Lincoln visits a Holocaust survivor, a book review of Land of Lincoln, adventures in Abe’s America by Andrew Ferguson

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I sat for the past few days besides doing yard work, I stuck my nose in a book called Land of Lincoln Adventures in Abe’s America by Andrew Ferguson. I honestly had a hard tome putting this book down. I think in some way across the United States or even for that matter the world we all have a little bit of “Honest Abe” deep within all of us.

We all start out with humble beginnings and most of us in the world are not born with a silver spoon in our mouth. We usually grow up and everyday we learn something new and strive for knowledge just as Abraham Lincoln had all his life. Trying to come out of hardship and manual labor, Abraham Lincoln Strove to learn and to better himself so he could eventually become more, because he knew he had it in him. As a young man he studied Law, while struggling financially with failed businesses behind him and menial jobs. Eventually he would become a Lawyer, run for the state senate, Win a Presidential Race, and go on to be the 16th President of the United States.

He struggled through his life with depression, and being Bi-Polar. Most of us in the world can relate to that. Again we have all struggled with depression, among some of those who struggle with being Bi-Polar. He had married Mary Todd Lincoln. She was a well educated woman from a fairly wealthy family. Who in their own rights had not really approved of her marriage or courtship to Lincoln. He was not from wealth, and later on her families estate would come under a lawsuit as to who was to take control of the property her family had owned. Being again they did not approve of her marriage and they definitely were not in favor of the Emancipation Proclamation, as Mary’s Family were slave owners themselves. These are all the types of struggles as being human we can relate to across the world.

Whether you know alot about Lincoln or you do not we can all relate in some way or another. On a fateful evening in April we had lost one of the greatest Presidents that America had known . A gunman named James Wilkes Booth entered where Lincoln had been been sitting and shot Mr. Lincoln in the back of the head. He dove to the stage below and yelled “sic semper tyrannis”, translated ” Thus always the Tyrants”. As he dove and hit the stage he had Broken his Leg and thus the greatest manhunt, in the history of the United States began, possibly even the world. Booth was killed in a barn set ablaze as soldiers opened fire. But not before he could stop at the house of Dr. Mudd. Mudd helped booth with his leg and that is where the saying came from your name is Mudd.

So I am reading this book and towards the end of the book I come across a story I will probably never ever forget as long as I live. I cannot tell it as well as the author Andrew Ferguson so below I will quote his book his story as he traveled the path of Abraham Lincoln and tried to figure out who Lincoln was and why he was so great.

Excerpt from Land of Lincoln

Adventures in Abe’s America

By. Andrew Ferguson

Frank told me he’d moved to Springfield four years ago with his three daughter, the oldest who was now in high school. ” I wanted them to get a better start in life, Jacksonville is a town of seventeen thousand. Springfield has a hundred and ten thousand people. There’s more opportunity to get ahead, just so long as I can keep up with them away from the gangbangers and the knuckleheads out there”. His original hope was to get a job with the state government. ” Hopefully somewhere I could use my personality and my people skills, I prefer a job that is people intensive”. Unable to find a government job, he went to work at the Hilton, hoping the flow of politicians and officials in and out all day would give him the contacts that eventually pay off.

” It hasn’t happened yet, and I think sometimes, well, why? now I think I know why. Last Tuesday morning, I’m at my desk here, and there’s some kind of commotion at the front desk. I ventured over to see if I could be of assistance. A tell gentleman was standing there, very old, very feeble. It appeared to me that he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease or a disease of that kind. He was having trouble conversing. He spoke in broken English. The girl behind the desk says to me “Frank, We cannot understand what this gentleman is saying. We’re having trouble here.”

” Well if you listened closely and concentrated hard, pretty soon you could put two and two together and understand some of what the man was saying. He was experiencing difficulty entering his room, so I escorted him to the elevator and we were able to use the key to get him in the room. He was very grateful that I had been of assistance and he said he wanted to show me something”.

” It was a letter, dated April 1965, “Frank said. ” It was from the mayor of Springfield— The Mayor at the time. It was addressed to this gentleman in Prague, Czechoslovakia. That’s where he was from, Czechoslovakia. The letter from the mayor thanked him for his interest in Abraham Lincoln, and invited him to Springfield, as a guest of the Mayor. It said, You come here to see the home and the tomb and the Lincoln shrines as our guest, and we will give you the key to the city. Well, apparently, it took him forty years to save enough to get here, but he made it.

” Then the man tells me his story. Suddenly he stands up straight as can be as he tells me. He said He’d been in a concentration camp. He pulled up his sleeve and said this. Every time he mentioned the concentration camp he pulled up his sleeve, and you could see the number there. He knew about Abraham Lincoln and George Washington from when he learned about them in school as a boy.

” Now here’s what’s interesting . When he was in the concentration camp, and he was all alone in his cell, it was the worst time of his life and he didn’t think he could go on anymore, and he said Mr. Lincoln came to him.

” Mr. Lincoln stood right in front of him, just like I’m standing here in front of you, and Lincoln said to him , ” You never forget: All men are created equal. This is true for all men all times, and these men who would do this thing to you, who put you here, they’re no better than you. You are equal, because all men are created equal, you keep remembering this, and you persevere, you’ll be all right”.

” Well this is what the gentleman said, in his broken English. I don’t know about ghosts I’m skeptical, But this is what the man said. I get a chill thinking about it”.

” Well, from this time onward, the man says he knew he was going to be alright. he knew he was going to persevere, and he vowed if he ever got out of the concentration camp, he would come to Springfield, to thank Mr. Lincoln, he was so grateful. He’d written a poem for Lincoln and he had to recite it for him. That’s what he said. He had three flowers on the bed, they were the plastic kind, two red, one white, carnations. He said he had to go to Lincoln’s tomb and give him the flowers and recite this poem.

” Then he recited the poem for me, right there in the room. I didn’t understand it, of course. He was hunched up in the back, but he stood up straight as can be when he said it, this old man. He put his hand over his heart. He was shaking.”

Frank left him and went down to his post in the lobby and called the mayor’s office. The opening for the Lincoln museum was a week away, and everyone on the mayors’s staff was busy. Someone suggested Frank call the convention and visitors’ bureau, and a woman named Alicia Erickson, who specialized  in dealing with foreign tourist groups, arrived a few minutes later. ” I told her, you have to help this gentleman, but be careful, because I’m thinking he’s on some kind of death walk, Alicia , I think this is his final trip, This is something he’s got to do before he dies. ” Alicia told me later what happened after that.

” His name was Mr. Dubin, Henri Dubin, ” she said. ” He was sweet and very gentle, but he was frail, very thin, and kind of hunched over— and very hard to understand. Only Frank could really understand him, I think. And he was just insistent that he had to visit Lincoln’s tomb right then, that day. He couldn’t wait because he had to fly back home the next day.

“So I got him in my car and we drove out to the tomb. He was carrying the flowers in his lap. I don’t think he could hear me that well, because when I would ask something he didn’t really answer. So we didn’t do much talking.

” At the tomb he walked around the outside very slowly. Then we went inside. You know how at the tomb you kind of go down a hallway and turn, then you go down another hallway and turn again, before you get to the actual tomb?”

I told her I did, at every turn is a small Lincoln statue, molded after the more famous ones around the country. There’s Anna Hyatt Huntington’s on the circuit, and the Saint-Gaudens from Chicago, and of course French’s form the memorial in Washington.

” Well he had to stop at every statue. He’d put his hand on it and study it, stare at it. By the time we got to the grave he was crying. He was very emotional. He took one look at the tomb and let me tell you: that man got down on his knees and kissed the ground. Then he laid the flowers there, and he got back up, and he stood straight as he could and recited his poem. Tears were streaming down his face. his voice was very strong and clear. then he looks at me and he kind if sighs and he says, ” Yes, Now it’s over.” He says, ” We can go.”

Mr. Dubin slept most of the next day and then through the night.

” The next morning, ” Frank told me, ” we got him to the airport. I made sure my friends at the airlines understood how feeble this man was, that they had to take special care of him. When I got him to the Check-in, he couldn’t help himself, he was crying again. He turned to me and he said, ” Frank, God sent you to help me find Lincoln. You are an angel. ” And he hugged me.”

Standing there by his desk in the Hilton lobby, Frank didn’t say anything for a while. ” I told a lady friend about this last week, after it happened. she said to me, ” Frank, you want to know why you haven’t got your job in the government yet— that’s why. You had to be there, at the Hilton. ” she said, God wanted you to be there to help this man!” Maybe so. I’m Skeptical, I’m a skeptical man

 

Andrew Ferguson

 

Well after I finished this book on one mans journey I discovered like I said there is a little Lincoln in everyone, and I have a few new places and people I now need to talk to. Well enough typing for the night off to watch some Tv and then off to bed. Goodnight to all my readers.

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Mein Kampf Exploring the evil of hitler and how it mirrors today.

 

So I started to read Mein Kampf written probably by the most evil man throughout the entire history of the world. He was set on world domination and power after his art had failed. We all know what he did and how the Nazi Regime fell with the fall of Berlin. But what do we really know about what drove him?

Early on in life we know Hitler was from Austria and they never considered Austrians true Germans. Although they sang the German Anthem and Spoke a dialect of German. Germans in Germany considered them to be outsiders. For most of his childhood it seemed fairly normal. When he grew to be a teenager he grew interested in painting and art. He strove to try to be the best. Yet his dad had told him art was basically unfruitful and told him to seek a real education and career. Not to long after he had lost his dad.

He decided that moving to Vienna, Austria to pursue art in the Art school was a good idea but when he tried to enroll they told him his art was just not good enough and that he was good with his drawing skills so he should pursue architecture. At this point in life he would sell his paintings on the street and attend Austrian Parliament meetings. So began his track into politics.

He would sit in Parliament meetings and watch them discuss and pass bills and laws or veto them. He would speak of how old and outdated not only the people in parliament were. But he would also speak of how outdated the system was. That the democracy involved in it was all wrong. That things should not be questioned it should just be. He went further into politics and picked up books on every empire and civilization and studied why they fell. He especially seemed enthralled by the Roman Empire the rise and the fall. He seemed quite obsessed with the Caesars power and how it was almost never questioned. But as we know the Caesars power almost never lasted either they died or in the worst case scenario they were assassinated by someone seeking power. They say that the fall of every empire is when the empire loses its morals.

In a few years the German labor party put out an invite to come to their meeting in a brauhaas and he questioned at first whether he should go or not. But as history will tell us he attended that meeting of only like 16 men in the beginning. He listened to their meeting their minutes being read 1st and from their discussing an updated government and basically what they would do to run it. He was convinced to go back time after time and I am pretty sure after the first meeting he pretty much was searching to take over deep down inside.

After attending several meetings he listened to their speakers but yet was unconvinced that speaker or speakers could motivate people enough, So eventually he started to speak although nervous at first, he became louder and more forceful with his tone and words that people listened to the man at the podium and believed what he was talking about. In a little while he decided their propaganda was not good enough and decided he would even run that himself. After being in WW1 seeing what the French and the Americans and British put out for propaganda and how they made the Germans look like demons, this route seemed the best route. Instead of the normal white flyers they distributed for the German Labor Party meetings he decided the color should be Red. Red Draws attention when your being handed it or even walking by it.

Lets step back a second though before the German Labor Party he was a soldier in the German Army during WW1 and he told of the weak and the strong. Those who would not fight were physically and mentally inferior to him or any of the soldiers there. Towards the End of the war he experienced a poison gas attack and almost lost his sight. When the armistice was signed and the Germans surrendered this infuriated him. The armistice called for all Germans to give up their arms including civilians and they were disarmed. The German Army had to be cut back to 100,000 soldiers only. So Began Weimar Germany.

Weimar Germany he thought was weak that they just gave into the Marxists, The French and Especially Blamed The Jewish. So when he had a chance to when he was starting to work with The German Labor Party, He started to recruit people he knew during the war and called for all ex soldiers to join. The numbers of Each meeting started to boom. He talked about how the government running Germany at the time was basically incompetent and they would try to remove their past by removing statues, and how Germany could rise to be a great Reich again.

When they finally asked him to be the leader of their party officially he accepted the position, and he started first by making sure their meetings were secured because Marxists and the government were sending people into their meetings to try to stop them, hence the creation of Hitlers first storm troopers, he made sure they were strong men. Strong enough to win a scrap and throw the people out causing the disturbance. Eventually  he decided they needed a symbol in order to be more noticed and look like a military they adopted the colors Red, White and Black. they messed with the designs of the flag said he was even close to allowing one of the other party members designs, but it had a curved Swastika. So his design was the final design you eventually saw on the Nazi flags and arm bands on the storm troopers with an actual uniform. I really do not think he denied his friend because of the curved Swastika. I honestly think he denied him because he wanted to be an artist and this way his art would finally be seen.

With uniforms, arm bands and flags waving they would enter the halls in formation marching in getting the attention of all those involved. That combined with Hitlers charisma gained followers. I guess if he would have had any form of social media back then would have made things even worse, But eventually with a failed attempt of an overthrow of the Wiemar republic, Hitler would go to prison and write Mein Kampf.

He would talk of how the press would only publish bits and pieces of what was actually said by the politicians. So they could push a completely different agenda. I honestly do not know how many times I have heard sound clips or seen video clips within our own media that does this. the speech may have a good meaning but by time the press is done with it they take the one sound clip and play it over and over again drilling that one sound bite into your head. So in the end people are like oh my God this person or politician said this but they did not play the whole speech. In order to get the actual meaning of the speech, The whole speech needs to be heard not just 10 words. He would also speak how Weimar Germany started taking statues down of famous political figures. Or how they disarmed their people and cut the military back. All stuff that has happened fairly recently in America here.

When he finally spoke of the way he would run things he spoke about how the Jewish people ran everything in his schizophrenic paranoia. He believed they ran the Press, they ran the banks. They supposedly ran the Marxists according to him, along with the German Weimar  Government, They even supposedly ran the French Government.  He blamed them for the poison gas attacks during WW1 and said if 12,000 or 15,000 Jews were killed by poison gas themselves it would start to atone for the poison gas attacks on the German Soldiers During World War 1. Hence this is probably built the gas chambers because he believed they should pay. He actually never said what they did or anything. He had a giant paranoid belief the Jewish people would someday take over the world and this needed to be stopped no matter the cost.

This again mirrors what is going on today whether its the Democrats saying the Russians colluded with trump and are running things, or that they helped try to destroy the republicans using social media and that they are actually the head of the Democratic party.  Either way are people are starting to believe Russians are the head of everything. I really do not think we will ever know the truth unless we stop voting for billionaires who can hide anything by throwing some money around. This goes for Democrats and Republican alike.

Some people also believe Hitler was Bi-Polar and I honestly can kind of see that in his writings because sometimes he would completely be going along just fine but then he would start going on rants about Jewish people out of nowhere or the African American People. Yes I am being PC because those were not the terms he used. He was a hateful, racist, anti-Semite with an agenda. I think his arrogance and his hateful nature came from denial. His father told him art wasn’t going to pay the bills, and the art academy basically told him his painting was not good enough. That combined with being thrown into prison in the 20’s. Probably fueled his hatred even more. I think he thought well I fought for this country and now they are letting me down and all they did at the end was throw me in prison. I think he was out to prove to people that he was going to show them.

Here is another mirror of America today as the veterans we have do not seem to get the help they need. They sit and get denied for benefits from the VA hospital and eventually we get veterans who snap one day because the country they defended is no longer defending them or helping them. It is ashamed that this is the way things are in this country and i think this needs to change. Plus we here the government going on Calling people racist or anti-Semite. The press is the best at race baiting trying to pit one race against the other and trying somehow to start a civil war within America again. I absolutely hate that. I promise you if another civil war breaks out nobody is going to be the winner and this time it wont be only soldiers who get killed but thousands of innocents caught in the crossfire of modern day weapons.

Later he would go on to go on 100 page chapter on education and work forces. On the education he believed that the physical well being of a youth was more important than loading his mind in his words with useless information. He believed physical education was the key. He also discussed the workers in Germany how based on what they were good at they would have a job assigned to them and each worker would be paid equally. Mind you for awhile after he did take power before ww2 the economy in Germany was booming and jobs were abundant although assigned to you. When you think about what he was preparing his youth for and the propaganda he spewed it is .amazing sometimes the people listened, but I think they were so sick of the old government that they were driven into these new ways hoping things would get better. Eventually he removed books he decided were against the beliefs of the nation from Germany because if people were to think independently and be educated this would be bad and he might lose control.

Here again represents modern day America because we leave stuff out of history books that is important because it might offend someone. We want to take down statues like Weimar Germany did remove them from the eye of famous historical figures because it might offend someone. We remove flags because it might offend someone, we are slowly erasing our history and to me teaching kids in our school systems a new agenda. We do not want them to have independent minds the press drives home talking points to the point where they spew it to the youth so now the youth now believe this is the right way to act. They remove books from our schools and this started way back in the 80’s. Because of the reference of racial slurs like Tom Sawyer an American Classic where kids did not believe skin color mattered in the book they were all friends. Then there is to kill a mockingbird, yes it has a few racial slurs in it but those are the times it was written in and the moral of the story  is a man should never be based on skin color.

Then we discuss the workers and Equal pay which everyone seems to be begging for here even if your 16 and your first job is McDonald’s apparently you should be making 15 dollars an hour. Where people with a college education or people who have worked themselves up to that wage. Or your working a hard manual labor job such as a Grain elevator your making that much. If minimum wage is 15 dollars an hour than those who are educated make alot more.  With raised income comes raised prices of everything you buy and cutbacks of workers as we have already seen with Walmart soon putting in all self checkouts, getting rid of Sam’s club and talking about robotic inventory. may be more expensive at first but in the long run saves money. I know this for a fact because several employees packing at a company I was at insisted they get just as much as people who had been there forever. They replaced those workers with robotic packing machines and fired  those workers cost them more in the beginning but saved them millions in the end on labor.

After Hitler came into power right around 1938 He opened the first Concentration/labor/death camp. Originally it was not for the Jewish it was for the enemies of the state where if they didn’t execute them they were forced into hard labor. The man who ran against Hitler was forced into one of these camps although he was Hitlers opponent in the election, he was forced into a work camp where he died. After Hindenburg died Hitler than took power as the Fuhrer, basically he was now the authority no more elections his henchman were picked by him. Eventually the Jewish were put into ghettos and he disarmed the Jewish people of their guns and knives and if you refused you were shot on site. He than rearmed his citizens with handguns only. There was probably a reason so a coup could not be started although several tried to take him out with 42 attempts on his life the most famous operation Valkyrie. He almost did lose power at that point along with all his people but the explosion never killed Hitler in the wolfslair.

Now with the gun control issue we are having it is becoming very similar to Nazi Germany. We are told certain guns are bad and that we cannot own them and only certain guns are allowed. We push this agenda after every school shooting I can see the kids who were there maybe saying no more AR-15. But most shootings are not committed with law abiding citizens guns in the United States. Most Criminal Acts like in Chicago are committed by gangbangers with illegally bought guns. They use the school shooting agenda and alot are pressing for no guns including some of our politicians. I am not for disarming law abiding citizens, But I am for stricter gun control laws. In Deerfield Illinois the Ar-15 has now been outlawed for sales and if you are an owner if you do not give it up you face 1000 dollar fine. We need to be vetting gun owners harder better background checks on everyone in the house possibly even. raise in age heck the human brain does not fully develop until the age of 25. In Illinois the law is 21 for a tattoo but 18 to get a gun. Do these laws do not make sense they make me infuriated that our government wants this much control over everything we do.

I probably did not hit every talking point I wanted but I think this will get the point across that we need to speak up if we want to keep our rights. I have to admit It was a creepy journey getting into Hitlers head, and it was scary. Whats even more scary alot of stuff that is happening today is repeating what happened in the past. Hopefully you all enjoyed this and learned something agree or disagree with me but I have an opinion and blogging is definitely a place I can teach and educate.

Making Ty Cobb Human, review of Ty Cobb a terrible beauty by Charles Leerhsen

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So The past few days I picked up a book written by Charles Leerhsen named Ty Cobb a terrible beauty. I always heard stories growing up about how horrible of a person he was. I heard about the fights, the boozing and Ty Cobb being racist. Well being a baseball fan you also heard how he always would slide spikes up to injure other ballplayers intentionally, or how he would file his spikes to a sharp edge. One rumor was that he had killed a man in Detroit, another as many as 3 people he had killed.

Well as i sat reading this book he suddenly became more human. First off lets discuss the racism. Both his Father and Grandfather were abolitionists. He might have let a racial slur slide but never to the press or on the field. As a matter of fact he was one of the leaders for the desegregation of Baseball. He even go to Negro League baseball games throw out the first pitch, and play exhibitions against colored teams of the day. Yes he did get into fights with a few black men and it is documented but never over racism.

Now we come to the fights themselves, yes he got into a few scrapes on the field and a few even with fans, but being from Georgia I feel it was more of defending his honor thing than just because he wanted to fight. Yes I guess several brawls were over base path issues, or a word said about his family. Growing up when he turned 18 his mother had killed his father. So when words were said about his mother he defended her. It is not exactly clear til this day why his Mom truly shot his father. So coming into baseball at an early age and having the family issues he seemed to find father figures in owners and managers he had had. Baseball was also probably a way to get away and not think about those issues 24 hours a day.

He was known for his fierce pace of play and his need to Win. He would get on first and more than likely steal 2nd and 3rd on you and 56 times during his career even stole home. He was able to most of the time when a person hit a single score from 1st. He almost never actually slid with his spikes up. and only one picture exists of him doing this as he was trying to knock the ball out of the catchers mitt and not injure him. Most of the time he said if you watched the basemans eyes you could tell where the ball was coming from and slide away from the tag.

In Field of dreams Joe Jackson says ” Ty Cobb wanted to play but none of us could stand the son of a bitch while he was alive, so we told him to stick it.” The actual accounts most of the guys he played for even if he didn’t like them during the game he became friends with especially Shoeless Joe Jackson.  He had had many players talk abouut him and honor him even after his death.

So now to the book after reading this book I got to see the more human side and not the myths and rumors people had started over the years about what an evil man he supposedly was. We get an idea of what the times he played in were like and we get to know the man. I highly suggest this to be read if you are a sports or baseball fan or sports historian, or for the fact just like biographies and history. It is well written keeps to a timeline form Boyhood all the way up until his death and it has a quick pace and I absolutely loved this book and could not put it down.

What would you miss?

 

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So I am reading a book called station eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. About a pandemic called the Georgia Flu that nearly wipes out mankind. Behind is left abandoned places, with no electricity, or running water etc… She poses an interesting question in the book. If this really happened and we had limited resources, and we were forced to use horses, hunt and scrounge for water clothing etc… What would you miss most.

I am really not sure what I would miss most. Today everything is stored in modern forms of media such as computers. People really do not go to the library, or take photographs put them in albums. I think I would miss forms of visual stimulation such as photographs. Photographs tell the stories of where we have been, who we are and were. They tell most of our modern history. I am sure we would eventually lose visual forms of art to vandals and thieves. What would be left are the images in our heads.

We would lose most modern music and have to rely on what instruments we had left to entertain. We would rely on the old fashioned play, no more television, or going on YouTube for entertainment. We would have storytellers again, people who would tell stories of the past we would have to rely on their memories to provide us some of our human history. I am sure some of us would probably lose the skills to read or write to communicate.

I would probably miss being able to travel where you wanted to go on a whim and seeing friends and talking to friends from distances. We would not have cellular phones or Skype. We would not be able to just turn a key and go visit those friends when we want to. We would have to go back to letter writing and delivery services such as the Pony Express again. I would miss everyday conversation quite a bit. Really we do not know how lucky we are to be able to use phones, and social media to keep up with what is going on with our friends.

We would probably miss going shopping for the goods we need. We would have to learn new skills to survive, We would not be able to go to Walmart or the Mall to get clothing, or food or supplies we need for everyday living. We would have to learn to hunt, fish, sew and make items we needed to even travel from place to place. We would have to fabricate parts we needed for wagons etc…

 

Being able to go to a ballgame with my kid, or take them places like amusement parks. We would not be able to do any of that anymore. our entertainment would be limited, and we would again have to rely on old forms of entertainment that would probably be very new to most of the modern generations who have probably never even been to a play for entertainment.

Anyways just a few thoughts as into how life might be had we lost everything we know. What would you miss most?

My Hometown and simpler times

I was remembering my hometown tonight when I sat down at Steak and Shake with my friend Omar. We sat and talked about how things have changed within the past 30 years or so. I grew up in a suburb of Chicago called Bartlett, Illinois. Not much ever seemed to change. Of course over time we made new friends. Some stayed in our lives and some well I never knew what happened to them after I left.

I grew up in Bartlett until I was about 13 years old. I seemed to grow up on a very simple block, everyone knew everyone, and families always seemed to know where we were because they all communicated with one another almost on a daily basis. Our block was nice but most of the boys on my block were all older, and growing up some of them took us under their wings. They taught us how to skateboard, or they would throw the ball around with us normal boy stuff.

I had mainly friends who were girls in my neighborhood because those were all the kids around my age. I had my Friend Dina your typical girl who was kind of the smart ass athlete though. She was more a tomboy growing up with our group. She played baseball, running bases, soccer, sometimes even a football game with us. We would ride our bikes up and down the block, play on each-others swing sets. We really never worried about getting injured when we played.

We would go to the park right down the road. The parks back then were not these plastic parks you see now. We had the cage rocket ship slide made of metal, swing sets and monkey bars also made of metal. If we got hurt we went home got bandaged up and were right back at the park in 5 minutes. Like most kids we were a bit reckless and our parents knew where we were, and knew atleast one of us if not all of us were coming home with bumps, scrapes, and cuts. We understood doing stupid tricks might cause injury but we were kids. We did not want to sue the world because the playground was metal, or because we got injured just being kids.

The park was divided by a creek with woods on one side where many spring and summer days we spent playing war in the woods trying to build forts, and finding wood to build bridges to cross the creek. My first kiss was by that creek and it was with a girl named Melanie. Across that creek was a field with hills we also used to play tag and war and hide and seek. At the back of the field was an old rusted out propane tank apparently once meant for a house of some sort. but it was long abandoned and we used it to sit inside of and have juvenile conversations, Probably conversations to those similar to the conversations in the movie Stand By Me.

Another few girls I grew up with were Scooter, Sissy and Robin all sisters. We all kind of had our own cliche and knew almost what one another were thinking at times. I once climbed a tree in Scooters backyard and they had and old jeep body leaning against the back of their garage the branch snapped and i fell onto the jeep body. I am sure I probably cried but in 5 minutes we were back to playing.

Many summer nights were taken up by us playing baseball in the street, many times we played until we could no longer see where the ball was. Many times we would hit the ball into the “Old Geezers” yard. He was an mean old fool of a man who rented the house across the street with him and his wife. We would run quickly into his yard trying to avoid being seen so we did not experience his wrath and he would tell us how we should not hit the ball into his precious yard and yell and scream and throw a fit. Of course like the movie Wayne’s World, we had to move every time a car would come down the road. Most of the times those cars were neighbors returning home from shopping or work and would always wave to us kids. About half way through the baseball games in the evening the ice cream man would come down the road where each of us had a dollar for ice cream, My ice cream of choice was almost always the screwball with the gumball at the bottom.

After it got nearly dark our parents were usually by this point yelling for us to come in for dinner. We had no cell phones no pagers just good old fashioned loud parents who made their voices heard. We seemed to always rush through dinner on a summer night when we did not have school the next day. We tried to get back outside because it was time for the fireflies to come out. then afer that we would usually play a few rounds of ghost in the graveyard.

Some summer days we spent riding our bikes to Lizzie’s which was the local ice cream parlor and gag gift store, I bought my first can of fart spray there and I sprayed it on Dina’s bicycle seat, Her father Wayne did not find it so funny. Wayne could be a smart ass but we as children respected him because he had a very authoritative voice . He actually made me clean her bike… Funny thing years later I went to my Junior Prom with Dina.

Alot of days we also took our bikes to the Baseball Card shop on almost a daily basis. We collected baseball cards for a very long time and well trading cards with the other kids on the front stoop of the shop kinda became a staple of everyday life. The people who owned the shop always welcomed us in and never said a cross word to any of us. After the baseball card shop we would sometimes go to the drug store get candy and garbage pail kids. The hot dog joint Annie’s was right next door and we always went there for fries or a drink. Tcby was in the same complex for those who do not know what Tcby is it means the countries best yogurt it was a frozen yogurt shop and sometimes we would go there to, I stil know of one in chicago if your ever into finding frozen yogurt shops.

Sometimes we would go to the railroad station and we would of course be kids watch the trains pass count the cars, but the real motive was putting pennies on the tracks and having them flattened, Sometimes it would take us a few minutes to find the pennies in the rocks after. But we had fun social media, the internet did not exist. So we actually had to physically make contact with people, go outside and play and get exercise and fresh air. I loved growing up in that era because now we hide behind keyboards and we find love online. We do not date the old fashioned way anymore and everyone wants to move to the next level in a few weeks. Kids are now trying to grow up acting like thugs on the internet, and we as parents act like well they are just being kids. We should ban them all from the internet their phones for a month I guarantee they would be different at the end and see the importance of actual human interaction.

Anyways getting tired as I am sitting here typing this and I am sure I have plenty more memories to share but these were just a few thoughts that crossed my mind… hope you all read and enjoy.

 

 

 

Are We offended?

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Recently it seems as if America is offended by EVERYTHING!!!. Well here you go you want to take offense to something, the flag above was flown 1776. This flag represented the 13 original colonies. Oh but from 1776 until 1861 the American flag was flown all over up until the Civil war, Which means there was slavery under this flag. Betsy Ross the maker of the flag, and George Washington who helped create this flag were both slave owners. So does this mean we should abolish the use of this flag to?. My answer is a big resounding NO!! What people do not realize the confederate flag they are complaining about is not even the original confederate flag.

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This is the Original Confederate flag, also known as the Stars and Bars. Does this look familiar?. This was the first flag captured by the Union Army. the problem with this flag on the battlefield is it was to close to the American Flag flown during battle by the Union Army. So there had to be a change so people knew who they were at war with. The Change came with the Confederate X with the stars. Not the one you see flying these days. The one they replaced it with had a white field where the Red and white bars were. Yes the white field on the flag was about white superiority. Although I do not believe in slavery or white supremacy myself I believe we are losing sight of our history.

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Above is the Confederate Battle flag that was flown on the Battle field. The X in the Corner with the White field. Now if someone flew this flag I might be a bit offended. But this is not the modern Confederate flag at all. this flag was also designed so that the two armies could tell each other apart on the battle field. The confederate army had beliefs just like the Union did. Right or Wrong it is part of history, and if we forget where we came from as a nation, we will repeat our history.

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This was the modern day Confederate flag. WHITE field removed for obvious reasons. This is NOT the same flag that flew during the Civil War. Although some people have taken this flag and used it as a symbol of hate and violence. I do not believe it even meant the same thing. they removed the part of the flag that meant that completely. It was used as a symbol of the south for many years. This whole thing went to far as to even remove the show Dukes of Hazard off the air from T.V. The General Lee Was a car we grew up with and were entertained by. Although other programs such as Hogans Heroes, The Jeffersons, All in the family were not removed off the Air. All of these programs dealt with racial tensions of some sort. George Jefferson used the word HONKY 21 times in the first season alone. Although I may not like the Jeffersons, I just do not watch it is all!. All in the family dealt with bigotry almost every episode. Sammy Davis Jr. would appear on the show and Kiss Archie Bunker on the cheek breaking down racial barriers a bit. Hogans heroes was about a Prisoner of War camp in Nazi Germany ran by buffoon Nazis. I do not like the show again because it is making fun of a very serious subject, again I can turn the channel as simple as that. I can even go as far as Threes company, Jack Tripper had to pretend to be gay, just so he could stay with 2 female room mates. He had to do this because his landlords were old fashioned, and believed that men living with women should not be done unless you were married. His landlords were always making fun of him being supposedly gay. Do you see any of these shows being removed off the air?

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Here is the American Flag flying with the Christian flag. Some people believe this flag should be removed to. there is that white field. I do not believe this flag should be removed. This is a flag that represents God and Country. No matter your belief. A flag can be flown that is why this country was once a great nation. It was a melting pot for all races, and creeds. Men worked came home and made good. I do believe if it were not for today’s modern electronics and media. We would still be a nation that would flourish. We would not have these people offended by everything just because someone tells them to be offended, and they change with the wind!!! . I am a believer in every man has the right to be equal and have their own opinion and thoughts. If you were in some countries you are not allowed to fly any flag but that nations flag. In some countries women have to cover their bodies and faces. Isis kills women who are raped because they believe it is the womans fault. Is this the type of country you want?. A nation where we are told what we can do in our spare time, and how we think? Just a thought. I hope I brought some light to this situation in our country. Only reason I wrote this today is because I saw an article about some lady politician. She decided to get a petition to change the name of a a high school, all because it was named Robert E. Lee high school. Nobody ever complained up until her. the media only covered her petition, and not that alot of students filed a separate  petition to keep the name. Again if we forget our past we repeat our past.

Thank you for reading.

Signs of Chicagos Past

 

 

 

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So I decided I am gonna do a photo Series Called Signs Of Chicago’s Past. While walking around the city one day, I started looking at the sides of the old brick walls in Chicago. I noticed signs. Not your modern everyday modern billboard, but signs painted on the sides of buildings. These signs were used for advertising either for corporations, local businesses, or whatever it may be. Signs I also found were stamped into iron on a fire escape. The photo you see here is called the Chicago Theater Ghost Sign. As far as I can gather it was put on the side of the Chicago Theater in 1923. Ghost Signs like these are all around America be it on the sides of buildings, in buildings, or where ever they might be. The term they use is Ghost Sign. I find the fascinating because it represents an era long gone. An era that should be photographed before they disappear in time. Below is a link to the beginning of my project Signs of Chicago’s Past.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.549628405069101.1073741826.160254587339820&type=1

Thank you,

Brian