When I wrote this in 2009, the Packers Super Bowl victory in 1997 (96 season) was still fresh in my mind even though it was thirteen years ago. And little did I know we were about to win another one in 2011 (2010 season.) But as a child growing up in the mid-seventies, the Packer Glory Years of the 1960s seemed like ancient history to me. The Packers had been struggling since Vince Lombardi left.
Even with the struggling 70s teams, there was still a waiting list for season tickets, but thanks to the clever Moms of Bitters Court, we always had them. 'How?', you may ask. Well, I'm not exactly sure, but as I recall, our Moms found out that the Packers reserved the lower half of section 7 (now section 107 in the corner of the end zone) as their 'Kids Section'. With a simple phone call, they could order tickets for all 4 home games. (There were only 7 home games then, and 3 were in Milwaukee.)
One of our neighbors, Mr. Reinhart, was the down marker holder for all home games, so through rain, snow, cold and anything else, he had to be at the game and he was always kind enough to give a ride to all the Bitters Court kids, as long as we got to his house on time. Here is a selection of ticket stubs from that era. (Look at those prices!)
The Falcons game was the first game I ever went to. It was a birthday gift from my parents and my Dad took me. The Vikings game was a very snowy game and Ned Brogan had some extra tickets he was looking to sell. Unfortunately the ticket scalping was a buyers market due to the snow. Everybody was trying to unload tickets, and as they gave up, they'd give them to us. "Here Kid, try to sell these too." We walked into that game with a 2 inch high stack of tickets and kept warm by walking around the stadium to check out all our seats.
Mr. Reinhart would get hungry during the first half, and it was always his son, Peter's, job to leave at the two minute warning to get him two hot dogs. He'd meet us at the front of our section and Pete would hand him the hot dogs to eat during halftime. I learned that as Pete went to college, Mr. Reinhart recruited my brothers to do the same. I suspect that Pete got that job as his older brothers stopped going to games, and Jon and Chris got it from him. Neat. On the way home we'd listen to the radio recap as we headed back to Bitters Court. Good memories.
John Reinhart's son, Greg (our favorite babysitter), posted this tribute to his Dad in 2018 which included a picture of Mr. Reinhart on the sideline back on the day. With Greg's permission I am adding it to this essay.
Update from an essay I first wrote in December 2009