Postcard Memories is a weekly series of historic postcard views and photos submitted by René Hackstetter.
Uptown Billiards, Nick Anest’s poolroom, bought from Jack Mackie, was where the shooters went after Nap’s closed. Jimmy the Greek had a room near the old Orange Lodge, but that is a story for another day.
Nick was our new minder when his pimply-faced charges skipped school and he kept order with quiet strength and athleticism. This meant no cue tips in the ceiling, no sitting on the balk, no smokes on the table, no credit; otherwise, we had a lot of latitude.
Nick, as a good Greek, and they are all good Greeks in this story, kept us fuelled with a diet of chips, chocolate bars, soft drinks and all the other basic food groups. He took care instructing his charges in viewing, choosing, and determining what amount of silver needed to be exchanged for so many pool games, pops, chips and comics. We, thereby, absorbed math, geometry, contracts, coinage and myths all rolled into one. Leave it to the Greeks.
The teachers at MSS also added to our schooling, though, I am uncertain which had the more lasting influence.
Nick had a dimension some may not know - an abiding interest in photography and shooting with his Rolleiflex.
Nick chronicled Midland with an acute eye, not governed by conventions. He photographed Midland for all our growing up - from the kids shooting pool, King Street scenes, the dock, the railway yard, the grain boats and the people.
Billiards went out, declining profits meant reimagining a new use for the space and Dino has done his father proud.
Nick spent lots of time at the back with his cronies like Al Cole and others of that generation. I used to see Ted Gerow come down to visit regularly.
As we get older, we begin to revere their sagacity and wisdom. Some are still at Uncle Roy’s, meeting for coffee and others elsewhere, like Uptown then and Dino’s now, talking, commiserating and being a community.
Nick’s photos, like testaments, grace the walls of Dino’s today.
Copyright. René Hackstetter March 25, 2020