Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Finding Places

Where are we--Florida? Carolina? Maine? No, it's the east central side of Lake Springfield, looking west. Diane Gurgens Urbanckas took this shot on 29 Aug 05 from the dock in her back yard.

Now for a little cyber snooping. Go to this link at MSN Virtual Earth and take an aerial view of Diane's location. You may change from map to aerial photo and also zoom in close. (She says that's OK, but don't parachute in without warning.)

If MSN asks to download software, it will improve your view. If you prefer not, you may also see the location at Google Maps. Both of these mapping sites let you plot trip directions and mail location links. Have fun with them.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Car Culture

Tom Downs sent me a good note about all the "car words" that disappeared from our language, as automobiles evolved into gas-guzzling robots with electronic innards.

A few that you may recall: fender skirts, curb feelers, continental kits, emergency brakes, foot feed, running board, glove compartment.

I could add: choke, necker knob, and gas wars. Remember 16 cents a gallon, summer of '56?

I also recall the parking lot in front of SHS: diagonal spaces, all free, with cars of mostly post-war vintage. If anyone has a picture of that scene, please let me know?

(Picture: downtown parking lot on 5th Street, across from Governor's Mansion)

Monday, August 29, 2005

Katrina Watch

If you are following Hurricane Katrina as it roars from Louisiana to Ontario, check out the web site of the 403rd Wing of the Air Force Reserve, known as Hurricane Hunters. The 403rd flies into tropical storms and hurricanes to measure speeds and also take photos and movies. This picture is of the "stadium effect" glimpsed inside the eye.

Several '58s live in the path of Katrina. Louisiana: Lee Leonard and George Sabo; Arkansas: Byron Hathorn, Pat Stein McPheters, and Robinette Kaylor Gibbons. We hope they are all safe and well.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Brick Streets

Did you grow up on a brick street? Can you remember the color of it on sunny days, or the way it smelled after a rain?

Most early Springfield streets were paved in brick. Cement or asphalt stand up better to heavy traffic, but today many residential streets still feature brick, with its rolling, hilly bumps and sprouts of weed in summer.

In the Midwest, brick was a popular paving material. Some towns are restoring that look, using historical bricks from old buildings. In Sangamon County, the clay for brick came mainly from deposits along creeks and rivers.

Next time you visit Springfield, find a side street and take a walk, down memory's old brick lane.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Sunshine Betsy

OK, the West coast has nice folks, too. Recently our world traveler, Carolyn Baldwin Quinlan, visited her lifelong friend, Betsy Mylroie Yamasaki, who lives in the Avalon section of Fremont, CA, with her husband, Gene.

Betsy is a real estate broker and the past-president of her home owner's association. During her five-year stint, she maintained e-mail contact with over 200 residents, keeping them informed of news and health or safety issues.

She and Gene often rescue lost or feral dogs and cats. They work with a local vet and several foundations, saving and placing hundreds of animals. Betsy donates from her sales fees to the local Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary, and she speaks on endangered species and other environmental topics before the Fremont city council.

The Yamasaki's son and daughter live in Palo Alto and Colorado, and their six grandchildren are, in Betsy's words, "the brightest, cutest kids around." (Could any of us argue with that?) Her mother turns 91 this December. When vision problems developed, she turned to books on tape.

Betsy and Gene keep busy, and they have no plans to retire. She urges any of us who are in the San Francisco-San Jose area to give a call and come for a visit. She and Carolyn never stopped talking: "I guess that art never gets lost." She also urges everyone to read the '58 pages and "take the time to WRITE."

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Fireman Alan

I take it back: some generous folks live in the East, and one of them is Alan Kennedy '58. Al has retired from a career in finance and last year he and his wife, Miriam Short ('59), moved to a new home in Farmington, CT.

Never an idle hand, Al joined the East Farmington volunteer fire department. The officers found him some gear, enrolled him in a Firefighter 1 class, and to date he has responded to over 400 emergency calls, the second highest record in the department.

This summer he completed EMT training through Hartford Hospital. He's now a first responder to fires, medical emergencies, and vehicle accidents. Early this summer, a high-voltage wire set a donut shop and several cars ablaze. The firemen had to wait 45 minutes for a power shut-down.

Here we see Al in a quieter moment, cleaning up after a pancake breakfast fund-raiser.

In our school days, Alan was a talented musician and leader of the StarDuster band, which played at so many dances. He's a grand example of just how active and community-spirited "retirement" can be these days.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Midwest Spirit

I've lived in the East for 40 years, but on retirement I will return to the Midwest. I've missed it for a long while. My friends out here, most of them born in the Northeast, don't understand why. I have tried to give them brief explanations, and the first word is space.

New Jersey is the most densely populated state (over 80 persons per square mile) and its idea of an Interstate is 12 lanes of bumper-to-bumper traffic, speeding well over the 55 mph limit.

With the crowded conditions come bad air and water, high taxes and crime, and few instances of generosity or community. I was reminded of how different life can be by the news of recent tornadoes in Dane County, Wisconsin, near where I plan to live.

The tornadoes destroyed much of several villages, but after the first shock, some 3,500 volunteers drove to that area to sign up with the Red Cross and offer assistance. Over half of the volunteers came from the northern counties of Illinois.

You may read more about the story in The Capital Times of Madison, WI. For the scenes of disaster, click on the Stoughton area tornado slide show. (Photo by Michelle Stocker/The Capital Times)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

SHS Tiles

The SHS building at Lewis and Adams has two sets of decorative tiles, outside and in.

The outside tiles are mosaics high up on the exterior walls, to the front and sides, or east and north-south. Four mosaics depict the school curriculum and two are decorative figures, possibly heraldic.

The designer was Henry Chapman Mercer (1865-1930), founder of the Moravian Tile Works in Bucks County, PA. He embraced the Arts and Crafts style, which also shapes the building's rooftop balustrade and grand front staircases.

The inside tiles, made by Rockwood Pottery of Cincinnati, are back splashes for the drinking fountains. All depict cool, watery scenes, whether at sea or on land.

You may learn more at the Historic SHS web site, especially from its Architecture link. My thanks to Jenni Dahl, SHS Technology Facilitator, for assembling the site and this information.

Little did we know, in our school days, that we lived in history and would join it!

Monday, August 15, 2005

China Girl

At SHS, Carolyn Baldwin Quinlan sang in choir and played piano for the Singing Seven. She taught music in the Downers Grove school district for 32 years, and after retirement, she and her husband, Ed, returned to Springfield.

A self-described "antiques junkie," she collects Haviland china and recently cleaned up at the State Fair competition with 9 ribbon prizes: 5 firsts, 2 seconds, 1 third and 1 fourth.

In July, she traveled to Europe with several friends. They saw Paris, the porcelain museums of Limoges, and took an all-night train to Florence, where they stayed at a villa in Lastra a Signa. Later they drove to Pisa, Venice, Arezzo and other small villages.

Carolyn sub-teaches in Springfield and serves on our Reunions committee, but most days she is happily retired.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Illinois State Fair

The State Fair runs August 10-21, 2005. Between ages 10 and 20 I never missed a fair, and in the teen years Champ Davis and I worked in the grandstand, selling programs to harness races and stage shows.

The Fair gave me a chance to see farm animals, bake-offs, gospel quartets, and a butter cow, all in a few afternoons.

I'll bet everyone has their favorite Fair foods: lemon shakes, foot-long hot dogs, cotton candy, snow cones, or fried chicken dinners served at long tables under tents.

Today I could not take the heat and crowds, but once I could listen for hours to a non-stop talker, selling vegetable peelers, or waste many quarters on rides and games at the Midway.

Do you have State Fair memories? Click on the Comment link and let us know.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Jim Hollis

Jim Hollis published his eleventh book this year, Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life. Sales have been good, and he's appeared on interviews in several media outlets, the latest being AARP Magazine.

Jim is executive director of the Jung Center in Houston, where he teaches the psychology of identity formation through the stages of life. His books are clear, graceful, and packed with practical and spiritual advice about coping with change. Copies are on sale at Amazon and other online book sites.

An excellent interview (and picture) appear in the current issue of California Literary Review.

Jim is at work on a new book, and he travels widely giving lectures and teaching seminars.

I hope that he will return to Springfield for our 50th Reunion to tell us why, unaccountably, all of us appear to have aged!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Gordon Jones

Gordon Jones is a '58 whose life is a constant adventure. Today his home is Phoenix, but he's often out driving back roads in a vintage sports car or motorcycle.

Recently Gordon and Luke Haag (SHS '54-56) took a bush-hopping journey in Luke's Cessna over Utah, Idaho, Washington, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico.

They visited national parks, buzzed a few hills and rivers, and often hit altitudes of 14,500 feet.

He writes, "Sometimes we slept on the ground under the wing of the plane and other times checked into hotels. No real big purpose, just two old fuddy duddys out having a summer fling."

Gordon is now planning a trip that will take him in 24 hours from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, the lowest and highest points of the lower 48 states.

He's sure come a long way from the fields and streams of central Illinois. Good luck, Gordon, and happy trails!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Patrol Boys

The year is 1953 or 1954, the month September or May. Butler Grade School is letting out for lunch or the end of the day. A horde of lower-grade kids (regard the bikes, the shirts and crew cuts!) is raring to dash home, but holding them back is the last guardian of their safety at school, the patrol boy.

(By the way, click any of these pictures, and they expand.)

This patrol boy is Harry Hyndman, a member of '58 who went on to be a research scientist at Monsanto and an area director for Berean Mission, both in the St. Louis area. Currently he teaches physics, chemistry, and biology at Western Christian Academy. Harry says that work may be fallout from the days when he, Steve Dilts, and Tom Brydges assisted Guy Krummel in the SHS physics labs.

The picture ran in the Citizens Tribune, a weekly Springfield paper. You may see more like it in the Grade School Pictures section of the '58 Web site or in an amazing set of books, the Springfield History Series, printed by G. Bradley Publishing.

PS: Schools now have patrol girls, and that's a good change, too.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Sandra Murphy McCool

On August 31, Sandy Murphy marks the second anniversary of her marriage to Terry McCool, the gent in the gray hat in this wedding picture, taken in Troy, Illinois, at the home of Sandy's daughter, Tracy. Joining in the celebration were Keith Schnepp, Carolyn Baldwin Quinlan, and Judy Vicars Van Hagen. Carolyn and Judy's late husband, Dr. Ford Van Hagen, provided the festive music.

So now "Murph" has a second Irish name, and as Murph McCool she could probably win elections in Boston or Chicago. Terry is a long-distance trucker, and he and Sandy often travel together. She loves being on the road and also helps out with keeping the books for the family enterprise, Santee Transportation.

Her hobby is collecting gems (witness Terry) and creating jewelry gifts. Sandy has a new e-mail address, just posted on our web site, and she welcomes news from all her '58 friends. Best wishes to Sandy and Terry!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Dana-Thomas House

Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Susan Dana Thomas House in 1902 and today it remains a world famous example of his Prairie style in domestic architecture.

Located at 301 East Lawrence Avenue, the home is maintained by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. If you click on that link, you'll learn more about the house and take a virtual tour through its rooms.

Recently Diane Gurgens Urbanckas attended a floral art show at the house that featured the work of 27 artists, all using fresh flowers and good old prairie weeds. She sent me a photo of one exhibit in the house library.

The Dana-Thomas house is open year-round and is well worth a visit on your next trip to Springfield. Thanks to Diane for sharing her pictures!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Almost Home

Judi Dunkel Headrick has retired from her career in the Illinois Department of Public Health and now devotes much volunteer time to the Almost Home Dachshund Rescue Society.

This national organization has rescued hundreds of "doxies" from euthanasia and placed them in loving homes. Besides adoption, the Society also arranges for financial and medical aid for dogs with serious illnesses. Judi helps by interviewing adoptive families, providing transport, and making handcrafts for auction on eBay to raise funds.

Judi's three "puppers" (l-r) Molly (2), Missy (6), and Maggie (1) are the silky, long-haired variety. Originally bred in Germany, these "badger hounds" have short legs and long bodies made for digging into burrows. They are intelligent and frisky, making them good house pets and companions.

Judi's cat, Cascee, tolerates the trio well, even when Mom is away on her rescue trips or visits to country concerts. If you want to adopt a dog or help the AHRS, get in touch with Judi or visit the Web site. To see which pups need help, or have been helped, visit the Help or Sanctuary pages.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Bob Newell in Paris

Bob Newell, our class president in '58, has retired after 40 years as a mechanical engineer with Shell Oil in Louisiana and moved to Greensboro, GA, where he and his wife, Roxanne, built a new home (address in our Directory). He has done some consulting in Texas and Brazil, and nearly went to China last year.

This photo is from a trip to France in 2003, where the family visited Paris and Normandy. Bob says the highlight was visiting the U. S. Military Cemetery at the D-Day landing sites. Pictured are Bob, Lesley, Chip, and Roxanne. Chip is a junior at U. of Georgia; Lesley is a graduate of Georgia and now works in Atlanta. Roxanne is a volunteer mentor in the Greensboro school system.

In his spare time, Bob builds homes for Habitat for Humanity and officiates at college track meets. He stays in shape by road biking, reading history and biography, and working in his shop. He and Roxanne enjoy their summer home at Lake Geneva, WI. He says retirement is great, and looking at his youthful face, I can well believe it!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Tom Downs & Sons

Tom Downs lives in Atlanta, where he is semi-retired but works part-time at the Home Depot. He's active in church and community events, and he maintains a wide correspondence with friends from his days in grade and high school. If you are a Harvard Parker, check out Tom's detailed memories of life there on the "Grade School Memories" page of our class web site.

This picture he describes as "from Christmas '03, when middle son Scott (machine tool salesman from Ft. Wayne) and youngest son Tommy (US Army stationed on the 'Recruit the Recruiter Team' at Recruiting Command HQ at Ft. Knox) came to visit ol' Pop in Hotlanta for Christmas. Oldest son Todd (an Executive Chef in Ft. Wayne) was busy opening his own consulting business and did not come South for holidays."

Congratulations, Tom, on such a fine brace of boys, and thanks for your friendship over the years.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Medicare Card Wavers

Judy Vicars Van Hagen sent me this photo of our Reunion committee members, who are proudly waving their new Medicare cards. The occasion was the annual Air Rendezvouz held at Capitol Airport.

Carolyn (Baldwin) and Ed Quinlan live near the airport, so the group had ringside seats to watch the US Navy Blue Angels and other flight exhibitions during the afternoon.

Carolyn provided lunch and afterwards everyone waved their Medicare cards. I'm not sure if there's a connection, because I wasn't told the menu.

The group included (clockwise) Judy, "Solo," Carolyn, Keith Schnepp, and C. E. Welch. They are reminding us that good health is essential and be sure to apply for your Medicare and Social Security benefits this year.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Lois Body

Lois Body now lives in a resident home in Watseka, near her birthplace. She gets regular visits from her Springfield neighbor, Jerry Myers, and also from Harriett (Smith) and Romolo Sidoli, who have twice made the 90-mile journey from Chicago to Watseka to see "Miss Body," as many of us still call her.

At 91, Lois lives quietly, but she enjoys hearing from friends and former students. On the Sidoli's visit she was much taken with "Greta" (right) and with pictures of Greta's namesake, the screen beauty Greta Garbo.

Lois often sees relatives from the area and she enjoys recalling her days as a teacher. She was a "farm kid" who grew up in nearby Woodland, and she earned her MA at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.

Cards and notes are welcome: Miss Lois Body, Iroquois Resident Home, 200 East Fairman, Watseka, IL 60970. Many thanks to Harriett and Rom for conveying the good wishes of our class with their pictures, flowers, and visits.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Pat Dowling

Bonnie Bonjean Dowling sent me this recent picture of Pat Dowling with his granddaughter, Alexandra. It's reassuring to see him looking so well, because he had a major stroke last spring.

Bonnie writes that Pat is recovering steadily, able now to walk a bit and to follow his golf foursome in a cart, offering his coaching tips.

He plans to return to work as President and CEO of Medical Mutual in October. Pat and Bonnie are in a new house (see our Directory for address and phone) that's closer to their kids and grandkids.

Here's wishing Pat and Bonnie a complete recovery and much happiness in the days ahead.