Who is a chauffeur of trust?

Leaders need return to a back- to- basics approach in building a collaborative culture in a new age of globalization and change. High technological understanding in an organization is extremely important but many leaders have been caught up in an artificial world and lost sight of developing a people culture that was needed to thrive.

A strong culture can only be built on effective, enduring and trusting relationships within the company. That begins with a leader who has the ability to listen, is honest, is committed, encourages others, rewards others and can convince workplace associates that this organization will be a better place for the employees, stakeholders and clientele.

Once these attitudes are established and progress begins to move in an upward direction, trust, which takes a long time to cultivate, begins to develop that sustains the consistency of positive movement.

Leaders who find themselves frustrated by their inability to get people to cooperate with them on the tasks vital to success can be traced back to a lack of trust. A leader doesn’t have to break promises on the level that executives at Enron and AIG did to breed mistrust. One obvious example is when a CEO promises Wall Street a certain result and fails to deliver. Another example is of an advertising campaign that displays a corporate image of employees being the most important asset but the company is laying off great numbers of people at the same time; leaders never promise what they cannot keep.

Effective leaders respond quickly to challenges and are trusted to do the right thing; they are the chauffeurs of trust and a culture is established that peers, in their industry, are envious.

The nature of vision to lead and gain a committed culture is to graft exactly the direction that needed to be followed. Though a leader’s vision is clear, it is essential that a vision must include specific steps. Visions have to be grafted with a timeline and results projected even though there is always room for adjustment. Visions are not expressed in just a managerial setting but have to be delivered by the leader to all levels of employees. Once the vision is promoted, then as a leader, constant follow up is required to see if associates are committed to the progress.

Ambivalence is always present in any organization and setting the example is imperative to developing a more committed culture. If you expect your employees to be on time, than you better follow the same rule. Trust and confidence has to take center stage before ambivalence can be eradicated.

Never feel that your vision is absolute; be open to confrontation rather than fear the inevitable. Your vision may be cloudy and that person may have a great idea. It is not your intention to take the person out of the game but get them on board. Once ambivalence has been addressed and it continues, then a reassignment is suggested. If the ambivalence is corrosive, invoke the iron fist before it spreads too quickly.

Middle managers must be your adversaries and gaining their trust is to make them part of the team project; having them part of the solution not the problem. Assure that they will get the recognition they deserve.

Becoming a leader for the sole purpose to attain status and money will eventually result in a losing proposition.

A leader is about selfless guidance and formulating a team that shines above and beyond the leaders own capabilities.

A leader is not about getting a bonus for their efforts but about acknowledging their team accomplishments and encouraging bonus incentives to be given to team members.

A leader does not talk about what he has done lately but what each member of his staff has contributed to the organization.

A leader is not about managing by fear because they feel out of control but to delegate control to their staff and trust them to do their very best.

A leader is not about favoritism but fairness concerning job performance at all times.

A leader is about carefully examined truths and trusting ones instinct.

Ultimately, a leader is about making the company profitable by rewarding the contributing worlds of his or her staff.

Favorite vintage Chicago land records and shops

My first experience flipping through 45’s was traumatic. After getting my first portable record player, my Mom took me shopping and said I could buy 4 45’s and she didn’t want to spend a whole lot of time in the record store. So not really sure where my head was at and feeling overwhelmed because you could spend a whole day in a record shop, I picked Woman, Woman by Gary Puckett and The Union Gap even though I loved the melody but have you got cheating on your mind for girl in junior high was not really what I was thinking about.

My second choice was Spirit in The Sky by Norman Greenbaum…the newest in psychedelic rock. Bend me Shape me by The American Breed  about all women having the power to turn on the light… pretty narcissistic for a young girl and then of all things, My Baby Does the Hanky Panky by Tommy James and the Shondells. And no, I did none of those things.

After graduating to albums , Three Dog Night, One , Carol Kings Tapestry, Led Zeppelin III, and Deju Vu by Crosby Stills Nash and Young and 64 of the Greatest Motown Hits (4 albums) i Band on the Run by Paul McCartney and Wings, All Things Must Pass by George Harrison , Chicago VI and Billy Joels The Stranger.

Still playing some of them today on my daughter ‘s turntable who is 27 and loves records including the creative past of rock and roll. Now called by many as the vinyl comeback with new record shops are opening throughout the area.

However, the following describes some of the best gone, but not forgotten, record shops Chicago land had to offer in the past.

Rose Records/Tower records: Two stories located on Wabash Ave and some remember that you had to get a sles slip from one of the association before you pay for your records? They were arranged by label and catalog number and they had catalogs to check what you were looking for.

The Flip side Record  chain had twelve stores in the Chicago area (1971-1991). The Flip Side sold an array of records and tapes, music-related merchandise, electronics and a full line of clothing and shoes.

Sam Goody was a music and entertainment retaile in the United States and United Kingdom, operated by The Musicland Group inc. It was purchased by Best Buy in 2000, sold to Sun Capital in 2003, and filed for bankruptcy in 2006 closing most of its stores.

Hegewich Records in Calumet City was one of my personal favorites. Hegewisch Records started in 1965 in the Hegewisch section of Chicago as a novelty store selling sundries as well as records and music.The record and music operation moved to its Calumet City location at 522 Torrence Ave. in 1974

Camelot Music, for me, was a place to buy written music for piano but many did by records and was one of the largest music retailers in the United States

Still celebrating over 45 years in Oak Park this month, My daughter and I now record shop at Vall Hallas which began her store in 1972 and almost closed due to lost sales but was saved through community and customer fundraising efforts.

Picture courtesy Internet FM

Closer to God

My ex-husband, Kevin, passed away this week from Stage 4 cancer after being diagnosed in May. And now I watch my love and concern for the children we had together, my almost 30 year old son and daughter, Kris and Kaleigh, grow in a new direction as I help them take one day at a time through the grieving process of losing a parent. Though, I lost my Dad at an early age, this is not about me. This is about their Dad.

After he was diagnosed, I had spent more time with Kevin who only lived a short distance away. I wanted to be there for my children when they needed me to take them to tests and cancer treatments. As so many cry for his loss, I celebrate the time that was blessed to him so that he could be with those he loved.  I watched sharing texts or phone calls every night with his daughter, making sure each other was ok and most of all, saying I love you. He was able to spend quality time with his 13 year old son Mikey from a previous marriage, advising him of what to do. He had celebrated my son’s 30th birthday in July helping to host the party and stayed a long time even though he was sick. We, too, as many of his lifetime friends will remember, celebrated Kevin’s 30th surprise party and still visible on VHS. However, it will be transferred either online or DVD for those to enjoy soon.

In the last few months, he and I were able to talk about those friends from the party as well as others from that day. He talked of his friend Jimmy who always called Kevin Fred still in contact today. He talked about his friend Davey who came to visit him just a few weeks ago….so proud of the time he could spend.

And he talked about visiting his Mom who lives out of state, not able to travel , proudly showing me the new sailboat weather vane she had purchased; sailing was always his first love. Our first date was on a sail boat in Lake Geneva. He shared his love of his Dad who had passed away a few years ago. How he missed his close friend Billy. Kevin was known as the Sal-man or Salsky in Billy’s eyes who had also passed away from cancer a year ago. He talked of his sisters and brothers, many who lived out of state, but always came to visit and he would take them to his favorite bar and grill called Paps. A memorial service is being held on Saturday at Paps in Mount Prospect on August 26th at 2 pm.

Most of all, he talked of God….that he truly believed now more than ever!

I had a strong premonition early on, that he would not live any longer due to complications that can occur when battling  this terrible disease and tried to prepare my family. Unfortunately, there really is no way to do that; Kevin passed away in his sleep at home on Thursday.

Today, I watch my son and daughter reach out to those in his life that were important and continually amazed at their strength and courage. I watch how they share each others tears and pain.. until numb with spent emotion And my pride grows even more pronounced for dealing with the pain of death; a true adulthood tragedy.

And Kevin? He is more impassioned in spirit than ever before; being greeted by his Dad, his grandparents, and Billy, welcoming Salsky with a beer in his hand to a world that offers no pain but only love. He is always there for his family to say good morning, good night and just sit down together to pray for their lives here throughout the years as they experience struggles and new opportunity.

He is always there to say “sgood” a common phrase for that’s good that he was known to give on earth…. but more powerful than ever in heaven. They will hear that more than ever before.

Thank you for all of your wonderful prayers!

Gone but not forgotten Chicago stores for clothes/school supplies

August brings out the best memories of shopping for school clothes and supplies. I could dress up because in the days of old timers we had to wear cute little dresses to elementary school….if you were a girl. Though I am sure many of you were not excited about that cute little uniform you had to wear while attending private school.  Relaxed dress codes did not happen until I graduated high school though we were upgraded to wearing dress pants to school with occasional jean days.

My trips began at a gone but not forgotten childrens store called Bramsons in South Shore on 71st  and possibly Marshall Fields downtown with a trip to the Walnut Room if at Christmas but I liked a restaurant on the seventh floor surrounding us with beautiful light blue walls. For the life of me, cannot remember its name.

The following our places we shopped together for great school supplies, coats, and of course Florsheim/Buster Brown shoes.

Grants , a United States chain of low priced mass merchandise which briefly gives me the chills as I recount my missing child experience when I was only four or five. Within the store on the south side of Chicago, I slowly turned and Mom wasn’t there. I just walked down the same aisle and I would be sure to see her still….no Mom. So I turned down the next aisle, a little bit more quickly, a little more panicked…no Mom. The next aisle looked exactly the same as the last, cloth, linen that appeared colorless through my unmanageable tears.. Finally, someone grabbed my hand…we will find her. I was only sobbing a little by this point and the kind lady walked me to the service deck. I had to crane my neck to face the women behind it who asked me my name. I admitted no shame and spoke it clearly. It was strange to hear my name announced on the loud speaker. It was strange to hear my last name pronounced correctly. But she found me…did not leave me stranded.

Robert Hall on the South Side of Chicago was great for ski jackets. I could never find a coat that fit my small frame a but Robert Hall always had what I needed in winter clothes and it lasted forever.

Gatelys People Store was located in Roseland and I took piano lessons just a few blocks away so that is why Mom and I would spend sometime in Gatelys. The store thrived until the late 1960’s and moved to a smaller location in Tinley Park. I remember a pair of beautiful white gloves with a pearl enclosure that my Mom bought for me to celebrate Easter. Yes, we old timers always wore white gloves to for celebrations and holidays.

GoldBlatts/Wiebolts/:  Though I did not spend a great deal of time shopping in these stores, I remember my first experience with Goldblatts where I sold girl scout cookies outside of its doors on 91st and Commercial.

Lyttons/Chas Stevens : Mother loved Lyttons and always found that new dress that she dreamed about at the store in Evergreen Plaza. My first shopping field trips alone with my best friend took place in Evergreen Plaza where we would take the 95th street bus from the south side and spend our allowance money. In later years, I actually worked a summer job at Chase A Stevens in Waukegan modeling perfume and receiving a new dress free.

Florsheim/Buster Brown/Thom McKan:  As a child shoe shopping, was almost as important as a doctor visit. Since most parents took their children to the same store, sat patiently in their chairs, had the right socks or hose on with clean feat and waited for the foot to be measured carefully. It was the salesman that diagnosed the best style for your feet.  I always seemed to be fitted in saddle shoes and hated them. My mother would  never veer away from these stores though I loved Chandlers Shoes in later years.

SCHOOL SUPPLIES AND ACCESSORIES

Woolworth’s/Ben Franklin/Zayres:  Today it is an all in one adventure at Target or Walmart where clothes, school supplies and accessories are purchased, even food and snacks for your lunches. But for some reason, I remember Ben Franklin for my favorite candy and Woolworth’s for childhood accessories or crafts.  It was at Woolworth’s where I could buy art supplies to make my own Christmas ornaments, buy a necklace buried in a bin or favorite kid nail polish and perfume. Oil cloths to cover my many desks at school through the years had to be just the right pattern and for some reason, loved a certain smell that they would emit.

Kresge’s was a place of employment during the summer months one year while going to college. Kresges, the store located in River Oaks Malls in Calumet City and its infinite lunch counter is where I learned that waitressing was not for me. My uniform completely covered with food by the end of the day but the manager kept trying to help. I finally slipped on a wet floor and was out for three days with back pain….my mistake …not there’s… and that was the end of my summer adventure at Kresge’s.

Photo courtesy of Digital Collections 

Hate, hate and more hate

A child asked me why there was so much hate in America…..a child!!!!

So I looked up hate in America on the Internet where a child could easily access the information.  After the Charlottesville incident, the latest news articles listed what states had the most hate groups and the type of prejudice that they evoked. In fact, Florida was exemplified as one of the worst states for Americans….Americans.. I will state again…not to get along.

You have got to be kidding me!

I went to school in the 1960’s and grew up in a Jewish neighborhood with some of my best friends being Jewish and Black. And thank God in heaven the access to the virtual Internet, social networks and the media that is completely out of control didn’t exist for people to spew their dangerous name calling and insanity. These are virtual friends, for the most part, we may be talking to though I have known real intimate relationships deteriorate because of what that child called….what is it again???….hate. That is what it has become.

Back in the old days…better not say…automatically more grounds for discrimination and maybe hatred, we did not have to constantly verify what was fake news and the truth. And if we did not like someone…or hate someone which will always exist, we didn’t have social networks running with the highly exaggerated opinion or article so that writers could get a viral count in views for their work. Because that is what they want in the long run…they love to see us jump on ourselves, maim and murder others. They are right there to assist in anything that we need.

Hate articles bring in money. Because we read, we think, we have a bad day, think back to someone who we did not get along with in the past, watch more violent videos, suddenly, we too, are on our personal road to destruction. And you know what….hate, emotional pain, depression, animosity brings on the same in our own lives.

We begin to see our jobs suffer, our relationships weaken, our children struggle and illness take on new meaning;  becoming a part of our community, family and friends. All we have to do is read and think anti semetism, white supremacy, racism, KKK and we are creating lives for ourselves that will lack opportunity, happiness and ultimate peace. Wayne Dwyer constantly said what you think about, you create!

We are not Jewish Americans, Black Americans, Mexican Americans, Irish Americans or German Americans, the latter many will call me. I don’t want to be known as a German American. I want to be known as an American that supports her fellow countryman…..that’s a line I haven’t heard in awhile. I want to be someone I can help to improve the lives of others. I want others to feel safe in my community and be understood for there differences. I want to be able to focus on the positive….because guess what, greater gifts are given to me when I can bring a smile to someone that may be living a life much worse than my own.

And I never want to be asked by children why there is so much hate in America. Because I can’t answer that question…nor do I  ever want to!

What professional care giving taught me about marriage

He let me in the door. He looked afraid.

I was a substitute professional caregiver and no one told him I was coming, or he just couldn’t remember, another symptom of progressive dementia. I followed him to the kitchen, sat down at the kitchen table and tried to introduce myself again but he had a difficult time…wondering where Sharon was; his full-time care giver.

I tried to create conversation asking about his family, but he seemed confused. He did have a daughter who was responsible for his care. He must have been having a bad day…he couldn’t remember her either. However, as time wore uncomfortably forward, he did remember. She lived in Colorado or was it Chicago?

In most homes, the refrigerator usually displayed the identifying factors of life, love and the family tree. A colorful ‘Happy Birthday Grandma’ magnet caught my eye but his wife, he explained, had left some years ago though he wasn’t specific on a date, time or year, even whether she had passed away. He did mention that they had done a lot together, his eyes less fearful of his own loss of memory and my reason for being there. He was still not sure.

Though emergency caregivers were always briefed about the client’s condition and a file was present at every home with the most recent documentation, the refrigerator offered a compilation of discovery. It serves as a file of life, the latest pharmacies visited as well as medical clinics and an array of family photos of all generations.

I was told to clean up the bathroom upstairs in this tri-level home so I attempted to do so. But not without his companionship…he was suspicious while I constantly tried to reassure him.

As I began to pass a bedroom, a miniature dark blue Victorian two-story dollhouse with white trim dominating most of the room, caught my attention. It was huge, my eyes wide with excitement since I had a passion for the small and lifelike.

It started with the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago when I was young. The Colleen Moore Fairy Castle, the dollhouse of her dreams and every young girl who spied it, containing over 1500 miniatures; Jack and Jill tumbling down the hill in one room, Cinderella’s drawing room, and King Arthur’s round table in another. Every fairy tale imaginable was displayed in the castle.

This beautiful Victorian sat on a platform that extended pretty much the length and width of the bedroom with workbenches surrounding it along with a few cabinets…low against the walls for materials.

“My wife and I worked on this together,” he spoke in a small, peaceful tone. “We worked on everything together up until the end.”

Each room was intricately decorated with furniture from the 1930’s and 1940’s. Each room was uniquely wallpapered sometimes with wainscoting or borders as he pointed out who did what. There were clocks, and artwork that adorned the walls along with bookcases, removable books, and ornate oriental rugs that covered the floors. He still knew what switches worked as he lit each room; one adorned with a Christmas tree for the holidays, even rooms designated for the grandchildren with dolls and toys.

He described their fascination for completing the house. How they began, their challenges with each room, there determination to work together. And it was then that I glimpsed how the Victorian represented the floor plan of a marriage.

The porch was somewhat empty compared to the rest of the home and he knew I noticed.

“That is where we had to stop…that is when she…” He did not finish his sentence and walked out of the room.

He sat back in his chair in the kitchen, lost in confusion for a brief moment. “Who are you?” He asked again somewhat disturbed and we called his daughter to explain. She was able to get through to him, but during my brief time there, he was quiet, still not sure of the next moment.

Before leaving, I noticed that each room in the dollhouse was still glowing with soft light…even the Christmas tree blinked with color.

“The lights in the dollhouse are still on,” I reminded him.

At first he looked at me with fear, and then his eyes finally relaxed as he thought.

“Maybe I will keep it that way,” he said.

Finally, I got it…my own lights shimmered in realization. The collaboration of the Victorian dollhouse truly defined the magic of what marriage should be.

Not just words of endearment spoken between two on a journey but the action taken to building a meaningful partnership. Enthusiastically addressing the challenges together displayed in various rooms. Passionately obtaining knowledge and recognition to improve each other’s craft.

Not a superficial marriage, as many dollhouses can display, but an ongoing demonstration of how to truly stay in love. Regardless of his Alzheimer’s, he was able to remember the details of his love; offering him peace during moments of question.

Ultimately, he had taught me the true meaning of unconditional love; how it is challenged and how it can be rescued.

In the end, what else matters? I knew then that I wanted to travel the same glorious journey in my own life.

Now, he and his Victorian Dollhouse remind me of my destiny; the beginnings, the struggles, the joy and the finishing touches, as I build my own dreams of love, companionship and total commitment to the one I love.

Picture: Courtesy of the Strong Natural Museum of Play

Favorite Chicago land clubs, taverns and suburban bars: Gone but not forgotten

After exploring extinct restaurant favorites in one article, I decided to check out the bar scene; the gone but not forgotten taverns/clubs in the Chicago land area. Though I don’t drink today, my most frequented places were generally lounges attached to restaurants. I visited my first vodka gimlet and last vodka gimlet at Cavalinni’s in Dolton on Sibley and Chicago Rd. My first was wonderful but after visiting again years later, my last vodka gimlet took everything out of me. I was celebrating a South Suburban College dedication which was once known as Thornton Community College; not knowing I had a serious case of mono. That drink lead me to a doctors visit and was confined to bed for three weeks.

Balducci’s in Willowbrook when my children were little was another lounge/restaurant I liked to frequent with my husband. However, during a Halloween party after trick or treating with my little ones covered in trash bags due to the rain, my stamina was not there. One shot sent me home shivering. Maybe that is why I don’t drink!

After my research, two that I enjoyed during my hayday or whatever it was called was Lassens in Homewood and  Blarneys Island where you traveled by boat to the wild island in Fox Lake. Still open today, Lassens has not changed. Blarney’s Island, located in Grass Lake ,was and still is, the place you wore your swimsuit, danced to local bands , drank alot of beer, always got picked up: catching a ride in a boat. Today, when Blarneys Island is mentioned, I get the usual wide eye looks like you went to that place. Yes, I, too had my moments.

The following gone but not forgotten bars and clubs may bring that smile of oh no, (or oh yes) to your face too!

Nicks Sports Page  was filled with autographed sports stars and pennants because this truly was the American sports bar and only appreciated by the oldtimers from Dolton, Riverdale and South Holland.  For me, Nicks was the best place for a beer and they had excellent hamburgers if you were hungry.

Jukebox Saturday Night had three locations; one on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, Oak Forest and Lisle. Lisle is where I went for a casual return to the 50’s with a girlfriend that always said this was the place she could release all tension and get crazy. It was here that we danced are problems away with contests that included the twist and you could show off your expertise with a hula hoop.

Studebakers owned by Walter Payton was located in Schaumburg/Woodfield Commons and was quite a success. People really had fun with an active dance floor, crazy bar attendants and not potentially dangerous in anyway. They closed but opened to another venture-Thirty Fours. All of this between the late 80’s and early 90’s.

PJ Flaretys in Evergreen Park hosted many rock legends that included Three Dog Night, Edgar Winter,Leon Russell,  Rare Earth and the list goes on since they really tried to pack in new local and national talent. They had a capacity for over a 1,000. Blue Oyster Cult played there on Feb 8th, 1992 with a set list till available on line. You had to buy tickets in advance which were only about 10 dollars and 12 dollars at the door.  Today, that would be the cost of your drink.

Poor Richards Pub in Gurnee was a northside landmark finally torn down and located on Grand Avenue. I remember the bar back in the late 70’s and they actually held one of the largest Miller beer accounts. Halloween parties were always fun while always hosting special events.  It was a comfortable place to wind down and meet people.

Last Chance Saloon was a Grayslake institution for nearly 20 years owned by father and son. Again, known for some fun parties that took place surrounding a Western decor. I actually remember making my first toga and toga party at the Last Chance with a date. It is now Emil’s Tavern on Center street.

Finally, Fiddlesticks in Lincolnshire was a place I enjoyed with a square bar where you could sit on one one side and flirt with others, not too far away, but far enough if you decided it wasn’t the right move. A small, crowded dance floor existed behind one end of the bar.  People always talk of the bars that they met their significant other and I, too, met the man I married and had two children in this bar on Olde Half Day Road. He was quiet…not your average flirt who liked to read books on bar stools rather than assume the normal pick up role. And I loved to read.

(Picture:  a Chicago Speakeasy 1920)

The Ghost Army: Hero lives in Arkansas…raised in Kankakee, IL

Born and raised in Kankakee, Illinois, Leslie Gates, 93, currently lives in Arkansas and is finally able to share his astonishing secret. The top secret unit that he was involved in during World War II, the Ghost Army. Officially known as the 23rd headquarters of special troops….Operation Quicksilver.  After D-Day in France and until the end of the war, over 20 battle deceptions were staged very close to the front line deceiving German soldiers and officers between 1944-1945 ending in the Rhine Valley.

A secret for over 40 years, some information still considered classified today, the Ghost Army was finally able to share their personal experiences in the last couple of years. Consequently, able to share the fascinating battlefield illusions they created whose American purpose was to fool Hitler with fake strategic games and theatrical events.

These disguised missions were composed of inflatable tanks and false radio transmissions. Giant speakers were used to broadcast the sounds of men and artillery to make the Germans think that the units were larger and deflect their concentration from other battles. Painters designed hundreds of rubber tanks, jeeps and aircraft. Aircraft could be inflated with gasoline fueled air compressors that looked authentic to Nazi military. They also pretended to be members of fellow units by sewing patches on their uniforms going as far as spending time at French cafes dressed up as Generals. Only the best of actors and creative artists were part of the 1,100 elite men in the Ghost Army.

Les Gates lived on the 400 block of  Harrison street in Kankakee during his childhood and high school years; his father a lifelong resident who worked for the post office. He has visited Kankakee several times and I, too, went back for him; the picture I took where his house once stood bought by one of the churches in the early 1970’s and now torn down.

Les talks about his experiences with the Ghost Army who saved tens of thousands of lives because of their unique deceptions. Les and his one brothers talent was music and composition. In 1938, in Kankakee they formed a band that included the band director from his high school and was sponsored by the Rural Letter Carriers Association of Illinois.

Delighted they were selected to play in Washington DC and it happened that the Hardin Simmons University band was also playing. Les’s brother was offered a music scholarship to attend the University. After attending, Les Gates traveled with his family to visit his brother in Abelene Texas and often played trombone for entertainment there.

Of course, the college heard his brilliance and offered him a scholarship too. However, the war changed all of that.  Beginning his training in the Army, because of his musical talent, he began at Fort McClellan and learned the art of radio dispatch. Voice transmission were not as popular as morse cord and it was the dots and dashes that was clearly easy for him as a trombone musician.

I spent the better part of three years with the 3132nd and 3133rd  signal service companies. I got to the 3132nd from the A S T P program when it was dropped. The 3132nd was the first organization that started training in the art of sonic deception at Pine Camp, N Y . We were all ushered into a room with guards outside the door and we were told we were not to speak to anyone about this. I developed appendicitis at Fort Slocum-Port of demarcation and “missed the boat” and was transferred back to Pine Camp to join the 3133rd. The 3132 operated in the European theater .

The 3133rd went on to Italy and operated there until the end of the war. Both units were reported to have been VERY effective in their operations. There were VISUAL deception units, also, and of course you couldn’t suddenly have a division of armored tanks appear without the appropriate sounds, thus the sonic units were VERY important to the overall operation. We had amplifiers that could , project “sounds” for 5 or more miles, and were very convincing. We could actually bounce speakers off the clouds to get as much distance as possible. The tanks were not just inflatable and if hit by artillery, just pop like a balloon but had a framework of tubes so the enemy could shoot and it would not fall so quickly.

Only a few dozen members of the Ghost Army are still alive throughout the United States as the ranks continue to dwindle.  According to Ghostarmy.org, as of May 2017, bipartisan legislation has been re-introduced in both the House and the Senate to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops for particular recognition. “Rarely, if ever, has there been a group of such a few men which had so great an influence on the outcome of a major military campaign,” In the past eight years,  World War II units including the Native American Code Talkers, Women Air force Service Pilots, the Monuments Men and the Doolittle Raiders have received the Congressional Gold Medal. “The dangerous, life-saving, top-secret work of the Ghost Army is well deserving of similar recognition,” Rep. Kuster says.

Les Gates ended his army experience, actually, as a band man. Since World War II, he has played in numerous bands, concerts, dance bands and symphony orchestras. Since his move 10 years ago to Arkansas he has not played.

I would be incredibly honored to receive the Congressional Gold Medal. Not just for me but for so many of my comrades whose lives were saved. Though at 93, I do hope they make a decision soon.

Please feel free to contact Les if you know anyway to help him and share his story at lesgates@suddenlink.net or me at karlasullivan17@yahoo.com

Fond memories of fine dining: Restaurants now extinct

Fine dining was a special favorite for my Dad and we went to a new place frequently. He was a business owner and that was the way he felt he could thank those that purchased his product. That was the way he thought he could teach his only child manners and grace. Though, I loved to explore new places , it was always the same as far as my food choice, a kiddie cocktail and a steak sandwich/medium rare without the bread. After he passed away, my Mother continued the tradition with me through the decades. Though long gone and my list could go on and on, I just included places that I had visited in the outlining suburbs/towns of Chicago back in the day.

Green Shingle in Harvey had exemplified true love from the early 60’s. It with my first date with my Dad in my best dress, shoes and gloves. It was my first steak sandwich medium rare but would not be last.After my Dad passed away, it was my second date with my college professor who helped to celebrate my birthday with fellow students;  that same college professor who passed away from cancer a few years ago. And finally, a date with my first boyfriend as we first held hands at the candlelit tabkle; killed in a car accident shortly after.

Dunlaps started as a concession but moved in 1937 to its Palos Heights location on 123rd lasting for 60 years. My father owned a business in decorative and auto glass. One of his clients was Dunlaps in which he created the smoked glass that enhanced visitors behind the long, bar still in exquisite condition when the restaurant closed. Even as a child and adult, I remember staring at my self, proud of my family contributing some part to an institution for great food including real relish trays with pickled beets.

Yesteryear in Kankakee,IL was a restaurant situated in the Frank Lloyd Wright home the B. Harley Bradley House located on Harrison Avenue. In the early 1940’s, my Mother lived in Kempton, IL and wanted to go to college. She rented a room from the Gates family who lived in the 400 block of Harrison Avenue  and attended Kankakee’s Business College.  The Gates, George, Ruth  and son Les became her adopted  family until they passed away in the late 1970’s. Les, who is 94, is still alive today. As a very young child, we would walk to Yesteryear which had opened in 1953. As a young adult, I attended a 50th anniversary of a family member from Cullom, IL.

Phil Schmidts, on the border of Illinois in Indiana, had been opened for 97 years . It was a place of many memories that included the celebration of events such as graduation parties. Known for their seafood, their most popular was frog legs and perch. Beginning in 1910 and closing in 2007, also made their own amazing tartar sauce.

The Tivoli on Glenwood Rd in Chicago Heights was also a favorite establishment especially for weddings or other family events. Though older when I visited the Tivoli, I had graduated from a steak sandwich to a wonderful porterhouse they served there and a broiled filet mignon topped with blue cheese.

The Old Barn in Burbank was a beautiful, elegant adventure for me as a child and adult dating back to the 1920’s when it originally was a speakeasy during Prohibition. Another great choice for wedding receptions and family dinners which had closed in 2008 and was 87 years. The Old Barn was especially beautiful during the holidays with leather chairs in the dining area and beautiful sofas and fireplace in the lounge.

Country Squire in Grayslake, IL was originally built in 1938 as the residence of a Sears family member and it was a mansion that became the Country Squire Restaurant in 1954. A breathtaking estate that I enjoyed often as an adult, experiencing on a date and also enjoying a wonderful wedding of a dear friend. I remember celebrating Mother’s Day with my own Mom  as she cried for its beauty and wonderful food.

The Flame, finally, in Countryside became another family favorite celebrating the same Mom’s  65th birthday there with her grandchildren. The restaurant was a classic with another dress me up atmosphere and the best in seafood and steak.  My love still was always steak or a Chateaubriand for two and for Mom, the best orange roughy she had ever tasted!

CHILDREN IN CRISIS:New Book Seeks To Bridge Trauma Gap for Children In Disasters

New Orleans, LA, July 25, 2017– PrepBiz, LLC announces the release of Hopper’s Hurricane Adventure, a first-of-its-kind children’s book aimed at preparing youth ages 5-9 for natural and human-caused disasters. The publication is the first in a series of children’s disaster preparedness books designed to reduce trauma, and provide a kid-friendly, non-threatening approach to teaching young people about disasters.

Children and youth represent a quarter of the U.S. population. Kids are strong and resilient in the face of disasters, often adapting to stresses that weaken most adults, and yet they are also incredibly vulnerable. Young children, in particular, are completely dependent upon many systems in their lives for their survival: their parents, their broader families and communities, the institutions and organizations that care for them and teach them, and the officials and policy-makers who shape their environment.

The Hopper Series focuses on improving the outcomes for children when these systems are disrupted during a disaster. “With the growing number of hurricanes, floods, wildfires, tornadoes, and other natural catastrophes, and the ever-present threat of man-made acts of violence and trauma, children’s preparedness is a priority for survival,” said author Kenneth Bibbins.

A clinical physiologist and entrepreneur, Bibbins is CEO of PrepWorld, LLC, an educational technology company. He led the housing repatriation efforts, providing services for thousands of New Orleans residents returning after Hurricane Katrina. Regarded as a subject-matter-expert on childhood trauma, Mr. Bibbins witnessed first-hand the enormous suffering and trauma from the Katrina disaster, and decided more needed to be done to protect children in disasters. Bibbins previously authored Tired of Diets? Hate Going to a Gym? Want to Lose Weight? Let’s Talk! (2000), which talks about ties between trauma, weight loss, and obesity.

In 2014, he designed and created PrepBiz, a game-based trauma informed educational solution to improve children’s decision making in emergencies.

Hopper is a central character in the PrepBiz suite of products, which Bibbins hopes to release later this year. The full color Hopper’s Hurricane Adventure book provides children with a relatable character they can easily identify with. Hopper is not a superhero, just a normal kid who experiences the onset of a hurricane in his hometown. Books are a tangible way of bridging the gap between preparedness and providing the muscle-memory kids will call upon when faced with the real thing. “Our intent is to reduce unnecessary trauma, and improve resiliency among children, Bibbins said. The Hopper series books are an important step toward achieving that goal.”  The book is available on Amazon Books or through the website at http://www.prepworld.org

FAQs

Why was the Hopper Book created?

With the frequency and intensity of disasters increasing and more kids being affected by school shootings, increasing acts of terrorism, rising crime and the lingering aftermath of both natural and man-made disasters, we face a growing public health crisis caused by trauma that touches us all.

What is the primary purpose of the book?

Given that natural disasters have increased in frequency and intensity, the need for both present and future generations to actively undertake emergency preparedness and hazard awareness activities has heightened in recent years.  The Adventures of Hopper book series provides collaborative guidance in the form of “engagement knowledge” to help kids build confidence when faced with these types of incidents and may help ameliorate psychological morbidity that some youth may experience when faced with a family disruptive tragic event, emergencies, hazards or disaster.

How much does the book cost?

Book 1 entitled “Hopper Faces a Hurricane,” from the “Adventures of Hopper” disaster literacy book series for ages 5-9 cost is $9.99

Is the book available in eBook and print?

Currently the book is available in print and soon on Kindle

Where can I obtain the book?

The Adventures of Hopper book series can be purchased from Amazon under ISBN 9781548651268 Title ID: 7323142

PrepBiz is a private educational technology firm specializing in preparedness products and tools for trauma informed solutions. If you would like more information, please contact Kenneth R. Bibbins at http://www.PrepWorld.org  or email Kennethbibbins@yahoo.com