I saw “OP” Schnabel a couple of times on Houston St in the mid 60’s. Once he was sweeping under the canopy of the Texas theater. I was in my St. Michael’s school khaki uniform, black tie and all. He smiled and struck up a conversation with me as he rested his head on the broom handle. He asked me what school I went to. Told him, “St. Michael’s, sir” and I showed him my school patch. He said that was a fine school and to say hello to the Sisters of Divine Providence. He asked if I would like to sweep. I said, Sure sir!” I helped him for about 20 minutes. When I was leaving, he reached into his pocket and gave me his business card. First business card I ever received. Attached to the card was a shiny penny.
Here’s a little history on OP Schnabel… apparently he had gone to Europe on vacation and was impressed with the cleanliness of the cities of Europe. He comes back to SA on a one man campaign to beautify SA. He founded the Beautify San Antonio Association. On practically every block downtown on utility poles, he placed dark green box metal trash receptacles with swinging doors. Over 500 of them!
He was smart and very savvy in marketing his insurance business. In white lettering on every receptacle was painted; “Be a Beauty Bug, Not a Litter Bug, O.P. Schnabel, Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company”. Thousands of San Antonians would see his name every day.
Another one of OP’s guerrilla marketing ideas was his business cards. He literally handed out thousands of cards with a shiny lucky penny glued to the card. “Carry This and Never Be Broke”. It is said he personally handed out over 70,000 cards.
People called him “Old Pushbroom”, but his real name was Otto Phillip Schnabel. There is a park named in his honor on Bandera Rd.
Thanks to OP, I became an anti-litter bug and never went broke because of the business card he gave me.
Rick Melendrez, is a native San Antonian. Melendrez considers himself fortunate to have been born in San Antonio, just 3 blocks from the San Antonio de Valero mission (the Alamo) at the former Nix hospital on the riverwalk and to have attended Catholic grade school on the southside and on the river walk.
Catholic education is very close to his heart. Melendrez attended St. Michaels for five years (1960-65) and then attended St. Mary’s School on the river walk (1965-68) and onto Cathedral high school in El Paso, Texas.
He is the former publisher of the El Paso Citizen newspaper and former chairman of the El Paso County Democratic Party. He writes a page on Facebook titled “Sister Mary Ruler, Growing Up Catholic In San Antonio”. Everyone is invited to read about the San Antonio of the 1960’s
You may contact Melendrez via email at email@example.com or by phone, 915-565-1663 (landline).