!!!

 Anton upon seeing Dad and Uncle Bill return to Chelsea in mid-semester.....he sent them back. Ya, no boys of his was going to embarrass him by returning from colllege early...so off they went back to Dubuque.  

 But on their way, these two guys stopped in Cascade at a grocery store/butcher shop to get something to eat. While conversing with the owner, they were told the store was for sale. For $500......lock, stock and barrel. Well, Dad called back home and the money was wired to them and that’s how the Shedas got started in the grocery business. Now here’s where the story gets a little vague......or even more vague. After being in Cascade for a couple of years, they got run out of town. Ya.....kicked out. Dad always said that it was Uncle Bill who when weighing meat on the scale, he would also keep his thumb on it. However, years later, I found out that Uncle Bill said the same story....except that it was Dad who kept his thumb on the scale.

 Be that as it may.................they were run out of Cascade and returned to Chelsea. Now, lets fast forward to today. Here are a few of the scoundrels that will be in town this weekend.

 There’s my brother Tony, who idolizes Rush Limbaugh. Ya, good ol’ Rush. He built basements years ago and one time was paid in those Cowboy leather coats. He took them to a County Fair and they sold so well, that he started doing this for a living. Yep, he was one of those guys you see at the State Fairs, trying to sell you their wares. And I think he did pretty good too. Today, he’s handed down the business to his son, “Lil Tony.”

 Brother Larry used to teach at North Tama High School for years and years but found out he enjoyed dealing cards so much more.....so he retired from teaching and began dealing at the casino in Tama.  He said playing cards with other people’s money is so much more fun. He has enjoyed taking money from guys like just like you, and you and you!!! 

 Just one more to mention, (from the many characters), and this is my cousin Jim, who lives in Rochester, Minnesota. Years ago, Jim was shopping at a Menards that was going out of business and as he was there, the manager approached him to just buy everything that was left.....which, to Jim, didn’t look like much anymore. So they haggled over a price and lo and behold, Jim bought the little that was left over. That afternoon, two semi-trucks filled with everything from light bulbs to all kinds of lumber was dropped off in his front yard. TWO SEMI-TRUCKS FULL! Jim didn’t think about the lumber! So cousin Jim, who knew little about carpentry, began to build.  He built a deck to his home that today goes all the way around his house, from top to bottom. It is a very interesting house, to say the least. Call him if you want to visit!!! 

 There you have it. Some of the Shedas. The rest could be out on parole, or good behavior, or if they can post bond, they could be around for the reunion. If your in the Independence area, stop over at Teacher’s Park and meet the gang. They are for real. Some day, in another column, I will share you stories of our most famous Sheda character, Uncle Ludy, the famous fur buyer. 

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