Dear Bob, here are some photos of my life here on the campus of Concordia Seminary. I love kids, working with the grounds crew, swimming, playing with my dog friends, and especially my own family people.
Over the past ten years, Dale has built various buildings for an outdoor Christmas Tiny Town. We place the church, parsonage, store, barn and farmhouse out in the side yard sometime after Thanksgiving and add lighted Christmas trees and spotlights. This year we placed a few tractors and a cow by the barn and cars at the store.
Also, we loaded up the Amazon Echo which has a great speaker with Christmas Carols and filled Tiny Town with music. Tiny Town has become a place for local parents to walk through with there small children and we've gotten a kick out of how the kids gravitate to the barn and the toys. They play with the tractors, pull the cow and move the cars to different places. In the morning we put them back and wait to see what happens the next night. It's pretty fun to see how much enjoyment they're getting. Last night when I let Ferdie out for the last time I noticed someone had put all the toys on the roof of the little store.
Our number 4 grandson, Jacob Thomas, is 3 today, an event which seems hardly possible. Jake was born with an immediate sense of humor, knowing instinctively what is going to be funny, what will make himself and others laugh. You can see his face change into an inward smile before he lets loose. He is also a ball guy who loves rolling balls, throwing balls, kicking balls, any size/color/shape.
Happy Birthday Jake!
Here's his cake for today, a fitting silly cake for a funny guy.
It's always a great day when we can pick him up at the airport.
Jake started this mess which almost did me in last year. He found the styrofoam and encouraged his brother to join him in scraping off all the little white bits which floated all over the house.
He's really good with dogs too and this picture is very pertinent for today as this dog, Esther Comfort Dog, will be officially placed in Holy Cross today at the late service.
Saturday Dale and I went out to Quail Ridge Park in Wentzville to watch Christian and Connor run in the Missouri Lutheran Schools state cross country meet. Christian and a couple of his classmates in the 4th grade, were moved up to run with the older boys, 6-8 and as you might expect this was like running under giant trees. The older boys from all over the state were really tall and long legged while are guys were tiny by comparison. But they did well enough to qualify for the National Cross Country meet this coming weekend in Wisconsin.
There's the line up for Christian's race, his team is wearing black in the middle. Then the take off and our kids got lost in the trees.
But he kept running
But their team got enough points to go to nationals.
Then Connor running in the second grade division medaled and we were so proud of him.
While in the Chicago area for Dale's class reunion this past weekend we made time to walk through the Pullman Historic District, newly named the Pullman National Monument. This neighborhood on the far south side was created by George Pullman back in 1880 as a company town servicing his Palace Car Company where the train cars were made. This town had everything, stores in the Market Square, a church, homes, the Hotel Florence and a school.
The town was designed to resemble a suburban park -- a radical notion for a working class community. Each row house had a small front yard. A variety of trees were planted along the parkways. While the Pullman Company still owned all the housing stock, company employees performed landscape maintenance. The company greenhouse and nursery, located near the shore of Lake Calumet at the end of 112th Street, cultivated more than 70 species of shrubs and trees, and 125 varieties of plants. More than 100,000 flowering plants were raised each year, circa 1892.
There were bigger homes for executives and foremen while every day workers lived in row houses. "The quality of company owned and maintained housing was uncommonly good for worker housing. It was Pullman's philosophy that happy workers would make more productive workers. A majority of the Pullman employees lived in the houses containing two to seven rooms. Foundations and some ornamentation was made of stone and the pitched roofs were slate. The homes, produced in blocks of two or more, provided economy of construction and maintenance. Every home had direct access to a private yard, woodshed and a paved alley. The alley served as access for vendors and trash collection, a company service included in the rent."
The average rent varied from 8 dollars per month to 25 dollars per month depending on the job level.
We went specifically to find my great grandfather's house which the 1900 census had him living at 459 Stephenson Street. We discovered, thanks to a man who has a great Facebook page pretty much dedicated to Pullman and the southside of Chicago, that the street name was changed at some point to Champlain. And we found it easily.
The best part of the day was meeting a retired Chicago policeman who was in the front yard of my grandfather's home and who by chance, owned the building next door. We got to talking with him about the area, the row houses and history, my great grandfather etc. He asked if we'd like to see the interior of his building because all the homes on that street had the same exact floor plan. Wow. We sure did and it was amazing to be in a place which was exactly like what my ancestor would have come home to each night.
This is the middle of Champlain Street taken in front of my great grandfather's house. Pullman is under going a huge revitalization as one home after another is being restored. Some are some aren't but you can tell it won't be long before entire streets have become historically preserved.
Here's the nice Chicago retired policeman standing on his front steps.
And to the left is our ancestry.
It still has the original stone front steps and steel rails.
It needs a bit of work. But still lovely
So here's what the inside would have looked like shown by the next door home.
The first thing you see when walking in the door is the stairway to the upstairs. The entrance hallway was originally fitted with a closet like room each with a toilet and running water faucet with a hanging pull chain, each assigned to individual apartments.
The hallway carpet in this building was laid with carpet rolls which were originally used in the old Pullman train cars. The policeman found lots and lots of old carpet and other upholstery material from the old days in the basement when he bought the home. The first tenant was a Pullman car upholsterer as was my great grandfather next door. So, our thought was this street may have housed people who did the same work.
The first room on the left inside the front door is a kitchen. You can see the original brick wall.
Standing in the living room you actually see this to the left-kitchen and small bedroom
Here's the living area
That room faces the street, the others face the alley. We never did see a bathroom, but surely there is one.
Not a whole lot has changed from the late 1800's which made this a true gift to walk into. Not only is Pullman an historic site, but it's a place where people are actually living in history.
There's our car parked in front of my great grandparents home. We obviously were not the best at parking.
Walk west down Champlain, once Stephenson Street and you're at the Market Square which once was a vibrant meeting and shopping area right in the middle of everything.
Dale's Bloom High School class of 65 had their big reunion last night at Glenwood Oaks restaurant in the south Chicago suburbs. It was crowded, loud, well served by the Glenwood Oaks staff under difficult conditions, and often chaotic. But everyone who attended from that class had a good time.
Turns out there were 5 members of the class who went into the ministry.
They were called up during the dinner prayer
Then the crowd was so large it was difficult for the servers to get to the tables, but yeomen they were. Since I knew almost no one except Dale and two others I was able to watch the wait staff do their work.
After the dinner it was time for a class picture to be taken and the plan was for everyone to go outside where bleacher type things were set up. The first half of the alphabet went first and just as they got outside it started to rain so back in they came. It appeared as though the idea of a picture was off the table, but then after some time passed the photographer decided, "what the heck, let's do this." So he called anyone or everyone who wanted in the picture to go back outside, this time the entire group. However, the idea of standing in a cold drizzle did not appeal to most who were there so the picture features only a small portion of the group. While I stood by with my phone camera, the photographer asked if I would hold down his lighting pole to keep the wind from knocking it over. So I did contribute in some way. Here's the only picture of the night of the class cut by 2/3's at least.
We're off to Chicago today so that Dale can go to his high school class reunion. In conjunction with that we'll make a visit tomorrow to the historic Pullman neighborhood to see the home my great grandfather lived in when he worked for that train car manufacturing company way back in the late 1800s and early 1900s. My sister found his address from back then while searching census records and a nice woman who is involved with the Pullman Heritage site confirmed it.
My father's grandfather and family are listed first. Seems the original street name in Pullman where they lived was Stephenson Street. Stephenson Avenue occupied pride of place in the center spine of the town because the man the avenue honors built the first public railway line. All railways today are descended from this first railway; he also developed the standard gauge of railways (1440 mm, 4 feet 8 and half inches) still in use today. Today the same street is named Champlain after Champlain honors Samuel De Champlain (1567-1635), French explorer and navigator who founded the city of Quebec. Who knows why a French explorer in Quebec got the street name, but that's what happened.
We're going to have a look at this home and other areas of Pullman.
The seminary kicked off a new campaign on Friday night with a reception and dinner. All five grandsons and their parents attended which meant Katie's crew flew in for the weekend. What energy. What I learned was that Katie's Jake takes after his cousin Christian in knowing how to ham it up for the camera. Christian learned to pose very young and so it seems, does Jake.
And here's Jake. He was on his way up to the top of a ramp leading to some playground equipment when he saw the camera. He immediately threw himself down and posed in a silly Jake way.
All the grandsons are here this weekend for a rather important seminary event/dinner which was held last night. Ahead of the dinner, the seminary staff asked for a photo of Dale with the 5 boys. Here's a look at how this session went.
I give up!
Here's a stunner taken after the dinner and before the speeches.