More and more I find that there has always been a subset of people who prefer to stay barefooted, even while the world shoes up around them.
Here’s another one.
I also suspect that these people are simply forgotten. Simply being barefooted, while being a bit different, really isn’t enough to bring them fame and fortune. As a result, their existence might just be an obscure reference in some newspaper article or book somewhere.
Such is the case with Charlie Schroeder.
He’s given a small bit of a paragraph in the book, “The Timber Wolf in Wisconsin,” by Richard P. Thiel, and the only reason we find out about him is because he kept a couple of wolves, pups that were found in 1923 or 1924.
Four of the pups were sold to southern Wisconsinites. The remaining two were sold to a colorful figure. “Barefoot Charlie” Schroeder,” from nearby Eagle River. He raised the two wolves, and they became a notorious fixture around the Schroeder homestead. One of the wolves would visit local logging operations and was crafty enough to open worker’s lunch pails and steal their lunches. Both would lay in the sand rut road in front of Barefoot Charlie’s home and barely move for a car. This reluctance to move eventually claimed the life of one, and the other was later trapped and bountied as a wild wolf.
That’s it. I could not find any other references to Barefoot Charlie Schroeder in any other books or newspapers. This was footnoted, but it was just a personal communication with one of the people who found the pups in the first place.
I also notice that northern Wisconsin around Eagle River seemed to be a regular hotbed of barefoot activity (odd considering the usual winter temperatures). I’ve written before about Porter Dean in Boulder Junction and Charlie Haase of Land O’Lakes. Their lives are better documented, since Mr. Dean because a fairly famous fishing guide and Mr. Haase ran a well-known restaurant (and used his bare feet to help advertise the place).
It does make one wonder, though, if there might be something in the water.