For a long time, the subject eluded me. At first, I thought perhaps it was food: Curly French fries, chili dogs, icy-cold root beer floats, tiny glasses of tomato juice, pizza covered with a thick layer of mozzarella cheese and topped with spicy sausage, hot tea in a glass, Chicken Kiev, cranberry kissel. Then I […]

David Wood gives me some flyers before I leave Del Wood’s Country Store: Both seem to have misplaced apostrophes. One is an order form for pre-assembled gifts of Wisconsin cheese and sausage. The other features a drawing of the store’s exterior façade and directions for finding the store. Underneath the drawing is a caption that […]

It’s almost noon on an overcast April day and paying customers are increasingly interrupting my conversation with David Wood. So while he sells cheese and sausage and makes sandwiches, I wander around his store. I admire the taxidermy in the nook by his office, look at the shelves full of antiques, and wonder why someone […]

For the first wave of Baby Boomers, those born when Harry S. Truman was still president of the 48 United States of America, coming of age in Madison, Wisconsin meant coping with conflicting messages about adulthood: You could drink beer legally when you turned 18, but you couldn’t drink liquor or vote until you were […]

If we want to understand our past, we need to look at the informal clutter of daily life, says personal historian Sarah White. That’s why she and her colleagues, Ann Waidelich and Pat Martin, are encouraging people who lived and grew up on Madison East Side to share their memories and informal photographs of life […]

Last Sunday, when I stopped in Cross Plains (on my way home from the Lake Louie Brewery) to take a few photos of lawn ornaments, I also snapped a photo of the neon Heileman’s Old Style sign outside Main Street Lanes. Suspended under the neon sign is another sign that says “Gopher Crossing.” I was […]