Saturday, February 28, 2015

Remembering the USS Maine Through Its Artifacts-- Part 1

From the Feb. 15, 2015, Naval History Blog "Navy and America Remembers the Maine Through Artifacts" by Tim Comerford.

One of the more famous warships in American history.  Its sinking on 15 February 1898, led to the Spanish-American War.  In 1912, the ship was raised for further examination to determine the cause of the explosion and later the remains scuttle in deep water off Havana.

But, thankfully, many parts of the ship are scattered throughout the United States.

Here is a partial listing:

Willard Park, Washington Navy Yard: 6-inch, 30 caliber gun.

Arlington National Cemetery: Ship's mainmast and anchor.

Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, D.C.: 6-inch deck gun, spare propeller and bronze windlass.

More to Come.  --Cooter

Friday, February 27, 2015

Live Long and Prosper...No More: Goodbye Mr. Spock

LEONARD NIMOY (1931-Feb. 27, 2015)

TV Guide lists him as one of the 50 greatest TV characters.  Best-known for his role as Mr. Spock, the half Vulcan, half human science officer on the Starship Enterprise.  He first worked with co-star Wiliam Shatner in a 1964 episode of "The Man from U.N.C.L.E."

Then there were all those "Star Trek" movies and even the appearances on the new "Star Trek" movies.

I remember at NIU while living in Lincoln Dormitory freshman year, right after dinner, our room would fill up with about 12-15 guys and we'd watch reruns of "Star Trek" on WGN.  We had the only TV on the floor there in the 1969-1970 year.  It was a massive 13-inch black and white.

We'll Miss Him.

"The Breakfast Club" Movie at 30-- Part 9: Critical Assessment and Understanding Cliques


"The Breakfast Club" had a budget of just $1 million and grossed $51 million.  Not bad.  Critics gave it good reviews.  Personally, I didn't see it when it was first released because I figured how much entertainment can there be from five kids in a detention hall.  I have since come to really enjoy the movie.  I thought I had a DVD of it, but obviously do not as I couldn't find it.  If it's on TV, I'm watching.


And then there were the cliques they had back in the 80s.  They were the same as we had in the 60s and I imagine they are still around today.

Only, we had the Greasers, Surfers, Jocks, Cheerleaders, AV Club and then a big mass of just regular kids.

I guess Judd Nelson would have been the Greaser.  Emilio Estevez was definitely the jock.  Ally Sheedy would just have been the outsider.  Molly Ringwald the cheerleader and Anthony Michael Hall the regular kid.

Every group had their own tables at lunch.

However, students today still have cliques, but there seems to be more fluidity among them.

Well, I Am Going to Have to Go Out and Hit Those Wal-Mart $5 Bins.  --Cooter

Thursday, February 26, 2015

"The Breakfast Club" Movie 30 Years On-- Part 8: Growing Up to Be Your Parents

One thing all the kids feared above all was to grow up to be like their parents.  But, social-economically, their generation will be the first one in sixty years to have smaller incomes, greater student-loan debt and higher unemployment than the previous generation.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"The Breakfast Club" Movie at 30-- Part 7: The Library and Growing Up to Be Judd Nelson


Most of the movie took place in a two-story library.  This was built inside Maine North's gymnasium.

The Chicago Blitz later practiced here; Michael Jordan shot commercials here.  WHAT??  Michael Jordan during commercials, how could that be?

There is no trace of the library remaining, unfortunately, just some boxes of toner cartridge.


It was a cast of unknowns at the time.

Judd Nelson "was a revelation, the kid who stood up to authority and seemed mercilessly direct in a way teens only dream of being."  nelson was also 25 when the movie was shot.  If the movie were remade now, he would probably be the villain of the group.

NOTE:  His "Eat my shorts!" came four years before Bart Simpson uttered those words.

Whose Shorts?  --Cooter

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

"The Breakfast Club" Movie at 30-- Part 6: Two Movies at Maine North High School

"The Breakfast Club" was shot inside Des Plaines' Maine North High School.  The school itself closed in 1981.  (I came close to student teaching here in 1973, but ended up in nearby Maine West High School.)  It opened in 1970 so was just used for 11 years.

Occupying the building now is an Illinois State Police district office, an Illinois Lottery prize center, a Cook County 911 Center and assorted other state offices.  The building is painted gray.

Ernie Scarpelli, building manager, gave a tour.  The hallways through which the cast sprinted are now an institutional yellow and the lockers are gone.  In the basement, in a glass case, is a "Breakfast Club" poster.  he says he gets about 30 people a year wanting to tour the building, but tells them to just take a picture of the exterior of the building.

The school was also used in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" movie of 1986.


"The Breakfast Club" Movie at 30-- Part 5: Sexual Harassment and Bullying

Estevez was in detention for sexually assaulting (hazing) a fellow athlete in what would be considered hazing today.  Nelson's locker is scrawled with homophobic hate language.  Ringwald says a relationship is one man and one woman.

Well, we all know about hazing now, bad, really, really bad and unacceptable.   And everyone knows you'd best never say anything bad about gays and lesbians now are face unbelievable wrath.  The movie would probably not even be allowed to be released in today's society of p.c..


Monday, February 23, 2015

"The Breakfast Club" Movie at 30-- Part 4: Salaries and Fashion


Paul Gleason, as the exhausted assistant principal (actually a very poor one for leaving the kids, but if he hadn't, there wouldn't have been much of a movie) moaned to a janitor that he has to put up with the kids and after 22 years as an educator, he was making $31,000.

Today, an assistant principal with comparable seniority and an advanced college degree in Northbrook now gets about $140,000.


"The Breakfast Club" used 80s fashion such as parka hoods, brown leather riding boots and grungy plaids.  But some of these are coming back according to today's students.  Even Ally Sheedy's grunge look is hot.

Of course, I loved it when Molly Ringwald gave Sheedy the makeover. The look on the boys faces was great.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

"The Breakfast Club" Movie at 30-- Part 5: Teen Smoking and Alienation


Judd Nelson smoked cigarettes and marijuana.    "Only burners get high," as Molly Ringwald told him.  But later in the film, everyone of the students smoked grass.  In 2014, a study showed that about 37 percent of high schoolers did at least once a year.

As far as cigarettes in 1991, a study showed 25.5% did, by 2013, fewer than 16%.  However, like with Nelson, most likely students to smoke are loners, rebels and the ones from broken homes.


None of the "Breakfast Club" students were happy with their parents who said they were pressured, smothered, abused and at best ignored..  Mothers were entering the work force and, of course, Dads were already in it.

Studies today show this is not as bad as in the past.  They show that 14% of millennials 25 to 34 still live at home.  And, 2/3 of the millennials report positive relationships with their parents.

Hey, Free Room and Board, Wouldn't You.  --Dacoot

"The Breakfast Club" Movie at 30-- Part 4: Detention

Though the movie is mostly about John Hughes' time at Glenbrrok North High School, this detention comes from New Trier Township High, where the weekday morning detentions have been called "The Breakfast Club" for decades.

And, New Trier still has them.  But Scott Williams, assistant principal in charge of discipline says, "But I made it a personal point a few years ago of not calling it 'Breakfast Club' anymore.  'Breakfast Club' sounded fun.  Detention is not supposed to be fun-- there is no dancing on the tables or climbing into ceilings."

As for Saturday morning detention: It still lives, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and staff does, on occasion, ask students yo write what they had learned.

In the movie, Bender gets another eight weeks of detention.  According to Williams, "If we had a student at that level, I doubt he would be going here now."


Friday, February 20, 2015

"The Breakfast Club" Movie at 30-- Part 3: The Fist-Pump Football Field

The iconic last shot of the movie with Judd Nelson walking across a football field and pumps his fist in triumph.  Where was this field?

Online speculation puts it at Maine South H.S. in Park Ridge to Maine West in Des Plaines to Glenbrook North.  Of course this last place is such a strong contender that its students occasionally strike a Nelson fist pump in the approximate spot on the field (with the press box just to his right arm).

But the truth of the matter is that the field was at the now closed Maine North High School in Des Plaines, where the rest of the film was shot.

Don't You Forget About Me.  --DaCoot

Don't You Forget About Them, "Breakfast Club" 30 Years Later-- Part 2


John Hughes, the director, based the movie on his days as a student at Glenbrook High School in Northbrook, Illinois.  He died of a heart attack recently at age 59.

EMILIO ESREVEZ, the jock, peaked in the Brat Pack years of movies.

MOLLY RINGWALD is a part-time jazz singer stayed beloved.

ALLY SHEEDY and JUDD NELSON remained somewhat outsiders

ANTHONY MICHAEL HALL, the nerd, bulked up and is Steve Carrell's fixer in "Forecatcher."


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Don't You Forget About Them-- Part 1: "The Breakfast Club" Turns 30

From the Feb. 18, 2015, Chicago Tribune by Christopher Borrelli.

His take on the 30th anniversary of the movie "Breakfast Club."  It premiered on Feb. 15, 1985.

When I found out it just had primarily five people in it who were serving detention, I thought it would be horrendously boring.  Being a teacher, I knew what detention hall was all about.  However, I never could have imagined a teacher walking out and leaving the students to their own devices.  I supervised detentions often and never would have considered walking out of the room, but I suppose it wouldn't have been much of a movie had he not.

And then, they were all such stereotypes of high school kids.

The movie starred Judd Nelson (tough guy), Emilio Estevez (jock), Ally Sheedy (basket case), Molly Ringwald (princess) and Michael Hall (brain).  There are pictures of the five back then and now (always interesting).  Borrelli says it will be re-released in theaters March 26 and 27).

I Just Might Have to See It On the Big Screen.  --DaCoot

Bathing Is Compulsory-- Part 3: Separate Baths for Colored and White Persons

More pictures and quotes from the bulletin boards.

"Good preventative work during detention."  Photos including inmates in Occupation, Education, Recreation, Playground and Schoolroom.

Telephone calls provided.  Records.

Clients are interviewed to throw light on personal and community problems.

There are eight Bathrooms.  Photos of Boys Bath and Girls Bath.

Also, there are separate baths for colored and white persons.  A towel, wash cloth and toothbrush provided for each inmate.


An Interesting Look at Jail in 1922.  --Cooter

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Bathing Is Compulsory-- Part 2: Cleanliness, Sunlight and Fresh Air for All

There are signs set up on movable bulletin boards.  They have pictures and captions.  Some of the others:

HOUSE OF DETENTION    MENTAL AND MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS:  Are essential in order to make intelligent disposition of cases.

There's a bed for every inmate:  Then there are pictures of a white girls bedroom, colored girls dormitory and dining room.  (Apparently there is segregation in D.C. back in 1922.)

Then a bulletin board showing pictures of the employee dining room, shelter for stranded girls.  "There is Cleanliness, Sunlight and Fresh Air for all."

Still More on Those Boards.  --FreshAirCooter

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bathing is Compulsory in 1922-- Part 1: In the Jailhouse Now

From the Nov. 2, 2012, Shorpy "Bathing is Compulsory 1922."

1922.  Washington, D.C. "Women's Bureau The House of detention display at the Social Hygiene exhibit.

The photo shows four people at a table, three women and one man.  They are reading pieces of paper.  The sign behind them reads "WOMEN'S BUREAU-- METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT--  WASHINGTON, D.C.

Citizens are asked to notify the presence of:

I.  Any friendless, homeless or incorrigible girls or boys.

II.  Any condition making for a person's causing delinquency

III.  Any girl or woman who is violating the law.

More to Come.  --Cooter

Monday, February 16, 2015


Cubs announcer Bert Wilson nicknamed Ernie Banks "Bingo" while naming second baseman Gene Baker "Bango," insuring a lyrical double play combination with first baseman Steve Bilko--  a "Bingo-Bango-Bilko double play!"

Tinkers to Evers to Chance.  --DaCooot

Not Saying Current Baseball Playres Are Paid Too Much, But This Is What Ernie Banks Was Paid

From the Jan. 25, 2015, Chicago Tribune.

Ernie Banks "was an immediate hit, and in 1955 broke the all-time record for home runs from a shortstop in a season, 39, and finishing with 44, including five grand slams, another record that stood until 1987.

"Despite playing for awful Cubs teams, he earned the National League MVP Awards in 1958 and '59, and quickly became a household name.

"he made $27,500 in '58 and got a raise to $45,000 in '59.  In his final two seasons, 1970-1971, he earned $85,000 in each.

"(His salary as CTA board member, a post he held from 1969 to 1981, paid $15,000 annually.)"

Compared to Today's Salaries?  --Cooter

Saturday, February 14, 2015

"Donna the Tank" Dedicated in DeKalb Back in 1947

From the October 30, 2012, DeKalb (Il.) Chronicle "Looking Back."

"Donna the Tank" was dedicated on the south side of Lincoln Highway near 4th Street across from McCabe's, a famous student watering hole when we were students.  It was in a small triangular park.  We walked by this tank at its first location many times going to Andy's, especially as alumni.  The main parking lot was south of Lincoln Highway and you had to cross the railroad tracks carefully due to the large number of trains charging through town.

I never knew it was called "Donna the Tank" and don't know why it was called that.  Perhaps it was the name the tank's crew gave it due to its diminutive size.  It certainly wasn't the size of "Fury" in the recent movie of the same name.

It is now at Memorial Park at 1st Street and the Lincoln Highway (Il- Rt 38).

I have been unable to find out anymore about its history, but I would say given the dedication date and the tank's appearance, I would say it was a light tank from World War II.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Hope for Bounty's Captain, Dead Crew Woman Back in 2012

By October 30, 2012, five days after the HMS Bounty movie ship of 1960 sank in Hurricane Sandy off Cape Hatteras, N.C., , the Coast Guard was still looking for the ship's captain, Robin Walbridge, 63, of St. Petersburg, Florida.

However, he died as well.

One woman crew member died.  The other 16 survived.


The H.M.S. Bounty


The latest HMS Bounty was built for the 1960 MGM's "Mutiny on the Bounty" movie with Marlon Brando and has been in several movies since then and dozens of TV shows.  The studio commissioned the ship from Smith and Ruhland in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.  It was built in the same way that a ship would have been 200 years ago and constructed from the ship's original drawings.

After the movie's filming, it was berthed in St. Petersburg, Florida, where it remained until the mid 1980s.  In 1986, Ted Turner bought the MGM film library and the Bounty.  The ship was used to film "Treasure Island" with Charlton Heston in 1989.

In 1993, the Bounty was donated to the Fall River Foundation.  In 2001 it was purchased by the HMS Bounty Organization and it was in need of major repairs which were done.

The Bounty sank and was a total loss on 25 October 2012 Hurricane Sandy.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

World War I Shipwreck Project Launched

From the October 27, 2012 BBC News: Hampshire and Isle of Wight.

Some 44,800 pounds from the Heritage Lottery Fund has been established to fund it.  The Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology will look for and explore wrecks hidden off the country's shore.

An estimated 250 wrecks from World War I are there.


Six Deadliest Shipwrecks

From the April 11, 2012, Live Science "Disasters at Sea: 6 Deadliest Shipwrecks" by Stephanie Pappas.

RMS TITANIC--  1,500 deaths  April 15, 1912

LE JOALA--  1,863 deaths--  Sengelese ferry Sept. 26, 2002

TEK SING--  1600 deaths in 1822.  Similar to the Titanic.  Called the "Titanic of the Far East"

HALIFAX HARBOR DISASTER--  Dec. 6, 1916.  The ammunition-loaded French cargo ship SS Mont-Blanc collided with Norwegian steamship SS Imo.  2,000 killed, 9,000 wounded.

DONA PAZ--  Philippine passenger ship collided with oil tanker on Dec. 20, 1987.  As many as 4,375 on a ship designed to hold 1,424 maximum.

MV WILHELM GUSTLOFF--  German hospital ship torpedoed by Soviet submarine four times in the Baltic Sea on January 30, 1945.  Of an estimated 10,582 on ship, 9,400 deaths.


I Saw the HMS Caroline

Several years ago, my family was on a cruise around the British Isles and our ship docked at Belfast.  The HMS Caroline was less than a quarter mile away, though it didn't much look like a warship, more of a floating house.  It had no weapons.

It is located (and our cruise ship was moored, close by the drydock in which the RMS Titanic was built.

That was a lot of history right by our ship.


HMS Caroline to Become Floating Tourist Attraction in 2012

From the October 16, 2012, Mail Online.

The First World War warship is set to become a tourist attraction in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  It will be restored and reopened to celebrate its 1200th anniversary.  The hope is that it will become as popular as the World War II cruiser HMS Belfast in the Thames River, London.

The HMS Caroline is the second most important historical ship in the British Navy after the HMS Victory.  The 3,750 ton light cruiser is the last surviving ship of the important Battle of Jutland during World War I.

Lottery money will be used in the restoration.

The "C" Class cruiser has been moored at the Alexander Dock since 1924 and most recently was used as a training ship before being decommissioned last March.  Its weaponry and boilers were removed in 1924.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

What Kind of Navy Did We Have Before World War I?-- Part 2

SUBMARINES:  17, 17, 23, 26 (1913), 36, 37, 44

STEEL GUNBOATS:  18, 18, 17, 17 (1913), 17, 17, 17

AUXILIARIES:  29, 28, 28, 27 (1913), 26, 26, 25

GUNBOATS:  16, 15, 12, 11 (1913), 11, 11, 11

TOTAL (Including Part 1):  196, 2012, 211, 214 (1913),  224, 231, 245.

It was a steady buildup.


What Kind of Navy Did We Have Before World War I?-- Part 1

According to the U.S. Navy website.  By Joshua Keating.

For the years 1910 to 1916

BATTLESHIPS:  29, 30, 32, 32 (1913), 34, 32, 36

CRUISERS:  27, 25, 24, 27 (1913), 28, 30 30

MONITORS:  2, 3, 3, 3 (1913), 3, 3, 3

DESTROYERS:  27, 36, 42, 46 (1913), 50, 57, 61

TORPEDO BOATS:  31, 30, 30, 25 (1913), 19, 18, 18

--DaCoot's Boats

Two Canal Boats Found in Lake Ontario--- Part 2

But, then, you have to wonder what the canal boats were doing in the lake when they sank?

Two divers using deep-sea apparatus filmed the wrecks, located some 200 feet down.  The identification of the two has not happened but it is believed that the vessels were built in the mid-1800s when the Erie Canal was widened to accommodate larger boats.

Records of the more than 600 Lake Ontario shipwrecks didn't turn up a match for either one.

Jim Kennard thinks that they weer probably being towed when they sank.  Both show damage indicating their cargoes may have shifted during fast-changing weather conditions.  They were likely older boats whose owners tried to get one more voyage out of them on the lake, which is connected to the Erie Canal by the Oswego Canal.

Mystery Solved?  --Cooter

Monday, February 9, 2015

Two Canal Boats Discovered in Lake Ontario-- Part 1

From the Jan. 22, 2015, USA Today "Shipwreck hunters make unusual find" by AP.

First, there was the possible discovery of LaSalle's Griffin and now this.  But why would canal boats be in Lake Ontario?

The wrecks of two 19th-century canal boats have been found on the bottom of Lake Ontario.  This is a very unusual discovery because this type of vessel would not be good for use on open water.

A team of New York shipwreck hunters made the announcement on Jan. 21st.

The three-member team from the Rochester, NY, area discovered the boats using side-scan sonar last year while searching for shipwrecks on the east end of Lake Ontario.

The sunken canal boats-- one 65-feet long and the other 78 feet long--  were found within a few miles of each other about midway between Oswego and Sackets Harbor (a name I have come across often in connection with the War of 1812).

More to Come.  --DaShipWreckCoot

Great Lakes "Holy Grail" Shipwreck Found?

From the Dec. 24, 2014, Fox News" by Rob Quinn.

There are thousands of shipwrecks on the Great Lakes, but one of the first full-size ships to sink in them had not yet been found.  The Griffin was built by French explorer Robert de la Salle, and sank in Lake Michigan in 1679.

Divers Kevin Dykstra and Frederick Monroe say they have found the wreck of the Griffin.

They spotted it in 2011 but have waited until now to reveal their discovery.  They say that a carving on the front of the wreck resembles those of 17th century carvings of the fabled griffin creature.

The two actually weren't looking for this ship when they found it.  Instead, they were looking for $2 million in Civil War Confederate gold coins believed to have been in a box car pushed off a ferry to keep it from sinking in the late 1800s.

Another wreck hunter said earlier this year that he is 99.9% sure he has found the remains of the Griffin.

Since 1981, Steve Libert has spent more than $1 million and made more than a thousand dives searching for the Griffin according to the New York Times.

Found It?  --Cooter

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Few Words=Cooler: "Heeeyyy"

From OMG! Yahoo, the Yo Show.

Henry Winkler, as the Fonz was something else when it came to using single words to express how really cool he was.

Two favorites were "Heeeeyyyy" and "Whoa" a word taken from horseback riding.

It is hard to be cool when you say a lot of words.

I Wouldn't Know Anything About That.  --NotSoCoolCooter

Proposed Museum of Suburbia

From the October 10, 2012, Yahoo! Finance "Suburban Dream: Museum of Suburbia" by Jim Carlton, Wall Street Journal.

Overland Park is a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri.  Johnson County officials are proposing spending $34 million for a National Museum of Suburbia which will feature a ranch-style home along with lawn furniture to be built in a former bowling alley.

They expect to draw 60,000 visitors who will pay $6 each to see it.  Having grown up in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, I sure would pay a visit.


Melting Italian Glacier reveals Dead from World War I

From the October 2, 2012, Gadling "Retreating Italian Glacier Reveals Dead From World War I" by Sean McLachlan.

Two bodies were discovered on an Italian mountain at Presena Glacier in the Treino-Alto Adige region of the Dolmites at 9,850 feet.

The bodies are believed to have been from an artillery unit of the Austro-Hungarian Army killed in 1918.

The skeletons were identified by remnants of uniform and insignia.  Their names have not been found.

During the war, Italians fought the Austro-Hungarian troops in the bitter cold mountain tops.

A favorite tactic of both sides was to fire artillery shells above enemy positions and start avalanches, which is most likely what happened to this pair.


Friday, February 6, 2015

My First and Last Field Trip to An Amusement Park With Students: Battered in the Bumper Cars

A memory brought back because of the last post.

Back when I was teaching, my group of student sections went on a math/science field trip out to Great America amusement park in Gurnee, Illinois.  The park was closed as it wasn't summer and the kids were there to use math and science to determine height of rides and how they worked.  They all had work sheets to fill out in the process.

I taught social studies, but they needed chaperones, so I was essentially along for the ride. A few of the rides were open and afterwards, the kids got to spend some time on them.

One of those rides was my all-time favorite, bumper cars.  I had always considered myself as an excellent bumper car driver, able to inflict great hits on other drivers.  I got the brilliant idea that it might be fun to get on and slam into some of my students.

So, I get in a bumper car and was anxiously awaiting the electricity to be turned on.  I had several in particular in my sights.  Such was my intent, that I didn't notice that the ride instantly filled up they were all looking at me.  (No one wanted to ride on it before as it was too lame in their minds.)

The power was turned on and I went through probably the worst several hours of my life.  At least it seemed like hours.  Little did I know in advance, but when those kids saw me getting in the bumper car, they all had the same thought, "Time to get old teach!"

I was hit steadily and often several times at once.  I was battered mercilessly and they all had bug smiles on their faces.  I didn't think it was possible to get hurt on bumper cars, but I sure found out different that day.  I mean, I was sore when I got off.

Imagine getting a shot at your teacher and not getting in trouble for taking it.  And, they really wanted me to go back on it for another round.  I respectively declined.

The Hunter Becomes the Hunted.  --DaSoreCoot

No School? Why?-- Part 8: A Trip to Riverview

"Probably the most egregious closings occurred in the 1920s when Chicago Mayor William Hale "Big Bill" Thompson called off school and gave children free tickets to the Riverview amusement park on the North Side.  At least twice, in 1922 and 1928, the notoriously corrupt mayor thumbed his nose at parents and teachers alike to curry favor with future voters still in school.

"Parents were understandably outraged that their kids were pulled from class and dumped in the middle of the park unchaperoned.

"The Tribune reported of school children learning from a 'snake charmer' and being seduced to see an 'Amazonian jungle woman'.:

I remember going out to Chicago's Great America amusement park once with students who were to use math and science to determine how the rides worked and their heights.  More on that next post.

I Would Like to see that "Amazonian Jungle Woman."  --Cooter

Thursday, February 5, 2015

No School? Why?-- Part 7: Other Reasons

In 1978, Chicago Public Schools closed two days for Memorial Day because officials couldn't decide whether to close on the state-designated date or the federally designated date.

On Nov. 1, 1949, Kane County children got to wake up late because their teachers were getting a first-hand view of the country's business and industry."  The tour was intended to show teachers "what makes American profit system work."

No More Bad-Mouthing Business.  --Cooter

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Carolina Beach Declares Successful Summer Season in 1912

From the October 2, 2012, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Back Then."

SEPTEMBER 11, 1912:  "The season at Carolina Beach, which was one of the most successful in its history, formally closed on Sunday and the Harper line of steamers to this popular resort in a few days will go on their regular Winter schedule.

"With the gallant Capt. Harper still at the helm, Carolina Beach this year was even more popular than ever and the statistics of travel show that during the season 104,300 persons were handled between Wilmington and the beach and the beach and Wilmington."

The river steamer Continental was the primary mode of travel to Carolina Beach.  Passengers got off on the east bank of the Cape Fear River and a small train took them to Carolina Beach.  There were very few people living at the beach full time.

This was before roads were built to Carolina Beach so by far the fastest way there was via boat.

A Favorite Beach of My Family.  --Cooter

Wilmington Area in 1962: Planned Ferry at Fort Fisher and Full-Scale Military Maneuver

From the October 2, 2012, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Back Then."

SEPTEMBER 27, 1962:  A delegation from Southeastern North Carolina met with Governor Terry Sanford to ask his endorsement of a proposed Fort Fisher to Southport ferry. (It did come to pass and today is a great, scenic way to get from the Pleasure Island Peninsula across the Cape Fear River to Southport instead of going the fifty or so miles back to Wilmington to cross and then go to Southport.)

SEPTEMBER 11, 1964:  The Army Transportation Corps planned to land 1200 troops on Bald Head Island in a full-scale military maneuver.  Thirty-one vessels were used in the exercise which was headquartered at Sunny Point Army Ammunition Terminal.

Storming Ashore Like at Fort Fisher.  --Cooter

No School? Why?-- Part 6: World War II


During a crisis, there can be other important uses for school buildings and teachers.  On February 16, 1942, schools were used by local draft boards.  On May 8, school was canceled so teachers could get a day off because many of them had volunteered to help with sugar rationing registration.

In November, pupils stayed home at least two days because the city's 340 elementary schools were used to help register car owners for federal gas rationing.


No School? Why?-- Part 5: Illness and Elections

We had another three inches of snow last night, but schools weren't called off.  So far this new year, schools have been closed three days.  Two for extreme cold and one for snow.


Smallpox, measles, scarlet fever and influenza outbreaks have shut down individual schools across the Chicagoland area dozens of times over the decades, but polio hit schools particularly hard because of the way the disease targeted children.

The polio scare of 1937 delayed the start of school in the fall in Chicago and suburbs for three weeks.  There was a similar scare in 1941.


City schools were closed on Election Day for many years.  In 1928, city schools urged principals and teachers, "Vote for any candidate you choose, but be certain to vote."


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

No School? Why?-- Part 4: The "Honors" Excuse

Letting kids out of school as a way to bestow honor on someone is commonplace.  Presidents Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Pulaski Day, Memorial Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day are some of them in Chicago and Illinois.

In 1913, as part of the celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birthday, schools were closed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

In 1939, children were urged to attend the American Legion parade September 26th instead of going to school.

Parochial and public schools were closed October 5, 1979, for Pope John Paul II's public Mass i Grant Park.  Public  school students stayed home on January 29, 1981, "to celebrate the return of the 52 hostages" from Iran.

As It Begins to Snow Again Right Now.  DaCoot

No School? Why?-- Part 3: Boy-Power Shoveling

The next day, January 14, 1918, the Tribune reported,"60,000 boys of the city will trot off to school today as usual, but they will carry shovels in place of books."  As part of the plan drawn up by the school superintendent, they would help dig the city out in shifts and "break trails through their snow besieged neighborhoods.

They worked in shifts and rested in heated classrooms under the supervision of teachers.  They superintendent of streets of Chicago soon reported that streets were 90 percent open.

But, the schools still weren't able to reopen on Monday because there was still a lack of coal.  In fact, schools did not reopen for good until January 28th.

There was much made during this period of the fact that saloons were able to remain open with plentiful supplies of coal.

Interesting About Those Saloons.  Must have Been Turning beer Into Coal.  Hey Pass the Coal.  --Cooter

Monday, February 2, 2015

No School? Why?-- Part 2: Coal

Fuel shortages in the past also had an impact on pupil attendance.  Students have stayed home because of a lack of ways to heat schools.  This was a relatively common problem during the 19th century and happened quite often in the first quarter of the 20th century.  The most recent time was 1950.

The 1917-1918 school year was particularly bad.  On Dec. 7, 1917, the Tribune reported that coal shortages would extend the upcoming Christmas vacation by seven days as "a fuel conservation measure."   After all, World War I was underway at the time.

 But heavy snow in January prevented coal deliveries and added even more days off for the kids.

Citizen brigades shoveled streets to make them passable.  The children even pitched in.  (Why?  Children working so they get to go to school?)  On Jan. 10, the Tribune reported that "thousands of children volunteered yesterday to dig snow to save schools from closing."

On January 13th schools were ordered closed for another whole week.

Kids Shoveling Snow So They Can Go to School?  --Cooter

No School? Why?-- Part 1: Reasons School Gets Called Off in Chicago

From the January 11, 2015, Chicago Tribune by Stephan Benzkofer


Chicago-area schools were called off last week because of the brutally cold temperatures, leading to the inevitable oldsters stories about walking through those ten-foot snowdrifts with no shoes on our twenty mile walk to school during a raging blizzard with temperatures down to -40 degrees.

Schools have been called off for a lot of reasons besides weather in the Chicago area, though.

Here are some of them:


Snow is the biggest culprit, but there are other Mother Nature reasons.

Bitter cold temps shut down many Chicago and suburban schools Feb. 8, 1933, but most reopened the next day.  Cicero and Forest Park, however, were exceptions.

Freezing temperatures on Jan. 24, 1963, also shut down many suburban schools but not Chicago because they already had the day off for teachers' marking day.

A HEAT WAVE in September 1927 shuttered schools for two days.  Students unfortunate to attend 600 portable school rooms with corrugated iron roofs had it even worse in their "veritable bake ovens," got an extra half day  to cool off.

I remember hearing on the news that Round Lake schools were going to have early dismissal in 1995 because of heat during several June days as we made up for days missed because of the 38 day strike in the fall of 1994.

I Still Hate Snow.  --DaCoot

A Historic Snowstorm Yesterday: #4 Snowstorm in History

For the third day this new year, no school in Chicago and most of the Northwest Suburbs.  The first two times were because of Polar Vortex Cold, temps under zero and even worse windchills.  Today it is because of the lots of snow and blowing snow we received yesterday until the wee hours of this morning.

I went out twice yesterday and both times cleared off 6-8 inches of snow over most of the driveway.  Both times, we had a five foot wide snowdrift about 2-3 feet high at the top of the driveway by the garage.  I definitely need a bigger snowblower.

I heard several counties finally announced that they were going to stop clearing the roads until the wind and snow stopped.  Winds blew all day at  20-30 mph and anything cleared was covered within minutes.  I cleared twice because my snowblower in underpowered for amounts over six inches.

Some 19.3 inches of snow recorded at O'Hare, making this the fourth biggest snowfall in Chicago history.  The "champion" is still the Blizzard of '67.

I hope the snowmobilers and skiiers are happy.

I Hate Snow.  --Cooter

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Mr. Cub Could Have Been Mr. White Sox, But...

"Ernie Banks might have wound up with the Chicago White Sox, if not for a rare bad defensive game in a Negro leagues All-Star Game at old Comiskey Park.  Legendary scout Hugh Alexander, then working for the Sox under general manager Frank Lane, told sportswriter Jerome Holtzman he was one of the first to truly scout Banks, traveling through Colorado, South Dakota and Kansas to see the skinny athletic shortstop.

"'When I got throug looking at him, Lane said 'What do you think?' Alexander recalled in the 'Jerome Holtzman Baseball Reader.'  I said 'I'm not sure he can play shortstop, but he can hit with power.'  Lane decided he'd take a look himself.  ...After the All-Star  Game, Frank told me 'I don't like as a ballplayer.'  I said 'By God, I do.  Why don't you like him?'

"Lane said 'He made two errors in the All-Star Game.'

"I told him 'Frank, don't pay attention to that.  He can hit.  Anyway, he'll make a good third baseman.'

Alexander said Lane told him to contact the Monarchs owner and make a low offer.  Alexander knew Banks had gotten better offers, so he never contacted the owner."

That would have been something, Ernie Banks, Chicago Whire Sox.

Mr. White Sox.  Has a Nice Ring to It.  Doesn't It?  --Cooetr