Styx

Best Thing was the first hit which came out in 1972 and I really did not know the song that well. It was that  Lady, from the moment I saw you..…. that captured my passion and the many hearts of others. The song was popular in Chicago in 1974 with the help of radio broadcaster, Dick Biondi, but was finally heard nationwide by 1975. Hitting number 6 in the charts. However, it was Come Sail Away in 1978 that would bring tears to my eyes because I loved the sea; especially sailing at that time in my life when the song hit the charts in 1978.

It was true irony when I was writing and researching Styx that I happened to overhear a young third grader, Cannon, talk about his dedicated knowledge of songs and love for the band. Knowing the songs of today, Cannon talked about the discs Regeneration, Volume 1 and 2 recorded in 2011 which included Grand Illusion. His ten year old sister, Ella, discussed the new high-fidelity, analog, studio album Mission currently on sale. Her favorite song was Radio Silence.

In August 1961, at 12 years of age, twin brothers Chuck (bass) and John Panozzo (drums) first played music together with their 14-year-old neighbor Dennis DeYoung who played accordion and sang, while living in the Roseland, Chicago area. Eventually they began using the band name ‘The Tradewinds. Many I have met through the years remember going to school with the band members, living in the same neighborhood, seeing them at high school concerts or listening to their music at summer fairs.

According to Wikipedia, Chuck left to attend seminary school for a year but returned to the group by 1964. Tom Nardin had been brought in to replace Chuck on guitar, and Chuck decided to play bass guitar when he returned to the band. John Panozzo was the drummer, while DeYoung had switched from accordion to keyboards. In 1965, the Tradewinds name was changed to TW4 (There Were 4) after another band, the Trade Winds, achieved fame nationally.

By 1966, the Panozzo brothers had joined DeYoung at Chicago State College and kept the group together by performing at high schools and fraternity parties while studying to be teachers. In 1969, they added a college friend folk guitarist, John Curulewski, after Nardin departed. Hard rocker guitarist James “J.Y.” Young came aboard in 1970, making TW4 a quintet. In 1972, the band members decided to choose a new name when they signed to Wooden Nickel Records after being spotted by a talent scout at a concert at St. John of the Cross Parish in Western Springs, Illinois. The name Styx was chosen.

Today, Styx continues to tour but band members have changed over the decades.  However, Tommy Shaw, James “J.Y.” Young, and Chuck Panozzo are considered the main musicians. John Panozzo passed away in 1996. Drummer Todd Sucherman, keyboardist Lawrence Gowan and bassist Ricky Phillips have been with the band for many years. The band is still known as the band with everything; a powerful mix of sound and creativity.

Dennis DeYoung, founder of Styx and writer of many songs, sings with his own band that showcases many of Styx’s greatest hits.

Amber Bakery and Dressels

When getting cakes for birthday parties as a child for the kids, they were decorated beautifully. And it was always Ambers for the kids birthday party or school functions; a yellow cake with white frosting. Though I think I liked their cookies the best! The Ambers family lived across the street, owning a duplex and living on the second floor. I baby sat for the family that lived on the first floor. Ambers owned two shops; the South Shore location was at 2326 East 71st street and 9157 South Commercial Ave; the last address was the one we visited. Ambers did sponsor many school functions and celebrated the opening of Buckingham school in 1962.

I was never a strong cake lover because my favorite dessert, even to this day, is ice cream. Just recently, I read that ice cream is good for breakfast…can’t picture that yet. However, Dressels, really changed all that and a wonderful article in Lost Recipes actually has a home recipe for their chocolate whip cream cake. Mom would have this cake at parties when the adults were present. And Dressels was one of the first where their chocolate cream cake could be purchased and frozen called frig-freez cake. It was delicious and I passed.. on ice cream.. when we had Dressels.

Dressels were originally made in Chicago at a plant on the south side. William Dressel left home with his brother, Joseph, in Wisconsin,  to start a business in Chicago in 1913. Herman, their other brother, joined them 10 years later. There first bakery was at 33rd and Wallace developing the first whipped cream cake. In the 1940’s, Dressels was selling over 10,000 cakes per week and by 1963, Dressels was celebrating their 50th Anniversary. Dressels was also a leader in frozen foods with  annual sales of 3.5 million. Later in 1963, the firm was sold and expanded by American Bakeries Inc.

The Dressel’s cake is still being made at Wolf’s Bakery in Evergreen Park, which has been serving baked goods since 1939. In fact, Wolf’s Bakery at 3241 W. 95th St. has been selling its version of the cake since 2009. Many customers have commented that the cake tastes exactly the same.

Even though the hours are early morning as I write with my coffee, I am getting hungry. Not for breakfast food or ice cream either!!

The first day of school

Nobody took a picture of me on my first day of the school year and posted on Facebook for all of my family/friends to see. Not in 1961. In my early elementary years, no one really explained what was going on. Back in those days, it was one moment at a time and not much forethought was counseled a head of time. Just go and do. I was terrified of school until fourth grade. All I remember about the first days of kindergarten is my father dropping me off and meeting my school teacher, Mrs. O’Brien, at Thomas Hoyne School, her last year before retirement. And that made her wonderful because she was the Grandma I didn’t have at home and she had a way treating her students with kindness, patience, and one that encouraged early talents in special ways.

My own children followed the same tradition since they did not have social media. And my son began to cry as he was coerced to ride the kindergarten bus. Thankfully, back then, kindergarten was only a half a day.

As an assistant in the kindergarten classroom this year, I also help in the main hallway, while students from ages kindergarten to second grade, enter for the beginning of the school year. And I am excited… not only meeting new students today but hugging those that I have known the last two years. The buses begin to arrive before 8:00 am and at 7:40 we open our doors. Some run to me with new outfits, backpacks, and,of course, I am amazed how tall they are. One kindergarten student is crying and does not want to let go of Mom, and one first grade girl that I had last year, stops, gives me a hug and helps me with the new student.

As the day continues, I had forgotten all about the exhaustive first day episodes in kindergarten. Some runners, some criers, lots of trips to the washroom, constant classroom reminders to raise your hand and learn how to form a straight line. I had forgotten about the numerous questions when lunch was scheduled after morning snack, how many times they wanted to play on the playground, and when was it time to go home…they missed their brother, their sister, or their new pet. I had forgotten the need to be pushed on the swings. I had forgotten that I needed to increase my dose of Aleve for the day as a result of my continued mobility.

But at the end of the day, some gave me more hugs, beautiful smiles, and one young gentleman gave me a dandelion on the playground; thanking me for tying his shoe. Nobody missed their rides or buses home….not that I am aware of anyway. And most of all, they remembered my name which is something I am still working on as far as their names are concerned.

And as we send them off to after school programs, Mom’s, Dads, babysitters and Grandparents, I know this will be a wonderful school journey for all of us.

Year after year, many of us, as educators repeat the rituals of going to school. Though academics are certainly important, the best lessons that we can teach our students is love and understanding that eventually builds trust to sustain them for a lifetime. We owe it to their future; giving them the caring time and genuine attention they need everyday.

As an educator, parent, grandparent or friend, never underestimate the power that you have to make a difference in one child at a time.

Never underestimate the gift of a child……right back at ya!!!

Chicago stockyards

I visited the stockyards one time since a friend of my Dad’s worked for Swift in 1959-1960 and I remember just a few brief moments of smell and memories of cattle carcuses hanging from the ceiling. I don’t remember any other area because I was only about 4 or 5 and my Mom said we walked through pretty quickly to meet my Dad at an office where he was visiting. At first, the major meatpacking companies resisted change, but Swift and Armour both started surrendering and vacating their plants in the Yards at this time.

My Dad was several years older than my Mom and his father worked at the stockyards during the early 1900s and my grandfather was working there during the time of the fire. The fire, which broke out at Warehouse 7 of the Nelson Morris Company at the Chicago Union Stock Yards on the 4300 block of South Loomis Street, was first reported on December 22, 1910 at 4:09 am. It resulted in the death of twenty one Chicago firemen.

Dad also had friends that worked at the stockyard in 1934 and on May 19th, another significant fire took place destroying over 80 acres of land and 50 were injured though most were fireman. The fire had blazed for over 4 hours and many home owners and renters that lived in the surrounding areas were asked to evacuate. Over 2,200 firefighters battled the blaze. All the telephone lines, electric lines, and gas mains in the vicinity of the yards were put out of commission and some people were homeless around the Halsted area though there are no specifics at that time.

In 1921, the stockyard employed over 40,000 people and Americas center for meatpacking.Once refrigerated trucks and highways came into play, the processing plants, no longer dependent upon the proximity of the railroads, decentralized and moved west. The Union Stockyard and Transit Company closed its doors in 1971.

The Union Stock Yard Gate, located on Exchange Avenue at Peoria Street, was the entrance to the famous Union Stock Yards in Chicago. The gate was probably designed by John Wellborn Root of Burnham and Root around 1875, and is the only significant structural element of the stock yards to survive. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1981.

The Good Old Days: Rain

I love rainy days; especially weather watching for storms. I get so excited checking weather reports and the radar; technology that we have today versus the good old days. Though Alexa and Weather Underground do make mistakes. But even back then, everyone loves a rainy day…. napping, reading, playing a game or spending time with your own vehicles of nostalgia though for many that may be on our computers, phones and visiting social network sites.

Just the other day there was a morning rain storm and for many in the area, electricity was lost for hours. Today’s people could not survive with the loss of power during a rain storm and unfortunately attics are not made for snuggling. Right before the storm really began, I took my usual, summer morning walk and loved watching the clouds formulate while the raindrops slowly fell and it felt beautiful. The winds picked up as soon as I reached the house.

At the elementary school I work, grades kindergarten – second, no one…no one… liked to get rained on. We would always have extra umbrellas available if we were escorting a student from a car or bus. One of my jobs was to help manage kindergarten recess and generally it was outside. The kindergarten classes would eat lunch first and then all 100+ students would head out one door to the playground. I would open that door, always checking the grounds first before releasing them.  One spring day, the air was heavy, a little cloudy but none of the other recess supervisors had rain indicators on their phones saying that rain was on the way. Our phones did not lie about weather alerts today, but I was hesitant when I opened the door.Well, we let them go and they were all out less than ten minutes, when there was no thunder, lightening…. but pouring rain. I blew the whistle to have them line up early and I was shocked how well they managed. Some screamed but for the most part, they didn’t run slamming into the one door we always used that entered the building. They lined up in their five class lines, facing one of the other supervisors and the wall of the building, who always stood there. As I passed the lines to open the door and let, them in, some were actually holding their hands out, smiling, looking up at the sky as the rain continued, quietly stamping the puddles already forming, but each line gracefully walked into the building.

Some had spring jackets on and they didn’t complain after hanging their coats and heading into their classrooms. Some did ask if they could change their shoes since they had an extra pair of tennis shoes for P.E. The main office had video cameras and watched them come in; hoping there would not be a mob and there wasn’t. Those adults viewing the cameras were surprised at the smiles of fun on their faces.

Oh, boy how good their bare feet would have felt in the rain that poured most of the afternoon….just like the good old days.

Morton Salt: 105 years old and still the one

The only costume for Halloween that I ever one a prize for was dressing as the Morton Salt container at a college party.  I spent hours taking my time painting the poster board and iconic logo; the little girl dressed in a yellow raincoat with a yellow umbrella carrying an open salt container. I dressed as the actual girl with a yellow dress and umbrella when I was younger but my mother would not let me carry the salt opened continuing to say the Morton salt slogan, When it rained, it poured.

Morton Salt’s logo features the “Morton Salt Girl,” a young girl walking in the rain with an opened umbrella and scattering salt behind her from a cylindrical container of table salt, and is one of the ten best-known symbols in the United States. The company began in Chicago, Illinois, in 1848 as a small sales agency, E. I. Wheeler, started by the Onondaga salt companies to sell their salt to the Midwest. In 1910, the business, which had by that time become both a manufacturer and a merchant of salt, was incorporated as the Morton Salt Company. It was named after the owner and founder, Joy Morton, the son of J. Sterling Morton.

Currently, Morton Salt is owned by German fertilizer and salt company K+S and has always had facilities in the Chicago area closing the Elston plant in 2015 but now Morton Salt and R2 Companies have established an agreement in which Morton Salt will retain its highly recognizable branded rooftop and relocate its Research & Development (R&D) Center to the site from its current location in Elgin, IL. Morton Salt is also the sponsor of the Morton Arboretum, a 1,700-acre (6.9 km2) botanical garden in Lisle, Illinois.

Everyone asks who was the girl or what was her name underneath the umbrella. She was called the Umbrella Girl but no name was ever given and an ad agency came up with the idea because they wanted to let customers know that this salt in the new cylinder would pour easily just like rain. The ad was published in Good Housekeeping in 1914 and though she changed the first few decades, her last changed was in 1968.

Archie forever

Archie teenage comics were popular during my pre-teen years and Veronica Lodge instead of Betty Cooper was always my favorite. When I would grab one and read, they would make me day dream about what it would be like when I started high school in 1969. There was a store called Cozy Corner on the south side of Chicago by South Chicago Hospital where we bought penny candy but there was a store across the street who sold the best selection in magazines and comics. That is where my Archie Andrews and Jughead came from; only costing about 12 cents. Comics were not just titled Archie but Jughead was titled along with Betty and Veronica; having their own issues.Though the hospital is still there and has expanded, the stores are gone.

Riverdale is the fictional small town where the characters grew up and attended Riverdale High. I moved to Dolton in 1971 and Riverdale was a suburb next door…still reading Archie and Archies’s rival Reggie in my teenage years.

Though there was no kissing…it was pure fun and jokes.  Archie drove an old fashioned car convertible from the 1920’s and would occasionally make a call from a phone booth. They would do everything together; bowling, going to the beach, shopping for new clothes.They actually went to Als pizzeria and would get two pieces for the price of one. Archie was always in trouble with their old teacher, Ms, Grundy or the principal, Mr. Weatherbee. There were times they would dance, walk close, staring at each other with the printed red hearts floating about; sometimes Archie with Veronica…sometimes with Betty. The publishers would keep you guessing until issues # 600–602. The story features a futuristic look into the life of Archie in the years that follow his college graduation when Archie makes his ultimate decision to marry Veronica instead of Betty Cooper in 2009.

Archie proved to be popular enough to warrant his own self-titled ongoing comic book series which began publication in the winter of 1942 and ran until June 2015. A second series began publication in July 2015, featuring a reboot of the Archie universe with a new character design aesthetic and a more mature story format and scripting, aimed for older, contemporary teenage and young adult readers. The printed comic book format is different from the previous publications.

I miss the wholesome lives of the Riverdale comic characters and wish I had saved at least one copy for times like these.

The most valuable Archie comic book ever known to have been sold went for more than $140,000. Archie made his first appearance in a comic book in 1941, in the issue “Pep No. 2”; that’s the one which made the big money.

Amazon offers an amazing copy from 1966.There are several Ebay copies for purchase as well. Maybe just one….it is a Betty and Veronica from 1968…no longer 12 cents but under $15.00?

 

Promoting compassion, confidence and solutions

Its almost 20 years that Hope’s Front Door has been open to clients seeking assistance in the six communities of Darien, Downers Grove, Lisle, Westmont, Willowbrook and Woodridge. Many have no idea that there is an urgent need in the Western Suburbs for emergency assistance for families and individuals in crisis. DuPage County is considered economically rich in salary and property value but over 6.7 percent live below the poverty level evaluated in 2017. According to recent statistics, homelessness has improved, but the need for help with other living expenses is greater. Hopes Front Doors  continues to provide relief; helping assist in transportation, food and medical/dental vouchers and, most importantly, they try to emphasize how clients can make long-term, sustainable changes for the future.

Hope’s Front Door programs include the Pathways to Financial Health that provides budget counseling and handling financial crisis. Volunteers from several local banks meet one-on-one with clients to mentor and educate them on such issues as saving and debt management. Their Pathways to Employment program provides recruitment events and job coaches; the latter that will help structure your resume or provide interviewing tips. Information about local job openings is available by signing up for the HFD Weekly Job List. Their Health and Wellness program gives clients the chance to receive emergency dental care or special housing for medical purposes. Prescriptions and eye exams, or even eye glasses can be obtained with help from Hope’s Front Door.

Hopes’s Front Doors annual school supply donations fundraiser has begun this summer with the great partnership of the Downers Grove Junior Women’s Club. Backpacks are needed. Look for donation baskets at the following Downers Grove drop-off locations now through August 12th:

Drop Off Sites:

*Important reminder: Hope’s Front Door can only accept new (not used) supplies.*

In September 2020, Hope’s Front  Door will be celebrating 20 years of serving our neighbors in need. Cocktails for a Cause Kick-Off Event will be held September 14th to fund Hope’s Front Door’s emergency/immediate assistance services, education/empowerment programs and upcoming 20th Anniversary Campaign activities. There will be exciting raffles and silent auctions as well as sponsorship and underwriting opportunities. Larry Mowry, ABC7 Chicago News meteorologist, will MC this fun-filled evening.

We hope you can join us!

Saturday

September 14, 2019

6:30 p.m.

At the home of Rhonda & James Gaw

8738 Ainstree Lane, Burr Ridge, IL

$75 per ticket

To purchase tickets go to the Cocktail for a Cause website page http://www.hopesfrontdoor.com/cocktails-for-a-cause/

Hope’s Front Door 1047 Curtiss Street, Room 610 Downers Grove, IL 60515 Phone: 630-322-9803 Fax: 630-241-3224

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, 10:00am-11:45am; Monday evening, 6:30pm-8:00pm

CLOSED ON TUESDAYS

Send an email: info@hopesfrontdoor.org

Chicago: Performing at Ravinia

The first time I heard the band I was riding in a car. Most songs we remember back then we heard in a car. My mother heard them too and asked what song that was on the radio. Does anyone really know what time it is? It was different from most rock and roll at the time. There were horns; trumpets and trombones. Chicago is an American rock band formed in 1967 in Chicago, Illinois, calling themselves the Chicago Transit Authority in 1968 before shortening the name in 1969 because of a lawsuit.

Their first record (April 1969), Chicago Transit Authority, was a double album. According to Wikipedia,the album made it to No. 17 on the Billboard 200 album chart, sold over one million copies by 1970, and was awarded a platinum disc. The album included a number of pop-rock songs – Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?, Beginnings, Questions 67 and 68, and I’m a Man – which were later released as singles. Not having the first album, I did buy the second sometimes known as Chicago II released in 1970 and was a double album.

I would play 25 and 6 to 4 or Make Me Smile at home pretending I was a professional dancer or twirling a baton on fire. And Beginnings or Color My World  was the popular make out song at many of our junior high, high school or university dances. Saturday in the Park was an outdoor song; popular on the fourth of July…still is. I remember playing it outdoors as much as the outdoors would allow. After that, I had to have Chicago VI released in 1973 that included Just You and Me and Feeling Stronger Everyday.

My first boyfriend, my first year in college, had passed away in a car accident in 1974. The single Wishing You Were Here came out the same year always causing tears even today in 2019….reminding me of the days spent with Terry.  If You Leave Me Now, you’ll take away the biggest part of me released in 1976 is another reminder of young love lost.

Chicago has sold over 100 million records with 47 albums earning gold and platinum certification; probably one of the best selling rock and roll bands of all time. One of the longest running bands as well. Original band members that still play include Lee David Loughnane who was born in Elmwood Park, Illinois, a northwest suburb of Chicago. Robert Lamm moving to Chicago, Illinois, when he was 15 years old. He studied art in high school, particularly drawing and painting, but changed direction in college by enrolling in the music program at Roosevelt University in Chicago. Born in St. Louis, Missouri of German and Irish descent, Pankow moved with his family to Park Ridge, Illinois at the age of eight, where he started playing the trombone at St. Paul of the Cross Elementary School.

Married in the late 1980s, Your The Inspiration coming out in 1984 was played and danced by many at my wedding. The song was written by David Foster and Peter Cetera. Sung by Cetera,a founding member and the song, alone, won honors for him.

Having decided to write an article, I had no idea that Chicago will be performing next month at Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, IL August 10th and 11th at 7:30 pm and it looks likes tickets are available from 125 dollars. Lawn seats are currently sold out.

Chicago has been touring for 52 years being a part of my heart, my soul, my energies and countless hours of musical memories. Given the bands impressive history, somewhere, at sometime, this iconic, legendary rock and roll band with horns has touched your life too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magical summers

Many Baby Boomers growing up did not always have their summers planned with vacations. Some went to summer camp and many, like me, waited anxiously for best friends to get home from camp so we could play or create the next adventure. Some of us had no place to go during the summer with the exemption of exploring the neighborhood because we did have full freedom to go outside and play on a nice day.  Full freedom to explore and be back by 6 for dinner or for some until the street lights came on. No fear of stranger… danger!

Sometimes, we would go to the local playground or city park such as Chicago’s Bessemer which had a community pool or Stoney Island Park, which was popular for its ball fields, now known as Jessie Owen Park on the South Side of Chicago. Of course, riding our bikes(without helmets) often doing all sorts of stunts to get there. Many families had plastic, above ground pools in their backyard…not so different as those today.  The backyard sprinklers were are last resort but always fun once turned on. We never got sick drinking from the hoses either. Playing hopscotch, kick the can, red light, green light, red rover, Chinese jump rope, jacks( inside and out.)

I am not sure if it initially came from boredom or just not sure what to explore next but we produced plays, musicals and all sorts of summer shows for our families. One my friends and I did was about Betsy Ross and instead of the infamous lemonade s tand we re-created the Sip and Stir on a front porch which was originally an ice cream shop in Old Town. We made chocolate shakes and decorated the porch with tissue flowers. Though unless we had help from a Mom, we had to make sure that cooler was stocked with ice.

If in junior high and a Chicago city kid, sometimes we would ride the local Illinois Central Train downtown for lunch in the Narcissus room at Marshall Fields. Sometimes we would ride the bus to Evergreen Plaza in Evergreen Park on the west side; one of the first indoor malls.

However, screens did come into play when it was a rainy day. You could select from 3- 5 channels. If it was Saturday morning, you had a variety of cartoons to choose. Prime television was generally in the evening and reserved as a family event after your friends returned home. Board games or blind mans bluff were always an option and some of us had indoor ping pong or pool tables that we were allowed to play in the cooler finished basement since some did not have air conditioning.

Saturday afternoons could offer corny black and white horror movies such as Attack of The Crab Monsters,Teenagers From Outer Space and I Was A Teenage Werewolf. This was all after adjusting the TV antennas which could take some time especially if weather was poor and Mom watching over you while you made Jiffy Pop, the best stove- top popcorn that you loved to gently slide back and forth over the burner and watch the foil expand to new heights. Evenings were always spent with my favorite paint by number set from Bargain Town or reading which was encouraged before I went to bed. We always took trips to the local Chicago Public Library branch. Today, I am an avid reader and love to paint for fun.

Raising children in the 1990’s actually was pretty similar to the 1960’s though there television sets had a lot more channels to select. And they still made Jiffy Pop and my kids loved to help. Personal computers were just showing up in homes and they were pretty bad. So were pagers used mainly for work and more Mom’s needed jobs. I still let my children take over the neighborhood on bikes.Though, they did not have the run of as many blocks like we did in the old days. They did play outside and established some creative plays to perform for parents. Games were similar like tag, Red Rover with the exception of Marco Polo, a new game at the pool. I found sometimes, as parents,we would get too involved in the preparation of games and adventures. Maybe,we should have taken a back seat more often and just watched them build their creativity and love for one another. A very difficult exercise.

Today, just give kids markers, chalk, paper, and even washable paint. Let them go for it outside. Give them boxes, paper towel rolls, saved cereal boxes, tape and let them create their own summer houses, vehicles or forts. Pull out old clothes, dresses and see what they can do. Let them play with their friends and learn together. As far as games,Duck, Duck Goose and Monkey in the Middle seems to be popular. Gathering by themselves to play without you is the best of time for your children during the summer.

But never limit your field trip trips to the local library. You can actually cook Jiffy Pop on the grill outside. And watch the entire shows and movies from the past on Netflix. Maybe true summer fun hasn’t changed that much after all.