ST. NICH’S BILLIARD ROOM ETIQUETTE AND GROWING UP IN DECATUR ILLINOIS

As an adolescent young man, friends and I used to go the old, now gone, St. Nickolas Hotel, fancy Billiard Room, in Decatur Illinois where I grew up; we were the only “kids” I ever saw there, everyone else was olllld!

But we were pretty good pool players, sometimes shot billiards instead of shooting pool, and we were serious about it, and well behaved.

It seems like I always saw all the old farts, out of the corner of my eye, studying us carefully for something to complain about?

We were in there often, and after a while they got to know us but never spoke to us. Personally, I felt we were accepted by many of them and were considered by them to be different from “most other kids”!

When I was a kid, kids were considered “dumb ass kids” by most adults! And, I remember feeling somewhat proud of myself to be “accepted” by the St. Nick Billiard Room clientele; in those days, “Pool Rooms” were not even considered a proper place for kids, and I thought it was rather unique for me to feel more comfortable with adult clientele of the St. Nick Billiard Room than adults in an ice cream parlor.

Over the years, I’ve thought about this a lot since then and now I’m 87 years old, and I want to tell others, especially young people of my experience.

I’ve always said, I got to be 17 years old and never got any older. After college, I became a school teacher for that reason, and always felt more comfortable with adolescents than adults; I think I was satisfied at least, that I succeeded in my public school teaching job because I always considered myself an equal to the students.

Further, I always said, punishment has no place in a school room! School if for learning.

And, I considered then and now that kids have all the brains they will ever have, and some are more intelligent than me and some are not as intelligent as me.

Adults always think they have had more experience than adolescents, which makes adults superior, but I have to remind adults that all of their experience was not GOOD EXPERIENCE, and some of adults’ experience was being an adolescent.

Anyway, the old St. NicK Hotel was considered a hallowed place to me, then and now, for reasons I stated. And, now it’s gone and I wanted to tell everyone all about what it meant for me!

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