DAD’S Root Beer

My Dad actually made me a root beer float when I was sick and though I was very young, he taught me to add the soda first to a float glass and then the vanilla ice cream. Otherwise, the float will foam more possibly ending up on the counter more than in the glass. Then he would add some whipped cream and of course, a maraschino cherry.  I never was a root beer lover but’s DAD’S Root Beer was the drink he used. My own Dad always believed in using the product that was made in Chicago since he was a local business man in Chicago as well. DAD’S Root Beer was developed in the basement of a Chicago home.

Created in Chicago in 1937 by Ely Klapman and Barney Berns, it was quite a favorite with locals throughout the early 1940’s. Dad’s was the first to format the six pack and the half gallon bottle.Within another ten years, Klapman and Berns would have 165 franchise bottlers distributing the yellow and blue brand across the continent. Made in Chicago Museum offers some interesting history of the plant that began off the Kennedy expressway between Avondale and Logan Square. It used to be the Borden’s plant in the 1920’s. The plant was finally gutted in the 2000’s and renovated into 55 condominium units

The Klapman and Berns families sold all rights to the Dad’s name and logo to IC Industries in the 1970s. Monarch bought Dad’s in 1986. In 2007, the DAD’S Root Beer Company, LLC of Jasper, Indiana, was formed by Keith Hedinger when Hedinger Brands, LLC acquired the Dad’s Root Beer brand and other soda brands from The Monarch Beverage Co. of Atlanta which include  Bubble Up, Dr. Wells, and Sun Crest.

Bubble Up, Dr. Wells, and Sun Crest were drinks that I was not accustomed back in the 1960’s since Dad also did business with Canfields soda where he would get free can’s of 50/50. Canfield’s plant was located across the street from his glass sales shop. I have never been a soda pop lover but an old-fashioned DAD’s, still made with l wintergreen, licorice, and vanilla, along with ice cream is the best. A memory of my own Dad never forgotten.

My first 45 rpm records

Sunday was National Record Day and I could write many articles concerning record collections. But let’s talk about 45 rpm records. They were my first before albums because they were cheap and I was young…only about 10 to 12. Singles were popular with the young crowd more than albums and rock and roll artists. Along, with my first record player, I also received an off white box with a gold gilded design to fill a decent collection of 45 rpm records. My first ones consisted of Downtown by Petula Clark recorded n 1964,  I Know a Place, also by Petula Clark in 1965, Bend me, Shape me, by American Breed in 1967, Woman, Woman by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap and Spirit in the Sky, by Norman Greenbalm. It was after Norman that I moved on to bands and albums.

The most common form of the vinyl single is the “45” or “7-inch”. According to sources, the names are derived from its play speed, 45 rpm, and the standard diameter, 7 inches. The 7-inch 45 rpm record was released March 31, 1949 by RCA Victor as a smaller, more durable and higher-fidelity replacement for the 78 rpm shellac discs. The first had recordings on both sides but the other side was generally not a popular song by the same artist. Most ran about 2-4 minutes.

History Dumpster offers some interesting information concerning 45 rpms. John Lennon once asked how long he could record his song to George Martin in 1968 and George Martin, after some experimenting, found the answer – 7 minutes, 11 seconds. And thus the playing time of “Hey Jude”.  I guess Bruce Springsteen made one longer. Portable battery operated phonographs were also made for taking your music anywhere. Though you were lost without your record inserts.

These records did last longer than I expected though declined in the 1980’s when cassettes became the rage. Some were still being recorded in 1990. Thursday’s Golden Goodies offers some great vinyl records today that you can order online. Their Internet store has more than 47,000 different vintage 45 rpm & LP records in stock. You can actually get a carrying case for your 45 rpm records and spindle domes to properly center your record on a turntable.

Of course, you can sell your 45 rpms directly on Ebay. There is collection of country (not my favorite) for over fifty dollars. It has been awhile since I have seen my childhood box and records though clearly remember the collection. I know the box is somewhere but while writing this story, I found the exact box online. Back in our day, the variety was not as vast as it is today. And it is only seven dollars.

 

You can still redeem S & H Green Stamps not Plaid Stamps

Being home during this uncertain time, brought moments of re-organization and a special box saved by my Mom. I had time to really investigate. While laying the books and single stamps out on table to organize for a photo, my adult daughter walked in asking what these were. Oh my..…so I tried to explain helping my own Mom lick stamps at the dinette table in the 1960’s and fill books so we could go shopping. Retail organizations, like grocery stores, gave out stamps according to how much you bought. My mom got Plaid stamps when she went to the A&P. What’s an A&P?  Mom got green stamps at National Foods. Of course, another question about the defunct National food store. A great blog idea entitled forgotten grocery stores.

Sperry & Hutchinson began offering stamps to U.S. retailers in 1896. Shoppers accumulated stamps, they moistened the reverse and mounted them in collector’s books, which were provided free by S&H. Depending how many books you collected, you could buy household items offered at a redemption center. In Chicago, redemption centers were located in Wiebolts stores or Magikist The following stores were listed on the back of one of the books published in 1965 when Ford City had been built.

*State and Madison         * Harlem-Irving               *Milwaukee and Ashland                             *Oak Park                       * 63rd near Halsted          *Evanston           *Lincoln near Belmont  *Lincoln Village              *Meadowdale                     *Randhurst        *New Ford City

The program had its greatest popularity during the mid-1960s, but started to decline in the mid-1970’s. However, stamps can still be redeemed. The green stamps do not expire and WIKI shows you how to send in your stamps for money or set up a site to use online. Today, S&H offers “greenpoints” as rewards for purchases made on the Internet if you are not interested in cash.

Plaid stamps could be used buy purchasing from a gift catalogue and today, they are not redeemable, however, it is a great idea to check out opportunities to sell on EBAY. Plaid stamp books are selling for five to ten dollars but filled books with stamps are worth more. ETSY also offers a variety of vintage stamp collections. A vintage double-sided Plaid Stamp metal sign is going for over 150 dollars.

Keeping in step at the parks

By Caryl Clem:

April’s monthly theme is for everyone to walk so put on your favorite soles and head for a park while practicing social distancing. Cook County Forest Preserves feature 70,000 acres and over 350 trails to investigate while Chicago’s parks cover 7,600 acres. To locate the scenic 31,000 acres with 206 pathways and trails to explore; the largest selection of endangered and wildlife species in Lake County along the Des Plaines River or the shores of Lake Michigan.

A contest had been held to decide what the best park should offer and the winner influenced the next 50 years of park designs, Frederick Law Olmsted. The New York Central Park in 1857, was a showcase of beauty, a park with rolling landscapes and graceful wrought iron benches. The most frequent visitors were the wealthy. The best roads were there for carriage races held on a regular basis. By the turn of the century parks were constructed for the working class in neighborhood locations.  The love of sports becomes part of park services in the 1960’s.  Parks offers a huge variety of activities from museums, conservatories, cultural centers in addition to exercise.  A majority of parks feature a younger child area with playground equipment and sand boxes. Any park is an adventure to walk through while studying nature. There are interactive maps with GPS available, for instance LCFPD.org/maps.

The Rails to Trails movement idea started in Chicago. May Theilgaard Watts in 1963 wrote to the Chicago Tribune proposing closed Chicago-Aurora-Elgin railroad line was a space to walk going to waste, this was a missed opportunity. In her words, “ if we have the courage and foresight..then from this strip we can create a proud resource.”  Years later, The Illinois Prairie Path Organization turned her words into a reality currently used by over 800,000 people who have walked along the Illinois Prairie Path. Outside of  Chicago, this site offers locations complete with ratings.

The best example of wetlands is in the Spring Bluff forest preserve in Winthrop Harbor that links to the Chiwaukee Prairie in Wisconsin. The 4, 500 acre is the highest quality of coastal area in Illinois and southeast Wisconsin awarded the Ramsar Wetland of International Significance in 2015.

History and culture exploration are offered in several parks; for example The Dunn Museum in Libertyville, Indian Park near the West Rogers Park area’s Cultural Center offering Native American themes to pay tribute to the former Pottawattomie tribes that occupied this territory,  and Chicago History Museum in Lincoln Park . Old roads and horse trails wind through Ryerson Woods in Riverwoods.

For dog owners,  (annual permits required )pawsitivly great spots In Lake County,

   Dog Park Maps
Duck Farm »              Independence Grove »             Lakewood »
Prairie Wolf »             Waukegan Savanna »

For Chicago, check out these trails for your favorite pet.

Currently, many parks are closed so check before going. Spend April walking, even around your neighborhood. Doctors advise a minimum of 30 minutes for at least 5 days a week. When the parks open again, explore and feel the excitement of a new adventure while improving your health.

Remembering Chicago street cars

She was 100 in 1999 and said the biggest change she had seen during her life in Chicago was not having streetcars though that was before the Internet and cell phones. She probably would have spoke differently. At one time, Chicago had the largest railway system in the world. The street cars began in 1859 with a horse-drawn cart running along a single rail track down State Street. However, they were replaced with cable cars and then replaced again with electric streetcars powered by an overhead trolley. Over 3,000 passenger cars existed.

As a girl, my Aunt used to ride the red street cars for only a nickel back in the early 1900’s and she said she could go anywhere in the city of Chicago for that cost. They also had a free transfer privilege where you could switch from one car to another. The streetcar industry began to decline in the 1920’s because of automobiles but at the time her family could not afford a car so she was a regular streetcar customer. A white band surrounded a pole to indicate where the car would stop. And according to my Aunt, you only had to wait a few minutes for the next car. There were over 100 routes throughout the city. A motorman stood in front of the car while the conductor was in the back where people loaded onto the car. The conductor rang a trolley bell to let the motorman know they were ready to go.

The PCC car was her favorite which only last a short time from 1945-1946. The streetcar company known as Chicago Surface Lines would not give up on their streetcars. Four companies formed the CSL: the Chicago Railways Company, Chicago City Railway, Calumet and South Chicago Railway, and Southern Street Railway which continued with Hammond, Indiana until 1940.

The new public agency Chicago Transit Authority took over Chicago Surface Lines and the streetcar system in 1947. They began to integrate the surface lines with the city’s elevated train network. The last street car journeyed down Vincennes Avenue on June 21, 1958. James O’Neil talks about his memories as a child with streetcars and living near a large streetcar, later bus, “barn,” as they used to call it. He used to have quite a collection of paper transfers.

Many years ago, I took my son to Illinois Railway Museum where he saw the red street car that my Aunt talked about. He was too young when she passed away but his love for everything on rails was passionate. The Illinois Railway Museum is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization which is owned entirely by its volunteers. The museum receives no state or federal money for its operations. All capital and operating costs are paid by individual donations and revenue derived from tickets and on-site sales. Currently, they are closed until early May but they are always looking for volunteers.

 

 

Mission of Our Lady of the Angels needs your help

When we hear of Our Lady of Angels in Chicago, for Baby Boomers, our first thought is the tragic fire over 62 years ago that killed 92 children, three nuns and hundreds who walked away with significant injuries in West Humboldt Park. Today, school fires of this magnitude rarely exist because of major fire reform. The Our Lady of Angels parish, that we knew, closed in 1990. But today, an amazing, gracious, community of young men and women serve and live at the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels. Side by side, with the angels who help them, they continue offering their assistance during the economic impact of COVID-19. Those that believe everything was lost …then and now…maybe not. Gods love never stops.

The school was a charter school until 2017 when given back to the Franciscans at the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels . Fr. Bob Lombardo came to Chicago in 2005, at the special request of Cardinal George, to set up a mission outreach to help the poverty- stricken neighborhood on Chicago’s west side. Fr. Bob has functioned as the founder/ director of the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels, founder/ superior of the Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago, a newly established religious community of young men and women living and serving at the Mission of Our Lady of Angels.

The Mission of Our Lady of the Angels is currently taking food donations. Their monthly food pantry provides food to about 1000 families a month. They provide fresh produce, non-perishable food, clothing, and household goods to about 250 families every Tuesday at their Mobile Pantry. On St Patricks Day, they transitioned the pantry outside and served 260 families. And, yes, the pantry will remain open.

Presently, they are concerned about food supply streams and are welcoming all donated food still! They have also partnered with the Chicago Police Department to bring food to home bound seniors. The mission is asking individuals to call before dropping off food donations in person at its West Side location. People can also buy food for the Mission’s pantry on the Amazon wish list.

In times of greatest need, we turn to prayer. The Mission of Our Lady of the Angels continues to pray for the children, families and friends lost in the tragic fire decades ago. Their prayers are constant for all of us as we face a new crisis. In many places, public masses have been suspended in an effort to help stop the spread of coronavirus. However, masses our being streamed and the mission will rise to every challenge they meet. As one nation under God, let’s continue to pray, spread the word, donate and purchase what we can so that the Mission can provide food security to the increasing need in our communities. Acts of compassion are greater than any hardships we can ever face.

Typewriters for sale

The kindergarten students saw a picture of Dr. Seuss typing his famous manuscripts and somehow the subject of typewriters came up. Some did know what a typewriter was. For me, speed was a major issue when learning how to use a typewriter because of an incessant teacher making sure my hands were positioned perfectly over the keys at Thornridge High School in Dolton. I was a piano player…I could do this…the teacher said during my class back in the 1970’s and I got a D first semester. Though I continued on taking shorthand with Mrs Whitesec who calmed me down and helped me to advance at my own pace. 

My mother had an old, manual, black typewriter that was not easy. It sat in a case and was my grandmothers who was a professional writer. She had written for newspapers and loved writing poetry. Kind of like me. My mother worked as a secretary where she typed quite well and loved it. 

The first commercial typewriters were introduced in 1874, but did not become common in offices until after the mid-1880s. It was widely used by professional writers, in offices, and for business correspondence in private homes.

Typewriters did not possess the means to communicate to the the world but they did the trick when typing a simple letter and believe it or not, they are still for sale. If we still couldn’t fix it, the handyman’s shop down the street could repair it and you could kill two birds with one stone, another expression you don’t hear much anymore, by taking your clogged vacuum to him as well. 

You can still buy brand new typewriters at Typewriters. com  Some businesses still use type writers for typing quick documents such as funeral homes as well as federal prisons for inmates. Vintage typewriters are available at Ebay and those that still work can be expensive. One Vintage IBM Correcting Selectric lll Electric Typewriter is priced at $150.00.

At any rate, owning a typewriter would be a fabulous addition to your collectibles and would be available in the event of a major solar flare break or something to play with while hunkered down because of the virus. Have your grandchildren take a seat in a stiff back chair in front of it, shoulders back and eyes on a sample text to the left of the typewriter. Have them insert a piece of blank paper all by themselves. Command them to flex their wrists properly, not look at the elevated keyboard and see what they can accomplish. Now, you are finally in control and are able to give back all those times that they thought they knew something you did not. Have a wooden ruler in hand to threaten them with a generous tap if their fingers flop. Show them who’s boss!

Becareful, however, with ruler tapping since they could have you arrested for assault. The ruler may also create another distracting problem since they may not even know what a ruler is.

River Oaks Mall

Moving from the south side of Chicago to the south suburb of Dolton in 1971, the first shopping trip my mother and I took in the south suburbs was River Oaks Mall in Calumet City. We always parked in front of Marshall Fields, my mother’s favorite, which is now Macy’s. Early in the 1970’s,  a women drove her car into Green Lake which was quite a talked about story. The Forest Preserve is still across from the mall, though not sure what happened to the women driving into the lake. Some say there were children in the car as well. Sears was positioned at the far end of the open air mall. While in late high school and early college, many of my friends worked at Sears. Next door to Sears, I took a job at Kresges, right next door to Sears one summer in the diner part of the store. Many did offer food back in the day. I was a very poor waitress, my uniform always covered in some condiments. One day I fell and hurt my back. Don’t remember if it was at the store or at home but I quit shortly after.

River Oaks opened in 1966 and was a development of KLC Ventures a firm that included the pioneering developer Philip M. Klutznick and his son Tom. The elder Klutznick had developed Park Forest, Illinois, after World War II, as well as Oakbrook Center in Oak Brook in 1959 and Old Orchard Shopping Center in Skokie in 1956. Kresge s closed in 1987 and became a theater. Today, River Oaks is enclosed, In 1994, the redevelopment was completed. 

The Forest Preserve has become much larger providing different groves, hiking paths, fishing, ice fishing and walking events.

Its been a long time since I have been to Rivers Oaks and the theaters next door which are closed and demolished. I did see the first Stars Wars at the theater. Unfortunately, the crime has escalated in the area and people have been shot in the mall. Though violence and gangs have always existed, I truly miss the way things were. However,  Trip to the Mall provides some wonderful photos showing how the mall is today inside.

 

Forgotten malls: Evergreen Plaza

From the southeast side of Chicago, my best friend and I were allowed to ride the bus at the age of 12 in 1967 down 95th street west, passing Beverly, crossing Western into Evergreen Park where we exited at the CTA bus stop right in front of the Evergreen Plaza Shopping Mall  which is still there.  I can remember visiting Chandlers Shoes, Lyttons, one of my Mom’s favorite stores as well as Chas A Stevens. Before Montgomery Ward on the North end and, it was The Fair. Of course, Carson Pirie Scott which was located on the far south end from 95th street. My aunt worked there in jewelry for awhile. If we had money, we headed to Walgreens for candy after our lunch. There was a Wimpy’s where we had lunch.

The Evergreen Plaza operated from 1952 to 2013 and the first regional mall in the nation; the second indoor mall. It was originally designed as an open-air shopping center developed by Arthur Rubloff, one of, if not, the first of its magnitude in all of Chicago land. Actually the mall was enclosed in 1966. The center also contained a Jewel supermarket, which featured a conveyor belt that carried groceries from the store to a parking lot kiosk.The mall’s Walgreens was the second self-service Walgreen pharmacy in the chain; it was also the chain’s first location in a shopping center.

Two theaters were added in 1964; fairly new for us growing up, located on the south end by Carson’s and they were huge. I saw Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid at one of them but those were closed in 1999.

Today, Evergreen Market Place is a contemporary outdoor mall replacing the former Evergreen Plaza anchoring the corner 95th Street and Western Avenue in Evergreen Park. It offers approximately 22 stores such as Planet Fitness, TJ Max, Whole Foods Starbucks and Petco.

Good Old Days: Valentines Day

Saint Valentine’s Day was a feast day in the Catholic religion, added to the liturgical calendar around 500 AD. The day was commemorated for two martyred roman priests named—you guessed it—Valentine. … Because of this legend, St. Valentine became known as the patron saint of love. No one knows exactly when the celebration began in sending cards but their is evidence that it took place as early as the fifteenth century,

It is said by the 18th century,February 14th became an occasion for people to exchange letters or small presents to commemorate love between lovers and friends. But back in the day, it was very expensive to buy Valentines cards and huge boxes of candy.

NJM Blog offers some information about Valentines Day candy. For example, the history of Sweethearts Candy Hearts began in 1866. Daniel Chase developed a machine that could press food dye letters onto the candy lozenges made famous by his brother, New England Confectionery Company (NECCO) founder Oliver Chase. Heart-Shaped Boxes of Chocolates: Richard Cadbury, son of Cadbury founder John Cadbury, created ‘fancy’ boxes of chocolates to increase sales.

School celebrations of Valentines Day consisted of making your own valentines in the early eighteenth century here in America. Teachers would help students make cards; passing them out to everyone in the classroom. Teachers would decorate classrooms with felt hearts and banners. As a Baby Boomer, we brought Valentines to school that were sold in a small red box with a variety of small, one dimensional cards to choose from that would fit the personality and gender of each child. You better pick something that was sports oriented for the boys…never kissing anyone. Your gifted valentines were stuffed in a plastic bag to bring home. The same was for my own children growing up in the 1990’s but Valentines were more theme-oriented celebrating famous toys, stars, or movies. I remember my son sending Spiderman cards. There was a collection of cards with Michael Jordon on them that said your cool and of course, Barbie or Pocahontas (celebrating the movie) was a favorite for girls 20 years ago.

Now, however, decorated Valentines Day boxes that are sometimes larger than the student, are brought to school. They represent mailboxes of all different themes with an opening ready for cards that may be a monsters teeth, a unicorn, a cat, a dog or a fairy castle with a magic door for cards. They are absolutely gorgeous and a great idea for parents to help decorate; bringing out how special and creative Valentines Day can be. Today, classrooms also celebrate Valentines Day parties usually hosted by volunteer parents. Though candy is an issue, the parents bring great snacks for the kids.

This year for the kindergarten students, my daughter and I made Valentines with two hearts glued together with a Tootsie Pop in the center that had attached googly eyes, Looks like a butterfly with glitter heart stickers since the parents agreed to the lollipop this year. Since we have a short week at school, I passed them out yesterday. There is something special about making your own creation and not one disliked the Tootsie Pop or the flavor they received since they were able to eat them in the classroom…all at once…following afternoon recess. Wow…maybe we should do this more often for it was much quieter than usual at one point. Their little mouths had something else to concentrate and couldn’t talk and lick at the same time.

Happy Valentines Day!