Ellen’s Story;

As I Saw It”

DEDICATED

To

Daughter Dianne

And Family

 

FORWARD

Within this pile of words, hope you can find aid in continuity for your genealogy and understanding of personalities/characters.  Hope you develop patience for the trial ahead of you, wading through my ramblings.  Hope for forgiveness on the repetition, length and feeble efforts recognizing author is armed with limited writing skills.

Note:  If I had realized that I would be forwarding the grade cards sixty years later to heirs, I would have studied and excelled. The repeated first person “I” seems the only way “I” could comfortably report my travels back into the past.  Found much recall, fact and emotion.

Here goes!

With Love,

Ellen Bartelle Shullaw

Mom

November 1992

***

First Revision: December 1995

Second Revision: January 1996

The History

(From Whence You Came)

Hearsay

I was born Ellen Jane Bartelle on December 5, 1921 on Summit Street, Toledo, Ohio, as the daughter of Benjamin and Alma Bartelle.  Documented!

One hour earlier Virginia (forever known as “twin cousin”) had arrived next door at 3414 Summit Street, Toledo.  Virginia was the produce of Grace (sister of Benjamin) and Joseph Wolfinger

Herman Bartel was a co-habitant of Ben and Alma Bartel.  Habits of his led to his – from generation to generation – label as “mean.

Second year finds Bartelle family in a small house in Sylvania, Ohio.  This was the location of the accident: when Ellen, age two, was burned by pulling a thermos of coffee over herself

Doctor Halbert was the attending doctor through spinal meningitis and healing of burns.  He was also the family doctor from 1928 to 1935 or longer

At this time Ben sold Durante automobiles, a brand no longer is existence

Back to an apartment around Wolfinger and O’Harra families (Summit and Erie Streets) in Toledo. Flashes of houses in Sylvania, berry bushes, lots of people.  Now memory kicks in.

IMPRESSIONS AND MEMORIES

Sixth birthday memorable with the delight ad fascination over a roll top desk made by cherished Grandpa Richmond.  Scaled to my size and can still see it coming in the door.  At that time we were living in above mentioned apartment in Toledo

AGAIN AGE SIX…

Another big moment, vivid yet, the importance of leading my class and teacher to Grandma and Grandpa O’Harra’s to view Grandma’s extensive canary family! The unveiling of the cages lightening the room, to see the many specimens.  They were in a darkened condition for the sanity of Grandpa O’Harra!

Visits to the site of the Richmond grandparents to climb over the construction.  Sit in the tomato patches and eating.  Climbing the one tree with branches we grandchildren could reach.  Always lots of my cousins around!

A favorite gathering place for O’Harra and Wolfinger, Smith and Bartelle (my cousins) was the O’Harra porch, that being the biggest porch.

First experience with the Irish funerals.  We touched so as not to dream about them before going to the basement for the party.

Large gatherings of family, in-laws, and friends for picnics and holidays.  Parties in Wolfinger or Richmond basements, which sported wood-burning stoves, ice boxes, and long folding tables made by Charles Richmond for all to use.  Many times we participated in plays that one of the adults would organize.

Saturday night was reserved for Aunt Grace and Uncle Mart Ritzenthaler, Jennie Richmond’s sister.  Fudge, sea foam pull for children, and Pinochle for men.  Went on for years!  Climbing in Uncle Mart’s chair was a no-no.  The largest size chair!  Aunt Bessie Burrow and Aunt Grace Ritzenthaler were not speaking, so the burrows were not included.

MOVE TO SYLVANIA

(Mailing address West Toledo)

Divorce loomed for us.  I moved to Grandparents Richmond to a small house in 1928.  Highlights:

·        The first violin player (?).  Did not last long when Grandfather’s horror over, or lack of progress soon tempted him to replace the violin with a guitar.  Finally we all agreed to give us and a pile of books replaced offending musical endeavors.

·        Stack of books – set of Bibles, a large volume of black leather, four small blue covered books on the Life of Jesus. Carried them through every move and have misplaced them (1980s).  Maybe daughter could look for them among books moved to her house.

·        Mother visited.  One visit with friend who had car with fans in all corners.  Presented me with skeleton (real looking) to stimulate studies. Grandfather was again beside himself and the figure was exiled to the closet.

·        Trips to Wolfingers and had special moments waiting for ice wagon to rush out, hoping for a sliver of ice remains after chopping said ice for delivery to homes.  Also vegetable carts.

NO REFRIGERATORS, NO WASHING MACHINES

(Tub and Wash Board); NO AIR CONDITIONERS;

MODEL T FORDS FAVORITE CAR (No heaters)

The absence of radios forced us to look and listen to each mother, sometimes not always favorable effect on adults! Uncle Joe Wolfinger had one of the first “crystal sets” where everyone huddled, waiting to turn on the earphones.  Was mostly static when you finally got the quick turn.

About this time, I learned the horrifying Laws of the Universe!  Inside the side door of Wolfinger’s house was a mirror.  In stern words, “Do not hold a baby in front of a mirror until they are one year old,” “No raised umbrella inside a house,” and, of course, “the “broken mirror, seven years bad luck.”  “Keep cats from babies, they take the breath from them!”

Riding with my Dad singing “My Blue Heaven,” the car jerked to a stop in the middle of the road and Daddy walked around the car nine times.  In most serious conversation, he informed me that a black cat had crossed our path and his actions cured the “curse”.  To this day I will take an alternate, longer path to avoid a black cat!

Father had remarried and lived with Fern and Jerry in a small house where we had lived seven years before.

Aunt Bessie and Ferd Kronsberger lived down the street with son Dickie.

Entered Hillview Grade School.  Chance remark made by teacher in cafeteria changed my life.  “Why are you frowning when I’ve noticed you have a very pretty smile,” she said.  From then on went forth to dazzle the world with my smile! Still think of the remark.

Around this time I attracted a surplus of weight and carried it with me till a trip to Findlay (now I had summer visits with my mother).  Mother took action.  Thyroid medication plus a curb on food did the job.  Was not recognized when I arrived back for school.

a 1930    b

The death of Aunt Bessie brought sadness and readjustment.  Ferd, her husband, soon married Sophia and moved with son Dickie into her home. 

Ben and Fern moved to a house formerly occupied by Emmett Queen and family.

Charles, Jennie and Ellen moved into the Kronsberger house.

A well and bath had been added but lacked the septic, so the outhouse.  Soon septic arrived, hence a toilet installed.

Washers were appearing with rollers on top, hand turned to wring clothes into rinse water.  Later the rollers would be electric driven with much discomfort to fingers with added ripping of garments.* (See note at close of section)

Radios were coming into sight.  Listening to “Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy.”  Joined his club (girls were accepted) and got the stamp and kit in the mail.

Joe Louis was fighting and we were all ears.  Max Baer, the fighter, was one of my favorites.  His son Max Baer, Jr., later played the nephew on “the Beverly Hillbillies.”

Startled to attention by custody suit brought by Mother.  One day in court with much confusion, everyone seemed to lose heart to proceed.  A wise old judge looked at me.  He invited same into Chambers and asked my opinion.  Suggested “status quo” which had seemed to work so far.

Back to Grandpa and Grandma.

Never mentioned after, or while going on.  In their customary manner it never happened for them.  Strained couple of months and return to normal with visible relief for all.

BACK TO DAY BY DAY…

Trips to Toledo every Saturday, sometimes picking up twin cousin Virginia and going to Tidkey’s (department store, which is not longer there.)

Jobs:  Daddy was on the WPA program for a while and also repaired cars in garage (Richmond).  On trips with him to collect from his customers, would wait in car sitting on hands and feet, wrapped in blankets to keep warm.  Would sometimes re-appear with eggs and hard cider instead of cash.

Daddy then sold Terraplanes with Grandpa Richmond being his first sale.  Also had a gas station.

Charles and Jennie Richmond still worked at Valve Bag.  Charles having been in the Spanish American War and World War I, received $100.00 a month for life for injuries sustained in WWI.

Jennie and daughter Grace still having the parties at every opportunity.  The group had enlarged to the point that halls would be hired.

Active at the Olivet Lutheran Church.  Every Saturday, Catechism.  Sunday School, church and evening Luther league.  Summers, Bible School.  Am sending picture of Reverend Anderson.

At thirteen, learned to drive in a Model T Ford under the patient tutorage of Grandfather Richmond.  He later found Model A Fords.  The last found at the home of the Apple family.  Cheerfully went with him for the trade since Bill Apple was the football captain at the high school we were attending.

Started dating Bill who finally understood that Mickey and Cruey were staples in my circle of friends.  Mickey Smith and Eugene Cruey were my best friends and protectors at school.

They would be barred for a day or two by Grandma when things became too hectic.  One masterpiece accomplished by us was the lifting of the top of her apple pies, eating the insides, and replacing the top.  The expression on her face and the waiting Grandfather was ghastly!  That rated a two day suspension for them from our homestead.

Activities were ball games (school and parks), drives to sport shows (sometimes in horrible snow storms), dances (Mickey and I learned the “Beer Barrel Polka”.)

And a lot of ice skating in the winter.

My father had sold Grandpa Richmond a Terraplane (as mentioned above), terrifying him.  Became frequent driver, many times punishing the oversized fenders.  My Dad’s service station was targeted a couple times, to his disgust!

High School was fun days and joined many clubs (Girls Athletic Association, for one.)

Got class right which Grandma Richmond wore after I had grown tired of it.

Summer of sophomore year, I crashed Bob O’Harra’s group in Findlay.  After a good battle, he accepted the condition and even approved of the coupling of his friend Don Jacobs and myself.

Bob was working for Mother who now was in partnership with one Harve Baer.  They had cigarette machines, slots (which were legal then), and juke boxes.

Bob’s exalted position – having the keys to the juke boxes – provided us with music wherever we went.  At least until Mother and Harve gained knowledge of the acts.  We then used nickels!

Mother also owned the Airport Café in Mortimer, a restaurant/diner in Fostoria, plus managed the VFW.  A lot of work for her and a lot of perks for us.

Don, known as Jake, became my ride back to Sylvania and my date for Junior and Senior proms.  He was a constant fixture at our house when I landed in Findlay after graduation.

Junior year, Grandpa Richmond became ill.  Cancer.  When he became terminal, a meeting was held and it was decided that Mother would room me in Sylvania so that Grandpa could have my room.  We had a small, two bedroom house and my Dad moved in with Grandma to help.  Later after Grandpa died, Fern and the boys joined Grandma and my Dad and they all lived in the house.  Barbara and Ricky were born there.  They moved to Ida, Michigan when Rick was three months old.

I graduated immediately after and moved to Findlay.

* NOTE:  Had a washer with wringer at time of marriage.  Caught clothes and hands in a fast breaking model.  Bought a new one and when the purchase was made known to mate, was the recipient of a thrown cup of coffee.  Wiped my face, left the house, entered attorney’s, got divorced, and paid for and used the new washer!

MOVE TO FINDLAY

I had been going to Findlay to visit during the summer for several years at the time I moved there following my graduation, so had developed a circle of friends.  My Mother had lived in several different places during my visits.  One home on West Main Cross where at times Grandma O’Harra, Bob, my Aunt Teedee with her children Jane and Betty lived with her.  She ten moved to a location on Lima Avenue.  We lived in an apartment on Main Street at the time I became a permanent resident.  Then to a large home on Hurd Avenue.  The house is still standing but large porch has been removed and many of the bushes.

Bob O’Harra, three years older than me, was referred to as my uncle but later it was revealed that he was truly my brother.  My mother’s son.  Later years we always introduced each other as brother and sister.

Bob, I, and our dates would drive the countryside to see and dance to the large bands which were popular at that time.  Also dance halls.  It seemed as if we were out every night.  Jake was there for me and always someone of our group dropping in.

Directly after graduation, we visited Bowling Green University in Bowling Green, Ohio and Findlay College before I decided not to go to college.  A decision that I regret.

Finally went to work at a drug store on Main Street in the cosmetic department.

One of the many places we frequented was Thelma and Bob Bartsch’s restaurant.  They were friends of Mother and encouraged younger groups.  You always made the rounds to different places during the evening.

There was the Ratskeller, Blue Room plus many others, some acceptable and some not so much so.  Had several good girlfriends.  Helen Holmes (Holmsie). She and I have started writing after 55 years.  Aileen Gohlke, with whom I later moved to Cleveland.

Should say that Mother bought me my first Boston Bull Terrier.  Named him Mickey.  Unfortunately he was run over by a car at the back of our house on Hurd Avenue.

Our holidays were generally at our house with all family in attendance, which included at that time Teedee (Ethel), Betty, Bob, Jane, Grandma O’Harra, Mom and myself and of course, Jake.

Mother had purchased her dishes and crystal and we first dined off them at Hurd Avenue.  The crystal was from Fostoria’s large glassware factory.  The dinnerware came from an Ohio china company.  The beginning of the extensive travels of the table settings which now resides serenely at my daughter’s home in Alaska (1995, fifty-seven years later).  The dining was further enhanced as we went through French doors from living room into dining room, with its 17th century furniture, to the view of the long table with beautiful table cloth (also joined travels of china to Alaska).

Teedee was no living with Betty and Grandma O’Harra on North Main in an apartment.  Grandma O’Harra would spend several months with each of her children.  Uncle Earl in Detroit, and Uncle Fred in Toledo, Teedee and our place.  Grandpa O’Harra lived in an apartment in Toledo near Uncle Fred.  They had separated many years before.

Bob had met Nina and they soon were married.  My cousin Jane and I gave them a shower.  They then moved to a second floor apartment and cannot remember the street, although Nina has told me recently.  Jane Smith, my cousin, was dating Karl Ludi and their marriage preceding Bob and Nina’s marriage by a couple of years.  We all spent time together at the swimming pool or other activities.

Mother had decided to build a house and we sold the one on Hurd Avenue and moved back into an apartment on Main Street until the new one was finished.  We finally moved into the new house and enjoyed it so much.  Uncle Earl would stop in on way to and from business trips.  He and Uncle Fred came down hunting.  Many times Uncle Earl would clean our food out taking what he could not eat home.  When we would return we would find his business card where the food had been.  His kind of joke.

Mother was in the midst of golfing and exposed me to the first of the many golf lessons that I have taken over the years.  Should also mention that her passion was bridge and entertaining frequently.  She insisted I learn in the vent they would need a substitute.  Have played at different times throughout my life, not as well as I would like, but have been able to sit at the table with some talented players.

Our new ranch was the site of many pleasant memories.  The first Christmas was well decorated with the most memorable item being a large grave covering over the fireplace, intertwined with nursery lights.  Livvy, the man Mother was going with at the time, shared that Christmas.  He was a supervisor of the heavy equipment used in building the Alaskan Highway

We have movies of Livvy flying to and over the site.  We had now an assortment of many movies recording all our moves since the beginning of our occupancy at Hurd Avenue and Mother captured anyone who arrived.  Lost many a friend for an evening as she brought out the projector at the sight of a fresh face.  We also had an extensive array of first addition records she had collected from her days of Jukebox ownership.  She had sold out her partnership in the Findlay Cigarette Service prior to our move to Hurd Avenue.  One of the activities of an evening with friends was identifying the song and singer.  The collection was lost when the house was rented a short period of time and the renters took the records, which were stored in the attic, with them.

Having been left alone for a weekend with the company of a couple of girlfriends, we gave a rather noisy party which my cousin Jane felt it was her duty to report to the police.  She had been assigned to monitor any reports of wrong doing on my part.  She always did take her work too seriously.

Before Uncle Earl’s sudden success in the steel business, it was not unusual for us to take dishes and food to Toledo (Crown Point section) when they were having guests.

Grandpa O’Harra had passed away in Toledo.  About two years later, Grandma O’Harra died after a long illness.

It was in the new house on North Main Street that listening to radio on Sunday morning, December 7, we first heard report of the Pearl Harbor bombing and the start of World War II.  There was stunned silence mixed with fear of the unknown.

At Thelma and Bob’s I had met George Love and developed a relationship that last three years.  Wrote Jake one of the two Dear John letters of my life.  When George and I broke up, I started going with his friend Barney Neible until he left for the service.  In fact, bob O’Harra and all the others had already left to different points for their duty.

After a sad going away party for Bob O’Harra, he left for the service.  Finally ended up in the South Pacific, where he was to learn to identity of his true mother.  He had been raised by Grandma O’Harra as her son.

George Love ended up in Texas in the Army.  Jake joined the U.S. coast Guard and was stationed in Washington D.C., and Barney was in the Air Force.

That is when Aileen and I decided to move to Cleveland.  We rented a small apartment.  I got a job at the Canfield Oil Company.

(There are so many stories that can be told that happened during all these times, but impossible to relate them all.)

Should say that with both Grandma and Grandpa Richmond and Mother spent many weekends traveling the area to see different points of interest.  Hardly a weekend went by that we did not have an excursion.  So enjoyed the trips and so grateful to my family for all the things they exposed me to.

CLEVELAND ADVENTURES

Aileen and I spent about six months together and decided to find other arrangements.  I found housing at Stanford Lodge run by the Crills.

Soon ran into Creighton Higgins from Findlay and Marion his girlfriend, also living there.  We immediately formed strong ties.  I met Bob Vance, a student/teacher at Western Reserve University, and the four of us would play bridge and shared other interested.

Prior to going to Cleveland, I had known Creighton’s mother.  She had an antique store and I would stop in to talk to her.  A very interesting woman.  That was before I knew Creighton.

He proudly displayed his coat of arms with crossed swords over his bed and in grand gestures served us crackers and cheese, spreading the cheese with one of the swords.  His dry wit always fascinated me.  Or could have been his swashbuckling manner as described above.  Further dazzled by the fact that his uncle was one of the Nuremberg trial lawyers.  Creighton was many times our salvation, since Marion and I were not always in control of fiancés and would appeal to him to supplement us until paydays!

Marion was originally from Boston.  Interesting life, having been raised by a teacher, after it was discovered she had an exceptional IQ.  During her college years she spent hours at a penitentiary, in capacity of a physiologist.  She later became connected with mental hygiene facilities.  In Cleveland she worked for the Campfire Girls National Organization.

Our paths were destined to cross many times over the years.

Bob Vance was a transplant from Canada.  He was majoring in chemistry and teaching as mentioned above.  Years later we were to meet and he had stayed with it and was working at a large paint company in Chicago.  Interesting but as all chemists, did not pursue new ventures readily.  If you like a chocolate soda, why order a sundae – the unknown.  What happened many times over many things.

It was in Cleveland that I celebrated my 21st birthday and still have a card in my scrapbook to document the occasion.  Soon Creighton was drafted and Marion and I decided to get an apartment in the area.  We were still playing bridge when we could find the additional partner.

We have great times shopping and I still wear a silver ring and pin I purchased there.

One evening we discussed the possibility of joining the services.

At Canfield Oil Company I enjoyed the people greatly and they gave a beautiful going away party when I left the company for the service.  The night of the party decided to take the remaining peoples home with me to continue the partying.  Marion, who had retired and after we had pushed the bed back into the wall, refused to join us.  She sat in the closet behind the bed while we celebrated.  Need I mention she was furious and using her considerable talents, wrote me a scorching letter which I saved and presented to her many years later.  We then apologized to each other

Does sound as if partying was one of my majors during theses years of my life.  Not as bad as this relates in telling.  Marion may debate that.

War Stories

CHAPTER ONE

The year is 1943.  The United States is in the throes of World War II.  The boys as mentioned before are being sucked up by the procedure called the DRAFT.  The women were being encouraged to join the armed services to release the men for action. You are about to read the cause and effect on me, Ellen J. Bartelle who answered the call.

As I mentioned above Marion and I were sitting around the table in our shared apartment playing bridge with a couple of friends.  Creighton Higgins had been snatched form our midst weeks before to do his duty.  What ever it was that influenced Marion and me, we decided to do our part.

Marion chose the Red Cross.  Mine was the Coast Guard, hoping to snuggle in with a couple of my favorite people who had been claimed by them.

Should have foreseen further events as I stood during the physical, just short of naked in a room full of doctors and future “Prides of the Women’s Corps.”

After a flurry of goodbye parties, boarded a train for New York City.  Arrived dirty, as all trains were at that time, at Grand Central Station.  We were met and herded to the Hunter College for our basic training. Having forgotten the first indignities, was looking forward to the adventure and the hunt for my friends.

Then went into repeated shocks!

The punishing two hours of daily drilling by unrelenting Marines.  In all fairness to the Marines, never in history had so many women been toted as substitutes for men in the Military!  It struck FEAR into the minds of these hapless men!  Their response was hostile, to say the least, and their strategy was to attempt to eliminate us on the marching field.  Their actions were unwarranted as you will later read. 

The courses at the school I’m sure were instructive but in the exhausted state, we could not retain. 

My first KP duty came as result of smoking in absence of the smoking lamp being on. 

Was ceremoniously marched into the galley where (a sight not to be exposed to tender eyes), large vats of creamed chipped beef (our breakfast staple) were being stirred by large Marine males (in T-shirts splashed with creamed chipped beef).  The toast which the chipped beef mixture was to adorn either flew to the ceiling or fell to the floor.  My chore turned out to be swabbing the deck.  A huge mop was provided after which splashing soap generously, I pulled around till reasonable results were met.

Two hours of daily drilling (again under supervision of unrelenting Marines) was suffered through.  Survival was foremost in our minds, not perfecting the march.

This was a two month crash course to prepare us for the vigorous life of a SPAR (Coast Guard.)

Now booted (properly named) to crash into the world beyond.

CHAPTER TWO

Arrived at Hotel on 76th Street in New York City following the non-productive incarceration at Hunter College.

Finally could confront the creamed chipped beef (also a breakfast staple), so my orange juice diet came to a welcome end.

Home became two rooms joined by a bath.  Three girls in each room.  The lounge in hotel, blasting “Doe’s Eat Oats and Mare’s Eat Oats and Little Lambs Eat Ivy”, loudly and frequently!

Work:  We were ushered into the Communications Room (Wall Street Coast Guard office) to be startled by brawny hunks, clutching chairs, refusing to be replaced by SPARS (us).  As far as we could determine no one left, more came!  We worked in close proximity, joined at the hip.

Teletype was my job with volunteer relief on switchboard.  Not having been invaded as yet by dreaded SPAR species, the men of the Boston CG (by teletype) brightened my days with flirtatious lines that I thought had been severed forever when I became encased in uniform and service to country.

Switchboard consisted most of the opportunity for more space and fascinating perks – illegally listening in on calls, (President Roosevelt and his Amour), among others.

With the widened vision of the room, would sprint to the hall when such as Victor Mature (currently adored movie star) would appear.  Didn’t matter that by the time we got there, only the back was visible.  Will describe in detail later.

Should relate that we were brought our periodically to march for special occasions.  A sense of relief enveloped all when we made it to and from the bard.  Our training, as you will remember, was induced while we were in a semi-conscious state by the “mean ones” previously described.  Could be why I still sob uncontrollably at parades.

Back on the Home Front, we were showered with delicacies from the shopping bag of roommate fast becoming everyone’s favorite.  Ecstatic change, with fewer trips to the mess hall.

Enter the FBI…

CHAPTER THREE

FBI??

It was not disclosed why when a stern faced officer appeared to summon occupants of our rooms, population of six, to march single file stopped only to urge two others to join ranks.  We proceeded to a small room.  One sofa, two lounge chairs, and a couple of questionable seats.

After a few hours of one after another being called from the room, returning, then another, we determined one of us had a problem!

As I looked down at the pile of sixteen limbs slowly turning numb (mine somewhere in the depths), it was suddenly my turn.  Being barraged with repeated questions about my activities and friends, still could find no clues as to why we were there.

Closeted, we were.  Sprung only for trips to the mess hall, again, single file.  We would be the only ones in the room.

Back in seclusion, now two days, we discussed WHICH of us would confess to WHOM (still not knowing the men) for WHATEVER.  The reason for this party was still a mystery.  THEN the rest of us could return to civilization.

At last, a break!  We could leave. As the numb legs were lifted from the pile, we each took the ones attached to our bodies and staggered from the room.  Only when our “favorite roommate” was led, eyes downcast, out of sight, did we know the answer.  We had a kleptomaniac in our midst!  There were little of the lifted items left to return to the disgruntled merchants.

Reporting back to the ever over populated place of duty, Communications, I wore my cloak of mystery.  Told nothing.

Shortly thereafter instructions for Morse Code were offered.  A transfer to the Barge Office, wherever that was, to the person mastering it.

In only day, I was declared the winner by the one in the know and ordered to my Leader (at communications Office).  He sent me back, a procedure of back and forth, which went on for several days before the two had a summit.  After that meeting…I was on my way to the Barge Office.

CHAPTER FOUR

During my ride on the subway to future adventures (Barge Office), I opened my work schedule.  Same as the Wall Street Communications Office

Having been working “watches”, 8 to 4, 4 to 12, 12 to 8, 48 hours off.  This schedule proved to be difficult for our infamous mess hall to provide adequate meals for the shifts.

Following discharge of convicted offender, former “favorite classmate”, it was decided the Communications group be given “subsistence” and be freed to hunt housing in New York private sector.  I first roomed with five others in a beautiful three bedroom apartment.  Things were great.

Later two of the roomies had whirlwind courtships, married, and we were two short on the rent.

Ten another experience of shared dwelling was eye-opening of which I will not go into.  Hastily retreated to the Hotel and the erratic food.  The Powers in Command decided shortly after that subsistence was not working and called all the groups back.  Some of our troops were riding the high rails, leaving a trail of questionable labels for all.

All these things were going on during my move and first days of my new chores.

Arrived at the Barge Office.  The door was unlocked and I was admitted to a room of (thought it was five men, but can only remember four).  I was the only woman.

Welcomed with enthusiasm.  Good, since we were locked in from the moment we arrived for day of duty until the end of “watch”.

The only outside contact was Father Duffy, our benefactor of food.  My choice – cream cheese and jelly – and in the need of change, would have peanut butter and jelly.

The crew: 

John, a good-looking, tall, blond specimen of manhood (policeman from New York City).  He was sure that the country outside of New York was still a frontier.  Fifty years ago, Easterners were not convinced that the Midwesterner was informed on a national subject.  Prior to TV and media coverage, news was not extensive, but adequate.

James, (we were formal with him), was a native of Chicago with a membership in the gangs.  His mail came from various institutions in the country.  He kept me supplied in matches from his associates doing time.  His 48 hours off were spent in Harlem, broadening his knowledge of the trade.  His specialty, car-stealing, a forerunner to car-jacking.  Nice fella who did not notice that his career choices were questionable.

Red, a sweet, kind one. 

All of us under the watch of a rather bored Wayne Shullaw, a name I do remember.

Our duties still the teletype mostly involved with sending ships in and out of the Harbor.  The radio was used entirely to alert Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia of the fires so he could hop into his personal fireboat and speed to the site.

A great amount of time was spent at the poker table.  Became a good player and better at loaning money to saddened losers.

CHAPTER FIVE

About this time was given leave and again boarded the train for the long trip back to Ohio.

As we were half way through Pennsylvania, the train ground to a halt with no town or station in sight.  It was announced that all service people were invited to leave the train to get refreshments that the townspeople had brought to the site and were serving from tables they had set up!  Was to learn after several trips back and forth that this was a common practice and looked forward to the stop.

Home to a “hero’s” welcome.  Pictures taken with every relative.  Most of my friends were gone.  “Holmsie” had enlisted in the Air Force and if I remember correctly, she was learning to fly.

World War II brought rationing in food, cigarettes and any imaginable thing.  No new cars, all factories had been converted to war time.  Of course we in the service had all, shopping at the PX.

Men in service, women joining service, “Rosie”, was riveting!

My Mother Alma Wagner took off for Chicago for instructions in Meteorology.  Then stationed at the Army Air Force Base at Vandalia, Ohio, near Dayton.

People were dedicated to sacrifice and accepted such with good spirit.

Leave ending, headed back to New York.

My Barge Office was now home and the men were my family.  You got to feeling that way and that the condition would be forever – the war never ending.

Had met an Air Force officer, so off hours brightened.  He got his orders and flew off into the yonder.  One of my friends from home finally materialized and brought added joyful moments.

Strayed into all the noted nightclubs, theatres, and saw all the sights.  Greenwich Village at its peak!  Much glamour, glamour everywhere.

Then things settled and I began developing a relationship with the aforementioned Shullaw.

After many months, his mother came for a visit.  I think actually, came for an inspection.  Dressed smartly in my new white uniform, went forward with expectations.  My evening was dampened when it was pointed out with hilarity, that subway seats left strange patterns on the skirt of my prized white suit.

Signals were going off in all directions but didn’t get the message!

Somehow found myself participating in a wedding at Rutgers Presbyterian Church with myself as one of the lead characters.  My Mother came from Ohio and Streaky, my roommate, was maid of honor.

The wedding was small, the preference of the bridegroom.  Only attended by maid of honor, best man, other roommate of bride, and Mother of the Bride at her persistence, and bride’s insistence.

The Mother of the Bride entertained at Brunch at a famous seafood restaurant.  Scallops, among the favorite choices.

It took years to overcome the strain shown by the Queen-Bartel and O’Harra clans due to their omission at ceremony and expected party.  Being compulsive wedding and funeral attendees, they did not recognize distance as an excuse.  They were accustomed to the principals coming to them.  The same condition repeated itself nineteen years later with equally frustrating results.

The next morning, Bride, Bridegroom and Mother of the Bride piled into Mother’s car for the trip to Ohio.  Later Mother stayed in Ohio while the other two proceeded to meet The Shullaws – who were not extended an invitation to the wedding either, but did not seem to notice.

CHAPTER SIX

Back from a relative-spackled honeymoon and Back to Duty.  Again eligible for “subsistence”, the couple rented an apartment, three steep floors toward heaven.  What it lacked in size was made up for in “unique” features.  Cupids carved around the ceiling of living room plus brief steps through so-called kitchen into the adjoining “head” (toilet and bath.)

You entered this charm from a tall iron-fenced yard. Definitely was a conversion from either a brothel or, a more pleasant thought, from someone’s former townhouse.

Events during this and immediate future were mind boggling:

Chinese waiter of our favorite restaurant approached table with tears in his eyes to inform us of the death of President Roosevelt.  Numbness set in, especially for service groups.  He was our Father!

Having lived through the first days of Truman was impressed with his “guts”.  That he would have charged up the hill with his troops, if necessary, was obvious.

The Horror we all felt over the Atomic Bomb has not been equaled since.

On a lighter note, during a newspaper strike, Mayor La Guardia would keep us current by reading headlines and more importantly, the comics, over the air on radio. All with his famous lisp and theatrics!

Later when walking down Broadway, shoeless, would watch amazed at “boxing” on the scarce TV sets in shop windows.  The idea was new.

Saw many shows, hockey and as mentioned above, left with shoes in hand due to constant swelling feet.

To explain the barefoot phase, I found that I was not alone.  Had company.  And would eventually deliver a blessing for the world.

Previously had made the appointment; made the trip to the Naval Hospital for my pre-natal visit.  Waited a couple hours, spent another with self-styled humorous doctors, then a tour through the delivery ward.  Speedy retreat.

Decided only “private care” for us.  Walked down Park Avenue and noticed “Obstetrician” on directory in one building.

Appeared in waiting room and soon was ushered into the inner office.  Enter: Dr. Lehfeldt who seemed fascinated and probed for all facts on my part in the Armed Services and past.  That he was an Austrian specialist further intrigued me.  I asked what he charged.  He asked what I could afford, which turned out to be what he charged.  So a deal as made.

Made the regular trips to the plush offices, not intimidated by the bejeweled, befurred other patients.

Stayed in the service for six months wearing my uniform, having only gained 12 pounds.

The escape from the Armed Services proved to be more taxing than the entry ordeal.  Exams, exams, exams, all on different floors and in different buildings.

Finally, received a conditional discharge confirming the fact that I could be called back, if needed.

Now free to follow LaGuardia’s “Little Orphan Annie”, plus others.  Did lots of reading and eating of apples.  Also alone since mate had been transferred to Atlantic City.

CHAPTER SEVEN

The Atom Bomb had been dropped!  The world seemed to be in a state of shock.

Since we had no TV and the radio did not give reports (as is done today), the newspapers were the source of all news.  And it was the custom for what they called “Extras” to come out as fast as they could print them and shout their arrival from every corner.

On the day in question, there were at least three Extras and I had to keep up on what was going on, struggling up and down the three flights of stairs with labored speed to retrieve the Extras on the street.

Soon there was a problem.  Called the doctor who was out, but was informed to hasten to alternative housing, which was the hospital.

Quickly was my last thought as I proceeded down the stairs for the long trip.  In New York, to stand in extended form with suitcase was not the way to get attention from the “cabbies”.  Finally someone flagged down a frowning driver.  The hospital was a private one, Gotham.  The cabbie had no idea where it was and nervously stopped to ask directions.

Arrived.  Sat in waiting room until someone noticed – then whisked away to my assigned room.

Won’t describe the next hour.

EXTRA!!!  Now our household had grown to three.  A girl child had arrived.  Second in importance, it was Victory in Japan Day.

Finally everyone was called.  Wayne arrived the next day.  My mother arrived later that day having been stranded in Pennsylvania due to the celebration in the streets.

We came home with a sick baby.  Dr. Lehfeldt and his friend Dr. Aarons were constant visitors to the apartment and used Old World formula of oatmeal water which was fed with an eye dropped every three hours, day and night to the baby girl until she was way out of crisis.  My mother was the other major factor.  She was relentless in her care of grandchild.

The apartment was all to wall people and in about three weeks, improvement was obvious.  So one by one, everyone left.

A month later, a transfer to Alaska came for Wayne.  Still think it was a hasty retreat.  “Too much woman’s work.”

The new family was bundled and boarded a train to Vandalia where Mother and Baby were to stay with Grandmother.

We were in government housing provided at Army Air Force Base where my mother was involved with meteorology.  Her two roommates found alternative housing to make room.  The baby had been named Dianne Bartelle Shullaw, but never knew it since “Tink” was the only call she heard.  The double “n” was the addition of my mother’s when she completed the birth certificate.

She was filling out, having gained weight fast, and had the attention of all around.  Uncle Earl was sent as Ambassador by distant family to check out needs.

Ships, trains plus all sorts of transportation were delivering service men and women back to shores and home.

The trip back from disaster for “Tink” was not without complications.  Dr. Lehfeldt recommended a doctor in Dayton who worked with same dedication when anything happened.  Don’t think either I or my Mother ever got over the concern of that period and spent many years with constant over reacting to smallest signal of distress from our “little person.”

Wayne arrived home from Alaska and decided his future was to continue in the newspaper field.  After much research, found weekly paper in Mantua, Ohio and purchased it with new Government Issue (GI) loan.  Off to the world of Publishers.

My War Stories have come to an end.  The last chapter leaves me drained of emotion, even now.

Ellen Bartelle Shullaw

November 4, 1992

 

POSTSCRIPT

MICKEY SMITH

Not wanting to create a dismal happening within the previously written account of “War Stories”, I did not include some of the events.

Mickey Smith, as you have read, was my best friend growing up

During the first months carrying Tink, I had a notification that Mickey had been injured and was in the Atlantic City hospital.  We immediately went to see him.  Upon entering room, was struck numb.  He had lost both of his legs!

His first words were to tell me he was lucky!  At least he had his life.  Then related the tale of how it happened.  His watch was over in Germany but went back to find his friend.  A bomb dropped near his legs.

He visited us in Mantua, Ohio and would not wear his artificial legs at that time.  Had great fun with Tink.  Had adjusted, drove a car, held a job, married, had a daughter and most importantly, had not lost his effervescent personality.

During my last years of high school, he and Eugene Cruey and I agreed to meet every ten years.  The trip he made to Mantua was the first ten year period.  Cruey was in Florida.  That was the only meeting.  Did not get to see much of him after that.

The town of Sylvania built a home for him with ramps.  He later moved to Florida where he passed away.

THE MANTUA RECORD

The approach into Mantua was beautiful with the tall old trees lining the street and the old homes.

Our first stop was the drug store run by a curious but informative man who advised us that he was a newcomer in town.  He had only been there twenty years.  A preview of things to come.

We next arrived at our future home.  We had purchased the newspaper and building from a widow, Mrs. Sherwood, who with her husband had run the paper for years and years. The building was nestled at the bottom of a small hill and almost obscured from the street.  Plus covered with vines, surrounded with many bushes and trees.  The living quarters were two rooms with kitchen alcove.  It was to be furnished and was with a wall bed (all fold away as Marion and I had in Cleveland), questionable range, refrigerator, small kitchen table which was immediately pushed aside to make room for the crib.  Living room boasted of an old sofa and one chair.  We had light but don’t remember how.  The print shop was attached.  It was home and we were looking forward to the new experiences.

We woke up to the arrival of our lino-type operation, inherited from Mrs. Sherwood.  He was an Indian with an addiction to liquor.  We did not know at the time that he would be missing periodically. There was no break, a paper had to be out the following Thursday.  We had a weekly that was no different than the ones written about at that time.  The big roller press was included to break down many a Wednesday prior to the Thursday run of the paper.

We immediately met the banker, Mr. Mayhew.  He appointed himself as our advisor, present and future.  Nice man and as was common at that time, lived in the largest house in town.  Most of our advertisers were from the largest and nearest city, Ravenna.  The local merchants were the staples but of course limited in their advertising budgets.

How I don’t remember, but we met our only close friends during our stay, Bill and Louise.  They had no children and adored Tink.

Wayne was the Editor, writer, salesman, make-up, and printer.  He was in his glory for a while.  His father had worked on the Wyoming Post-Herald all his life and Wayne also worked there as a boy.  His courses at Eureka College were journalism-related.  He also had his printer’s union card.  Loved it for awhile, until the burden became, at times, overwhelming.

Soon I became a writer, substitute reporter and did make-up of headlines and later, columns.

Most of our income came from the wedding announcements, handbills, tickets and miscellaneous items.  The equipment used at that time is now obsolete, taken over by computers and offset machines. So glad for that experience, however.

Our home life was complicated by a furnace which would blow up, once covering Tink with soot.  Her bed was under one of the bare pipes that ran through the building.  It was there that she fell and pulled her bottom teeth practically straight out.  Before we could get to her she fell against the window sill and pushed them back in.  They were marked but the dentist could do nothing about it.  Another close call with her was when she fell against the pot of hot metal on the lino-type. 

Our Ohio relatives were visiting, the most frequent being my Mother and Bob and Nina, all adoring Tink.  Nina and Bob being the most frequent visitors.  My mother had left Vandalia after the way, sold our ranch house in Findlay and was now working in Akron, Ohio.

She had stored all of her possessions in my Cousin Jane’s garage, wrapped and packed in a huge coffin box.  About this time, Jane suggested they bring the box to Mantua so that they could use their garage.  The box would end up sitting in our living room until we could make space in our garage.  That was the arrival of her dishes and crystal to my possession.  We did not use, thinking she would be retrieving them momentarily.  She never did and the dishes and crystal moved when and where we did.

We were making trips back to Sylvania and Findlay and Wyoming (Illinois) periodically to see family.

Finally Mrs. Sherwood rented her hilltop house to us and we finally started living a normal life.  Prior, Wayne had left and I (with the help of the lino-type operator) put out the next edition of the paper.  After many calls to his parents, Wayne was found with his cousin in Rockford, Ohio.  He returned and the lino-type operator quit!

The search for a new operator was hectic since there were no new trainees.  It was already becoming a dying art.  The position, however, was eventually filled.

Clarence Motz, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, had made a stop to see us and offered to purchase half ownership in the paper.  We accepted and he became our partner.  The tensions eased temporarily, but it became apparent to all that the interest had waned. Motz then accepted our offer to sell out and we made preparations to leave Mantua.

Tink was now two years old and very active.  Christmas was a memorable occasion.  Mother arrived, she had left Akron.

ENTERING ILLINOIS

Again going forward with great expectations.  Renting a second floor apartment with noticeably sloping floors did not dampen our spirits.  Happily went about painting the walls and enjoying the leisure.  Painted Tink’s room medium rose and outlined nursery figures in white.  Sure no one thought it as a work of art except Tink and me.

Again, Bob and Nina came to visit and we made many trips to the Shullaws in Wyoming.

Am sure the phrase “Cracker box” was coined to refer to the housing we purchased on our GI loan and the $500 generous advancement from Mr. Naughton.  We thought it looked like heaven.  Four small rooms but all new.  Mom’s belongings, including the china and glassware are still with us.  The contents of the large container had been repackaged into many small boxes which we never unpacked from place to place.

Immediately met a family down the block with two children a little older than Tink.  Picnics in yard and all normal things!

Having time to reflect, wondered what had happened to Marion and Creighton.  The last I had heard or seen was when on one of my leaves to Findlay, met Creighton at the Ratskeller club there.  He had lost track of Marion and we thought it would be a good idea if he were to call her family in Boston.  No other word.  Now I decided to call to the East.

Unbelievable!  They had married and were living in Peoria, twenty miles away.  Creighton was working at the Caterpillar Tractor Company.  None of us could believe that we had landed so close.  Immediately made plans to meet and upon pulling up in front of their house found it was identical to ours, only in Peoria!  Also surprising, Wayne seemed to like them and they liked him.

They now had two children both younger than Tink, Claudia and Spike (Creighton Jr.).

Their neighbors residing in the same type houses were Jack Brickhouse, renowned Chicago Cub TV announcer of many years, and Vince Lloyd, radio announcer for the Cubs.  They were both doing sports for a Peoria station at that time.

Marion was still involved in the mental hygiene field, plus many other activities.  She took an active interest in Tink and assured me that she was an exceptionally bright youngster.  Still is impressed with Tink’s abilities today (1995).

After a couple of years, Wayne became restless and behavior reflected it.  He sent out resumes again.  Went to Iowa twice for interviews.

IOWA BOUND

One.  Mr. Parker was to run for Congress and had a weekly he needed an editor for.  No good.

The next trip brought results.  George Strayer, president of the soy Bean Association, needed an editor for his weekly paper in Hudson, Iowa.  After acceptance, Wayne decided to go alone and I agreed.

Back into the work world.  Found a job at Ceco Steel Company between Peoria and Pekin, and bused the distance due to lack of car now.  Tink was staying with our friends a couple of doors away.

Can’t remember the time frame, but on a visit home, Wayne and I decided to try again and we made preparations for Tink and me to move to Hudson.

This was Mantua replanted.  The exception was that majority of the population were all farmers who gathered around a wood-burning stove in the general store.  They had little to do since the Government was subsidizing them for not growing produce.  All drove big cars and explained the checks they received covered the costs. Very frank, they were.

Back to a two room temporary apartment until permanent housing became available.  Packed boxes of Mother’s still with us.

Tink was now about four and a half years old.

George Strayer found us a house that was quite nice, which we purchased and settled in.  Tink was to start kindergarten.  Proved to be interesting as she participated in an experimental group.  There was one teacher with a masters’ degree and three student teachers under her in the morning and three different student teachers in the afternoon.  They were from Iowa State College.  Was a great experience for her.  Then she had me reading from Time magazine filling her in on the news of the Korean War, plus other world events.  Do you think that is why she developed an interest in politics?

We were far from home and did not receive our regular visitors.  Tink and I made one historic trip to Ohio!  On retread tires.  Four flats along the way, always with a Good Samaritan in the vicinity.  When we got to Findlay, it was like a trapped animal let loose.  She took off in all directions to the delight of everyone but me.

It was during a Christmas in Hudson that we found Blinks our Boston Bull Terrier.  Wayne brought him home in his pocket in the car.  The radio was playing “I Taught I Taw a Puddie Cat” and Blinks forever howled at the sound of the song.

George Strayer was married to a transplanted glamour girl much younger than himself who had no one to identify with in the town.  Before we got there, she had formed a friendship with Wayne and certainly had no interest in the rest of his family.  George did to seem to mind and would wink at me at different times when we would be at the paper when she walked in.  Don’t think there was anything going on, but he was the only man close to her age for miles.  It flattered him.  She soon tired of the game.

The state was “dry” so there were few places one could go that had any atmosphere.  The hotel in Waterloo was our destination on rare dinners out.

During our stay we had the largest snow storm I had even seen.  We tunneled out an area that Tink could walk through upright.

Also at times we had to rely on Wayne to shoot a squirrel or a rabbit for dinner.  They Christmas we acquired Blinks was one of those holidays.  It had taken all our money to buy the puppy but he was well worth it then and for years to come.

Coming home one evening we noticed the front door open and items pilled across the yard.  We had been robbed of our radio and other electrical items.  A very eerie feeling for days afterwards.

Again, a need for chance and Wayne sent out his overworked resumes.

ILLINOIS RE-VISITED

We decided we should go back to Illinois.  Landed in Lansing, Illinois.  Close enough to his family.  For me a renewing of my friendship with Marion and Creighton.

Lansing Journal owned by “Pop” Wulfing was our destination.  Our first home here was an amazingly small cottage, two rooms.  After a few months we rented a house from the Hoekstras on Ada Street.  Two bedrooms, but with a large kitchen and glassed in porch off it.  Perfect for tanks of fish we later accumulated.

Tink started first grade at Coolidge Elementary prior to the completion of the new Lester P. Crawl School, where she attended the last half of first grade, as well as second and third grade.

Next door was the Ruthrauff family.  Dwight, Millie and their handsome sons Bob, Dwight Ray, and Denny.  We remained friends until their death years later.

The town was controlled by the Hollanders and the first rule made known to us was there was to be no mowing of grass on Sundays.  All stores were closed and later when I became associated with Real Estate, the offices were closed.  The arrival of a block of outsiders eventually infiltrated, putting an end to many of their restrictions, but this did not happen for years.

A cherished friendship developed with the Rasmussens.  Mick had a great sense of humor and we enjoyed the evenings we spent with them.  Marc, their son, brightened our school car pool with his antics.

At that time I became active with the Girl Scouts, starting with a Brownie troop.  Later became troop organizer, which turned out to include the horror of taking over troops where no leader was available.  Did our turn at the PTA.

We were always having someone there.  Dad and Mother Shullaw, Burt and Mary came, Nina and bob, Marion and Creighton and family, plus my mother.

On one visit, Mother decided it was time to unpack her boxes and she took what she wanted and gave us the dishes and crystal.  We used it to entertain the above visitors.  Creighton would complain that it was time to go home when I started to use the every day dishes!  And mother gave us the Lazy Susan that had belonged to Doc Wagner’s family.  It was then 100 years old.  She was still making our Christmas.

The Hoekstra house was furnished and we even had one of the first television sets.

Was taken by surprise when Wayne lost or quit the job with the Lansing paper.  Never knew the reason.  At least we were not moving.  He became editor of the Whiting weekly.  That lasted the shortest time of all.  Then to Chicago as the editor of a House Trailer magazine. Seemed happy with the working conditions but by now it was obvious that after either eighteen months to two years, something would happen and he would move on.  The next employment was with a medical magazine which he edited.  He never seemed to have trouble finding a job, but his attention span seemed short.

Around this time Dad Shullaw died and Wayne was devastated.  His mother was his main concern.  The least hint of discomfort on her part would send him flying to Wyoming.  Could not seem to think of anything else.

It is fuzzy as to why our car was repossessed.  Mr. Hoekstra then wanted to move a relative into the house we were renting.  So with great difficulty, we moved to a place off Torrence Avenue that was unbelievable.  Found a job working in the Lansing drug store.  Ironic, it was the only thing available.

Tink attended the first half of fourth grade at nearby Indiana Avenue Elementary, since torn down.

Loose a bit here, but we finally dug ourselves out and purchased a house in Calumet City again with our GI bill.  Also managed to secure a very old car.  Believe me we would have welcomed a horse and wagon!

At the time of closing the house in Calumet City, it was under water.  We discovered that the area flooded frequently.  Went ahead with the purchase.  Found a second-hand sofa and chair eventually.  Still eating off a card table.  Blinks was blissful during all the confusion and went about creating his havoc.

Tink enrolled at Hoover Elementary in Calumet City for the last half of fourth grade through eighth grade.

Still continued my work with the Girl Scouts and Tink was accumulating many badges for her work with the organization.  Was impressive.  We still had a close association with the Rasmussens.  Ruth was now Village clerk of Lansing and held that position for many years.  Marc would bike to Calumet City to see us.

Even though I tried to get to Ohio to see my family, did not seem to be able to keep up with their lives.  Daddy and Fern made several trips, one with Grandma Richmond.  We had an eventful trip to South Chicago in our very old car.  The car breaking down and while it was being repaired, Daddy and I visited the local tavern.  Resulting in a painting I made for him on the quaint owner.  Grandma Richmond gave me at that time her album of pictures taken many, many years before.  They are now about 80 years old (1995).

Jerry Bartel and his first wife Dorothy along with my cousin Peggy arrived and were the start of a getting-acquainted period with my brothers and sisters.  We had visited Daddy, Fern and the boys – Jerry, Jimmy and Bobby – plus Barbara (one year older than Tink) and Ricky (one year younger).  Now they were growing up and it was a joy to see them.  Will develop a great relationship later in life to write about.

We were still visiting back and forth to Peoria to see the Higgins.  My Mother was now working at the Mansfield Printing Company in Mansfield, Ohio.  She spent most holidays with us and Tink made a trip to Ohio on the train for a visit.

In all our travels, Tink was our greatest joy.  She was born in New York; teethed in Vandalia; learned to walk in Mantua; charmed us all in Pekin; and started school in Iowa.  In Lansing and Calumet City, she was excelling in school.  Her talents in writing were becoming obvious which she would apply through the years.

At this time we met the Stoikowitzs, Joe, Arline and Linda.  Soon after we moved in Arline came looking for Linda who had stopped in to see Tink.  They were in the same grade a school.  This was the beginning of a rewarding friendship that was to last for forty years.

Tensions were building on the home front.  As Tink would say, “the chemistry was just bad” between her Dad and myself.  After a couple of separations, we were divorced.  As for me, the marriage had traveled too far with the meter running and the fare was becoming too high for all.

At the time I worked first at Central Construction, then Jack Ogren Insurance Company.  Realizing that I would have to make more monies, searched for a new line of work that would give Tink and me funds to be able to stay in the house.

Took the Real Estate test and passed.  Quit my job and applied for a salesman position at Pacesetter, a builder in South Holland.  The night of my going away party from my work, got a call from Pacesetter that I had been accepted.  The grand sum of $100 per week salary, plus commission.  First location was new construction in Olympia Fields.

Tink, now attending Hoover school in Calumet City played the clarinet.  She and Linda were members of the school band under the leadership of their cherished Mike Landes.  Their band made it to the State one year in competition.  Blinks didn’t help her cause by busily chewing up at least two clarinet cases.  He associated the case with her leaving.  It was hard to attend the parades they had since I was still sobbing at the sight of any marching.  An injury from my Coast Guard days.

She and Linda joined my Mother on a trip to Washington D.C. and into Canada. 

About this time Tink and Alice Studt became fast friends and have retained that relationship through Alice’s time in Germany and Kansas and Tink’s in Alaska.

Our Christmas still included her Grandma Wagner and Dad, who would always refuse the invitation and show up anyway.  Mother’s and Wayne’s relationship was never close, to say the least.

Joe, Arline and Linda would sometimes have dinner at our house the day after Christmas.  They would normally spend the holiday with relatives and as a result would not have leftovers.  They came and shared ours.  We have replaced the card table and were enjoying a new dinette set.  Tink does not remember, but we were using the dinnerware and crystal of her Grandma Wagner which had traveled so far with us.

Our families were lucky recipients of paintings for Christmas.  One such painting was that of an old man in a ail boat on rough waters.  At least two still in existence.  One now on the wall of Tink’s Alaska office.  We were rather low in the financial area. Got so I could turn that particular scene out quickly with my paints and a pallet knife.

Looking back – First tree in New York was trimmed with Christmas cards and ribbon bows.  In Calumet City, after visiting the World Trees at one of the Chicago museums, Tink and I made straw cages to hang.  Soon all trees seem to be artificial, a relief to all, not to have to hassle the needles in carpeting for months to come.  The custom of putting trees in the yard to hand with bread for the birds is now a thing of the past.

My Mother soon left Mansfield and moved in with Teedee and Jane in Findlay.  Creating tensions that were to have lasting effects upon her relationship with her sister Teedee.  She was to move to Illinois, renting an apartment in Hammond, Indiana, across the state line from Calumet City.  She worked at a grade school in Hammond prior to her taking a position as companion and nurse to an elderly gentleman, Mr. Mann, in Chicago.

We had joined the Presbyterian Church and the minister was a young man who, after noticing that I was reading Norman Vincent Peale, said that was just the tip of the iceberg.  He suggested I continue with an introduction into its mystical area.  That followed with the reading of the philosophers and joining groups of similar interests, such as the Rosicrucians. A study I still peruse off and on to this day.  During my contacts in Scouting, met Adele Olsen, also into the same studies, and others later.  She also was involved with ceramics which both Tink and I enjoyed.  There are still relics around that we made during this period.

Should mention Tink’s piano lessons.  We found a secondhand piano. After our “antiquing” efforts, it stood proudly in Tink’s bedroom.  She took lessons from Alice Simpson in Lansing.  Don’t remember why she stopped.

When we first moved to Lansing, met and liked Wayne’s Aunt Blanch.  An amazing woman with whom (now 95 years old) we still keep in contact.

The Sportsman’s Club, which we had joined several years earlier, proved to be a diversion and place to entertain our relatives and guests.  Later joined the Lakewood Club, a short time in existence, and remember entertaining Jim Kajewski and his wife there with Tink, thanking them for his kindness to her.

REAL ESTATE CAREER BLOSSOMS

Was enjoying my first days in Real Estate, now in new construction of houses in Olympia Fields.  The $100 salary was for writing press releases and participating in the entertaining of suppliers at the Crystal Room of one of the large hotels in Chicago.  Met many of the bankers and their wives which provided to be a help in loan placements.

Also had the opportunity to work with Don Kay and Dwayne Linden, another resident architect, starting homes from plans to finish.  Prior had sold from models with just construction changes on that particular model.  Met and worked with the same architects off and one after we had all left Pacesetter.

Still with Pacesetter, move to their row housing in Hazelcrest.  Their plans were so superior that we had two visits from several congressmen out of Washington D.C.

It was while I was with Pacesetter in Hazelcrest that Bob Vance, my old friend and bridge partner from Cleveland walked into the models.  He had married and had four children.  His wife had recently passed away.  Introduced him to one of our hostesses, after which they got along great, married and were living in Park Forest until his death several years ago.

The hours were a worry since it left Tink alone so much.  Didn’t know if it was worth it.  Arline was a blessing for I knew she was there if anything went wrong and more importantly, Tink knew she could go to them.  Still makes me sad when I think of the time we missed together.  Don’t know if I could have done differently and still maintained the house.

Our little situation was not easy and remember Tink running away from home only to be brought back by the police.  Didn’t quite know how to handle.  Seemed to have wished that she had taken me too!  It was as if there was nothing but racing to and fro.

In fact, we did run to the Wagon Wheel, a weekend resort near Rockford, Illinois one Thanksgiving, not telling anyone.  Took the last cent I had, but we deserved it.

Had left Olympia Fields after selling out and moved to Hazelcrest as stated above.  Now Hazelcrest was nearing completion, so ventured into the brokerage market at Thornridge Realty in Dolton.  That brought me closer to home and brought a few quality hours.

Unfortunately we lost Blinks during that period.  He had choked on a piece of ham.  I was closer when Tink called and was able to be home in a few minutes, but it was Arline who wrapped him in a blanket to carry him, as we headed for the vet knowing that it was too late.  A terrible void for both of us.  He was never far from Tink since the time we got him in Iowa many years before.  I always felt a little more secure when he was with her.  A much loved little fellow!

In brokerage, I could schedule appointments and had more control over hours.  However, still had to show property at purchaser’s convenience, so many evenings would be involved no matter how you tried.

Wayne called every day.  Great for Tink.  Degrading for me if I was unfortunate to answer the phone first.  Had the distinction of being at the head of his Hate List (which made Nixon’s look like child’s play).

After handling repossessed homes with Thornridge, recognized the difficulty of qualifying the purchasers plus meeting and showing property in rather dangerous locations.  After that for almost a year, returned to custom building with R.L. Hoekstra in South Holland, still trying to stay in the area.  The money was not there so returned to the brokerage field with Thorncreek in Chicago Heights.  The idea was that they would open an office in Lansing, which eventually happened.  Always enjoyed all salespeople in locations I worked during many years in Real Estate.  Made friends with whom I am still in contact.

Finally back in Lansing.  The four salesmen and one of Thorncreek owners, after his dispute with other owners, planned and opened our own company, Tri-Village Realty.

We ran it for several years, during which I again went to Chicago Heights to help start the second Tri-Village office.  We all sold the stock of Lansing office and closed.

BACK TO THE FAMILY

Grandma Richmond had passed away and my Father several years later while we lived in Calumet City.

Tink had graduated from Hoover with a reputation for her scholastic abilities and talents.  Still hear at times from people who have talked to her teachers.  She was now in high school.  We continued to live in Calumet City, but the boundaries of the school district were such that she was in the new high school’s attendance area, Thornton Fractional Township High School South, located in Lansing.

She added another “best friend”, Kathy Trent.  Now there were Tink, Alice, Kathy and, of course, Linda.

In high school, Tink came into her own in journalism endeavors.  Had class with Mr. Ted DeVries, journalism teacher, worked on and edited school newspaper, plus obtained position on the town newspaper, The Lansing Journal – the same newspaper for which her father worked when we first returned to Illinois from Iowa.

Memorable was her first prom.  She had grown into a beautiful young lady.  Linda and she and their dates were the subject of many pictures by their adoring parents with all the neighbors looking on.

In her junior year she had the opportunity to attend Southern Illinois University for a journalism seminar.  She spent time during the summer there and decided to enroll in the university.  We made trips to Ohio, Peoria, and even to see her Grandma Shullaw in Wyoming.  Attended plays at the Drury Lane dinner theater.  Art shows were also of interest and during one, was picked by an artist as a subject for painting by the members of the Palette and Chisel Club in Chicago.  We made frantic trips into the city, during which she sat in her prom dress for the painters.

About four years later a friend who worked t the Merchandise Mart saw one of the paintings and told me.  We negotiated with Walter Job, color coordinator for the Merchandise Mart, the painter from $500 to $250 and a deal was made.  Suzanne Trent, mother of Kathy, accompanied me to East Chicago where a painter by the name of Antilus built a frame for it.  My prized possession!  Had the frame changed later and still hanging on my wall over shelf in the dining area.

When I was working with one of the Lansing school board members, he mentioned they were looking for a secretary in the library at the high school.  Mentioned it to Arline who was unhappy in her work for an attorney and she was interviewed.  She got the job and was at the high school while the girls were there.

Again here are so many stories that could be incorporated but could be another endeavor.

My mother was almost frantic in her devotion to her granddaughter.  She had provided Tin’s clothes and Christmas presents for years.  She introduced her to many interests.  When our first grandson was born, her love engulfed him with equal fervor.  While Tink was in high school she was in Chicago and made regular trips to our house and we to Chicago.

COLLEGE YEARS

As we left Tink’s high school days we all eagerly looked forward to graduation ceremony, until it occurred to us that we were allotted two invitations and there were three of us, Wayne, Mother, and myself who wanted to attended.  Still don’t know how it was solved but suspect that Arline was able to secure the additional invitation.

Tink had applied and been accepted to Southern Illinois University.  We packed our car to capacity and started out.  Her Grandma had knitted sweaters for her and suspect she took all that was around from home.

Again the old feeling of great expectations.

When we arrived still remember driving up to the housing.  We opened her meager checking account, viewed the town, and unpacked.  Don’t remember the names of her roommates but remember meeting at least one.  Tink seemed happy, but I had mixed feelings.

The ride home was lonesome and terrible feeling when I arrived at an empty house!

Made a couple trips down, one to a basketball game and sat high into the dome not being able to see much going on.  Somehow did end up sitting on the bench close to the team.

Got to see much of the campus and was impressed.  She finally moved into one of the school dorms.  At that time working on the university newspaper, the Egyptian.

Also made a trip with several of the mothers from this area.  It was beautiful country and did enjoy the chance to see it.  Tink seemed happy and as usual, excelling.

Real Estate was so bad or possibly the price range we were working in Chicago Heights that we referred to our selling as put together with scotch tape.  I was one of the few for whom Real Estate was the main source of income and who did not have a spouse or other means.  When first starting in the field, I was one of the few women; the RE selling field being dominated by men.  Now there were more women coming in every year.

So now spending many hours at work.  My neighbor Conrad Fredbloom left a note telling me my grass needed mowing. After watching me now it with a flashlight one night, he did take over the job when I couldn’t get it done.

Tink made a trip home at Christmas bringing Bob Anderson who I liked, which was good since he soon after became my son-in-law.

After struggling with the upkeep on the Calumet City house, having gone through periodic floods, followed by cleaning and repairing furnaces and water heaters, decided to sell.  Found a house on Wildwood in Lansing.

Around this time had started a relationship with a successful businessman that brought my personal life into focus.  A glamorous trip that was to last for five years and off and on for ten.  Two of three times a week we were to visit many of the top restaurants and nightclubs in Chicago and in a several mile radius.  He was my source of strength for the next few years to come.

TINK TO MARRY

Tink and Bob now informed me that they intended to marry.  This brought a violent reaction from her father who was adamant that he had a solution as to how to stop the wedding.  Needless to say, the wedding was planned and the date was set.

In the meantime, Harold Velde, Bob’s stepfather, stopped at the Real Estate office and left a note that “Former Congressman Harold Velde was in Lansing and would like to meet me”.

He had resigned his position in Congress and made the trip with a couple of friends, Jeff and Larry.  They had been friends since they all were in the FBI together prior to the time Harold was elected to Congress from Pekin, replacing Dirksen who had left Congress for the Senate.  I met them and we liked each other immediately.  He liked Lansing so much that he and Bob’s mother Dolores decided to move here.

The wedding was on go, despite constant calls from Wayne, even wishing that Bob would fail his blood test.

A friend of min, Doc Jewet and his wife Rose had a Bridal Shop in Chicago Heights.  Rose fitted and sold us a beautiful gown.  The wedding was to be held at the Community Presbyterian Church in Calumet City with a champagne breakfast at the Sportsman’s Club in Lansing.  The guest list included Harold and Dolores Velde, their friend Jeff, Dolores’ grandson Dickie Grinder, plus my mother, also Arline, Joe, and Linda Stoikowitz. Alice Studt and her eventual husband Bruce Boschek stood up for Tink and Bob.  And of course, Wayne.  Wayne did not want any of his family or mine there.  Again, it caused problems, especially with my stepmother Fern, resulting in an alienation that was to last for years.

Back to the wedding.  My memories included Tink backing into a sticky bush as she was getting into the car on the way to church which horrified me.  No harm was done and we proceeded.  Wayne decided that he would not walk her down the isle and other than that, the wedding was beautiful.  In his defense, Wayne did pick up a portion of the cost of the breakfast.

Tink and Bob returned to the university.  Tink started working at a newspaper in West Frankford and later as a waitress in a bar.  They had rented a trailer and seemed to settle down.  At that time, Tink applied for and received a student loan.  The calls were coming fast and furious from Wayne, expressing his distaste for everything and everyone.

Tink was pregnant and in the sixth month, delivered with complications for the baby.  We got the call and Wayne and I hurried to Carbondale.  She was recovering but the baby, now named Alice Katherine, was in critical condition.  She passed away and was buried on Thanksgiving Day.

Walked and performed in a daze.  On the way home, Wayne’s anger which had been smoldering went out of control and the ride was frightening.  Felt blessed to have reached the house without mishap.  From that day forward he did not exist for me, even though the angry calls continued until a friend of mine suggested to him that he get a life.  He eventually re-marred and front all reports had a happy life.

Harold and Dolores Velde moved into a rental in Chicago Heights behind my office prior to purchasing a house in Lansing.  That was immediately after they had arrived from Washington.  When Tink and bob were home for the summer from college, they had purchased the house on Burnham Avenue in Lansing.

Tink and Bob spent one summer home during which a friend of mine was able to secure three rooms of furniture to outfit an apartment for them.  Dolores and Harold had moved to Lansing along with their friends and Bob worked for the Taste ‘n Tell Catering Company that the Veldes had started.

At the time of Wayne’s re-marriage, Tink – not having been invited to his wedding – called.  Alice Studt and I drove to Carbondale and spent the night sitting on the bed reading Gibran’s book.

Bob had joined the Army and Tink was alone until she joined him in Alaska.  She was then at the end of her senior year and finished and received final grades after she arrived in Alaska.

PRIOR TO MOVE TO ALASKA

There were many emotions spent during Tink’s last couple of years of college.  I was to later learn that she had secured the help of a psychologist to deal with the loss of her baby, plus other pressures of the time.

I had purchased the house next to me on Wildwood in Lansing for investment and in the process of reselling, one prospect wanted my house, so sold it to him.  Then moved to an apartment on Torrence and was living there during the summer Tink and Bob spent in Lansing.

At the time still had my mother’s furniture stored in my garage, along with a portion of things from the apartment of Tink and Bob’s.  One room of apartment was used for storage until the AmVets removed much.

My Mother left her position with Mr. Mann in Chicago and after several weeks recuperating with me proceeded to Carbondale to visit with Tink and Bob.  Shortly thereafter to Palm Springs, where she settled down with our friends Thelma and Bob Bartsch from Findlay.

During my days in Chicago Heights I was introduced to the South Suburban Board of Realtors and the excess drinking for which they were so well-known.  Laws now prohibit such actions for fear of jail or loss of license.  And the climate and tolerance has changed.  Like to believe that people have become wiser.

In our small community, the state senators and congressman, along with bank officials, would attend Real Estate affairs promoting support for reelection and in the cases of bankers, for business.  They would many times provide the drinks for the group.  Also after finishing for the day, people would gather for drinks. 

When Harold Velde first made his appearance in Lansing he had shortly before resigned as Congressman in Washington.  After a night of concentrated drinking had called a reporter and broke the story.  He had been the head of the House Un-American Activities Committee during the McCarthy days and the negative reaction of the public had left its toll.  He told many stories of the atmosphere in Washington.  One fact which I remembered was that Everett Dirksen, highly respected Senator from Illinois, never made a speech sober.  Later confirmed.  The lobbyists in Washington left cases of liquor outside the doors of the elected officials.  The lobbyist at that time had a master hold on Washington.

AL TACO AND THE MOB

Also in the Chicago Heights office, I met Al Taco, later to rise to the top of the organized crime world of the south suburbs.  He was the cousin of Herm Teri who had become a partner in TriVillage.  Taco at that time was a handsome young man whose occupation was “bag man” for the Mob and he would stop and share his experiences after each trip.  Only mention this because I was to run into him many times in the coming years.

Moving to Flossmoor to start the third office of TriVillage removed me a little from the scene.  Was to discover and pursue the prestige selling that I had enjoyed in Olympia Fields at the beginning of my so-called career that was less of a struggle and more lucrative.  Spent a couple years there and was my location when I purchased the painting of Tink.

Now was approached to move to Prestwick Country Club selling lots for custom building around the golf course.  It was an opportunity to expand my experience in another field of selling and I jumped at the chance.  Could list and show farm and commercial land again adding to my knowledge.  Enjoyed all the privileges of the Club House and dining room.  Again making friends that I still see today.  Marie Reithel, co-salesperson and Florence Clark, manager of the dining room at the club.

In a couple of years, and waiting for another phase of the lots to open up, a friend Marie Gerrie referred me to Burnside Construction, a company which was looking for someone to handle the new condominium project they were opening in Hickory Hills.  The concept was new and appealing to me.

Throughout my travels in Real Estate, I had been subject to many meetings, seminars, conventions (Chicago) and courses, including Real Estate law.  That proved to be beneficial in what was to happen next.

When I walked into the Great Oaks Condominiums in Hickory Hills, the two builders immediately took off for an extended vacation.  They had no Declaration for the development or set up.  I worked with Dick Helm, an attorney who was also on the State Condominium Board to compose the Declaration and secure engineers for the accompanying survey.  We then all met at the Chicago Title and Trust to record.  Difficult but proved a whole new area that I was to use for years to come.  Shortly after, the head contractor left and I ran the construction crew along with the selling.  We hired an excellent “super” who I later worked with on other condo complexes after the completion of Great Oaks.

SOCIAL LIFE EXPANDS

My social life was expanding and dated an attorney in Oak Lawn with Florence of Prestwick and her current friend Hugh Smith.  Hugh owned one of the largest furriers on the Southside.  We met for cocktails there before going to dinner and chose a fur for the evening.  Was fun, but turned me off on fur. Was an experience though.

Also traveled to The Abby and Lake Lawn, resorts near Geneva, Illinois.  That lasted only a short time since distance and work became a problem.

Mother was visiting from Palm Springs and Bob and Nina from Toledo, where they had moved to from Findlay.

George Arquilla owned Burnside Construction and Arquilla Realty along with about twenty other construction related companies, so when the Hickory complex was sold would go into their brokerage company until the plans and models were built for their next condo project in Glenwood, Illinois.  About ten miles from home.  Was relieved not to be driving the distance.

As you can see Burnside Construction allowed me to list commercial and sell from the Hickory Condo office along with my condo sales.  Was putting in many hours, but enjoying it.

While in Hickory Hills, sold a condo to a Mr. Barrelli, for his ex-wife.  During my trips to the motel he owned to get signatures, was to find he belonged to the same association as the Al Taco, mentioned previously during my Chicago Heights days.  Completed the sale and in looking for a location for a second site for Green’s East, an Oak Lawn restaurant, Barrelli sent work that the Hickory Lodge, a bar across from my office was for sale – and I could have the listing if I could sell it in one day.  Had been showing Gus of Green’s locations as far south as Matteson and was able to get him on contract within the one day with the idea that he could rebuild.  Many contingencies within the contract to be worked out.

That began six months of harrowing negotiations.  I discovered Al Capone’s younger brother was part owner and the town would not renew the liquor license for a new owner, suspicious of his connections.  Went through many different attorneys of theirs and even signed one contract on the hood of my car at a doughnut shop.  Finally, after Mr. Arquilla pointed out that I would be found dead in a ditch, did I hire Gus Drugas, an attorney and brother of one of the doctors to whom I had sold a condo.  Gus took half of my commission!  When we finally arrived at Chicago Title and Trust to close in escrow, other faces appeared as owners of the bar.  An elderly couple whom I had never laid eyes on.  Just smiled, closed the deal and left.

Also sold three twelve flats from that office to a doctor and his sons.  Drugas was to handle that closing.

Then had a woman walk in to give me the listing on a farm she had in the middle of Hickory Hills.  Sold that to White Hen Pantry after meeting all contingency conditions of the contract.  Got zoning after many town board meetings and buying the town a hook and ladder.  Jerry Howard who was running the George Arquilla Realty Company was my encouragement on all of the above.  He helped me package the White Hen deal, even putting together the investors.  Only mentioning all of this because of the education along the way.  The shopping center was finally built and felt a personal satisfaction in it.

Now back at the main office in Glenwood, as mentioned above.  Still interested in the commercial end of the business, but had to put all on hold after we started the Glenwood condos.

TINK’S FIRST YEARS IN ANCHORAGE

Tink now in Alaska at the time I was with TriVillage in Chicago Heights and following her paths until my arrival at Glenwood with George Arquilla Realty Company in brokerage.

When she and Bob first arrived they lived in a camper in the front yard of Blackie Reasor, his wife and adopted Korean daughter.  Blackie had retired from the Army in Alaska.

Bob was in the Army stationed at Fort Richardson outside Anchorage.

After the camper, they rented a little two bedroom duplex in Inlet View.  Tink was to write for the Anchorage Daily News, at times on police detail. Much later a column in the TV Guide.  Edited a Snowmobile magazine. Finally worked with a fund-raising association, Hope Cottages.  That covered a span during the following happenings.  She would have to offer the dates to the above endeavors.

Can’t even put into words the feeling of hearing that Tink was pregnant and finally our precious Jeff arrived.  Phoned one and all.  My Mother, ever to be known as GG (great grandmother), was on her way to Anchorage to view the child and help with him.  All reports were glowing.  Finally got to offer my opinion after about six weeks.  Approved.

By the time I arrived, they had moved from the Inlet View duplex to an apartment on Minnesota Bypass in Spenard.  Had a great time with him.

Remember seeing the largest of salmon and later eating it at Blackie’s home.

Their move to Anchorage was a few years after the Earthquake, but many signs were still visible.  After leaving the Captain Cook from dinner, it was still light, and could see the large drop in the middle of the parking lot as a reminder of the severity of the damage.  Battery chargers were in parking lots to plug into due to the cold that Anchorage was subject to in winters.  Also experienced my first winter daylight.

We drove into the clouds going up the mountain; saw my first moose and even a caribou.  During a trip to Alyeska, we stopped at a small, quaint bar with sawdust floors – really it was just as you would imagine the first frontier bars to be.  Tink said as I write this that the bar is still there.

They were to meet the Sollenberger family while living at Inlet View – LeeAnn, Mark, Karl. Would form a friendship strong to this day.  Jeffrey Lee and Karl Grant, about the same age, became fast friends.  Mark and LeeAnn were to eventually add Lisa and the twins Marna and Krista to their family.

Bob and Tink bought a log cabin in Mountain View and after that a larger log house on government Hill.  Blackie, who offered them their first “home” in his camper, had become a Realtor after retirement from the Army.  He bought the Government Hill house and his former wife is still living there as I write this. 

They were living in the Government Hill log house when Mother drove to Anchorage in her Rambler to see Tink, Bob and Jeff.  We have many pictures of Jeff and family as a result of her photography hobby.  I had several in small, round frames which adorned my walls for many years.  Now these pictures are in Alaska with Jeff, Brigette, and Tristan.

Tensions were mounting with the marriage. Bob and Tink separated and Tink moved to an apartment on Tudor and Checkmate.  She had joined the staff of the National Education Association in Alaska where she would stay for fifteen years.

During the summer of 1971, Tink came back to Illinois and went down to Southern Illinois University with Jeff to begin work on her masters in journalism.  We piled Jeff and staples into the car and headed for Carbondale. After we purchased a TV and air conditioner, I left worried and lonesome.  Jeff was to undergo a hernia operation there, further adding to our concern.  All was well and they drove back with their accumulated possessions at the end of the summer. 

There was much concern when she started home, but with her job at the NEA, she was to have some great experiences.  There always seems to be that light at the end of the rainbow, as they say.

Harold and Dolores were thrilled each time Tink and Jeff arrived and they could share attention with Jeff.  He loved to be with them and they with him.  At that time they had sold their house on Burnham Avenue and purchased a condo off Torrance.

Tink and Bob were eventually divorced and she moved into some colonial style apartments off Northern Lights Boulevard on Malaspina.  Jeff was to start kindergarten there.  While they were at this location, she met Jon Domela who took an interest in Jeff and exposed both he and Tink to many activities.

In 1974, Tink bought a duplex on Marsten Drive.  Liked the set up when I came to visit.  A recreation room off the kitchen was a plus for Jeff.  He accumulated playmates and seemed to be happy.  Also “Herbie”, a dog of questionable heritage but great personality, was added to the household.

Visited several times during that period.  One year with Tink in the midst of an office political situation.  Jerry Howard was to call a couple of times needing information on a deal I was working on.  Needless to say, the mood was of excess tiredness, a fact that escaped Jeff and Herbie. 

We visited the Sollenberger and went to a Summer Festival with Jeff and three boys from his circle of friends.  Herbie even brought one of his friends when I opened the door for him.  He and the other dog enjoyed Herbie’s dinner together.

In traveling with the NEA, she was to make several trips home and I got to see Jeff, as did the Veldes. She has done so well.  Remember the red car with all the big windows? Can’t remember the name of the model (It was a yellow and brown Pacer).

Now back to Glenwood with happenings around this time.  Further reports on the progress up there later.

PALM DESERT, CALIFORNIA

My Mother, as mentioned previously, had moved to Palm Desert, California and had a duplex on the Palm Desert Country Club grounds.  She had found employment as a practical nurse at a silent movie director’s home on the Eldorado Country Club grounds.

She had made several trips to Illinois since her move but my first trip out there was during a Christmas holiday.  Invited three of her new bridge friends to dinner or maybe should say, drinks, at the Riviera where after much conversation they ordered.  But don’t believe from that time on they knew what they were eating.

Finally they managed out, stopping to empty the match and mints bowls before the cashier presented me with what appeared to be the national debt!

Mother finally joined the Flaitz family at Indian Wells Country Club taking care of their young son.  She accompanied them during the summer months to their home in La Jolla.

It was after that time that I went for about four years in February to the Bob Hope Golf Classic.  Due to her affiliations, I was able to enjoy all the privileges of the Bermuda Dunes, Tamarack, Aquinta, Eldorado and Indian Wells country clubs – wherever the tournament was held that year.

During one of the first trips to the Palm Desert/Palm Springs area, Mother and I drove across the desert to Scottsdale, Arizona where I was to look at property that Jerry Howard was trying to find investors for an office building to be constructed on that site.  We were met by Ray Orlando, Jr. who showed us not only the property but McCormick’s ranch, where we saw a newborn foal and visited the elaborate tack and trophy room, plus much of the Phoenix-Scottsdale area.

Mother enjoyed the horses since Doc Wagner, her second husband, had been a veterinarian and they had spent much time at race tracks around the country.  Should add that both I and Tink were exposed to days at the track.

Jerry Howard and I had started working on the property we had come to see after having been referred by my friend to Orlando Sr., who as a broker had been packaging investors for many sites in Scottsdale and neighboring towns.  He had made a trip to Illinois to present us with what he had.  By this time, Orlando had become interested in the After Death Freezing Movement and was glad to have help with his Real Estate ventures.  We eventually lost our endeavor to the Goldwater group and now the property is the site of the Goldwater Department Store.

Never saw Orlando again and suspect he is in someone’s freezer.

During my first visit to California, was in Glenwood waiting for the plans and paperwork on the Glenwood condos to be completed.  Spent a short eventful time in brokerage, again sometimes working with VA and FHA until the mortgages houses started offering lower down payments, making sales less complicated for conventional loans.

Back with the South Suburban Board and Homebuilders Associations, involving meetings and social activities.  Had met Helen Wagner at Homebuilders during the Hickory Hills period, also one of the first handful of salespersons to become involved in condos.  We remained friends.  She was the person I was talking with on the phone twenty years later when I had my heart attack.  She called the paramedics.

Joe Busch, hired to help on weekends in Hickory Great Oaks, was to be co-worker at condos in Glenwood.  Great choice.  Still see him and his family.

On one of Mother’s visits to Illinois between mine to California, she struck up lengthy phone conversations with Jerry Howard and convinced him that one should take a chance on life at any age.  He credited her at the time for stimulating him to leave George Arquilla Company and start his own development.  So we lost our leader!

The condos were now half way through the first building of 63 units. Ron Yonkers was to become manager of the George Arquilla Company.

Most of my communications were with “Bud” and Bob Arquilla when it came to construction changes and color choices.  Many stressful moments while they were made aware of the differences in the building and sales of condos as opposed to rental units.  After hours and hours of work, finally hired a decorator, Margaret Shaski to aid purchasers with colors of tile, paint, wallpaper, etc.

Enter Slim Schultz, a knowledgeable head “super” replacing the former inept one.  Now things were smoothing out and were to continue that way for two 96 units to follow, plus seven two story buildings worked into our regular sales at the main project.  Long hours but met so many people and attended many functions now being held at the club house and swimming pool.  Fun period.

When the first 96 unit was half sold, decided to have the scar removed from my neck and entered the hospital.  After many trips to VA hospital opted to have the operation done by a private surgeon.  A couple weeks off, returned to work with bandages.  A conversation piece.

LOU DANDURAND

Still going with the gentleman that I had met a few years before when Lou Dandurand walked into my office.  We had a great time during his several visits with the idea of his locating there.  He was president of the American National Bank in Chicago Heights and knew many of the people I did, plus tales of the things he handled at that time.  Frank Wiscons, one of my customers built deals in Olympia Fields, was participating in the building of a large motel and restaurant near the race track in the south and Louie was handling the financing.  Also picking up the mortgaging on Jerry Howard’s new project.

We had dinners near and far, also looking at different sites he was considering investing in.  A very funny and intelligent man that kept the party alive at all times.

Mother had a passion for listening to the police reports on the radio and during one of her visits was startled when one Chicago reporter broke the news that Louie had been kidnapped.  The reporter had been listening to the police radio and when he heard that, thinking the robbery was over, called the bank for information.

The reporter asked the person answering the phone who he was and was told he was talking to “The Robber,” who informed him that he could not talk because the police were breaking down the door.  Then you heard over the radio the sound of crashing door and police yelling!  The tape was played over the radio for months.

Louis had been taken hostage when he arrived home the night before and was held at gunpoint, tied up, until morning.  The man then took his car and keys to the bank and left.  Louie rolled down the back steps and with the aid of a neighbor called the police.  The offender was still at the bank since he had to wait for the vault timer to go off!

At insistence of FBI, Louie then moved to quarters at the Olympia Fields Country Club and remained there until he left for Arizona several years later.

I was still living at the apartment on Torrence.  At this time decided to purchase the condo in Lansing Manor on Burnham in Lansing.  Arline and Joe Stoikowitz helped me move in.

Had not seen them as much as in the past.  Since the move to condo began having the company and entertaining as before on Wildwood.

Started playing bridge again with Margaret, our decorator, Janet Johnson and Marge Miles, new owners at the Glenwood condos.  Also sold and became close to the Cosgroves at that time.  Was to spend many holidays with them.

Shared the sometimes harrowing personal problems of many of the condo purchasers.  The Arquilla accused me of being “den mother.”  Could write a volume on that alone.

TACO RETURNS

As we were leaving the 63 unit, Al Taco’s ex-wife purchased the last model in that building.  Al was now rising to prominence in his elite group, the Mob.  Had checked with his cousin Herm Teri, my former TriVillage associate, now an attorney, as to the character of the teenage boy of the ex-wife.  Herm assured me that all would be all fine.

Soon after occupancy, gas was siphoned from parked cars in front of the condo and a bike turned up missing, later to be seen with the culprit riding it.  Several arrests and a little pressure, and Mrs. Ex-Taco left the building.

Then to the horror of Mr. Arquilla, Al Taco himself moved in!  That followed by a series of referrals by him, resulting in his girlfriend’s elderly parents and finally the girlfriend.  Seemed no way to stop the flow.

Gina, the small daughter of Betty the girlfriend, became friends with Missy, the Cosgrove’s daughter.  Need I say that this further complicated things.  Gina was periodically going to funerals of an uncle.

It was the collective relief of all when He moved to a house with Betty and Gina.  Al called me to represent each listing and sale, further endearing me to Mr. Arquilla.  Somehow managed to decline.

Al has now been convicted of the cause of the early demise of a few of the uncles.  Don’t expect referrals from him during his or my lifetime.

BACK TO THE CONDOS

The condos still being a new concept were attracting much attention.  It was not unusual for a hundred people to go through models in a day on weekends.  Mostly between the fours of 1:00 and 4:00 pm.  The Arquillas hired Andy Frain Ushers to handle the traffic.

My construction background was a blessing due to the structural changes we were now faced with.  We were dealing with astute purchasers, mostly professional people who demanded wall moves and sometimes completely altered the kitchen arrangement.  Everything became upgraded.  Much work and conflicts with Bob Arquilla on prices and the amount of changes.

Prior to each association that was formed, Joe and I had an angry array of people with complaints for the company on different work.  Bud Arquilla was an unbelievably handsome male and when he walked in to conduct the turning over the building to the Owners’ Association, all women went mute.  The men changed their tone when Bob Arquilla took his turn at speaking and displayed his dry and sometimes sharp sense of humor.

This was to repeat itself time and time again during the four years we worked that project.

Only mentioned in detail some of the above instances just to point out many non-sales related experiences.  There were many more.

Joe Busch and I worked together without any friction for all that time and covering for each other readily.

He also because interested in my metaphysical studies and we attended seminars together to sharpen our minds.  Would later use to attempt mind control on unsuspecting prospects!

So much happened during the above period.

Tink was now traveling with her job with the National Education Association and on one visit left Jeff with their Grandmother in Palm Desert. Was a great time for them since they were able to spend time at the pool, plus other activities.

He and Tink also made a trip to Hawaii around that time.

Was enjoying my new condo in Lansing.  Having been the first occupant of the building, moved in with no elevator working, no wallpaper or carpeting in halls and on some floors, no walls.

When paper is removed, can still see evidence of our spray painting of items in the hall.

Ray and Margaret Walker moved in a couple weeks later and we became fast friends and bridge partners.

Nancy Ludi with her husband Mike, new daughter Megan plus Karl, her Dad, came to visit while Mother was here.  Jane Ludi, my cousin, had passed away four years earlier and Nancy, her daughter, had visited several times after while I was still on Torrence.

Ron and Cindy Ludi were here several times and stayed as they could visit several friends in the area.  Bob and Nina were frequent visitors.

Joe Stoikowitz passed away in 1973.  Was difficult to cope with for Arline and she was at the Condo frequently for dinner and cards, especially when Mother, Tink or Jeff visited.

(On the day of the Mackinaw boat races in 1973, Joe Stoikowitz and Mr. Bisbee had taken two young boys out on Lake Michigan when a squall came up.  The boat capsized and Mr. Bisbee was lost immediately.  Joe and the two boys were left with one life jacket in the middle of the lake.  Joe attempted to swim to shore and was lost. Found a couple of weeks later.  A terrible blow to all.)

Linda Stoikowitz was teaching in Atlanta, Georgia, and soon left for Canada where she was to spend several years.  Of Tink’s group, Alice was in Germany; Kathy in Australia; Linda in Canada; and Tink in Alaska.  Only Linda and Alice returned to the Lower 48 states.  Kathy still remains in Australia and Tink in Alaska.

Tink made a visit home with the terrifying news that tests had shown she had cancer.  One of my purchasers at the Condo was a gynecologist and upon an examination found no basis for the report.  All was well.  She departed with a newly acquired Japanese pinball machine, Pachinko.  We saw the machine during a visit to the Cosgroves in Glenwood, who had put two condos together to have 3,000 square feet, giving them room for a game-den room.  We were amazed to find one for ourselves.

PAUL LANDIS

Met and started going with Paul Landis, a widower moving to this area from Pittsburgh.  He had accepted a position as vice president of Interlake Steel Company.  We attended all the condo parties and started a relationship that was to last for a couple of years.

Gwen and Mark, his children, soon moved here and became a close part of my life, being in touch with me while Paul would take trips all over the world required by his work.

Attended theatre and functions with group from Interlake and was becoming knowledgeable in the steel business just as the prefabricating plants were closing and steel in general was feeling the competition from the Japanese market.  Interlake was one of the first companies to form a partnership with a Japanese group.

The entire Landis family was fond of Jeff.  Mark was instrumental in removing Jeff’s water wings and started him in serious swimming efforts.

On Jeff’s visits he would spend time with the Cosgrove girls at the pool and took trips to the amusement park not too far from us.  Jeff was becoming known at Arquilla’s and at times accompanied me to closings, where he got his share of attention.  Great to have him around.

Purchased first condo for investment in Glenwood.  Rented it to a teacher whose husband owned horses that were racing at the Washington Park, down the street from the office. Lou was still a frequent visitor at the condos and we settled into a friendship that would last for many years

The Glenwood condos were closing out and I returned to brokerage at the Realty office.  Joe went to help with the project and signed the agreement with me taking charge.  It was a joint venture with Concordia Bank and a builder.

Was not as lucrative as the previous situation we had finished but had its advantages.  Having the office in a model with a working range was able to cook practically a dinner to serve that evening.  The prospects did not seem to mind the aroma

Being the only one there except for hostesses hired for weekends, proved to be difficult since I had to rely on a salesman from the office to sit for a day.  Were some weeks there was no day off, so when it was time to renew listing refused to stay.  Had spent six months there.

Back to the main office where stayed in resale for a couple years.

ab

Daughter’s Afterward:

Here ends My Mother’s Story.  She began writing it in November 1992 during a series of written exchanges with my second husband Chuck O’Connell.  The story came in installments over a several month period.  She reviewed it and added to it in 1995-1996. The narrative itself ends about the year 1975, two years prior to my marriage to Chuck and some 24 years prior to her death in 1999.  It tells the story as she would have it remembered.

My mom continued in Real Estate until her retirement.  The heart attack she mentions occurred shortly after.  Adjusting to retirement and a slower lifestyle was not easy for my mother.  She continued to play cards and to attend theatre productions with friends.  She renewed some of her spiritual studies. But she missed interacting with men in the business world, noting the lack of males among the retired.  A true lady in every sense of the word, my mother nonetheless enjoyed male company – perhaps that’s what made her a true lady.  She told me once – or maybe several times – that Al Taco “exuded animal magnetism”. Strange that she didn’t include that observation in her narrative for her descendants. I’m also sorry she didn’t include the stories of the elderly man who brought her fresh vegetables just so they could sit and talk a while. She liked men.  She liked her women friends.  And she tried very much to be a friend to all.

My mother took pride in being smartly dressed, well-coiffed, with fresh – but muted – makeup for all occasions. After conquering the chubbiness of her early teens, she maintained a slim figure throughout her adult life. She stood about five feet tall.

My mother loved her family as the preceding story attests. I’m sorry that she did not persevere on with the writing to include her time with her granddaughters Jennifer Ellen and Jessica Dianne, and her great granddaughter Tristan.  She adored them as much as she adored her “precious Jeff.”

My mother died at the age of 77 years, one month, and eleven days after a long struggle with cancer.

I loved her.      Tink

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