GOING HOME AGAIN by Daryl E. Craig, Galesburg

Heading down the road, motor humming, and air conditioner blowing a soft, cool breath through the car, my thoughts race ahead of me with a picture of my boyhood home, on the farm, at Galesburg, Illinois. I was born in the house there, lived there until I entered the Army, in World War II, came back to again, stay with my parents while finishing last year of college, and then was recalled to active duty with the Army. Getting married while in service, my wife and I came back and farmed the home place, after the folks retired.

Our house, frame, two storied, in good repair, and neatly painted white, has a narrow concrete walk running out to the road, and the mailbox, surrounded by ditch lilies. Separating the well mowed roadside, from the fenced house yard, is a row of shoulder high bushes requiring constant -- well, at least every month -- trimming by me, as suggested (ordered is a much better fitting word) by Mom or Dad.

Bushes hide most of the foundation, and trees surround the house, two big pear trees (drawing kids and gnats), a Chestnut, two Pines, and several Elms and soft Maples. These varieties were picked because they dropped an abundant quantity of leaves every fall, and kids, and rakes, would have something useful to do. The twisted old apple tree, alongside the front walk, still has the level branch, about ten feet above the ground, where Neet and I sat and talked, and read Big-Little books, as kids, or we played Tarzan with her kid sister, Carey. They are my two closest cousins, and we considered each other as something very special, since we spent so much time together, spending big chunks of the year, staying at each others house for vacations.

The road in front, if I turn south, will take me to the old brick, one-room school house, where I completed eight grades, or, if I turn north, toward town, will take me to the junior high school, and the high school; had to ride my bike, since it was over two miles. Looking south, suddenly remember that this is the road where Neet and Carey screamed, and I got scared, when Dick and Topsy, the sorrel and the grey, suddenly had a runaway, with us on the pulled hayrack. Even though I was the know-it-all country cousin, and had been trusted to drive the team to the South Farm by Dad, I'd lost control of them, and hung on for dear life.

Following the walk around the sunny side of the house, you pass the slanting cellar door. This is where Gary, my oldest son, when still little, headed for the basement, without noticing his trailing cat -- the door drops on Inky's tail, leaving a stub about an inch long, with the balance hanging from a flap of skin. His mother, worried and trying to help, bundles Gary and Kevin, his young brother into the car for a rush trip to the vet's, and a $21 bill for cutting the flap and a bandage.

Looking to the south, past a fence, is another yard -- also kept mowed just like the house-yard. A narrow concrete walk goes straight south to the old two-hole outhouse, in early days complete with a Sears or Wards catalog. For some unknown reason, a trip to the toilet was called, ''going to Mrs. Jones'' by Mom. Nowadays, a cold glass of orange juice and a cup of coffee is considered a quick way to wake up. However, it could, in no way, compare with the lift you got from snow on a frigid toilet seat!

''Mrs. Jones' yard'' was where we kept the lamb, Toodles, that I got from Santa one year, when I was little. It's the place we kept Lady, the shaggy little pony, that Gary used to ride back in the days when he was a cowboy full time, and tried regularly to wear his cowboy hat, toy gun and holster to bed, unless we caught him first. Kevin, the littlest, with his wet nose and rosy cheeks, yells with glee when getting pulled, on the run, by Mickey, the big Newfoundland mix family dog, as he pulled the sled over the snow.

On to the east, past the cellar door, is another, short vertical door -- this one entry to a private place for us kids. It was called the ''Cob Cellar,'' after its use in older days, when corn cobs were kept here to be used in starting furnace fires. For us, it had a better use -- we stored most of our toys here, played house -- after I'd been coaxed, and also played school, which all of us liked. Much later, Gary and Kevin found that it was great for the same kind of use.

Around the corner to the back door, we see the steps where, on hot, humid, clear, windless nights, Mom and Dad, and Neet and I, would sit, talk, and look at the stars. Sometimes mom would make a big pitcher of cold lemonade, using cold water just pumped from the house well a few feet from the bottom of the steps. Us kids got to pump the water, and we just knew that you had to pump a lot to get the really cold water that, for some unknown reason, was way down in the well. Talk was good, but many times, there were long contented silences, broken occasionally by the easily heard popping and clicking of the fast growing corn in the surrounding fields

Straight out, to the east, past the pump, is the big graveled barnyard, a continuation of the driveway, where vehicles and machinery are parked before being used again. At the far edges, are located the garage -- a double one, two big barns, a chicken house, and a hog house. Not in the immediate circle, but farther out, are the implement shed and two corn cribs, one a double and one a single.

Out past the single crib, with its concrete feeding floor, is the windmill and the large, round, stock water tank. As little kids, we'd sneak cold drinks from the water pipe, running water into the tank. (Although we had strict orders NOT to!) The feeding floor is best remembered for when I was a young farmer and I slipped from a frosty feed bunk and fell full length in the wet, sloppy manure that covered the floor, with a splash that would have been envied by a California surfer. (That day, my wife insisted that I bathe, using a garden hose, out in the frosty house-yard, before coming into the house!)

Each of the buildings had a special reason for being liked by us. The north barn for the cow stanchions and the long rows of milk cows, eating and waiting to be milked, morning and night, and the haymow, where Neet and I played and plunked on my guitar, while yowling through 32 choruses of ''Cowboy Jack.'' The garage, where I looked up, as a young farmer, while busy installing new overhead doors, and caught a baby owl that was perched just above my head and curiously watching every move that I made. The south barn had a big shed on the east side, usually filled with feeder cattle and hogs, wandering in and out. The front, to us, was the good part, since it had a long line of horse stalls, with a huge horse tied in each tied to the manger, where they downed their ration of grain or contentedly munched on hay in the manger, which we had thrown down from the haymow above. (Also used as a music hall by us kids.) Both of the barns always had an air of contented warmth and the smell of animals eating or resting.

Neither the house and yard, or any of the buildings, have changed over the years. They are still well kept, and a place filled with love and contentment. When we go in the back door, Mom and Dad are there, ready to greet us.

Driving down the road and ready to turn in the drive, I look, and there is nothing -- no house, no yard, no buildings, and no trees. Everything is gone. My home is now an unmarked location in a large cornfield. A sense of sadness and emptiness fills me, with thoughts of days that are gone, but -- this is overcome by the happiness of great memories, filled with the love and care I had there, and the home scene lives on in my mind, just as real and vivid as it was many years ago.


STORIES MY MOTHER USED TO TELL by Mrs. Harold Griffith, Galesburg

It has been many years since I have thought of the old stories that my mother used to tell us when we were children. On cold winter nights we would sit around the old heating stove and listen to my mother's soft-spoken voice. The isinglass windows in that old stove sent dancing firelight on the ceiling, while we conjured up many thoughts and visions of Indians and wild animals and wild places that no longer exist.

My great-great-grandmother, Mary Ward, along with an assortment of close relatives, made a joint venture by wagon train headed toward the Midwestern United States. They started from Ithaca, New York. There was an article in a local paper offering land for the taking for anyone who was looking to make a new start in a new place. My great-great grandmother, along with her relatives, arrived in Galesburg in 1835. They settled in an area called North Prairie, which is now known as Rio, Illinois. Mary Ward, born in 1813, met and married a man by the name of Bell. Mr. Bell became the first sheriff of Knox County. Tragically the marriage was of short duration. Mr. Bell hit his leg with a broad ax one morning while chopping wood. The wound never healed and it was rumored that he slowly bled to death. The old jail where he presided is still standing in Knoxville, Illinois.

Mrs. Bell then married a man by the name of Erasmus Darwin Hall. Mr. Hall was a cabinetmaker and carpenter by trade. He had been promised a parcel of land in that place called North Prairie. He built a mill on Pope Creek to formulate his plans for cabinet making and carpenter work. As a child, I remember seeing that large round stone out in our backyard. It had cuts and grooves on the surface. When the newly married Halls came to see the parcel of land that was promised to them they discovered an encampment of Indians down near the creek. They immediately sent word to the garrison at Rock Island. Soldiers were dispatched to remove the Indians. The road the soldiers took from Rock Island is now known as Route 150. Back then it was little more than a trail that only wild animals and Indians used. When the soldiers came, the Indians grudgingly pulled the buffalo skins off their tepees, leaving the bare poles standing. One young Indian boy, looking back at my great-great-grandfather, outstretched his arms in front of him and clasped his fingers together to mimic my great-great grandfather's big stomach. When their new house was about to be built, Great-great-grandfather, wishing to obliterate all signs of the Indians, built his house squarely on one of those Indian trails leading to the north.

In 1980 my relatives and I went to look for the old homestead. We were surprised to see how little it had changed. It was just as I had remembered it in the late thirties. The old barn down by the creek was still there. My brothers and sister and I spent many happy hours exploring and wading in Pope Creek. In my imagination there was an Indian behind every tree. It was rumored that my great-great-grandmother did not like living in the wilderness. The howling of wolves at night along with the screaming of unseen animals set her nerves on edge. She would warn her children not to venture too far from the house. She was afraid of an animal she called a catamount. She was to relate several years later that she had caught sight of him one evening at dusk and declared that he was as wide as a door and twice as long.

When asked about her trip across the prairie she would say that she saw very few animals. Occasionally while drawing water at small streams along the way they would scare up a rabbit or deer. She said that the grass was as tall as a man and spread as far as the eye could see in any direction.

In 1904, when my mother was a child, she remembers huge packs of wolves running across the hills to the north. She also remembers the passenger pigeons in the thousands. She would say their flocks would darken the skies and blot out the sun for several minutes.

Mother loved to tell the stories passed down to her from her grandmother, Mary Bell Hall. Mother used to tell us about the time her grandmother, while baking bread one day, looked out the window to see an Indian coming toward the house. He asked for something to eat. She quickly cut the heel off one loaf of bread, put a big chunk of butter in the middle of it and handed it to him. Within a few minutes he was back and said that he dropped the bread and could he have another ''good spIed and splutter.'' She complied.

Mother would tell another strange story about her grandfather, Erasmus Darwin Hall, and a trip he made to Rock Island with lumber and cabinetry for the small fort or garrison there. He started out before daybreak with a huge wagon driven by two oxen. The road to Rock Island was heavily wooded in many places. As he approached a clearing he noticed a strange yellow dog following behind his wagon. The dog followed him through a dense thicket and stayed close to the wagon. Again, that ghostly crying of an unseen animal. He would say that it sounded like a child in distress. He looked around for the dog and discovered that it had disappeared.

It is hard to imagine times and places that once existed. There are still remnants of the wilderness all around us. But not as easily seen. While wading in a stream one day I saw the glint of something protruding from the mud. It was an arrowhead. Someone had been there before me! Somewhere in each and every one of us there is that pioneer spirit -- that need to explore. It took us to every corner of the earth. Eventually it took us to the moon. That pioneer spirit made us a great nation. We pioneers have no boundaries.


Threshing Day on the Farm by Mrs. Geneva Thurman, Maquon

The cool of the August night still hung over the ripe wheat harvest standing in golden shocks, waiting to be gathered, when the farmer left his bed at daybreak. However, he knew from experience that this cool would soon give way to the scorching heat of the sun, just peeping over the horizon on this -- one of his busiest days of the year. For this was the day when the steam driven threshing machine would come, and his neighbors, all part of a particular ''threshing run,'' would soon arrive, each driving his own team of horses to a hayrack with a four to five foot ladder on the front and the back.

He went directly to the barn, putting golden ears of corn and a measure of oats in the feed box in front of each horse, along with a bunch of hay in the manger. After which he curried and brushed each animal till they were clean and shining. These were his source of power for the coming labor, and as such deserved special care.

When he returned to the house, the kitchen was alive with activity -- the coal range already contributing its unwelcome heat to the room where a hearty breakfast was cooking. This was a full meal, for today he would not ride in an air-conditioned tractor cab and push a hydraulic lever. Bacon or ham, eggs, fried potatoes, slabs of homemade bread and creamy butter were served on the oilcloth-covered kitchen table, while final plans were made for the day.

The boys of the family would harness their pony or a horse to a two-wheeled cart or a buggy and get the jugs ready to haul cool water to the thirsty men as the day went on. Each jug was covered with layers of burlap held in place by binder twine and kept wet to keep the contents cool from the well to the field. Each thirsty man would slosh a little water out over the rim to rinse it before taking his turn.

Of course the farm wife's activities were determined by the menu she had planned for the noon meal. Often the meat would be roast beef from the butcher shop. Pork was seldom used as it was thought to produce more body heat. A more economical meal would be fried chicken, for by this time the chicks that were hatched in the spring would be just right for frying. In those days, teakettles were ''king-size'' and usually singing on the back of the stove. Several teakettles of boiling water would be needed to scald the freshly killed chickens so the feathers would come off easily. Then, after being held over a burning piece of paper, to singe the remaining hairs, the carcass was ready to have any remaining pinfeathers removed and be cut up for frying in the heavy iron skillet. It's easy to see why the women would prefer to have roast beef. About ten o'clock, two or three neighbor women would arrive to help cook, but if one of them had several small children her value diminished considerably.

The separator and steam engine arrived rather early in order to be set up about forty feet apart on the spot where the farmer indicated. An extremely wide and heavy endless belt connected them. The distance between them protected the grain and the straw from any chance sparks from the coal-fired boiler. An engineer operated the steam engine, tending the fire and keeping the 150 gallon boiler filled from one or two tank wagons, which made regular trips bringing water. This was very important, for if the boiler got too low on water they had to ''pull the fire'' to keep it from blowing up. The engineer kept everything oiled and watched for any trouble as the engine puffed along like a locomotive. Of course most of them had a steam whistle too.

The separator had its own operator who watched as the bundles of grain were pitched in and saw to it that it didn't get overloaded. The farmer usually paid $.02 a bushel for threshing oats and $.04 for wheat, and he also furnished the coal for the engine.

When the dew was gone the men pulled their horses and racks into the golden stubble field, dotted with sheaves of grain which had been cut and tied by a binder machine and set up by the farmer and possibly a hired man or two. Each shock consisted of about eight bundles leaning against one another and one bundle with the grain spread out in all directions placed on top to cap it.

An average threshing run consisted of about ten families, and for two to three weeks in August these men exchanged work to help one another with the harvesting. Every one hoped the weather would be dry and not too hot, but only rarely did they escape at least several days of extreme heat. The men wore overalls and a long sleeved chambray work shirt. Their straw hats, often with a folded bandanna handkerchief in the top to keep the heat off their heads, showed that they weren't after a golden tan, and they felt that the sweat-soaked long sleeves kept them cooler than if their arms were bare.

When the field was dry enough, the men entered with their racks. One man, the pitcher, walked by the rack from shock to shock and forked the bundles one by one up to the driver of the rack. The driver tied the reins around the front ladder and directed the horses by command while he loaded the bundles carefully so the load wouldn't tip or slide. When the load was complete he pulled up to the separator in one of the two lines and pitched the bundles in. A golden stream of grain flowed from a moveable grain spout into waiting wagons where their drivers waited to haul in, either to be scooped into bins on the farm or to the nearest elevator. The straw was blown out another pipe, which could be regulated to locate the straw stack, which would be used for bedding for the animals. Also, some families slept on ticks filled with fresh smelling straw instead of a mattress.

When dinner time came, the men whose racks were empty watered and tied up their horses and went to the house to wash up in the outdoor washroom, consisting of a basin on a bench under a tree with a tub of water and a dipper nearby. A small mirror hung on the tree, and towels and a comb were at hand. They would eat at the ''first table'' which usually seated twelve men.

On the table would be large serving dishes filled with steaming mashed potatoes, gravy, and a variety of vegetables from the late summer gardens. Usually slaw and sliced tomatoes were the salads, and these, along with high towers of bread or biscuits and home churned butter, were a fitting and ''filling'' prelude to the homemade cakes and luscious pies. In the early forenoon, a trip to town was made to bring home a 50-pound block of ice which was divided and put into a 20 gallon stone jar filled with tea made by boiling the tea leaves and straining the strong tea. Hot coffee was available, but not many cared for it.

When these men finished, the table was cleared and reset. The platters and dishes refilled to the brim and twelve more hungry men enjoyed the special cooking which was always done on threshing day. And yes, when they were done a third table was set for the women and children, suddenly relaxed and ready to sit down and visit while they enjoyed the plentiful meal. A meal like this cooked in the August heat on a wood burning range was no easy task, and there was no electric fan or air conditioner to give them comfort. They took it as a matter of course -- it was their part in the labor of harvest.

The fieldwork continued until about five o'clock, when the men and horses went home to prepare for the next day.

In those days, farmers didn't invest in extremely expensive equipment, but they knew the satisfaction of working with their neighbors. On every run there were some farmers who were more efficient than others were. Some of the women planned better meals and some houses were nicer to eat in. Some fields yielded better than others did. Nevertheless, the men and women toiled together and history was made. Hopefully our children and grandchildren will remember this history and be proud.

Honorable Mention

HAULING CHARITY COAL ON CHRISTMAS EVE OF 1933 by Franklin Burgess, Knoxville

The year was 1933. I had just graduated from Knoxville High School. I became 18 in July of '33. That winter I drove a coal truck for Joe Happs, who was a WW I veteran and lived at our house. He had several contracts hauling coal from the East Galesburg Mine which was owned and operated by the Galesburg Mining Company. One contract was hauling charity coal. This project was run by the government under the Associated Charities. The depression was in full bloom, with Congress giving F.D.R. a full rein. He formed this governmental entity. If you were down and out, which a lot of people were, you could apply for free coal. Each household was allowed one ton per month, which in most cases was adequate.

I was driving a '32 Model B Ford truck (four cylinder). It was not uncommon to haul four ton on these trucks (1 and 1/2 ton chassis). We hauled three ton on charity deliveries. The bed was divided into three compartments, one ton cross-ways up front, and two ton lengthwise on the back. The divided boards broke like the end gates in a farm wagon. This meant you had three places to go on each trip.

It was considered a good day when you hauled seven loads, that's twenty-one places to go. The coal was egg coal which was from one and three quarters to six inches in diameter. We weighed the trucks at the mine and also at the city scales on Tompkins Street. ''Government Regulations'' You had three government tickets, two mine tickets and one city scale ticket.

One of the reasons for this story. On Christmas eve of '33 we had about one hundred tons to get out, when the orders came in you had to deliver them regardless. This particular night we were about to run out of coal. They had a huge storage tank that you backed under. You could load up in about three or four minutes. When the tank got low, you had to crawl up in it and kick or scoop the coal down into the truck. Needless to say, this coal was beat up with lots of fine coal called bug dust.

I had my last load on, and it was already dark. I will never forget this last ton that I delivered. Not a Christmas has gone by that I haven't thought of this. The house was on Division Street on the west side between Main Street and Grand Avenue. When I pulled in I saw the coal window in the basement was open. A man came out in his late twenties or early thirties. He said, ''Boy am I glad to see you. We are clear out of coal and have been all day.'' By this time he had tears in his eyes.

I said, ''Don't get too excited about his ton of coal. We are about out of coal and this came out of the bottom of the bin.''

He said, ''It will burn, won't it?''

I said, ''Oh yeah, it will burn fine if you fire it right.'' While we were talking two little girls came out. They had on their overcoats. They all had been wearing all the clothes that they could put on. When I was putting the coal chute in the window, I couldn't help but notice that the brick floor had been swept so clean that the bricks looked like they had been scrubbed. They thanked me so much for the coal that I was embarrassed.

My last ton and time to go home. On my way home I could not get this out of my mind, and to this day I remember it like it was yesterday. Needless to say, I felt really good!

Galesburg Connections by Rosalie Godsil Burgess, Knoxville,

Six days after Pearl Harbor was bombed I entered this world at St. Mary's Hospital in Galesburg, Illinois. I soon joined two older brothers and my parents in nearby Knoxville. After five years our family expanded as three more brothers and three sisters joined the first three siblings within the next 1 6 years. We were now a large family of nine children. We lived near many relatives and friends in our small town and I felt a very special bond with the people, but there was always something that drew me back to my Galesburg beginning.

Some of my first recollections of Galesburg were stories told to me by my mother and her relatives. My mother's family moved to Galesburg from London Mills in the early twenties when her father, Dr. C. R.Essex, joined the Baird-Gunning Clinic.

The family home was at 859 East Losey Street where my mother recalled a terrible hail storm happened in the middle of the night. Her parents luckily gathered her and her three brothers and a sister into a safe bedroom just before some of the windows in the house were broken by the force of the hail.

During the Depression Mom said that her family always had enough to eat for two reasons. One; they raised fruits and vegetables and preserved them. Two; people who could not pay cash for my grandfather's medical care, would give him the extra food that they raised or picked in the woods such as berries or nuts for payment.

In 1932 when Mom was twelve her father died from a heart ailment and complications. It is said that overwork in his profession attributed to his weakened condition. The obituary in the Galesburg paper stated that an estimated fifteen hundred people were at his services at the First Methodist Church in Galesburg. I have only heard stories about his compassion and caring ways. It is sad that his worthwhile life was so brief and that his grandchildren were never able to know this very special man.

My grandmother then moved with her children from their house on Losey Street to the family farm east of Knoxville. Their farm was located where Laurel Greens Golf Course is today. They lived in the house which is still standing on the front of the property.

When the children were raised, only one returned to Galesburg, the youngest boy, Willard, (Bill) Essex. He was employed by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad as a locomotive fireman and, later as an engineer. In 1957 he became road foreman of engineers at Galesburg. Eventually, a succession of transfers and promotions created moves to various locations in eight Midwestern and western states.

My mother, Betty, married a local man, Raymond Godsil, and settled in Knoxville. Her sister, Marjabelle, also remained in Knoxville where she married, raised her family, and taught elementary school for over three decades. Logan worked for the Sinclair Oil Company and was transferred to Texas. Marvin returned to London Mills where he farmed.

My parents raised their large family in Knoxville. Our life was busy and simple as we were growing to adulthood. In a family of so many youngsters, there was always something to do. We older three helped with the younger ones and shared our ''experiences'' with them. Sometimes we taught a younger brother or sister how to tie a shoe or how to print letters of the alphabet. We certainly never lacked for companionship in those days.

We quickly learned that a trip into Galesburg to buy shoes or household items was not one to be done on a daily basis. It required planning and organization to navigate with all or part of the children.

Sometimes on Saturday night in the late forties Dad would drive to the '' Steak and Shake'' on Fulton and Main Street for a sack of steak burgers and shakes for the family. On the way home he would buy a magazine for Mom, one for himself and comics for each of us. We enjoyed the meal, the reading, and then listened to radio programs until bedtime. Mom always enjoyed I''The Shadow'' and Dad liked ''Amos and Andy,'' ''Jack Benny'' and the news. We children listened to all the western programs such as ''Gene Autry,'' ''Roy Rogers,'' and ''Tom Mix.''

One of my big disappointments happened when I was a very young child. Before breakfast one morning Dad and my oldest brother were getting ready to go to the Galesburg train station to see someone named Truman. I begged to go, but Dad said only my brother was old enough to understand who the man was. He said that it was also too early and chilly for me. My mother firmly agreed. Now I know that I only wanted to be a tag-a-long because I was afraid I was missing something and did not truly understand why they were going. When I reflect back though I am still upset that I did not get to see the future president of the United States right in our neighboring town. What an experience for this youngster even if she did not fully understand at the time, she would in later years.

Some nights circa 1950 my mom and dad would load all of us in the car and we would go to the Galesburg Drive-in Theater. What a special treat! I loved the big screen, the refreshment stand, and the togetherness of the family. When one of us got tired, he just went to sleep while the rest of us enjoyed the movie.

My first camp experience was a Brownie Day Camp held at Lake Storey with scouts from a large area attending. I remember with fondness the beauty of the woods and the elaborate flag raising ceremony. I also recall one of the Brownies in our group was scared of spiders; therefore I spent a great deal of time and energy checking the area to make certain that none of those creatures were within her sight.

My brothers and cousins were members of the Boy Scouts and were able to attend Camp Shaubena near Lake Bracken. They stayed for one whole week. They spent a lot of the time learning about water safety, boating, and crafts besides exploring and learning about the outdoors.

Some of my very favorite summer memories are those of Lake Bracken. Sunday night movies held outdoors in the park were very special. In the afternoon families put blankets on the wooden benches to save a place to sit later or face the consequences and sit on the ground during the movie if the benches were all taken. We always managed to join cousins and friends for picnics, swimming, boating or walking across the swinging bridge during the summers spent at Bracken. The parking lot was at the top of the hill and the clubhouse at the bottom. No problem for youngsters who loved to run and chase, but some of the grown-ups took ever so long to make the journey when we wanted to hurry.

I often think about the tap dance lessons I took from Wayne Cunningham in his basement studio on Grand Avenue. My paternal aunt usually drove me and my cousin for our lessons. After the lessons we would stop at the Dairy Queen at the corner of Grand and Farnham Streets to purchase a five cent small cone or a ten cent large cone to eat on the trip back to Knoxville. At the end of a year's lessons, we participated in a recital to share with our family and friends what we had learned. We wore fancy costumes and actual make up for the big performance. There were very bright lights and lots of people.

Buses traveled from Galesburg to Knoxville and back again to Galesburg to transport workers and shoppers on a daily basis. People in our town were eager to shop the big downtown stores in the ''Burg''. Many times students rode into Galesburg to visit the Public Library or to take swimming lessons at Steele Gym.

One memorable night in high school was when my older brothers' basketball team played Galesburg in the 1957 Regional Tournament game in Steele Gym. Knoxville did not win the game, but the gym was packed and excitement was in the air for out little town of 3,000.

I remember with fondness the visits to the Huddle and Park Drive restaurants after a movie at the Orpheum. We would often drive from Henderson Street to the Steak and Shake on Fulton and back again and again as did most of our friends.

Eventually, I attended and graduated from Carl Sandburg Junior College and Knox College in Galesburg and taught elementary school in Galesburg for over twenty years. Although I have been a lifetime citizen of Knoxville, married a Knoxville native and raised our son in Knoxville, Galesburg has been ever present and important in many facets of my life.

MEMORIES FROM SO LONG AGO by Sue Surface, Galesburg

On warm sunny summer days, we used to spend almost all day doing laundry. Back in the 1940's and 50's, we usually did laundry one day a week and then did the ironing the next day. Dad would fire up the water heater early in the morning and then he would get the clothesline outside and run it to all possible places to hook up. Two hooks on the garage, to a tree, then to a hook on the house and back to a tree until the line was all used up. It was fun to figure all the different possibilities. He would pull each section real taunt, then he would go to the garage and get the clothes props out. These helped if the line sagged from the heavy laundry. Back then, in good weather, the ringer washer was kept on the back porch, covered up with an old blanket when not in use. He would get the machine out and fill it with boiling hot water. Mom would be sorting the clothes and gather up the sheets and towels. They wanted to have the first load ready to hang at daybreak. What's a ringer washer?

As this is a railroad town, the challenges came. The engines were run with coal. If you lived within six blocks of the tracks, you would surely get sprayed with cinders. We always hoped that the sheets would be dry and taken down before we could hear an engine come puffin' out of the yard. If those cinders hit the sheets, they would leave little black specks all over them. I sure miss the sound of those old puffer bellies. It's a sweet sound to hear on Railroad Days. My mamma sure doesn't miss them.

Before the days of spray starch, Mamma made starch on the stove. She would boil water and add the starch. It would then thicken and boil over. When I say boil over, it wasn't supposed to, but Mamma invariably would leave it a minute and that's all it took. The starch always won and made a mess on her clean stove. This mixture was added to a pan of cold water and then the things you wanted crisp were dipped in this, wrung out and hung on the line.

That evening, we would take everything that needed to be ironed, and sprinkle them with water, roll them up and put them in a plastic-lined bushel basket. The heavy dark things would be on the bottom of the basket, and then on up to the lighter ones. The basket would be covered with a heavy towel to hold in the moisture, and then that sat overnight to be ironed the next day.

We usually had to iron most of the next day. We ironed sheets, pillowcases, handkerchiefs, and even some dishcloths, tablecloths, things we don't even use today. What's a handkerchief? If a few things didn't get done, we had to roll them up and put them in the refrigerator, so they wouldn't sour. You know, one time I found a bundle of baby clothes in the icebox, after us kids graduated from college. What's an icebox?

An icebox helped keep a few perishable items cool. Most groceries were bought daily. I can remember the horse-drawn ice wagon coming down the street, clop, clop, clop. That horse knew every stop. We had a colored card that we put in the front window and the iceman knew how much to leave. The wagon was full of big blocks brought from the ice house on South Street. It was set in hay and covered with a big heavy tarp. The ice man had a leather apron over his shoulder and he would take these big tongs and hook a block and deliver it right into your kitchen into your icebox. Us children would hope chunks of ice would break off and by the wagon so we could have a cool refreshing treat. Pretty soon you could hear the clop, clop. clop and the horse would be moving onto the next stop.

Kallee's Tysk Vann (Carl's German Neighbor) by Delma Damos and John Tornquist, North Henderson

A mother's stories told and retold about the olden days become so familiar that they seem like strong threads in the tapestry of our modem lives. The stories told to my brother and me as children were often prefaced with ''when we lived on Brooks,'' ''over on Berrien'' or ''down on Fourth.'' This part of town became familiar to us as certain houses were pointed out on leisurely Sunday afternoon drives. The stories were about the relationship of our Artz family, one of whom was an Uncle Mike Artz, and their backyard neighbors, the Sandburgs. The stories were always about the people in the neighborhood and life in early Galesburg.

We were delighted to read in print the stories told to us and substantiated in Always the Young Strangers as told by Carl Sandburg. There was ''the proof of the pudding'' on page 286 as Mr. Sandburg wrote: ''I first heard German spoken when I played with Mikey Artz in his front yard on Brooks Street. His mother didn't like the way we ran over her flower garden. What she told him was plenty. It was in German but he heard it and we went to the street to play catch. She reminded me of Grimm's fairy stories and such sentences as, 'Hans' wife became enraged and she threatened to cut his head off.'''

The oft told tales about the early days in Galesburg gave us the impression that the early German and Swedish immigrants were good friends and neighbors even though they emigrated from different countries and spoke different languages.

A framed copy of ''Fog'' and a reproduction of Steichen's picture of Carl graces our wall as our acknowledgment of a family friendship. Happy Birthday, Mr. Sandburg, on a day that holds many pleasant memories. We are proud that our family was a part of your life and time.

Note: This is written by Delma Damos and John Tornquist, the only living relatives of Mikey Artz who grew up on Brooks and played with Carl Sandburg in the streets and playfields of Galesburg.


Having contracted polio in 1946, leaving me a paraplegic, the March of Dimes and Easter Seals paid for my entire rehabilitation. In the hospital for nine (9) months, three of it with private nurses, they sent me to Warm Springs, Georgia. There they taught me now to live with what I had left.

After returning to Galesburg, I, of course, wanted to do anything I could to repay the March of Dimes. I helped with a radio marathon, spoke at the Lions Club, etc. during their drives.

In 1949, I became the mother of twins. Naturally busy, I couldn't help like I would have liked. In 1953, the March of Dimes called to see if I would help once again, not only for the March of Dimes, but to help celebrate Carl Sandburg's 75th birthday. Of course I was happy to help.

The day came and I was all prepared with his latest book, ''Always the Young Strangers,'' for him to autograph. I didn't realize at the time how great it was going to be to meet him.

He came in the Hotel Custer with his entourage and the news media came into the Homestead Room and we greeted each other. He told everyone to wait outside, ''he wanted to talk to this little gal.'' We did. He told me of his wife staying home in North Carolina to take care of their goats, told me all about his farm and how they lived there. We then took some pictures for the March of Dimes and the Galesburg Register-Mail and he left.

A very short visit, but he left me with a great many memories. Ones I shall never forget. One of which, he mentioned Axel (Bullhead) Johnson in his book, which turned out to be my son and daughter's great-grandfather.

Carl Sandburg Memories by Louise Simms, Abingdon

I am a 92 years old wife, mother, and grandmother who well remembers how Carl Sandburg's fame as a published poet grew over the years. Surely his family was very proud of him when his birthplace was declared an historic site and he was known as Galesburg's Native Son.

Several years ago, I toured the birthplace with a group. I was favorably impressed by the ''comfy cozy'' atmosphere of the little cottage. On the bed in the bedroom was a ''tick'' mattress which I assumed was handmade and filled with (goose or other fowl) feathers or loose straw covered by ticking cloth. I remember how a body would sink down into the contents of such a mattress for a good night's sleep.

I could imagine Carl Sandburg sitting in the living room by the heating stove (or in the kitchen by the range (writing poetry and enjoying every minute of it.) For poets write about what they feel about the subject they are writing about. It is like drawing a picture of their feelings on paper in a rhyming manner.

Carl Sandburg was honored when the mall was built and named Sandburg Mall and a street was named Sandburg Drive. Sandburg Theatre and Carl Sandburg Junior College were all named after him.

Before the mall was built and a business district developed on Henderson Street, I remember how the Galesburg business district looked for we Abingdon residents shopped, worked and patronized Galesburg establishments quite frequently.

Starting at the square and going east, the south side of Main Street included Homestead Savings and Loan (later Farmers and Mechanics Bank) and then Home Savings and Loan. At the Cherry Street intersection was Bondi's (dry goods etc.) with ladies' and children's wear upstairs via stairs in rear of store -- no elevator. Our family (the James Parkers of Abingdon) usually went there to buy cotton plaid gingham dresses and coats, etc. for me (Louise) and my sister, Dorothy, for school.

Next was DeWitt's Restaurant, a bookkeeping supply store, then Boone's Alley. Huffman's Beverages' specialty was Orange Crush. Presently, it is now a park and parking area. Maurita Dale Baby and Children's clothing shop, a bakery and Walgreen' s Drugs, with soda fountain, completed the block.

Next was the Prairie and Main Street intersection which was the First National Bank, Fashion Bootery, Kirlin's Candy and Hallmark Store, etc. The Singer Sewing, Bowman's Shoe Store, Doyle's Gift Shop (now Eichhorn's Jewelers) Lawrence Jewelers in the Arcade and West and Colonial Theaters were south on Prairie Street.

Then came the Weinberg Arcade on the corner of Prairie and Simmons with the Roof Garden Dance Hall on top of the Arcade.

East of the Kellogg Street intersection was the Bank of Galesburg, American Beauty Confectionery, where they had a soda fountain and candy kitchen, and a closed display window and glass display cases inside. Both were full of individual chocolate cremes, peanut brittle, hard candies, and boxed chocolates. These were sold by the pound or in boxes filled to order.

East of this was Burgland's Children's Clothing, J.C. Penney, a tobacco store, Stamm's Men's Clothing, and Osco Drug. The Orpheum and Custer Hotel were south on Kellogg.

East of Main and Seminary Street intersection was Doyle Furniture, Gambles, Bell Furs, and the post office. (Note: The post office was previously on the southwest corner of Cherry and Simmons St. across the street from the building on the southwest corner where Brown's Business College -- where I went to night school -- was on second floor. Coney Island was in the block north of this east side.

On the north side of Main Street, beginning at the northwest corner of the square was Kimber and West Mortuary, College City Dairy,and the Broadview Hotel. At the north end of the block across Broad Street, was the Plaza Theatre showing silent back and white movies with a live orchestra in the pit.

A leather repair shop was on the square and going east you would find Holcomb Photo Studio, Hawthorne Drugs (with soda fountain) and a Savings and Loan or a bank.

Main and Cherry Street intersection had Fidelity Federal, S&L, Typewriter Store, O.T. Johnson's Department Store, with luncheonette where they made their own doughnuts and also sold them by the dozen. This store included a mezzanine and three or four floors, elevators, etc.

There was a ladies' ready-to-wear store, then a Kresge five and ten cent store, and the Continental Men's Clothing.

Main and Prairie Street intersection had then a Kresge five and ten cent store, Grant's Dept. Store, Strausberg's Women's Clothing, Frank's Jewelry, and a women's casual clothing store.

Main and Kellogg intersection had Fred Schubach's men's and women's clothing, Kline's Dept. Store, Kline's Men's Wear, and a fabric store.

Main and Seminary intersection had the Black Hardware, New China Cafe, a coffee shop, and Sear's Dept. Store.

There was a trolley between Abingdon and Galesburg on the space just east of what is now Route 41. They made the round trip every hour during the day and evening hours. Small shanties were every mile and provided a shelter for waiting passengers.

Abingdon was ten miles from Galesburg and was sometimes jokingly called a suburb of Galesburg!

Galesburg Life (1935-2002) by June Rose Alden, Galesburg

Born in '35 , I don't remember a single thing about that. I'm told the summer of '36 was a beast. No air-conditioning. Well, I don't remember that either. I was watched daily by my old Irish Grandmother, her story is the first story I remember. She was born in Ireland, Millstreet, Co. Cork, came to America on the Queen Mary with two of her seven children. My mother Margaret (Maggie) was the youngest of the two girls, was six years old at the time of the crossing. My grandfather Dennis Lowney, had come over to Galesburg with other men from Ireland to work at the steel foundry on the southwest part of Galesburg . (The women came to join the men after they found their jobs and homes.) Their first home was on Third Street close to Carl Sandburg's house.

I think to the nearest of my recollection that the steel foundry was at the end of West Third Street. I never met him, he contracted pneumonia the second time in a year and died at the age of forty five. The steel mill was cold and damp. They were poor, Catholic immigrants. Before he died he had fathered five more children. So my grandmother was left to raise seven children, the youngest was a set of twin boys, age two when he died. She never took a penny of public aide and was quite proud of that. Her life revolved around her church (St. Patrick's), her children, and her home. She was very proud and very poor. She raised chickens, sold them and eggs, she had a cow, sold milk and butter.

The older children went to St. Joseph's Academy until the eighth grade. Then they all helped to bring in I suppose a meager pittance to help Grandma. The younger boys (the twins) graduated from Corpus Christi High. They were very handsome as young men and modeled clothes for the Continental and a store that, if I can remember correctly, was called Mears. I think it was either the Grossman building or around there.

My Aunt Mary was the oldest, and she worked at the Lucky Boy bakery for Bob Conover. My Aunt Mary later worked at the telephone office as a long distance operator and an information operator. (That's when our number was 2923 b1ue.) Fun Times. Multi-party lines, you could listen to other people's conversations, if you were so inclined to do so.

Grandma's other boys sold news papers for the Republican Register Evening Mail and at the news stand at the C.B.&Q. railroad station.

The Second World War is all that I can recall, though my Aunt Mary had a boy friend in the First World War. The Second World War was quite a time around Grandma's house. She had two boys in the invasion of Normandy Beach, Bernard Lowney and Richard Lowney. And every night Gabriel Heator came on the radio at 8pm to give the news from the war front . We all sat in front of the radio, and no one was allowed to talk until the program was over.

Lots of letters were written to Europe and lots of goodie boxes were sent. They had fudge, cookies, candy, gum, homemade sweaters and gloves and scarfs, all made in khaki colored wool yam. Cigarettes. The whole family fixed the boxes. It seemed they were sent at least once a week. Well, there was always one being packed.

They told that grandma ironed 24 starched white shirts a week for her boys. My mother went to work at the mental hospital at Bartonville during the great depression. A local politician in Galesburg got a number of the young people in Galesburg State of Illinois jobs. My mother kept hers for forty years and retired with a nice state pension.

In or about 1949 that same politician, Ed Kennedy, called my mother and asked if she would be interested in opening a mental hospital on the old University of Illinois grounds. The University had been closed at that time. Before the University of Illinois these grounds were used to house German prisoners of war. There was a cyclone fence around the property and soldiers on horseback with guns watched the prisoners. I used to ride my bike out to see this. It didn't seem like they were there too long. I always wondered what they had done, and now I wonder why they were over here?

Well anyway, my mother opened the doors of Galesburg Research Hospital, hired the help to clean and set it up. Worked there as a supervisor for all the years that it was open. I have been told that she was the one person that went with the priest or minister to bury those that had no families.

My grandma died when I was twelve and I took over cooking for my mother and aunts. I attended Corpus Christi High and graduated from there in the class of 1953. Went to Peoria St. Francis to take my nurse's training. Came back to Galesburg, worked in Surgery at old St. Mary's with the old time surgeons Crowell and Reed and The Galesburg Clinic, Dr. Howell, Dr. Cowan, Dr. Ross and so many more that are mostly gone now.

I married a fine, young, handsome man from Avon, He was a farmer. I went there to live for 38 years. We had three fine daughters. I worked there in a small country hospital that is now gone ( Saunders Hospital). When I started at Saunders there was still an old country doctor working there by the name of Dr. Davis. He and his wife were friends of Carl Sandburg's. I think this takes me to around 1967 or after. There are lots more things that I can remember, but they would fill a book, so I will quit for now.

A Remembrance of Carl Sandburg by Zona Louis Beger Ruyle, Bloomington

It was in 1971. Our son, J. William Ruyle, was a professor at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, directing a production of The World of Carl Sandburg. We had been invited to spend Thanksgiving with his family. My mother, Edna Beger, joined us.

Mama always liked to keep abreast of what her grandchildren were doing, so she asked Bill just what was going on at the time. He said he was in the midst of rehearsals for The World of Cad Sandburg. He had been trying to impress his students that Carl Sandburg's life just preceded the period of their lives. Bill had given them an assignment to talk to their grandparents to see if they had any tie to Carl Sandburg. The student actors might be surprised to discover that members of their family had met Mr. Sandburg or had been influenced by his works.

When Bill finished with his explanation of the actors' task, my mother was smiling and had a twinkle in her eye. She asked him if he was going to ask his grandmother about Carl Sandburg. You could just see that he hadn't been considering doing that. However he soon recovered and asked her if she'd known anything about Carl Sandburg. Yes, she told him.

We lived in Maquon, Illinois, a small town not far from Galesburg, the Sandburg's home. My father, Melvin Beger, was the pastor of the Maquon Methodist Church. In their congregation were Mr. and Mrs. Frank Briggs. The Briggs and Sandburgs had been close friends for a number of years. Mrs. Briggs said that they had invited the Sandburgs for dinner the following Saturday night. They would like to have my folks join them for dinner and the evening.

My father, Melvin, was especially excited. He had been very much aware of Carl Sandburg's early work and his break from the style of poetry of the past as well as the topics Sandburg chose. My father felt Mr. Sandburg could be on his way to fame. The works of Carl Sandburg were very controversial at the time.

My mother was a bit apprehensive about meeting these people. But as soon as they gathered about the dining room table at the Briggs,' Mama realized they were just ''home folks,'' like the rest of them. World War I was just over and after dinner the men held a lively discussion on where our world was going in the near future. Mama said it was an evening she and my father recalled with excitement and with the question, ''How could that have happened to us?''

The Briggs had children of their own, Faith and Paul. I was included in the invitation. I was four years old. I sat in a high chair at the table.

Memoir Writing Contest by Charles H. Williamson, Galesburg

I moved to Galesburg in 1924. I was seven years old. Galesburg had a major hailstorm and many roofs and windows were destroyed. There was a need for carpenters. We were living in a small town in Iowa. My dad had two sisters living in Galesburg. They called him to come to work.

I think this is the only way this part pertains to Carl Sandburg. The entrance to the old wooden footbridge was just a little west of the Sandburg Cottage. This bridge crossed over the C.B.&Q. Railroad yards. The Cottage was not repaired and made into a tourist attraction until much later.

I attended the old Douglas School. This is the one that was replaced later and is the Rescue Mission. We always had a rivalry in our athletics and such with Weston School. This was an old building that was located in the present location. The schools ran through the seventh grade and then moved up to Central. I think, I was at Central one year. They opened Lombard and Churchill and Central Junior High Schools. Central was attached to the old high school where I graduated in 1934.

Some of these are not in chronological order. I don't remember dates very well. The high school and Central burned down and were later torn down.

One of our streetcar tracks ran down the center of Broad Street on the east side of the high school and in front of Knox College's old Beecher Chapel. I attended a few musical productions put on by Knox students at the chapel.

A small bookstore called ''Old King Cole,'' was where we bought schools books. It was located between the library and Beecher Chapel.

Our beautiful library burned in the 1950's. The library had a lot of marble and other beautiful materials. I had a barbershop across the street from the library. I thought my building was going to burn too.

The firemen had a hard time because of the lack of water pressure. Our water line to the Mississippi River had not been completed.

When I was young, the present sanitary ditch was an open sewer and didn't smell good. I can't remember when the new sewage disposal plant was built and the creek bricked up. The only good thing about the open sewer was a good place to dig fish worms.

There used to be a small stockyard at Pine Street and the main line railroad to Peoria. On the side was a track going south with one a day each way. The stockyard was our playground. We used to play tag walking the top of the board fence and swinging on the gates. Getting splinters if we slipped. We also had a horseshoe court. We played this when we got tired of playing tag.

The streetcars ran out Main Street to East Galesburg. Sometimes my uncle and I would walk up to Main Street and catch a car out to Highland Park to go fishing. Highland Park is now known as Gale Lake.

When the circus came to town, they unloaded at the stockyards, which was behind my house. I didn't have to go to school on ''circus day.'' I would watch them unload and go out to the grounds and watch them set up the tents to the sideshows. At that time, circuses were permitted to have a parade with all the horses, elephants, and caged animals on wheels and a calliope.

The location of H.T. Custer Park used to be a market garden. When I was twelve or thirteen, I used to work there after school and Saturdays, for ten hours a day for eight cents and hour. My first factory job paid twenty cents an hour. I worked nine hours a day.

I got started on this and I don't know where to stop.

A Bad Day -- Over Twenty Years Ago by Daryl E. Craig, Galesburg

I recall a day, so long ago, as though it was right now,

Better wake up the rest -- put on a brave show.

Woke before dawn -- rest of family sound asleep,

Put on the coffee -- feel almost ready to weep.

My wife, and oldest son, both came stumbling down --

Each of us is hurried-- us a long drive to the big town.

All of us take coffee, want just cold cereal and juice --

Not much talk at the table, no mention of the news.

We all three get ready -- youngest boy's in school, so not here,

Much sibling rivalry -- if present, would be jeer or cheer?

Even though he won't admit it out loud,

Of his brother in the Army, think he's sort of proud.

Looking sharp in his uniform, duffle bag in the car is stowed,

We leave, and lock up the house -- better hit the road.

Five hour drive ahead of us -- to get to O'Hare Airport --

Have to make his flight on time -- day seems so damned short.

I drive -- my son in the right seat -- his mother in the back--

We've all been on this road before -- none even take a nap.

Busy with our own thoughts -- fears unwilling to express,

Limited to ''be careful,'' ''tell us when you get there'' -- ''send your new address.''

Standing at the flight gate -- remaining minutes being spent,

He just returned from Okinawa, now to Viet Nam he's being sent.

Last minute hugs and kisses -- before he's loaded on the plane --

God -- or somebody up there -- please send him home, safe, again!

Growing up in Galesburg in a Family of Eleven Children by Clarcey McGahey White, Galesburg

Our parents, John and Pauline McGahey, we all lived at 195 Arnold St. All of us were born in old St. Mary's Hospital and delivered by Dr. Vaughn McClanahan. Our house had nine rooms and only one bath.

We lived three doors from Highlander's Ice Cream Stand, a very busy place in the summer time. People would come from all over just to get one of their ice cream cones.

Nine of us attended Old Farnham Grade School. The two oldest went to old Cooke School. All of us went to Lombard Jr. High School and old Galesburg High School. I don't ever remember coming home from school and Mother not being at home.

Daddy delivered ice for about thirty years, when ice was a necessary item. I remember Mother would take us younger ones to pick up Daddy at the ice house and Daddy would let us kids go in and slide on the ice. Daddy worked many hours in the summer time.

Daddy went to work at Mayo General Hospital when it was being built. He worked in the heating plant. Cinders from there were used for the snow and ice covered streets. Daddy worked for the University of Illinois and Galesburg Research Hospital and retired from there.

Our folks worked very hard, and taught us to respect other people's property and they taught us manners. We didn't have as much in material things, but we had what we needed. I remember if a neighbor complained about something we did, our parents made us apologize, or whatever had to be taken care of, it was done at that time.

We always had to walk to Lombard and if we were lucky enough to have a nickel, we could take the bus to GHS, as there weren't many that had cars. I remember Mother went to Quints gas station on East Main St. and would get five gallons of gas for a dollar in our Model A Ford.

In the summer, there was a Gifford Players show that came to town. They would pitch a tent on the corner of Whitesboro and Mulberry St. Sometimes a church revival would pitch a tent on the corner of B. Main and Division St.

When a circus came to town it would go down Main St., parading the animals and pitching their tents way out on East Main St. That was the most we ever saw of the circus as money was not plentiful.

Milk was delivered by horse and buggy from Golden Cream, Meadow Gold and Park Drive Dairy. We always bought our milk at Willie and Sawannes as it was cheaper from the store. The store was on the corner of Main and Arnold St.

I had a sister who worked for Lucky Boy Bakery and Hipple Potato Chip Factory. HippIes would always send the crippled potato chips home to us. The potato chip factory was on West Simmons St.

One of my brothers delivered papers for the Galesburg Register-Mail and was paid a silver dollar per week. When he was paid two dollars, it was a two dollar bill. One brother sold Radio Guides for a nickel, it was like our Guide today.

I haven't mentioned Carl Sandburg. When I was in school at Farnham, World War Two started and U.S. saving stamps were sold. I did have to study about him and memorized some of his poems.

Galesburg has been good to all of us kids as ten of us still live in Galesburg. One sister lives in Connecticut, as her husband was a thirty year Navy retiree and they settled there.

These are memories of my brothers and sisters who live here.

I forgot to mention, we also remember when President Truman visited Galesburg when he came by train when he was running for president.

Reminiscing about Carl by Katherine Holmes, Oneida

I am eight--four (84) years old and the memories that I have of Carl Sandburg are second-hand or passed on to me by my relatives.

We lived in Galesburg with my grandparents at 191 Lake Street from 1927 to 1930. My grandmother enjoyed telling us that she had visited with Carl's mother in the grocery store occasionally. Since Grandma Gustafson spoke Swedish most of the time, she enjoyed having a conversation with a ''kindred soul.''

We attended First Lutheran Church when we were in Galesburg. I can remember reading in one of Mr. Sandburg's books that he attended that church too. He said there was a large picture way up in the front of the church of a very stern-looking God who seemed to be looking right at him.

My father grew up in First Lutheran also and said he remembered being much in awe of God as well. A new church was built in the twenties and everyone was relieved when the new picture above the altar showed a very compassionate and loving Lord and Savior.

I had an uncle named Carl Carlson who was born and raised near Wataga. He and his wife moved to St. Louis where he worked in a bank for many years. It was almost unbelievable how much he resembled Carl Sandburg. Everyone thought so. The only difference was that my aunt insisted that his hair did not have the ''tousled look'' so he wore it neatly combed with a part on the side.

Every summer my uncle and aunt and cousin would come back to Galesburg and Wataga to visit relatives. They quite often visited the Carl Sandburg Birthplace. One particular time there were men re-roofing the house. As they were approaching the front steps, they could hear one of the men yelling at the others, ''Get back to work, right now! Here comes the BIG BOSS !'' Uncle Carl always got a big kick out of the fact that this presence caused so much attention -- even though it probably was the men's legitimate rest period.

Each time I visit the Carl Sandburg Historic Site, I am pleased with the improvements so that I can still cherish these memories of Carl and Uncle Carl.

As I have grown older, I have learned a greater appreciation of the heritage we've received from our local poet, Carl Sandburg.

I have enjoyed reminiscing and I hope that you have found it interesting too.

Memoir Writing Contest by Mr. Frank Mills, Sr., Galesburg

In the early years, around 1914, all of our fire equipment was pulled by horses. The department had a long wagon ladder which was pulled by three horses. The fire chief had a red buggy with the name ''Fire Chief''

The harnesses for the horses hung from the ceiling. When an alarm sounded, the doors to the stable flew open, and the horses ran out of their stalls and got into their places. The harnesses dropped down on the horses and the firemen snapped their collars shut and fastened the reins to the bit of the bridles.

The ladder wagon was long and had to have a fireman turn the back axle. There was a long rod that ran from the top down to the rear axle. At the top, was a big wheel to steer it. The fireman was called a ''teller.'' He pulled the wheel to the right to go left and to the left to go right.

Years ago when somebody asked you where you worked, the answer was, ''I work on the Q.''

The C.B.&Q Railroad had large stockyards south of Liberty Street and west almost to Henderson St. along Louisville Road. They angled off towards the CB&Q tracks where the stock was unloaded. When sheep were unloaded, they had a Judas Goat who would lead them into the pens. The stockyards burned around 1913 or 1914. All of the barns and pens were destroyed. They burned for three days. The house across the street, which was owned by Mike English, also burned to the ground. When he rebuilt it, he put tin shingles on it. Everybody had cedar shingles in those days so the fire department soaked the roofs of the other houses so the sparks from the stockyard fire wouldn't set more fires.

There was a hotel, called the Drovers Hotel, which stood on a knoll near the stockyards. It was supposed to be the highest point in Knox County. The hotel was not burned during the stockyard fire.

I will change the subject now and tell about the Sandburgs. Carl's brother, Martin, became the manager of the Rath Packing Co. of Waterloo, IA. I went to high school with Martin Jr. He was born with one short leg and had to have a built up shoe with about a five inch sole. In the forties, he became manager of Rath after his dad.

Galesburg had the Lescher Drug Store on Main St. on the north side between the square and Cherry St. The family lived on West Tompkins St. The Lescher ladies had a Detroit electric car. I used to see them driving around in it. It did not have a steering wheel, but a rod went down through to the floor to the front axle. At the top of the rod, was an ''L'' and that was what you steered with.

In the early days, before we had crossing gates at the railroad crossings, they had ''crossing watchmen.'' Carl Sandburg had a brother that did that. In the daytime, they held a stop sign up and at night, they used a red lantern. For shelter, they had what they called a ''shanty.'' In the winter, they had a little coal stove.

L.C. Ferris had a moving business and he hauled all the stone for the Congregational Church, from the Santa Fe freight-house, to the site of the church. When the church was built, it cost $75,000.00.

I think I had better stop. I am 93 years old and still sleeping in the same bedroom that I was born in, September 27, 1908.

Eila V. Hiler, 10/18/1894 - 4/25/1978 by Jane Olmstead, Galesburg

Our family moved to Galesburg in the fall of 1966, after building a new home here. Our girls were in school and my husband had a new and challenging position. After our home was finished, I was almost a lost soul, as I had been quite active in the community from which we came to Galesburg.

There was another person in Galesburg, whose life had been turned around by a series of events. Eila Hiler was my father's first cousin. My earliest memories of her from my childhood, were of her in a wheelchair or on crutches as a young woman. She had been injured in an accident at a school where she was a teacher. She began working in a library, took many classes in Library Science. She was the reference librarian at the Galesburg Public Library when the magnificent building was destroyed by fire on May 9, 1958. She retired from the library staff a short time after the fire to care for her aging mother. These precipitated big changes in her life. Her mother died after we moved here and became reacquainted with her.

We became very good friends, as well as relatives. We traveled the county and other places together, taking photos, visiting unusual places, discussing history of the area. We gave time and fellowship to one another for ten or twelve years. We teased her about ''cramming for her finals'' as she read her Bible those last few years.

She taught me so much about my own family history. I have her voice on a tape, on which she tells of her Grandfather, (my Great-Grandfather) leaving Knox County in 1859 for the gold fields in the west; first Pike's Peak, and then on to California. He was gone about three years, and sold supplies and horses to the miners. When he had enough gold to satisfy himself, he left California on a Vanderbilt Packet, hiked across the Isthmus of Panama, and took another ship to New York. He came back to his wife and son in Knox County, and bought some land near his parents. He and his wife, produced eleven children, all of whom lived through those epidemic years of the late 1800's. The child of theirs who died at the youngest age was 61, and my grandfather was 96. Most of those children were in their 80's and 90's when they died. What a phenomenon for that period of time.

Eila also taught me a great deal regarding early Galesburg, the early settlers, and those who developed it into a thriving community; the Colton store, George Washington Gale, Log City, and many other prominent residents. As a student, she wasn't very interested in history, but she really unfolded the local history to me, including many of the old homes which still remain standing in Galesburg.

During her tenure at the library, Eila had done a lot of research for Carl Sandburg for his books, but she and others were not acknowledged in his writings. She did go with me to the Harkness acreage north and west of Galesburg to show me the old barn which had belonged to his cousin, I believe. Carl's quote regarding the barn, ''The poles held it up on one side and the wind did on the other.''

She traveled on some longer trips with us and one was a three week trip to the northeast. Eila was a good scout, a teacher, and a very dear friend and relative. We had many happy times together as we worked through our transitions together. She was an especially great Galesburg ite.

Our family was so fortunate to finally be able to know her so well. She was also a huge asset to the community of Galesburg!

Memoir by Inez Gossett, Galesburg

Now that I am older I find myself thinking more and more of the things that I find pleasant to remember.

Some of my most pleasant memories are of Main Street, and the way she once was. Malls? Functional, compact, busy? Yes, all of these things, but there is no way a mall can take the place of Main Street the way she once was.

Saturday was the day the farm people came to town, the day the town people came up town or down town, depending on the direction they lived. To those north of Main Street it was down town. To those south of Main Street it was referred to as up town.

Main Street was a place to meet friends, to shop, to exchange gossip. Main Street was place of smiles, laughter, a friendly place.

How well I remember O.T. Johnson's, the arcade in the front, the glass inserts in the sidewalk. It was easy for people, anyone to go to the third floor, or to the basement to use the bathrooms. Many people went to O.T.'s to eat in the lunchroom. It was a place to buy needles, thread, all types of sewing material. They had pans, dishes, rugs, jewelry, shoes, clothing, furniture, what a beautiful store, filled from top to bottom with all the things people of Galesburg needed, a store equal to best of those in Chicago.

How well I remember the bandstand in the middle of Central Park and the men in their white uniform with the gold braid. Oh, what music they played! It was enough to make you tap your toes, or to march in time to the music.

The dime stores, were a treasure trove to a little child, even though there was never more than a nickel to spend. Little candies in little glass locomotives, dogs, little houses and many other trinkets. Now those trinkets of glass are collector's items and worth much more than the original price.

Saturday meant a trip to the Coney Island on South Cherry Street for a 5-cent hot dog, a dish of macaroni and cheese or baked beans. Total price about fifteen cents, wonder of wonders was the large Red & Gold trimmed popcorn wagon that set against the south wall of Coney Island.

Midway of the first block of North Cherry Street was a frill sized dappled gray horse. It was advertising the harness shop. Every morning the owner put a harness on the horse just like a real horse. A block down from there was the back entry to the Horse and Mule barn. One day Grandpa took me there so I could see all the horses.

There were two Indians (wooden) on Main Street in front of the tobacco shops. They were so scary looking to a little girl with their paint, feathers and tomahawks. To me they were too real to enjoy.

Basleys' meat market was like a palace to me, and I was fascinated by the design of black and white tiles in the floor. I always wanted 10-cents worth of peanut butter. It was in a long white pan in the meat case. No peanut butter has ever been as delicious as that was.

''Circus day!'' Many people went down to the five points to watch the circus train unload. The elephants and horses were hitched to the circus wagons to haul them to the Seacord pasture. Then the Big Top and other tents went up. What excitement! That morning at ten o'clock was the gala event of Main Street the big parade. Wagons with lions and tigers, the massive elephants, the trapeze artists in costume, clowns galore! What a wonderful sound was the steam calliope with its music. The children of today are cheated of some beautiful memories of the circus and the parades of yesteryear. Kids galore went to the circus grounds to help water the animals and do other odd jobs. The pay wasn't much but a free pass to the circus meant a lot. Many families did not have money for the circus tickets the kids had to work for them.

In those days, there was a number of grocery stores on Main Street as well as many neighborhood groceries. Most people ran a grocery bill, which they paid once a week or a month. When the bill was paid there was always a bag of candy for the kids. Several restaurants were on Main Street, real restaurants, no fast food stores.

Galesburg was a wonderful town with a lot more memories. Maybe I will live long enough to see many improvements.

Dog Gone Wild by Dave Schonfelder, Monmouth

I walked among the shadows of the trees on a full moonlit night,

And heard the crying coyote break this silence with delight.

A cold shiver runs up my spine,

And I know there is no time.

My first instinct is to run for my life,

Then I checked my gear and pulled a knife.

The cries of an empty-stomach, hungered animal abound,

And seem to come from all around.

It's now dark as the clouds have covered the rays of moon light,

And the deep darkness of doubt draws me into fright.

Loneliness and fear return from the depths of my soul,

I'm surrounded and out-numbered with no where to go.

Through the fading of an artificial light I see,

Their demon-like eyes staring through me.

My death is before me and through it all I hear,

The vicious growl of a dog gone wild that has no fear.

He's known man, who has betrayed him and left him alone,

Along some lonesome road without food, water, or even a bone.

He turned to the woods for a life of his own,

And met up with the coyotes with whom he now roams.

He leads a pack that knows the ways of man,

And he's now master of his life and of this wild land.

No longer is he imprisoned by a cage or held insane by a chain,

He's willing to die for this freedom he's gained.

His greatest fear is of gnawing hunger that he fights each day,

The freedom from cages and chains is worth this price to pay.

This dog gone wild is before me with his pack,

And from my left jumps a deer with a rack.

Running for his life and to no avail,

The pack overtook him while on his trail.

He fought to his cruel death on that wooded hill,

His energy is now theirs as they fed from the kill.

I sheathed my knife and returned to the shelter of my home,

And avoid the land where the dog gone wild now roams.

Brother Bill by Dave Schonfelder, Monmouth

Brother Bill was a rugged sort of man,

ashe made his living with the union clan.

With fists of steel and iron like hands,

he would settle his differences with any man.

But Bill has a heart of gold,

while he crafts wood for the young and old.

When times were lean and food was rare,

Bill's aim was true as he shot a mare.

He mistook a horse for a deer,

and Mr. Winter he now feared.

His mother took Bill to Charlie Bader's store,

while they were there Mr. Winter swore.

What he would do if he caught the guy,

that shot his mare between the eyes.

Now, Bill 'fessed up to this act,

so we know these things are fact.

This is how the story was told,

brother Bill has a heart of gold.

Galesburg, Illinois, 1930's as I Remember by Joanne Wilson, Williamsfield

One of the earlier memories I have of Galesburg is when I was about five. My mother and I went into a cafe on the square and ate a hot dog. We lived on a farm, so this was a great treat because we butchered our own beef and pork.

A few years later my mother and I had hamburgers at ''Irv' s'' next to Sears on East Main Street. The aroma always brought a crowd into his small cafe.

We did not travel to Galesburg too often as it was Depression time. Dad would take a five gallon can of cream to the creamery on South Chambers Street. When I was eight in 1936, Dad surprised me by giving me a nickel to spend. Was I ever happy! I had my own money to spend.

I spent a long time in Woolworth's trying to decide what I would buy. I purchased a small ceramic dog for two cents and one cent of candy. I brought home two pennies. Oh, by the way, I still have that little ceramic dog. Over the years growing up, I added to the original dog.

I believe I was about ten when Montgomery Ward gave to children the booklet of ''Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.'' I was lucky to get one of the originals.

Mom and I would go into O.T. Johnson's to visit her sister-in-law's sister who was a clerk in the basement.

O.T.'s had glass enclosed pillars before customers would get to the main door. One Christmas when I still believed in Santa Claus, Mom and I went to see the glass enclosures decorated for Christmas. I believed it was sooo beautiful!

I remember overhearing my parents talking about a circus coming to Galesburg. Dad told Mom that I needed the experience of seeing a circus. Looking back now I believe Dad used me as an excuse to see the circus. We watched the big tent being put up and then later found seats to have a ''thrill of a lifetime.'' I had never seen such different animals before. It was so exciting! The circus set up east of town in a field.

One the Fourth of July, our family, which included my two sisters and families and brother and family, met several of Dad's first cousins and families at Lake Storey. We had a big picnic dinner. We children had much fun playing. Several had brought firecrackers and had fun shooting them off. If there were fireworks at night, I don't know because we all were farmers and had to get home to do the chores.

One of the down-sides of shopping in downtown Galesburg was the soot from the factories in the southwest part of town. If the wind was just right, we would have black spots on our faces and in our clothes. Mom always made me wash and change my clothes when we arrived home.

This little detail did not bother me because I had been to the big city of Galesburg. That was always an adventure.

A Few Different Points of View about the Problems with Firearms and Student Behavior, June 14, 1999 by Jay E. Thomas, Sgt. Ret. GPD, Galesburg

Re:Galesburg Senior High School

Being a Galesburg retired police sergeant, I have in the past worked at many of the school sporting events at the Galesburg Senior High School. I did every thing from crowd control inside the gym to parking cars outside. I tried to keep open certain restricted parking areas such as the Police and Fire Lanes, the yellow curb areas, certain driveways, and so on.

I have found that the majority of the students, fans, and adult drivers were considerate and careful. On an occasion a teen with a heavy foot would open up. It might surprise you that most of our trouble came from what you might call the Baby Boomer class of drivers. They seemed to always be in a hurry, and they never seemed to grow up behind the wheel of a car. A lot of these drivers thought that all of those open ''No Parking'' areas were kept open just for them to use as they arrived about ten minutes before tame time.

Over the years I have had the opportunity to visit with students and parents alike as they went to and from the games. You would be surprised about the many different things that people would talk about with a police officer. Some of' the problem were of a personal nature and some were about their children or the current teams that were playing in the gym that evening.

Of course, after the first school shooting hit the headlines and the TV stations, all were very concerned about G.H.S. Could it happen here? How safe were their children here in school? They asked this over and over again. I, nor any other police officer could answer that. We all hoped that it would not happen here or any other high school anywhere in the nation. No, this did not happen. Every so often a school shooting or a bomb threat pops up somewhere, copy cat or otherwise.

None of us have the answer. Why would young men suddenly go off of the deep end and want to kill another person; student, teacher, or whoever happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? When they came in with their guns and bombs, vengeance and hate were their goals.

There has to be so many things that must go through the minds of any of these young men that they would even think of such a horrible thing to begin with. What set these teens off in the first place; revenge, anger, jealousy, or hate toward their fellow students, teachers, or friends? Then, after their senseless acts of terror and cold blooded murder, they turned their weapons on themselves and took their own lives as a climax for the evening. Why? Why?

We have talked about these shootings in our Sunday School Class. Most of us have had our own children here at G.H.S. Now, many have their grandchildren there. Why did this shooting happen in the first place? How can this hate build up to this point of violence in these young minds? There are so many excellent activities going on in our schools today for the students to be involved in regardless of their race or backgrounds.

Have we as parents, grandparents, or any person who has had the problem of trying to raise a child or teenager been asleep or just keeping our fingers crossed that the child will finish high school and college with out something like this happening? Have we failed our children? If so, what can we do to get back on track?

I know, most of us felt or thought the same thing. When the HIgh Courts, along with the politicians saw fit to take God, Christ, the Bible, and prayer out of today's schools; evil, wickedness and hate wasted no time in moving right into these young minds. Now you see the ever increasing disastrous results of the Godless, Wicked society that we have today. Destroy anything and everything just like on TV or the Webb. Kill! Kill! Many of the games of today are no more than instructions on how to destroy something decent like a school building. Kill all of those that stand in the way!

I wonder if any of those students involved in those Hate Crimes:(many of these horrible acts are nothing more than Hate Crimes) knew or thought they knew the reason why killing anyone who was in their path would solve their problems for them. I wonder what they think now in everlasting Hell and damnation. Did these acts really solve their problems? I do know however, that they will have a very, very long time in Hell to think about.it.

I know you or anyone else can come up with so many different answers as to why this happened. Lest you forget, the day we were born God put in each and every one of us a little thing called a conscious. A conscience is that little something there inside our minds that sort of rings a bell when what we are doing or what we are about to do is wrong. How many of us adults and teenagers always listen to this gift that God gave each one of us? The teenager of today has got to QUIT BLAMING everyone else. It's always someone else's fault. The truth of the matter is that the fault has to start with the teenagers themselves. There is no one else in that mind of theirs to move them in the wicked, self destructive way that they are going. Stand up and speak out for what is right at home, in the school, and at work. Let your voice be heard. That one student about to fall by the wayside may hear your voice. This may be the answer to his cry for help. Your voice may be the answer to the gun or the bomb. Remember that God acts and answers in many ways that we as humans may never figure out. You, as a student at any High School, stop and think, ''who can I help today?'' Then go out of your way to do it.

The teenager of today has so many more opportunities to receive a much better education than we older folks had in our days at school. The golden opportunities are there in our public school system. All school boards put education as a top priority in what they try to do each year for their own school systems. All students, regardless of where they may live, must try to take advantage of this free education that is offered to them. Just by being there each school day, they must do their best to learn what is being taught instead of finding fault with every thing there or trying to figure out some way to blow up the school and shoot someone in the process. What is it? Is there too much violence on TV or the Web? Are there too many cars in the school parking lot, or is it the countless number of video (blow up the place) movies and games? Is it liquor, sex, and or the easy access to drugs. Kids, you want to have the freedom of being an adult before your time. Part of this freedom is being able to say no to these temptations. Any damn fool can wind up either in jail or dead. If you don't start saying no to the many wrong temptations offered to you as a teenager, you are dead. All of us older folks want each and every one of you to reach the ripe old age of 100.

One thing that I do know is that most of the people in our Sunday School Class thought that one of the contributing causes was the politicians and the High Courts taking God, Christ, the Bible, and prayer out of the public schools of today. Hate, violence, and other forms of wickedness lost no time in moving right into these young minds. Almost anything goes; good, bad, or otherwise. If they get caught, all that they have to do is scream that their civil right are being violated. I can do what I want, where I want, and when I want, and you can go to Hell if you don't like it. If you violate my civil rights, I will sue you and the school.

We all know that our country was founded on the freedom of religion in our land, but what happened to the freedom of having a simple prayer (the Lord's Prayer) to start the school day for those who ­­wanted this spiritual help? Even the U.S. Senate starts the day or session with a prayer. Many of these intelligent men and women have stated time and time again that they turn to prayer to help them make the right decisions on the bills of law that come before them many times each day. This type of thinking is what made our country great. Many of the senators started their own education in a one room school house where a prayer was said and a Bible study followed. These early teachings of God, Christ, and the Bible stayed with them the rest of their lives.

Why have a small number of men and women (sometimes referred to as atheists) been allowed to stop one of the greatest freedoms that we have had. This freedom is the right of prayer in our schools for those who choose to do so. This allows all forms of wickedness to take the place of prayer each day. There is no question about it. The simple freedom of prayer each day in our schools must be brought back for those students, teachers, and parents who choose to pray. This should be the choice of each individual and not the choice of politicians or atheists who have their own agenda.

My school had what you might call a school social standard. There were the ''haves'' and the ''have-nots''. In those days, things like food, clothing, rent money, and the necessities of life were hard to come by. Mom and Dad worked hard to make ends meet, and the five of us never went hungry or without a roof over our heads. Most of us ''have-nots'' wore hand-me-down clothes or what Mom could find at second-hand stores. Our clothes were always clean with no holes, but there might have been a patch or two somewhere.on them. Now the kids tear off the pockets or rip the knees. Those, in my time, who wore the better or more expensive clothes were the ''haves. '' Some of these kids even had a bike to ride to school. We, ''have-nots'', walked. So what? Those long walks to and from school were probably why we were seldom sick. This didn't seem to make a bit of difference to any of us. We were all the best of friends. Many of these friendships lasted a lifetime. Our teacher would say that we could stand a new pair of shoes or a pair of pants without so many patches on them. (She could see that there were many of us ''have-nots'' there in the school) but there was no difference in any of us. As God said, we were all created equal in His eyes. What differemce did it make? We were all friends. We could care less that we didn't have nice clothes or a bicycle. As the years passed, the bike racks at school were always full. Now, when you drive by the schools, the bike racks are empty. The school parking lots are full of good, late model cars. Most of the cars are better than what my Dad ever had. Looking deeper into this school problem, I wonder how many of the kids with the cars care about the school, books, grades, or the other students.

Parents often talk to police officers about the cars. You can almost hear this being repeated many times, ''Those wheels of mine on the school lot can't wait to turn. I may need a little money for gas and food. I must stop at home. I hope Mom is there, because I got my last twenty off Dad. I was supposed to clean out the garage last week, but I never seem to have the time, and I especially don't have the time now that I have turned seventeen and become a Senior. After all, Dad did give his permission for me to have a drivers license.''

''Now, young man, what about that test tomorrow at school and those papers that you didn't finish and turn in last week? I thought that there was homework almost every night for kids like you. You are just getting by on everything you are supposed to do at school.''

''Not me, Mom. Why do you think that I pick up that little girl of mine? She has a brain in her own right. She does my homework while I shift the gears and turn the wheel. Down the street I go. Not bad thinking for a seventeen year old. Wouldn't you say?''

Do the kids with or without cars really care about their fellow students today? I don't mean those cute little cheerleaders that swing and sway before you at every game. What about the kids who are a little on the heavy side or tall like a beanpole or wear hand-me-downs like I used to wear? What about the boy who wears just a plain pair of shoes instead of those $150 sports tennis shoes or the slow learner or the student that never seems to have any friends? Remember, they are human beings just like you are. The ''nobodies'' or the ''odd balls'', as they are sometimes called, are people also. You might find a different, wonderful feeling in helping the kids who are less fortunate than you are. You want to remember that the athletic ability that they may have or the ability to learn faster than the other kids are gifts from God. Use these gifts wisely. When you help others in need, you are also helping yourself more than you will ever know.

If the anti-gun people in Washington want to save lives, they should raise the age or limit for a drivers license to eighteen. There should be no cars on any school lot, except for the emergency or hardship cases. 06 any given day, more teens are injured or killed in auto accident.s than were killed and injured in the Columbine School shootings. Maybe the legal age for a drivers license should be twenty-one. Even though there are a few bad or not-so-careful teen drivers than we would like to see on the road, it doesn't~mean that all teens are reckless or careless drivers. There are many teens that handle themselves behind the wheel of a car a~ well as any adult driver.

You have heard about the Russian or Chinese made A.K.S. and the S.K.S. army rifles. They are cheaply made in comparison to our American made hunting rifles. They are of 7.62 cal. When our American boys faced them both in Vietnam and again in the Korean War, the USSR had manufactured a better version which they called the A.K. 47. The A.K. 47 was the name that most of our G.I.s knew them as. Fed with a ten shot stripper clip, they were very efficient as a semi automatic army rifle. After the wars ended and things seemed to settle down into the Cold War, the cheaply made military rifles came in by the thousands. Where did they all come from, and how did they all get here in the first place? Many of the gun dealers on the West and the East coasts brought these rifles in. Both Russia and China needed cold hard cash to move their countries forward. They sold anything and everything that they didn't need. They had thousands of the cheaply made military rifles, and the American gun market was wide open. Our older 30 cal. carbines of World War Two climbed in price to well over $350 ea. One Grand,30 cal. army rifle sold for $500 to $650 ea. Even our lower priced rifles of what we called ''The Big Bore cal.'' rifle was around $500 ea. The cheap imports would fill this market with a much lower priced rifle that a hunter could use to hunt even 0uck Horn sheep in the West. Ammunition also showed up in a never-ending supply. The imports can be bought at gun shows for $110 to $125 with a little better one for $150. They are sold all over the country. Many other smaller hand guns also came over with the rifles. Most of those are called 8 shot Makarovs with 8 shot clips. Other former Block Countries have flooded the open U.S. gun market with semi-automatic handguns and long guns. Most law enforcement officers thought that this flood of Chinese and Russian made military guns should not have been allowed in this country in the first place.

Politicians have for the last few years come down on the N.R.A. and any sportsmen or legal gun owners across the country for every kind of shooting regardless of what the circumstances may or may not be. I realize that guns kill people. Who should know better than I, a retired police sargeant who worked with weapons used in all types of crimes. In every instance of a gun shooting, a human has to be involved somewhere along the line of fire.

None of these sudden deaths are very pretty, but neither are the thousands of deaths and injuries each year that are results of automobile accidents. I remember one of those accidents that I worked on. There were five people dead. Two of those five people were pretty young sisters and one of the five was a twelve year old boy who I lifted out of the front seat of his father's car. The autopsy showed that there wasn't a bone in his body that wasn't broken. I had a son and two daughters who were at that time the same ages as those three kids. What makes you think that police officers aren't shaken up in the job they do? The boy that I mentioned lost his mother and father in that accident.

Should I, or any of the hundreds of police officers that work such accidents, be expected to hate the men or women who work in liquor stores or taverns all over the country because some person made the stupid mistake of drinking and driving? No, all of us hate seeing any kind of an accident regardless of the circumstances. No, we try to bring better forms of education about drinking and driving to the public.

The crime scene photo that I have included was taken while I was investigating the sudden death of a sixteen year old girl who was in her own living-room watching TV on a Sunday evening. The killer was a seventeen year old former boyfriend whom she had broken up with a few days prior to this incident. He didn't think that there relationship was over, so He stalked her and put a 22 cal. bullet through the front-room window. He got his revenge. The girl was dead. He served a long prison sentence. He is probably out by now, but no one can forget the cold-blooded murderer or the pretty young girl who lost her life. The act never goes away for those who are left behind.

What about all these firearms that flood the country? How do we stop this flow of military rifles and hand guns? One stroke of Mr. William Clinton's pen can stop it once and for all, but isn't Pres. Clinton the one who has come down on gun dealers time and time again. If so, why doesn't he stop it? Look a little deeper now. What Country donated thousands and thousands of dollars to the Democrats in the last election? Do you think for one minute that Mr. Clinton is going to cut off the hand that fed thousands of dollars to the Democratic Party Campaign Fund? Even after the Chinese have been proved to have stolen many of our military secrets. Not when he has the M.B.A. and the gun show owners so close at hand to blame every time a gun goes off.

This so-called self-imposed social standing or structure that the students were said to have had in place at the high school in Colorado has hurt more kids than the parents realize. Many kids were at the receiving end of just about everything that went on at that school. They may not say much, most don't say anything, but just being the bottom dog, so to speak, is not fun. Remember when you were in school? Remember how cruel and hateful one kid could be to another? Parents used to say, ''kids will be kids''. Regardless of what is said, the hurt stays there for years to come. There, in the Colorado school, the shooters had the cheerleaders and the athletes on their list. Here in Galesburg, I have found that most of the kids from these two groups are hard working kids that put in untold hours of training to be able to perform so well at. school games. They are a credit to the school, their parents, and themselves. May I mention that the only name-calling or pointing to a certain boy or group consisted of a couple of names for the boys like the boy with the big head or Romeo Jerk for the boy who thought he was God's gift to the girls at G.H.S. The girls gave Romeo Jerk a wide berth.

Yes, at times I have broken up a fight or two. Most of the time it was over a girl. As the two would be Romeos pounded on each other, the girl would be thinking that it was she who would decide the one she would or wouldn't date. The fight would be broken up with a warning that any more fighting would result in a free ride down town in a police squad car, and they could tell my duty officer, a captain, just what their problem was. He just might let them spend the rest of the evening in the Cities Cross Bar Hotel before calling their parents. Fight settled. Later on in the evening, I would see one or the other walking around a little bruised here and there. I would ask ''How did your love life come out?'' He just looked at me and grinned,''She dumped me, but I don't feel so bad though because she dumped the other guy too. She told us both that she wanted a guy with more brains than to stand there hitting each other and making fools out of all three of us.'' End of fight. End of school romance. A lesson learned out of school, ''grow up''.

There are over 23,000 gun laws on the books throughout the nation. How are any more gun laws going to help? Illinois has had one of the most strict but fair gun laws in the nation. The law is called THE ILLINOIS FIREARMS IDENTIFICATION LAW, and the Illinois State Police is the administrator of it. For short it is call F.O.I.D. A would-be applicant first must fill out a State Police Application form and have his/her picture taken. The picture would then be attached to the application and notarized. When all of the paperwork is finished, it and the proper fees are sent to the ILlinois State Police at Springfield. In two to four weeks, if you check out OK, you will receive what we call a valid F.O.I.D. card. In Illinois, you must have this card to own a firearm, to have a firearm in your home, to have a firearm in your possession while hunting, or to buy firearms. A lot of anti-gun people try to make you believe that you just walk into a gun show, find a firearm of you choice, pay the price, and then walk out. You do not do this in Illinois. You have to show the dealer your valid F.O.I.D. card first, then he will give you what we call a ''yellow sheet''. Once again there are a number of questions that must be answered yes or no truthfully. Next, the dealer will call the Illinois State Police, give them your name and address, and give them the number of your valid F.O.I.D. card. In a very short time, they will either approve or reject your application for the purchase of a firearm. If an approval is given, you pay for your firearm, but you can't take your purchase home with you. There is a 2L1 hour waiting period on all long guns (shotguns and rifles). With a hand gun, the waiting period is 72 hours. A gun purchase can not be mailed to you. It can only be sent by U.P.S. to a federally licensed firearms dealer near your home. You can pick it up at the firearms dealer's place. You must be 18 year old to make a long gun purchase and 21 years old to make a hand gun purchase. There are no exceptions to this rule of law. In Illinois a lot of the dealers may now ask for additional identification, such as a valid Illinois drivers license. Again, your drivers license must match the person on the Illinois F.O.I.D. card.

One thing that I, as a police officer, would like to see is a nationwide gun law. Every state, county, or city would have the same gun laws. Our own Illinois Firearms Owners Identification Law is a good one to use. I would like to see the hunting and fishing laws be nation-wide with the licenses being good in every state.

Even after all those gun laws, over 23,000 of them across the nation, could anyone have stopped the terrible tragedy in Littleton, Colorado even with the strict gun law like Illinois has. Look, the gangs in many of our cities have and use guns every day to shoot at each other. There are dozens of laws that are supposed to stop the flow of drugs to these gangs, but they still get the drugs; as much as they need. What makes you think that if all guns were outlawed, they would not still get whatever firearm they felt they needed regardless of the gun laws?

A major part of police work is trouble in the home or family fights. Every day these calls come in. A lot of this trouble with teenagers starts in the home. Why not start going to the church of your choice? Many of these churches have any number of well-supervised youth programs. Why not give it a try? You might be surprised that bringing God, Christ, prayer, and your church into your life can and will make a difference in your family. You may think that everyone and everything is down on you. I will tell you that God and Christ are never down on you. They are just waiting for you to come and join them. They love you and your family. I do not have all of the answers, but the church is a good place to start for help in fighting teenage violence.

April 27, 2002