Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year

Into this life we're born
Baby, sometimes we don't know why
And time seems to go by so fast
In the twinkling of an eye

Let's enjoy it while we can
Won't you help me sing my song
From the dark end of the street
To the bright side of the road

Happy 2006!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Sangamon Valley Ghosts

To follow up on the Lake Club story, we now call attention to the Sangamon Valley Ghost Research Group. This intrepid set of ghost-busters has collected a long list of Haunted Locations in central Illinois, from Vandalia and Havana to Decatur and Elkhart.

Springfield has many haunted locations: the Dana House, Oak Ridge Cemetery, the Governor's Mansion, the Theatre Center, the Lincoln Home and Tomb, and the Old State Capitol.

SHS also makes the list, because the school site at Lewis and Adams Streets was formerly Hutchinson's Cemetery. Although workers moved all the old tomb stones, rumors linger that some graves remain and that a ghostly little girl named Rachel still wanders the halls.

The picture above is of SHS viewed from the top of the Illinois State Capitol building. It comes from a Community Atlas Project built by students in 2003-04.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Friday, December 23, 2005

Keith Schnepp

A lot of us are retiring these days, but not everyone gets publicity about it. This story ran in the State-Journal Register on Wednesday, December 21. Thanks to Judy Vicars Van Hagen for the note and to Judy Schnepp for the scan.

Congratulations to Keith on reaching this great milestone of life. (Or as an aviation friend recently said to me, "Welcome to the glide path.") We wish him all the best and many hours of fun, rest, and relaxation.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Winter Solstice

In case you missed it, winter solstice began on Dec 21 at 1:35 pm EST. This picture shows the sun at its southernmost position, giving the northern hemisphere its shortest day and longest night of the year.

Depending on your frame of mind, Dec 21-22 begins winter or brings more light. The word solstice is from the Latin sol, or "Sun," and stitium, or "stoppage." Many cultures have marked these days as the end of a calendar cycle and a time for major festivals.

In Greek legend, a grieving wife named Alcyone, or Halcyon, threw herself into the sea upon discovering the drowned body of her beloved husband, Ceyx. The pair changed into kingfishers or halcyons, and Zeus forbade the winds to blow seven days before and after the winter solstice, the birds' breeding season. Hence the expression "halcyon days," or tranquil waters.

Romans called this time of year Saturnalia, a time for feasts and gifts. Christians later adopted it as the time to celebrate the nativity of Christ.

So take your pick, short days or tranquil waters. Happy Solstice!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Barbershop Senators

I don't imagine anyone but Springfield locals can get to this event tonight, but it's the inaugural concert of the Barbershop Senators, a new male singing group that probably complements the famous Singing Seven.

In our day, Margaret Hausen formed a "Boys Double Quartette" and the only two names I can recall now are Fred Konrad as bass and Joe Hill as first tenor. The group is listed in our '57 yearbook but not the '58. Anyone recall the names and history of that group? Please add comments below.

And yes, that's the way the Capitoline spelled "Quartet" in 1957!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Reunion Committee

The reunion committee gathered on Dec 10 at Shakey's to visit and catch up on classmate news. According to Judy Vicars Van Hagen, they conducted no official business, other than "the usual talking, story telling and laughing."

In attendance were (Front row left to right): Keith Schnepp, Carolyn Baldwin Quinlan, Roy Borg, CE Welch, Judy McGaw Lewis. (Back row, left to right): John Brownback, Mary Houghton Elberson, Diane Gurgens Urbanckas, Judy Vicars Van Hagen. (click on the pic for a larger view)

Those unable to attend were: Janet Bailey Kerner, Linda Bradley Cozzolino, Bob Hails, Kris Hockenyos Tipps, Libbie Peterson Miller, Ann Tobin Hart, and Ron Wilson.

They haven't set a date yet for the 50th Reunion, but my calendar says that it's 943 days to mid-July of 2008. If you have any ideas for making that Reunion a special celebration, let's hear your comments below!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Lake Club Ghost

Diane Gurgens Urbanckas
alerted me to a story today in the Journal-Register about a Discovery Channel program running tonight (Dec 9) on "The Lake Club Horror." It may appear at other times in other regions, so check the Discovery Channel site.

The Lake Club, located at 2840 Fox Bridge Road in southeast Springfield, was one of the town's few night clubs from the 1940s through the 1960s. It served late, presented big-name entertainers, and paid for them with gambling receipts from a guarded back room.

Closed in 1968, it reopened in the 1970s as a rock/disco club, and at that time the owners began to notice "ghostly" incidents, allegedly set off by a bar tender who had committed suicide there. The club burned to the ground in 1992 but the story lives on in tonight's TV presentation. We had our 10th reunion there in 1968, and here's the class photo to prove it.

Picture from the archives of the Springfield Journal-Register.