Below is a copy of my very first article.
Hoopster standouts played at Edgewood
OK, here’s the deal. My name is Fred Shonk, and I grew up in Perry Township, attending Edgewood Grade School and Southport High. During my youth I lived on Madison Avenue in the house that is now the Longacre Inn.
My father opened a Sunoco service station on Madison when I was 14. Working there allowed me to meet many of the great people who lived and worked in Perry Township. A lot are still good friends.
Our service station was close to the grade school, which had (if memory serves me correctly) 11 outside basketball courts, making it the roundball capital of the Southside.
On nice weekends you might wait an hour to find a court that needed a player – but even they you had to be invited. Some of the courts had such talented players that I was relegated to tossing the ball in and nothing more.
Big-name high school players from Manual and Washington often played with Southport’s top guns. I remember Louie Dampier, Jesse Blackwell, Joe Simpson, twins Tom and Dick Van-Arsdale, George McGinnis, Morris Epler, Leland Richards and others playing for hours.
On weekends I would fill my pockets with the proceeds of my Indianapolis News route and ride my bicycle to the school. In between games, we would go to Roehl’s Drug Store or Kauskey’s Grocery for something to eat and drink.
Soon after my father opened the station, some of the players discovered that our shop had the closest pop machine. The drinks cost 10 cents, and there was supposed to be a 2 cent deposit charged if the bottles were taken off the premises; however, that rule never applied to the players.
About twice daily someone from our station climbed into the service truck and drove over to the courts, where there would always be two or three piles of empty bottles. Seldom did we ever come up short on empties when the delivery trucks came to restock.
Looking back, I took pride in my ability to toss the ball into play … it was a wonderful experience.
Inside, I still beam with pride whenever driving past the location on Epler Avenue.