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.

Decades of kitchen fun

During kindergarten recess, I would anxiously visit their kitchen, have a seat while waiting for the best in plastic cuisine presented to me. There were several cooks involved in the process; a far more elaborate setting than my early 1960’s, childhood kitchen. They would fight when offering me the best to eat from their own personal menus. It was a constant argument between pizza, chocolate chip cookies, donuts with sprinkles or just candy. Sometimes I would get juice…half filled. Now, without being in school with friends, they are probably learning the real art of cooking in the family kitchen with Mom. I loved my childhood kitchen and after watching a home movie, I realized that I, too, wanted to be in charge, just like my kindergarten friends.

Made in the early 1960’s, mine was not metal like some, but the made from Sears brand that many had in white or pink corrugated cardboard with red, plastic handles that was easy to move. The set included a stove, with glow burners, oven, cupboard, sink with running water and refrigerator. I don’t remember the cups, saucers and other utensils except for a metal coffee pot and a aluminum baking pan for cupcakes. Vintage play food was not as extravagant as it is now. Pizza and chocolate chip cookies were not a big item on the list. My collection included lots of fruits and I did have a turkey for Thanksgiving.

Unfortunately, in the early 1990’s, my daughter did not have a kitchen but her best friend who lived right next door did. They had a special bowl and ingredients to make alphabet soup. She also had a Fischer Price Sizzle and Glow that the girls would try to relocate outside during nice weather but this was electronic. She had a muffin container too. However, they came with the finished product;  great looking frosted cupcakes with maraschino cherries.

Today, play kitchens are not that different with the exception of having a microwave oven, refrigerator ice dispenser and no corrugated cardboard designs. Many are being crafted from high quality wood. Mine went for about 15 dollars. Today, 200 is the average price to fulfill your child or grandchild’s dream of having the best kitchen in the community. During another article soon, we will talk about the best of childhood grocery stores…found right in your home! Pickup and delivery was available even back in the day.

 

The magic of the Colleen Moore Fairy Castle

One kindergarten student went to the Museum of Science and Industry, loving the baby chicks as her favorite exhibit. I did too and so did my own children. But when I begin another trip in the room with the Colleen Moore Fairy Castle,I am constantly in awe. I am quiet and so overwhelmed by the intricate detail of the amazing workmanship, artistry and beauty every time I visit. Maybe I have missed something again. I always do. But one year, I finally bought a book before the Internet was a resource.

The creation is the ultimate dollhouse/castle donated by Colleen Moore to the museum in 1949. She was a  Hollywood icon and one of the highest paid actresses. She conceived and designed it with about one hundred Hollywood craftsman and designers between the years of 1928 to 1935. She spent about a half a million on the castle. It has toured the US raising over a half a million dollars to give to children’s charities. Currently, the castle has 11 rooms and wonderful stories to go with each room.

The following describes each room and the finishing touches that were fascinating to me and my children:

Kitchen: It was not just the Mother Goose fairy tale murals on the walls. The best thing I liked is the kitchen of the witch from Hansel and Gretel.

Dining Room: The tapestries on the walls are so intricate that you cannot see the stitches at and the silver ware and plates on King Arthurs table are made of gold. So many pieces are over 100 years old.

Cinderella’s Drawing Room: The floor is made from China combined with quartz and jade. There is a beautiful of mural of Cinderella. A grand piano with an illustration inside the top is an instrument I always wanted to play on. I took piano lessons for many years and taught lessons.

Great Hall: On walls, windows and the ceilings there are amazing drawings of several fairy tales. There is a rosewood table that has Cinderella’s slippers on it and the chairs of the Three Bears. Of course, the balusters throughout and the stairs are gold.

Chapel; On the prayer bench is a small bible. The smallest in the world and printed on real type. I always stared at the electric pipe organ with gold pipes and music pours from it. The stained glass windows are actually made with diamonds and emeralds taken from Moore’s brooch.

Library: Is a sea motif in beautiful blue shades. There are pictures describing the classic literature of Gullivers Travels and Robinsoo Caruso. There are over 100 real books in the library many of them handwritten by famous authors.

Princess Bathroom and Bedroom: The bath tub is silver and real water can flow from the dolphins mouths on both sides of the tub. The bed is the same that Sleeping Beauty, my favorite Disney character, slept in. There is also a golden harp instrument that I always wanted to play

Prince’s Bathroom and Bedroom: The bathroom is upstairs with a mirror filled jewels. The bedroom has a huge white bear rug with real mouse teeth that I was always a little afraid.

Attic: This is just like most attics. Things that used to be in other parts of the castle are stored in the attic.

Magic Garden: Another favorite of mine. I loved the cradle that rocked the baby and you could actually see Santa Claus all year round.

Forgotten mall: Hillside Shopping Center

Hillside Mall located in the Chicago suburb of Hillside at Roosevelt and Wolf was originally an open air mall that was built in 1956. The anchor stores were Carsons and Goldblatts and initially 21 stores existed, however, that increased in 1958 according to Mall Hall of Fame.  Stores I remember were Carsons, which was three levels. A friend remembers special times with his Dad at Karroll’s Men’s Wear. But in the 1960’s the mall was sold and refurbished; enclosed and climate controlled in August of 1967. Stores also included Lyon and Healy where my Mom and I bought sheet music. Armand was a great restaurant with a smorgasbord as they were called then.

Newer and larger malls began to show their face which included Oakbrook and Yorktown in Lombard which are still open today. Also opening in the 1970s was the North Riverside Mall. Remodeling was done in the late 70s and early 80s but Hillside was declining rapidly. Located near the Eisenhower expressway, there were no immediate off ramps near the mall and people had to go a few miles out of there way to get there.

It was purchased by Northbrook-based New Castle Partners in January 1992. They decided to remarket the struggling complex as a value-oriented shopping hub, changing its name to WEST POINT CENTER in February. Eau Claire, Wisconsin-based Menards opened a home improvement store in the vacated Goldblatt’s space in mid-1992. Prior to Menards, Zayres and Ames were also there. But when Carson’s was closed in 1997, the mall was demolished.

The Hillside Mall Cinemas was closed by Loews Cineplex in late 2000’s and now houses a church, while the adjacent Hillside Mall is now a Carmax used car retailer. They opened as one screen in 1962 but eventually had three. Cinema Treasures offers some great history of different movie theaters throughout the country and is building the world’s largest guide of theaters. They have over 53,000 movie theaters from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and dozens of other countries around the world.

 

 

 

 

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.

Good Old Days: Strange parallels with 1918 and the Asian Flu in 1957

My grandmother had saved 50+ copies of these comics in the 1950’s. She, too, was a published writer for a newspaper and artist. As I searched through the copies this week, I found a group called Miserable Moments, having no idea that this comic, written by Erwin L Hess, described the Spanish flu from 1918 comparing to the new pandemic of 1957 that was just beginning. The grandfather talks about 1918 when churches, school and theaters were closed…most people still getting it regardless of wearing mask. The author also talks about the flu which would probably get them in October, 1957 when this was published.

The “Asian flu” was the second major flu pandemic outbreak of avian influenza(H2N2) that originated also in China early 1956 lasting until 1958. It originated from a mutation in wild ducks combining with a pre-existing human strain. The virus was first identified in Guizhou. By June 1957 it reached the United States. Some of the first affected were United States Navy personnel at destroyers docked at Newport Naval Station, as well as new military recruits elsewhere. 

The first wave peaked in October which he talks about in the comic and the second wave, in January and February 1958 among elderly people, which was more fatal. It was spread among children but not harmful to them.The vaccine was available from October 1957 in the United Kingdom in small quantities but once sent to the US, it was effective. According to sources, about 100,000 people died in the US and almost two million died world wide but considered the worst flu epidemic. Some only experience mild symptoms such as a mild cough, fever while others developed severe respiratory illness such as pneumonia. 

Comic artist Erwin L. Hess (1913-1999) featured nostalgic memories in his popular newspaper comic panel The Good Old Days. His detailed art combined with easily-recognized themes from American family history resonated with readers who grew up in small towns and farms across the country. The Good Old Days was published from 1946 to 1981.

After reading about the history of the Asian flu and the onslaught of H1N1 in 2009, one report commented about in spite of the scare stuff in the lay press. When it comes to social media and the news emphasizing fear over faith, some things never change.

Forgotten Malls: Lincoln and Lakehurst

After moving to the south suburbs in the early 1970’s, I had friends that moved even further south. Spending time with friends in high school and college, it was time to hang out in the nearest mall. Besides, River Oaks in Calumet City, we went to Lincoln Mall in Matteson which opened in 1973 with anchors Carson Pirie Scott, Montgomery Ward, Wieboldt’s, and JCPenney. B Dalton Bookstore was another favorite there. The one place I remember the most was riding the glass elevator at Lincoln Mall. The Mall was developed by Randhurst Corp, the same developer consisting of Wieboldt’s and Carson’s executives who developed Randhurst Mall and Lakehurst Mall.

Moving to Waukegan in 1978, to teach at Warren Township High school, shopping after school or on weekends was an important event especially since we had a dress code. Besides Marshall Fields, another favorite was Carsons in Lakehurst Mall. Pier I, Service Merchandise and Red Lobster, some of my other choices were built on the outskirts of the mall. My mother loved to visit and treat me for dinner at the Red Lobster. Lakehurst Cinemas were also popular built across the street.

Lakehurst Mall was the first regional shopping complex in the northern Chicago suburb of Waukegan. The mall officially opened in 1971. It was built to service the growing town of Waukegan, the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, and the northern suburban sprawl of Chicago. On August 8, 1991, Gurnee Mills opened seven miles (11 km) away from Lakehurst. The newer, larger Gurnee Mills proved a much larger draw than expected, devastating Lakehurst’s retail base.

After several years of decline, Lakehurst closed in 2001, and was demolished in 2004. Lincoln Mall was demolition in 2017. Matteson casino group gets the ok, just a few months ago,to make old Lincoln Mall site its new proposed location.

Playing jacks and cats cradle

When I was young, bored and had few to play with, jacks would keep me occupied. I vaguely remember getting a set in a cloth, draw-string bag. You can play alone or with friends. And metal jacks with a ball were much easier to pick up then plastic jacks. But it was a great stay at home game…especially now. It was also called Knucklebones, known as Tali, Fivestones, or Jacks, which is a game of ancient origin. First, you need a set a jacks and a ball. Begin by throwing the jacks on a smooth surface or on ground in front of you. The old way to play the game is throw the ball into the air … pick up one jack … then catch the ball after it bounces one time. Continue picking up the jacks one at a time. When you have collected all the jacks, throw them again and start picking the jacks up two at a time. When you get to three you have to pick up the three sets of three first, and so on. Continue until you are at ten. Amazon still sells the old-fashioned metal set and ball with the pouch which is great to keep all the jacks in one place.

Cats cradle is one of the oldest games of all time and has always used string and more than one player. You build a string configuration using two hands and your partner tries to take it off one hand onto his or her fingers Actually, you complete three shapes..passing back and forth. The idea is too see how far you can keep going. I had to watch the video since I forgot a few of the shapes in between. Mom’s Minivan provides a demonstration of how to play the game solo. There is a book that describes Cat Cradle and different string figures you can make such as the Eiffel Tower, Jacobs Ladder,Cup and Saucer, and the Witch’s Brew.

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.