Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Round Lake Teacher Strike 1994-- Part 7: Second Day: Really Walking the Line

October 18th:  "B.D., R.S. and I went to Costello's where they were having a teachers special for the duration of the strike with cheeseburger and fries for $2.25.  That is very nice of Frank and Sharon.

"Back at the line, B.D. and I got bored and took a walk down Hart Road to Sunset and down to the high school picket area.  Talked with them for awhile and then continued on to where they're finally starting to cut Sunset through.

"There, we ran into R.D., whom I've known for years.  He is now mayor of Round Lake Beach.  Talked with him a while and then continued to the first street and walked toward Cedar Lake past another high school picket line (they were watching two entrances, front and back).  The trees were beautiful.

"We walked by the  administration building and found it to be nothing like yesterday.  There were only two cop cars, a few teachers and a few students in the area.  Walked on back to the Magee picket line.  Left at 4 and came home."

"Watched TV and rested."

Round Lake Teacher Strike 1994-- Part 6: Day Two, October 18th

"Up at 5:15 a.. and drove in a light rain to the headquarters and arrived just as Jeanne was opening it.  Wished her a happy birthday (40th and what a way to celebrate it) and had a cup of coffee.  The one teacher who graduated from Palatine in 1970 was there, too.

"M.H. dropped by and we took the clipboard with check-in lists back to Magee.  Again, we had people reporting in late and leaving early.  I didn't go to the high school for the daily scab confrontation, but understand only the five from yesterday who originally crossed and the four green building (administration) secretaries.

"People were very impressed with my flag (Don't Tread on Me).  Again, we got much reaction from the cars, most positive.  There was a lot of honking (to show support).

"At 9:30, the other picket captains and I went to the headquarters.  So far, only the five who originally crossed yesterday have gone over to the other side so that is good news.  We still have several people who haven't shown up on the line.  We were very happy when A.W. finally showed up.  We had been  greatly worried that she would cross the line."

Bad News Scabs.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Round Lake Teacher Strike 1994-- Part 5: "Don't Tread On Me"

Continuing with Day One, October 17, 1994.

"At 4, we had a rally at the pavilion at hart's Woods.  This was a pep rally. R.B., B.D. and I sang our song and it was well received.

"Afterwards, I drove to Gurnee Mills and bought a "Don't Tread on Me" flag and ate at White Castle.

"Stopped at Costello's and was surprised to find only Liz, K.L. and one other teacher there.  I guess everyone was too worn out to do much more.

"I came home and watched TV."

I'll have to see if I can find the words to the song.

This Was One of the Hardest and Longest Days of My Life.

Round Lake School Teacher Strike 1994-- Part 4

'We finally got a (strike) headquarters (for the strike) today in the building where the first Round Lake Library was.  It is by A-1 Tire and by the library site when I was on the board.  We had originally had headquarters at Father Berger Hall at St. Joseph's, but they backed out on Friday.

"The rain finally stopped around ten or eleven.  Walking back and forth quickly became tedious.  SAt noon we had a picket captains meeting at hqand the place was still one of chaos.

"After the meeting, K.H. came by with food.  The picket captains (for Magee): M.H.,. S.K., M.K. and I drove to Burger King for their 99 cent Whoppers.  Came back and walked the line.  I continued to become more infuriated by the fence and along with B.D. composed a song 'Don't Fence Us Out' (based on the song 'Don't Fence Me In.'

Not Quite Finished With Day One.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Round Lake School Teacher Strike 1994-- Part 3

I was always upset that our school board and administration chose to treat the teachers as horrible people who were apt at any moment to destroy a building or do injury to anyone. This was obviously a planned move on their part and set the stage for a long strike.

Teachers do not go on a strike for no reason.

They should have realized that, but they chose to treat us like criminals from the get-go.  I never had any respect for our school board or administration, even after the strike was finally over.  I still don't.

OCTOBER 17, 1994

Back to my journal for the first day.

"Walked over to the administration building where I found 150-200 teachers marching around the block.  There were three TV mobiles there with their antennas extended up to three stories and reporters doing interviewing.  We only had five teachers cross the line.  I only knew two: R.K. and D.L...

"All five were met with jeering and even profanity.  (That day all five became enemies of  mine and all five took the concessions we got at the end of the strike, but had done everything they could to hurt us.)

"The assistant superintendent Ellen Z., came out and took a lot of flack.  Mary D. (our superintendent) should have come out to do that job but was nowhere to be found."

I Still Get Angry As I Type This.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

October 17, 1994: Day One of Round Lake Teachers Strike-- Part 2

Yesterday, Liz and I commemorated the 20th anniversary of the strike by thanking our Union president who did such a great job carrying us through the hard times.

We also drove into Waukegan, Illinois, to walk the picket line with the teachers there.  They were in Day 11 of their strike and we told them we sure didn't want them breaking our record for longest school strike in a district that survived it in the history of Illinois.

Striking is no fun whatsoever!!

One thing about the Waukegan strike is that there is no police presence at all at the closed schools.  I didn't even see any driving by.  Plus, there were no fences around the buildings like with our strike.  However, there school board seems to be a lot like ours in their refusal to actually negotiate.  They pay that idea lip service, but there is none.

We have several friends who teaches there, but would have gone anyway.

And. of course, it was the 20th anniversary of the beginning of our strike.  What better way to commemorate than to walk the line again.  Maybe Johnny C. should have written a song about it.

I found my old Revolutionary War "Don't Tread on Me" flag which I bought during out strike and it once again waved proudly out on the line.


Friday, October 17, 2014

October 17, 1994: Day One of the Round Lake Teacher Strike-- Part 1

Taken from my journal.

"Up at 5:30 a.m. as was Liz.  Crete-Monee district is on strike as well.  Rain showers this morning--great day to strike!  I was amazed at how much traffic was on the road by 6:30 (as I drove from Spring Grove to Round Lake).    It was slower-going than it is at 7:30.  The rain increased in intensity the whole way.

"I parked at Cedar Foods on Cedar Lake Road and crossed the road.  I was completely taken aback to find I had entered a battle zone.  An orange snow fence barricade stretched from the Cedar Lake Road entrance all the way to the Hart Road entrance at Magee Middle School where I taught.  It then continued from the other side of it to where it met the new fence.

"No trespassing signs were at the Presbyterian Church so the enemy must have gotten to Lisle K., the preacher there.  All along the orange fence were red signs reading 'Entry Upon These State Supported Land Is Forbidden.  Violators Will Be Arrested And Prosecuted.'

In addition, there were police squad cars at both entrances.  I'm thinking, 'Welcome to the Magee Police State headed up by Commissar Hult!!'

"I took a solitary position at the Hart Road entrance to Magee until about 7:45 when I was joined by others."

Looking back after all these years, the last time I saw such a police presence was back in 1970 during the Kent State riots at Northern Illinois.  Only back then the police were in full  riot gear and had tear gas guns.

More to Come.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

12 Facts About Autumn-- Part 2

3.  Those who live the closest to the EQUATOR, which is the center of the planet, never experience the season of autumn.  Around the equator, the temperature remains consistently warm.

4.  Yellow, orange and variations thereof always reside in the PIGMENTATION OF TREE LEAVES, but they are just overpowered by the abundance of green from the chlorophyll in the leaves during the rest of the year.

Come autumn, however, when the sun weakens and days grow shorter, the amount of chlorophyll in leaves diminishes, allowing other pigments in the leaves to show through.

5.  RED and PURPLE LEAVES are actually caused by the presence of sugars from sap that is trapped inside the leaves.

So, That's Why Sugar Maples Are So Pretty in the Fall.  --DaCoot

12 Facts About Autumn-- Part 1

From the September 25, 2014, Lake County (Illinois) Suburban Life "12 fun facts about autumn."

Autumn has arrived and in the last several days I'd have to say the "Color Wave" has definitely hit around here by the Wisconsin-Illinois border near Lake Michigan.  The trees and bushes are magnificent.

1.  The first day of autumn is known as the AUTUMNAL EQUINOX.  On this day, the number of hours of daylight and darkness are equal.  This is because the sun is aligned with the center of the earth between the north and south of the planet.

The other equinox occurs in the spring, which arrives in the third week of March in the Northern hemisphere.

2.  In GREEK MYTHOLOGY, autumn was was a time when Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld.  During this time, Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, was distraught and the ground grew sparse and cold.

When Persephone returned in the springtime, the plants and life bloomed anew because of Demeter's happiness.

--Why the Seasons.  --Cooter

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Looking Back: DeKalb County, Il., 50 Years Ago: 2nd Annual Sycamore Pumpkin Festival

OCTOBER 23, 1963

Sycamore's second annual Halloween Pumpkin Festival, sponsored by the Sycamore Lions Club, will be rewarded with an appearance  on a TV show, and in color, too.

Two of the children whose pumpkin exhibits are deemed worthy will be chosen Sunday evening, Oct. 27, to appear on the Top O' the Morning WGN-TV program in color on Monday morning, Oct. 28.  (Color TV a big deal back then.  OK, kids, get to carving those pumpkins!!  They still have the Pumpkin Festival in Sycamore.)

The Sycamore Halloween Pumpkin Festival will begin with a parade made up entirely different from that for the high school homecoming.  There will be few, if any, floats, but there may be some nerve-shattering costumes designed to scare the wits out of the timid or bring tummy-wobbling laughter.

(The parade is now probably the highlight of the festival and one of the biggest in northern Illinois.  It is held on the Sunday, the last day.)

Like, Boo!!  --DaCoot

Looking Back, DeKalb County, Il., 75 Years Ago: Trains, Tear Gas, Halloween Hijinks and Prison

OCTOBER 26, 1938
  Otto Peterson barely escaped injury on the Charter Grove railroad crossing when the rear of his automobile was struck by a fast-flying westbound passenger train.  Although the car was wrecked, the driver feels no pain and has nothing more serious than a few minor contusions.(Imagine there being trains in DeKalb County?)

Tear gas placed in the safe of Farmers Grain and Lumber Co. office safe at Esmond foiled w would-be burglar Tuesday night.  (I bet the guy had a big surprise.)

Preparations are being made by Sycamore officials to suppress exuberant youth this Hallowe'en, should they become obstreperous. ...Some youth, taking time by the forelock, have already begun to soap windows.  One has gone so far as to write his sentiments in French.

Hubert Ross, 24, of Yorkville, serving an indeterminate sentence of one to 20 years in the state penitentiary, is seeking parole.  Ross was arrested in DeKalb County for the theft of an automobile, but while awaiting trial accompanied by Francis Farthing of Cortland on a jailbreak expedition that took them as far as Hiawatha, Kansas, where, tired and hungry, they surrendered to the sheriff of that county.

In the Jailhouse Again.  --Cooter

Monday, October 13, 2014

Looking Back, DeKalb County, Il., 100 Years Ago: Mighty Excited About Those "Talkies"

OCTOBER 22, 1913:


"It is certain that the invention of Thomas A. Edison of the talking pictures would be pronounced one of the seven wonders of the world.  The wizard's latest and generally-conceded most wonderful invention, the Talking Moving Picture, will be exhibited in a special program at Townsend Theater in Sycamore on Friday.

"Not the usual moving pictures; the laughing, talking, singing motion pictures make the pictured actors appear real."


The state board of education has ordered an investigation at Rockford to trace the cause of the epidemic of typhoid fever there.

Diphtheria still prevails at DeKalb.  Eight homes were under quarantine early this week, and one was released from quarantine.


Fourteen bodies have been removed and 22 men found alive by rescuers working the Satg Canyon coal mine in New Mexico, where an explosion entombed the day shift, numbering from 230 to 280 men.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Looking Back: DeKalb County 125 Years Ago

From the October 23, 2013, MidWeek, Illinois.

Oct. 24, 1888:

**  In Sycamore, it was discovered that there was an unnamed street so it became Waterman Street.

**  (Some things don't change.)  "There is too much political excitement in the air for a calm dealing out of justice, so jurors on Monday were excused from attendance until the first Monday after the election.  Court was also adjourned until that date."  (Must have had to do with that new pair of dirty words "career politician.")

**General Sherman's son and Stonewall Jackson's nephew occupy a desk together in the law office of Sen, Evarts in New York.  (The war must be over.)

**  Frank James, the ex-robber, has refused an offer of $125,000 and expenses to star three years in a play founded on his experiences.

Gotta Name That Street.  --Cooter

Friday, October 10, 2014

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Da Bears-- Part 10 (Last One): Ed Sprinkle, "Brian's Song" and "Da Superfans"

25.  ED SPRINKLE--  Disputed his long-held description of "the meanest man in pro football," but seemed o,k, with his nickname "The Claw" for his vicious clothesline tackling.

26.  "BRIAN'S SONG"--  A movie set in the racially charged 1960s based on the bond between Gale Sayers, a black player, and Brian Piccolo, a white player who learns he is dying of cancer.  bring tissues.

27.  "DA SUPERFANS"--  "Saturday Night Live" mocked the Bear fans with a recurring skit involving far guys wearing aviator sunglasses, eating tons of pork products having heart attacks and reviving themselves by pounding on their own chests and yelling BEARSSSSS!!!.  Of course, we loved them.  Still popular, most recently cooking brats on a commercial airliner.

And, then there is that great Fight Song.  I don't know of a better NFL one.

"Show the Way to Victory."  --Cooter

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Da Bears-- Part 9: Super Bowl XX, Walter Payton and Jay

22.  SUPER BOWL XX--  The culmination of what has been called the greatest single-season team in NFL history.  The 1985 Bears dominated opponents with the best running game in the league which was overshadowed by the most destructive defense in the NFL.

The SuperBears combined spectacular football with colorful personalities--  "Punky QB" Jim McMahon mooned a helicopter during practice the week before Super Bowl-- and swaggered into legend with the 46-10 vivisection of the Patriots on that glorious night in New Orleans.  (And, we won't talk about that Monday night in Miami.)

23.  WALTER PAYTON--  "Sweetness" was drafted by the Bears in 1975 and was the only good thing about the offense for almost a decade.

Peyton became the NFL's all-time rushing leader on Oct. 7, 1984, and held the mark for 18 years.  Mike Ditka called him the best football player ever.

Died of a rare form of liver cancer in 1999 at age 45.

I was happy to get to meet him also.

24.  JAY CUTLER--  The quarterback involved in the biggest trade in team history holds almost every significant Bears passing record.  he has not, however, won a Super Bowl or even appeared in one.  Wee still waiting.  Personally, I think the Broncos took us to the cleaners in this one.

Well, One Out of Three Not So Good.  --DaCoot

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Da Bears-- Part 8: Georgia, Virginia and "Da Coach"

19.  GEORGE HALAS--  "Papa Bear" founded the franchise and arguably became the most important figure in NFL history in its first 50 years.

Halas won six championships in four decades.  He retired in 1983.  No. 7 of the Bears is retired in his honor, and the "GSH" letters on the sleeves of the Bear uniforms are his initials.

And, I had the opportunity to meet him and shake his hand when I got his book autographed at training camp.  That was special.

20.  VIRGINIA McCASKEY--  George Halas' oldest daughter took over as majority owner of the team the day after her husband's passing.  her husband, Ed McCaskey, took over as chairman.

21.  "DA COACH"--  The Bears have won just two titles in the last 51 years.  Mike Ditka played tight end on the 1963 championship team and coached the 1985 Super Bowl winner.  What else do you need? And what else do you need endorsed.  No kidding on the last thing.  Someone should make a list of all his endorsements over the years.

We'll Never Forget the Way..."  --Cooter

Thursday, October 9, 2014

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Da Bears-- Part 7: Decatur, Packers and Bear Weather

16.  DECATUR-- The Bears were originally named the Decatur Staleys for the semipro football team fielded by the A.E. Staley food starch company in 1919.  George Halas took over the team in 1920 and founded it as an NFL franchise, moving it to Chicago in 1921.

Halas bought the rights to the team for $100, which was a lot of money then but wouldn't get you a regular season game ticket ticket today.

Fakers Gold: Halas adopted navy blue and orange team colors because of his alma mater, the University of Illinois.

17.  PACKERS--  Hate them, that's the law.  (O.K., so I break the law.  I like Da Pack unless they play Da Bears.)

18.  BEAR WEATHER-- Traditionally, the colder the better chance of da Bears winning.  The cold-weather toughened Bears hosted the West Coast-based 49ers in the NFC Championship game in January 1989 in wind chills that dipped to minus-26 degrees in Soldier Field.  The final score: 49ers 28, Bears 3.  R.I.P. Bear Weather.

"Show the Way to Victory."  --DaCoot