Buying second house-Late in 1966 and early in 1967 we started to think about buying a larger house. We really did not want to move from Arlington Heights because of friends and schools, etc. We saw a model home in northern Palatine that we really liked. At the same time there was a new sub division in Arlington Heights being developed just north of Thomas and about ½ mile east of AH Road, called Hampton Court. Chuck Locassio was the builder. We told him about the house we liked and he got hold of the architect and we bought the drawings for $600. Chuck said he could build it for about $45,000 and that seemed about right to us. We then made some changes like enlarging the garage (very smart move for little money) and finishing the basement. This brought the total to $49,500. They started construction in early spring of 1967 and finished about four months later, right on time. We made it a habit of going over to the building site several times a week to check on things. When the house was almost completed I remember that we finally realized that we needed a lot more light switches and outlets. I gave Chuck Locassio the list of changes and he made them all without any additional charge.
This house had about 2700 sq ft. two floors and about a 2/3 basement. On the first floor was a living room, small dining room, large kitchen, large family room with fireplace, half bath, study, and laundry room. Upstairs was a very large master bedroom or dormitory, two full baths and three bedrooms, one quite large. We loved the house and were to live in it for twenty years. The yard was not large because the lot was only 75 x 135=1/4 acre. The address was 1519 N. Hickory, Arlington Heights.
One little, but very important detail, was selling our first house on Walnut. We were very lucky with that. We put an ad in the local and Chicago papers and put a for sale sign out front. The very first weekend a couple came in and met our asking price of $26,000. Maybe we did not ask for enough, but who cares. Our mortgage had been paid down to about $13,000 so we had around $13,000 to work with. At least we did not have to pay any real estate commissions and the other closing costs were very minor. I think we paid Gene Schlickman, our lawyer, $100 for his work. We put $9,000 or 20% down on the new house and had $4,000 for furniture, etc. we needed that and maybe spent more, because we basically had to furnish the whole house from scratch. The stuff from the old house was really beaten up and old. Some of it went into the basement of the new house.
We moved in about October 1, 1967. I don’t think we hired movers because there was not much worth moving.
New neighbors and friends-Only one neighbor had moved in before us. That was Al and Nancy Blohm who moved into the house just to our south, about one month before us and still live there. Al was a painter and even did some work for us and Nancy worked at Jewel and I think still does. They had two girls about Kathy’s age.
To our north were the Wilkinsons. He was Gene and I cannot remember her name. He was the human resource manager at one of the large drug companies and she ran an Avon business out of their home. The two boys were Steve and Tom’s age. Eventually there were the Jarosz, Costigans, Weavers, Glovers, Torrences, Wrobels, Stakowiaks, Frerks, Spellmans, Klawitters, Beckers, Peifers, Burkes, Andrews and more that we got to know real well. We had block parties on July 4th for many years and even formed a tennis league with round robin play. At the end of the season we would have a party at someone’s house with small prizes for the winners. A couple of times we went away for a tennis weekend. One time was to the Wagon Wheel, a rustic resort out north of Rockford. We also knew Lou and Dwight Walton and Dan and Lee Janko among other neighbors.
Mary Jean and Bob Jarosz had four boys roughly the age of our kids. They moved in three houses south of us at the corner of Thomas and Hickory. He owned an executive recruiting business that had its ups and downs. He is still working and the business has not come back fully from the 2001 downturn. Mary Jean still works for a Urologist. When business was real good, they bought a big home up in northern Wisconsin on Trout Lake, near Minaqua. They also built another home in Arlington Heights in the area just to the east of our first house. It is a very nice and expensive home that they are now trying to sell.
Emily and John Costigan lived in one of the two model homes just east of Jarosz on Thomas St. They had two boys and two girls. John was a corporate lawyer with Kraft Foods and eventually general counsel with Premark when they were spun off from Kraft. John made out very well with that move and the eventual sale to Illinois Tool Works. When we first met them he was going to the University of Chicago for his MBA. Once he finished that, maybe in 1987, they moved to Lake Forest, which was closer to his job. I remember him saying that five years was long enough in any house because they always went up in value and that way eventually you would end up with a very expensive home. Luckily for them that is how it turned out. Anyway they sort of started the trend for our neighbors to move away.
Jan and Bob Weaver lived right behind us. They had two boys and two girls. Bob sold stained glass windows and related products. They stayed in that house a long time and now live near Libertyville, by their daughter. Bob was a stitch and always good for a few jokes. We have not seen them for years. Remember they are the ones we ran into on our houseboat trip on Rainy Lake. See later. Their oldest child, Bob, died last spring and we only heard about it later.
Linda and Bruce Glover lived a short block away on Maude. They had one boy and one girl. She was an excellent tennis player and he was good at golf and other sports. They were both excellent bridge players. We played in a duplicate bridge group with them for several years and that is where we met Patty and John Ancona, who later became our real estate agent in Palatine. Bruce taught math at Hersey High School and also was the head football coach. One year they won the state class 5A championship. They moved to Palm Dessert, CA and we really have not seen them since. Drove by their place out there, but did not stop in.
Nan and Dave Torrence moved into a ranch house up the street in about 1972. They were the second owners. They had four kids, three boys and one girl. They were very close in age to our kids even though Nan and Dave were about ten years younger than us. Nan was a nurse, but did not go back to work until the kids were older. Dave worked for ADP and was sort of a turn around guy. He was put in charge of a new company ADP had bought out in Portland, OR and he commuted out there for several years before he moved them to Schaumburgh. Nan and Dave were fairly good tennis players and Dave was a good golfer. We took many trips with them because they were very easy going and always ready to go out to eat or take a trip at the last minute. They eventually moved to South Barrington, then Palatine and finally to Inverness. When they moved to South Barrington and with Costigans and others moving, we got antsy too.
Claire and Wally Wrobel lived up the street at the corner of Hickory and Maude. Wally was a Pediatrician. He was and is a very nervous guy, always in motion. We were never real close to them, but they played tennis and were at a lot of the same parties we went to. They still live in the same house.
Cleo and Don Stakowiak lived across the street and next to the Torrences. We had a few good parties with them and then they moved away suddenly and we hardly ever saw them again. He did give our two boys an old car that they had fun working on.
Peggy and Larry Frerk lived one block west with the Douglas street bunch. They played tennis, golf and bridge. They had three kids, two boys and a girl. The moved early on to a house on Twin Lakes about 15 miles NW. They still stayed active in bridge and so we saw them fairly often. Larry worked in graphic arts for RR Donnelly. When he retired they moved to Venice, Florida on a golf course. We have visited them there.
Mary and Walt Spellman lived nest to Frerks on Douglas. Walt worked in sales for Kraft Foods. When he retired they moved to Santa Rosa, CA. Not long after they moved, Sandy and I flew out to see them one weekend and had a good time. They had built a beautiful house on a small mountain overlooking Santa Rosa. We also visited them a few years later when Jon was working in San Jose. Jon went with us on that side trip and even took Sandy and I on a wine train ride out of Napa. They came back to Chicago every year or so, but they only came to see their kids and did not call us more than once to get together. We understand that they are now living in a condo because their health is not too good.
Phyllis and Herb Klawitter were a lot of fun and also part of the Douglas street group. They had four girls. Herb was a fitness nut and had amazing durability in all sports and running, etc. Herb worked for Pure Oil Company and when they merged or were bought out by a large CA based oil company they moved out to CA and were shocked at how much more the homes cost. We visited them a couple of times in Arcadia where they had a pool and very comfortable, but not large ranch home. They were surrounded by Asians. Whenever they came back to Chicago to visit their kids, we got together with them and others in the Bridge group. About seven years ago Herb suddenly contracted renal cancer. They had just purchased a house in Sun City Palm Desert. Phyllis kept telling us he was doing better and to wait before coming over to see him. In late April he died. John Costigan and I flew out to his wake and funeral and then back the next day. We could tell that Phyllis was very concerned about her finances and the house they had under construction. They still had not sold the house they were in, but before long it sold at a nice profit. She was thrilled that John and I came out to sort of represent the bridge group. I gave an impromptu eulogy. We still see Phyllis every so often and have visited her in Palm Desert twice on some of our trips on I-10 to Patty and Charlie.
June and Ray Becker lived on the corner of Maude and Douglas and still do. They had lived in Hasbrook about a block from us. Their two boys and one girl still live at home I think. Ray was the executive director of the Illinois or American Trucking Association. As such he and June got to travel a lot to various places to make arrangements for meetings. He is not doing well as I write this because I see him once in a while at daily mass.
Carolyn and Jim Burke lived next to Spellmans on Douglas. They had no children. They both got married for the first time when they were almost 50 years old. A standing joke with them is that on their 50th wedding anniversary they are going to take everyone to Hawaii to celebrate. They just had their 25th a couple of years ago. They moved over to the Shires of Inverness and lived there until just this past summer when they moved to a condo not far from us. They were both born and raised in Chicago and have many friends, some of whom are quite wealthy. They go to a lot of wedding, etc.
Simone and Larry Piefer lived right across from Beckers and Simone still lives there. I write about them and Larry’s death later on.
Judy and Norm Andrews were and are special people. Judy has suffered from severe arthritis for years, but somehow still seems to be able to get around and play bridge, etc. Norm is a jack of all trades and master of most. He sold insurance for All State. He is a very knowledgeable lover of opera and the classics and even appears in some the Chicago Lyric Opera performances as a stand in. He knows cars backward and forwards and goes to the races up in Elkhart Lake, WI among other places. He collects stamps and coins and knows all about them. When he is not doing other things he works as an auctioneer at charitable functions. He is good. On top of that he knows a ton of jokes and always tells a few of them when we get together. They moved up to north Arlington on a small private lake.
`Bridge Club-Sandy and the other gals started a neighborhood bridge group. We guys would join them twice a year. Once was a couples duplicate bridge event and the other was just a potluck party. This group has stayed together ever since. It consisted of Mary Jean and Bob Jarosz, Emily and John Costigan, Carolyn and Jim Burke, Nan and Dave Torrence, Peggy and Larry Frerk, Mary and Walt Spellman and Phyliss and Herb Klawitter. None of us still live in this neighborhood, but we still together at least once a year as couples. The girls still play bridge together. Sometime beginning in the late 1970s we started to go away for a long weekend of golf, etc. The first such get together was at Old Orchard golf club’s nine-hole course right across Rand Rd. from Rolling Green. Other places were Arlington Park District golf course; Eagle Ridge, Galena, IL; Lake Lawn, WI; St. Joseph/Benton Harbor, MI, ;Wisconsin Rapids, WI; Stevens Point, WI; and Trout Lake, WI. There were maybe some other places and some were repeat ones. The Jarosz’s owned a large house on Trout Lake in far north Wisconsin, near Minaqua, and for several years we went there, this was probably in the late 1980s or even early 1990s.
Thanksgivings-Beginning in about 1968 our family Thanksgiving holidays became our signature family get together, along with Christmas, of course. We always invited Youngstroms and later on when we had in-laws they were invited too. One of the main features of these dinners was to have each of us state what we were thankful for, beginning with the youngest. This produced some amazing comments from the kids and at times, amid all the seriousness, much laughter.
Schools- In 1968 Steve started Jr. High at St. James. Tom was in the 6th grade in the elementary school at St. James. The Jr. High was just across the street from the grade school and church. It was a long walk, but the boys handled it pretty good. Kathy, Karen and Patty continued to go to Wilson until they were ready for Jr. High and then they went to Thomas Jr. High which was just down the street about four blocks at the corner of Thomas and Arlington Heights Road.
In 1970, Steve enrolled in our new St. Viator’s high school and the following year Tom joined him. They both seemed to like St. Viator. Steve would graduate in 1974 as the Salutatorian and had to give a speech at the graduation ceremonies held at Arlington Hilton Hotel. We were very nervous, but Steve did a fine job and got quite an ovation. He had real long hair in those days. Tom was not as good a student his first two years and then all of a sudden he was a straight A student during his junior and senior years. Tom was active with stage work for school plays, etc. The boys walked to St. Viator because it was only about 7 blocks south of where we lived and that was closer than St. James. Both Steve and Tom got their drivers license when they were 16, but did not have a car. We eventually bought them a used bright red Pontiac Firebird. It turned out to be a lemon and we were suckered in. It was my fault for rushing into it and not having someone look at it first. Still the boys had fun working on it and eventually we sold it for $300 after having paid maybe $900 a couple of years before. After that, one of our neighbors, Don Stackowiak, gave the boys his used car and they drove it for a year or so. Cannot remember what it was.
In 1974 Kathy started high school at Sacred Heart, a girls only catholic high school in Rolling Meadows. I think they had a bus service from Arlington Heights. Karen started there also in 1976, but did not finish until 1980 after she transferred to Elk River High in MN in 1979. Patty went to Sacred Heart also and graduated in 1982. Jonathan went to St. James for all eight years of grade school and then, beginning in 1984, went to St. Viator for high school. He graduated in 1988, a year after we moved to Palatine.
Church-We were back in St. James parish when we moved to our new house on Hickory. After a few years, I became a lector and eventually one of several head lectors for a group of lectors. Many of our new neighbors were also catholic, but we all got along pretty good together despite our religious differences. We rejoined just in time to help out with the fund raising drive for the new Jr. High and parish center that had just been built. Father Bowman was our pastor and we had a number of assistants during all those years. Father Zavaski, Father Murphy, and quite a few Viatorian priests helped out on weekends. The parish was still growing and would end up being one of the largest in the archdiocese with about 4500 families.
Kinsella visit-At Easter time in 1968, sister Rita and Dick Kinsella and about 6 or 7 of their kids came down from Minneapolis to visit for the weekend. We had a blast and some of the kids slept in the tent trailer(see below) after I pulled it out into the driveway. I think we even might have movies of them being there. Remember them driving away in the morning after Easter. The streets were not yet paved so they created some dust. Their station wagon was loaded to the brim.
Family vacation to California, here we come- Being that I was hoping to being promoted to partner in 1968 and being in sort of limbo with client assignments, we figured this might be a good time to take a long trip to the west coast. I had four weeks of vacation since 1962 and we had never taken it. In January 1968 we went to the Chicago outdoors show in the amphitheatre and bought a pop up tent trailer for our trip the following summer. I had to get the Pontiac wagon fitted for a trailer hitch and also because we thought that it might get pretty hot somewhere on the trip, I bought and had installed an air conditioner from Montgomery Wards at Randhurst. We parked the trailer in the garage and in the spring we took it out to a state park on the Fox River for a weekend to test things. It was quite a neat trailer and had just about everything you could imagine. Running water, a pull out propane stove, a small cooler/refrigerator, double beds at each end and sort of pull out beds in the middle. No toilet, but we did have a port-a-potty for emergencies.
The kids took the last week of school off and we left for our first stop in Des Moines, Iowa on a Saturday about June 1, 1968. We stayed overnight at Murphy’s, our former neighbors on Walnut who had just moved to West Des Moines. They had at least four kids so our five had plenty to do.
Sunday we left about midday and only drove to someplace in the middle of Nebraska. It was our first night putting up the tent by ourselves on the road. We did ok, but it took awhile. The next day we drove all the way to Colorado Springs and up the mountain to the west to a campground at the 8,000 ft level. We had stopped at the Air Force Academy and also took a cog railway to the top of Pike’s Peak in a snow storm (ours was the last train they took up that day) so it was dark when we got to the campground and a little difficult getting settled. We made the mistake of moving one of the big garbage cans from the toilet area in the center of the camp to our trailer. Sandy and I slept in separate beds in the middle of the trailer and had put some sweet rolls for the morning on the small table in the middle of the trailer. During the night we heard a lot of loud noises and the garbage can banging against our trailer. Obviously bears had discovered it and were attracted to our trailer. We tried to remain very quiet and the kids did not wake up. Sandy said softly “Roland” and I said just as softly, “Yes”. We were scared stiff, but just kept lying there until we thought the bears had left. In the morning we told the attendant what had happened and got a small scolding for being so foolish.
We left in the morning for the Royal Gorge about 100 miles south. We found a very nice campground. After setting up we went to look at the gorge. On the way we took a road that followed the top of the crest of some small mountains and I was nervous. The gorge was spectacular. About one mile deep to the Arkansas River. There was a bridge we could walk on over it. There also was a tram, but we did not take it-too expensive. We drove around and down to the river on switch back roads. The next morning it was off to Monarch Pass and an overnight stop in Montrose, Colorado. We stopped at Monarch Pass and some of us took the tram to the top of the ski area.
Next morning it was off to Cortez, Colorado in the far SW corner of Colorado. To get there we had to go over three mountain passes and through the beautiful San Juan Mountains, called the Swiss Alps of America. Here is where we regretted getting the air conditioning installed. On the way south of Ouray, CO we had to go up very step switch back roads to get to the first pass. On the way up the engine started to smoke from overheating. The radiator was not getting enough air because of the extra radiator they had installed in front of the primary one. When we got to the top of the mountain we were in the middle of a beautiful meadow. The boys ran over to a stream about ¼ mile away and brought back some water. I had to open the radiator cap very slowly because it was really steaming. We finally got some water in it and things returned to normal, sort of. We were already dreading the next two passes, but as luck would have it they were not as steep and we stopped frequently before overheating. We finally made it to Cortez and found a very nice KOA campground and the first really warm weather of the trip. The next day, Sandy and the kids enjoyed a very large swimming pool while I went into town to a Pontiac dealer to see what they could do. They tried a few things like a bigger fan, but nothing that would rally help. I should have had them simply remove the air conditioner or at least the extra radiator, but I didn’t. The next day we drove, without trailer, to the Mesa Verde Indian dwellings. In those days we could drive up to the top and even climb down into the cliff dwellings. It was and is a National Park so things were supervised. The ladders down to the dwellings were narrow and rickety. Quite a sight.
The following day we drove down to Gallup, New Mexico and headed west on a partially completed interstate 40. We were on our way to Flagstaff, AZ. On the way we stopped at the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert national parks/monuments. In Flagstaff we found a nice KOA. The following day we drove up to the Grand Canyon and spent all of two hours there. What a beautiful and spectacular sight. I was scared stiff with the kids going up to the edge of the canyon and leaning over the skimpy rails. We got out of there as quickly as possible and drove to Kingman, AZ where we found another KOA. By this time the kids were experts at helping to put up and take down the tent trailer.
From Kingman we headed up to Las Vegas and drove down the strip without stopping, except for red lights. We were headed for Barstow, CA, which was the last stop before heading down the high country into LA. It was windy up in the high country and not too hot so that we did not have a lot of trouble with the air conditioner. That came later again. From Barstow we drove to Santa Ana in Orange County and parked in the driveway of Mike and Shirley Moore. They were friends of ours in Chicago where he started with AY also. They had moved to CA a few years earlier and had a bunch of kids too. As usual, we only stayed there a day before heading off for San Diego. We might have come back that way and stayed overnight in their driveway a second night.
We parked at another KOA in San Diego and took in Sea World and had a ball. How impressive it was. We also drove down to Tijuana, Mexico and drove across the border into Tijuana. The street signs were almost none existent, but we drove around some residential areas and saw the whole town. We parked and walked around downtown and even bought some items made of plaster of paris, but painted real nice, etc. It was not like what we hear about today. This was our first time in Mexico and we were not impressed, but wrote it off as just a border town. I think we only stayed in San Diego for two nights. We then headed back north and may have stayed overnight again at the Moore’s in Santa Ana. Sometime in that time frame we went to Disney Land, Universal Studios and around Beverly Hills.
We drove north on I 5 to Fresno, CA where we visited and stayed in the driveway of Jo and Phil Arendt, my childhood friend who was also a roommate of mine briefly at St. John’s. We had not seen them for a number of years, but it somehow seemed like only yesterday. I remember us going to a Taco Bell drive in and had a Taco for the first time. Phil thought this would be a good investment, but neither of us had the money for that. They had a son about 12 years old and he accompanied us the next day on a drive to Yosemite National Park. I remember us driving up to the highest point on the south side of the valley and climbing (not too steep) to the top of a huge rock that was like a dome on top. There was only one tree and no fences or anything to stop anything falling off into the valley about 3,000 ft below. With six kids we were very busy trying to keep them under control. I just about went nuts over this and could not wait to get back down. There were also a group of black bears up there looking for handouts, but the signs warned us not to get too close.
The following day we drove up towards San Francisco with our destination being a county park campground a few miles from the ocean about 30 miles south of Frisco. Looking at the map now I think it was Butano State Park, near Pescadero. On the way up there it was very hot outside and we had to keep the widows open and the heater turned on to avoid engine overheating. We stopped at a winery half way there and sampled some free wines (not the kids). When we got to someplace about straight east of where we wanted to go, I turned off the main road and we took a very narrow winding road up over the coastal mountains. Amazingly this road took us right to our campground and we were able to get a campsite. The campground was in a grove of very tall pine trees and there was no sunlight. It was cool and only about 5 miles from the ocean. The next day we ventured into San Francisco and took cable rides, went to China town, went across the Golden Gate Bridge, went to the Japanese Tea Gardens, went out to seal rock where there were many seals sunning on the rocks just off shore. We did not go to Alcatraz. On the way back to our campground in the afternoon we stopped at a beach and enjoyed playing with the waves from an incoming tide.
Next day we started the long trek back to Illinois. I remember driving up the bay side coastal highway by Oakland and being stopped by a state trooper and given a warning about what lane we were in with the trailer. We continued on toward Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, but did not stop there. We continued on to some small town in the middle of nowhere Nevada that had a KOA and camped overnight. The road east was very desolate and we next stopped for maybe an hour or so at the Great Salt Lake to play in the salt flats, etc. It was hot again and we had to use our window open and heater on routine. We continued on that day thru Salt Lake City and on just into Wyoming where we found another KOA and camped overnight.
We sort of figured we were now about two days away from Cold Spring. We headed across Wyoming and left the Interstate to go through Casper and on our way to the Black Hills and Rapid City. We stopped briefly at the Black Hills President’s monument and then hurried to get to a campground just east of Rapid City because of an oncoming thunderstorm. We just got there in time, but did not put up the tent until the thunderstorm had passed over. Next day we headed east and north, but stopped at Wall Drugs in Wall, SD which was advertised all over on the highways. Wall Drugs was a series of small buildings that sold just about everything one could want, but we did not buy. We arrived in Cold Spring late that evening. I called the Chicago Tribune and placed an ad to sell our camper. We stopped in Watkins briefly the next day then headed back home (Arlington Heights). We were all tired and glad to be home. Low and behold in a day or so we got a call from a woman who was interested in the camper. It was the end of June and much summer left for camping so our timing was good. She came out that weekend and bought the camper for only a few hundred dollars less than we paid for it six months earlier. It was in good shape and only had a small repairable tear in one of the screens. (Movies on tape and DVD).
Third new car-Because of the problem with our air conditioning, we decided to get rid of the Pontiac station wagon. I think I sold it. We then bought a 1968 white Buick station wagon from Bill Cook’s Buick by Euclid and NW Highway in Arlington Heights. It is no longer there. It was a very nice vehicle and would last us at least four more years.
Promotion to Partner October 1, 1968-Back at work, I soon learned that I was going to be promoted to Partner effective October 1, 1968. This was the best news we had gotten to date from AY. The whole compensation arrangement was changed. We were to get a $25,000 draw, paid monthly, with no tax withheld. Then we were awarded a certain number of profit/equity sharing units, say 100 the first year with expectations of annual increases of about 50 more until we had maybe 500 units in total. After that it was based purely on performance and responsibilities. My units topped off at about 500 until I was promoted to Regional Director of Auditing in 1972 and then at about 700 until the mid 1980s when I was promoted to Director of Auditing for the Chicago Office. And it went up to 900 units. We had to pay for these units that cost about $300 each, over an eight-year period. Each unit earned about $300 a year in profits, but it varied from year to year. The paid up units earned an interest equivalent at about an 8% rate. We were responsible for paying estimated income taxes, which included self-employment taxes at the self-employed rates. The bottom line was that we had enough money to live comfortably and still put the kids through college.
I attended my first partner meeting in early September and was in mild shock when two partners got into a big argument with some pretty bad language exchanged. One of the partners stomped out of the meeting. I think he was Dave Goldsmith, whom I later got to know quite well and got along good with. We thought alike. He was in charge of our consulting practice for a number of years. The other partner was Harry Kirchhiemer, with whom I had an up and down relationship with until some years later when we worked very closely together. I also remember another partners meeting at the Union League Club. We were there for lunch and served a large very delicious lamb chop. It was the first time I had eaten lamb and I liked it very much.
First Canoeing trip-In 1968, when Steve was 12 and Tom 11, we decided to try a short, maybe four-day, canoeing trip in the Boundary Water Canoe Country of northern Minnesota on the Canadian border. Sandy and the other three kids would stay with Helen and Phil in Chisholm. We drove up to Moose Lake, maybe 30 miles NE of Ely and literally the end of the road, the jumping off point. We arrived early in the am and were completely outfitted by the Don Beland outfitters. It was a little windy that day and as a result the boys and I could not get the canoe away from the dock without help. They then put a small motor on our canoe and we also then needed to have some gasoline and could only use the motor on certain lakes. We had very detailed maps and told them where we were going. Carp Lake in Canada was our destination. We headed across the Moose Lake and went north along the western shore to avoid the wind. At every passage from one lake to another the shoreline looked the same and we had to search for the passage way between the lakes. At about 11 am in the morning we were at a very large lake that was on the border with Canada and we had to cross it to get to the border control post. Half way across this lake, with the waves fairly high for us at least, the motor ran out of gas. I had to sort of stand up with the gas can and fill it at least part way with the boys told to hug the bottom of the canoe, which was filled with supplies. We got through that situation and then faced our first and only portage across the border. It was only about 1/4th a mile and we got it done after maybe three trips. We ate lunch on the other side of the portage and before we headed north toward Carp Lake. While cutting the salami for our sandwiches I cut one of my fingers and had to bandage it up. What luck.
When we got to carp lake we spotted a campsite on an island and headed for it. Luckily we ran into some day fishermen who told us how to hang our food on ropes between trees at night or whenever we were not in camp because of the bears, etc. That was good advice. We did not have to take any water with us because it was customary to just drink the water from the lakes. The next day we explored the area and found a nice bay that looked good for bass fishing. We also went swimming in the lake. It was cold unless we stayed near shore where the sun had warmed up the water some. We went fishing in that bay and luckily found a frog on shore for bait. I put a big hook through the frog’s back and cast it out. Immediately when the bait was to hit the water, a large bass took it. There was still a little of the frog left so on the next cast the same thing happened. I then tried various artificial baits with no luck. We took our two bass back to camp and I cleaned them both. We did cook them in a pan over a wood fire, but that and everything else took so long that it was dark when we were cleaning the pan and other things. We could see eyes in the woods looking at us and we assume they were deer. We hoped not bears. The next day we did more of the same and then the following day we headed back to Don Beland’s via the portage. All in all it was a very successful trip.
Massey Ferguson-Not long after I was promoted to partner, I was asked to take on a new client in Des Moines, Iowa. Massey Ferguson Limited was a fairly large word wide manufacturer of farm machinery and a client of Clarkson Gordon & Co. in Canada. Their headquarters were in Toronto, Canada. They had decided to buy a large vacant factory in Des Moines and move their North American headquarters to Des Moines as well. They had separate subsidiaries set up for the U.S. and Canada and their respective finance companies. We soon determined that these audits would require about 10,000 hours of time. This was to be one of the largest audits in to Chicago office of AY. Clarkson Gordon had three partners on the parent company account. Ken Carr was the most senior of these partners, then there was Don Finley and finally Ken Alles, who about my age. All three of these partners were great guys. Smart, articulate and with a great sense of humor. I got to know all three of them very well. I made many trips to Des Moines and Toronto. Unfortunately, their fiscal year ended on October 31 and we usually closed on the audits by about December 8, but it took until Christmas time to get the various reports issued. As a result I often had to travel to Toronto and Des Moines late in December and to work some long hours right during the holidays. I had some of the top audit staff working for me on this account, including Al Bede and John Graham. Al Bede was an exceptionally bright guy and made partner very early. Before long he became head of our consulting practice and in a short time built it into the biggest consulting practice in our firm. Eventually he tried to buy out the practice from the firm and the way he went about it got him fired. He then formed his own firm and built it into a large practice and then went public and sold it for big bucks. He was quite a guy.
We had an informal practice in the office that on large audits we often had parties after the audits for staff and spouses or friends. One time we had a party like this at our house and it was a Vegas type party with play money. Late in the night, or was it morning, we got the crap table going for real money. Al Bede was the ‘house’ and only a few players realized that the dice had a chip on them and the result was they came up with boxcars, etc. often. This cost Al a couple of hundred dollars until we found out about the dice and stopped the game. He took it in stride.
Unfortunately MF could not make it go financially in North America. This caused many technical complications due to the difficulty in accounting for income taxes. The rules for this accounting were fairly new and were different in certain important technical ways between the US and Canada. The principal problem, for those of you who understand, was in accounting for deferred income tax debits and income taxes in loss situations. I had a very difficult time dealing with these issues and even had to go to our New York Home office one time to consult with the powers to be. This culminated in having our most senior technical partner at the time, Frank Weston, meeting with me in Toronto and communicating our firm’s position to Ken Carr. It was a cordial, but tense meeting because we had not yet told the client of our decision and Clarkson Gordon had a different view of the matter. The meeting did not last long because Frank Weston just gave our opinion and that was that. No discussion. I used to wake up at night with my heart pulsating over this and a couple of other issues. Another major issue was when MF wanted to change their accounting for sales from time of wholesale to time of retail sale. This was big and I again had to meet with the firms accounting and auditing standards committee in New York. At least this time we did not disagree with Clarkson Gordon. We eventually concluded that we could go along with MF’s position. It was complicated. All of these kind of issues took up huge amounts of time and energy for me and others who were involved.
When I was promoted to Office Director of Auditing I had to give up some of my clients and MF was one of them. Harold Bach took over for me and at that point MF was in major renegotiations with its bank creditors and things got very complicated. Hal was very capable and handled everything exceptionally well. One of the last things I did involving MF was attending the retirement party for Don Finley in Toronto. He had a heart attack early and decided to take early retirement. Only partners were invited and I was the only one from AY. It was some party and as they did usually in Canada, due to very tough DUI laws, everyone stayed overnight at the hotel.
New Chicago Office Managing Partner-In about 1970, George Carracio was promoted to Midwest Regional Partner in Charge. This meant that we needed a new Office Managing Partner in Chicago. George Carracio met with all of the partners and concluded that there was no consensus on which, if any, of them should or could become our next managing partner. As a result, George Carracio went outside of our area and transferred in a relatively young, but he was maybe 45 years old, consulting partner Chet Vannata, from Tulsa , Oklahoma to become our next managing partner. I think most of us partners had mixed feelings about this, but Chet was a bright, affable guy and he fit in pretty good.
‘and baby (Jonathan Joseph-8/28/70) makes eight’ In the spring of 1970 Sandy announced a big pleasant surprise to the family, me first. She was pregnant once again. We sort of thought we were finished with Patricia, six years earlier, but were thrilled to have yet another. We and others called this our bonus baby. As we would find out, it was to be a boy and that would even the count with three boys and three girls. Thus on Friday, August 28, 1970 we welcomed baby Jonathan into the world at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights. Dr. Muench was again presiding. Our girls were especially excited with the new baby.
Simone and Larry Peifer, our neighbors and good friends from Walnut Avenue, were sponsors and godparents for Jonathan’s baptism. I don’t remember whether anyone from Minnesota came down at that time. From left to right below is Larry Sr., Larry Jr. and Simone.
Christmas at home-Beginning in maybe 1970 or so, especially because of the size of our growing family, we started to have Christmas at home. Sometimes we would drive up to MN during the holidays for a brief visit, but it became harder and harder each year. We always had a great time at home and always had Betty and Ray over. One of our family traditions, started at our first house, was to open gifts on Christmas morning. The kids would get up real early and we would all gather around and open gifts one at a time starting with the youngest. Santa always wrapped his gifts. In later years, we always had a big Christmas eve party at our house with Youngstroms and some in laws. When we started that the kids would open a gift or two from Youngstroms, etc. Most of our other social life was with neighbors at one of our houses and some business functions.
Mom and Dad Ley visit-Sometime around 1970 Mom and Dad Ley came down to visit us. The one sad thing that I remember about that visit was that on that Saturday I had a company golf outing to attend in the SW suburbs of Chicago. We were to go out to dinner with Mom and Dad that night, but I got home so late from the outing that it was too late for Mom. I felt absolutely terrible, because I could have left earlier. It was just a case of not being thoughtful and considerate enough. I have never forgiven myself for that.
First Heimlich maneuver-Sometime in the early 1970s when we were visiting Minnesota, we were at dinner in Mom and Dad’s house with Anne and Pep Weber and Doris and Bob Weber . At some point Sandy nudged me and said that Doris was having a problem. I got up immediately and went over to her at the end of the table and could see that she could not breathe. She was turning blue. Thankfully I had just recently watched a Heimlich maneuver on TV and thought I knew what to do. Doris was a large woman and probably weighed 150 or so pounds. She was heavy, but my adrenalin was flowing pretty good. Somehow I managed to pull her up out of the chair and in the process we both fell over on the floor. I was able to pull her back up and apply the Heimlich maneuver on her. Out came a big piece of meat about 1 1/2” long and maybe ½” to ¾” wide and thick. She started to breathe and appeared to be no worse off for the experience. She and Bob were eternally grateful to me because otherwise she would have choked to death.
Sandy’s smoking-Prior to her pregnancy with Jonathan, Sandy would smoke a couple of cigarettes a day. The kids did not like this and once in a while, when they found her cigarettes, would flush them down the toilet. This was the beginning of the era when the hazards of smoking were just beginning to be publicized. Sandy quit without any fanfare when she learned she was pregnant. She never smoked in front of me and therefore I was in the dark about it.
Better Government Association (BGA)-Sometime in either 1969 or 1970, my fellow partners advised me that I should get involved in the Chicago business community. After looking around we agreed that he Better Government Association would be a good start. The BGA was a rather unique organization and I do not believe other cities had anything similar. It was a non-profit bi-partisan citizens watchdog group for Chicago and Illinois government. It’s only source of revenue was corporate and individual contributions. There were about twenty corporate and similar types on the board and it had a staff of maybe four lowly paid people. The Executive director was brand new to the BGA. His name was Terry Brunner, a young lawyer and former assistant district attorney from Pittsburgh. He was smart and politically savy. Prior to Brunner’s arrival, the BGA had a rather controversial reputation and often was accused of Republican partisanship. My first meeting was at the Union League Club. I would soon learn that Brunner was actually a democrat, but he never showed any partisanship. Brunner soon learned that to be more effective we had to partner with the local and even national media in our investigations. This was a delicate balancing act, but Brunner did it well. We had some very big well know investigations, including one on nursing homes that got big play on CBS’s 60 minutes with Mike Wallace. My role on the board was rather routine until I became Treasurer and eventually President for three years starting around 1986. The big deal while I was President was our landing a big $500,000 a year five year grant from the Macarthur Foundation. This more than doubled our budget and part of the purpose of the grant was for us to open a Washington, DC office and do more national investigations. We even had an internship program and a total staff of maybe 12 or so. I only made it to our Washington, DC office once during my term in office. At one of our annual meetings, which were big fundraisers, we honored Phil Donahue who based his national TV show in Chicago. He was and is married to Marlo Thomas and Sandy and I got our pics taken with them at the meeting. The BGA did a big sting expose of Chicago shakedowns of bar owners that was aired on his show. I met a lot of Chicago business leaders, lawyers and political types in the process, but to best of my knowledge none led to any real new business. One nice thing about this civic duty was that almost all of the meetings were during the day and did not take any evening and weekend time.
Rolling Green Country Club-One of the perks that came with partnership, but it was also intended to be used for business, was that the firm would pay for a membership in a private country club. After talking to several of the older partners, the most common advice was to make sure we joined a club that we would use and that joining one close to where we lived was probably a good idea. That club was Rolling Green, which was located just down Rand Road, maybe two miles away. I went over to the club and got an application form and through my local political contacts, etc. decided to ask Bill Pailey, former club president and owner of Memory Gardens cemetery, and the owner of a local plumbing company that we had used, to be my sponsors. The initiation fee was $5,000 of which $2,000 was refundable when resigning and which the firm loaned to me without any interest or repayment obligation other than whenever I would retire or withdraw from the firm it would be deducted from whatever equity I had. The firm would also reimburse me for the monthly dues, which were about $200 and part of that would be taxable income.
I got the sponsors to agree and put my application in sometime in 1969. Two very nice gentlemen from the club’s membership committee called and arranged to come over to the house for a visit and to meet Sandy and I. We just had a real nice conversation about the club and who we were and during it all they learned all about us, which, of course, was the purpose of their visit. They wanted to make sure we would fit into the membership and that we could afford to do so. They said there was probably a two or three year wait, which was fine with us. What we did not know was that there was an embezzlement at the club by the controller and they had to assess something like $500 each on the members. There were a number of inactive members who choose not to pay the assessment and therefore were dropped as members. Accordingly, there suddenly were openings for new members and in early 1970 I was voted in as a new member. What a surprise. Sandy was pregnant and I was extremely busy at work so neither of us was ready to play golf or otherwise participate much in club activities. Sandy would not start playing golf until Jon was about 6 years old. I played in a few events but not more than maybe 5 or 6 times a year for a number of years. I would not break 100 for several years.
Once Sandy started playing in the 9 hole group at the club we started to meet a number of other couples that are still some of best friends. Marge and Don Martensen, Loretta and Jack Drazba, Ellie and Kurt Bostrom were the ones we got to know best. However we also knew the Wagners, Faerbers, Coles, and many others. (More on the club later).
Vacation Trip out East (July 1971)-In early 1971 we decided to take a vacation trip out east. Jonathan was still a baby, of course, but he came with. I remember us leaving in our Buick station wagon real early on a Saturday morning in early July. We drove all the way, 800 miles, to Harrisburg, PA that day with only one stop, near Cleveland I think, on the way. We had packed sandwiches and drinks. I took some justifiable grief for not stopping more often. We must have had a potty on board. The next morning was Sunday and we went to mass in Harrisburg, PA. We then traveled down to Gettysburg and climbed the tower overlooking the famous battlefield from the civil war. We then traveled to Al and Lee’s house in Arlington, VA for overnight. What a house full because they had a bunch of kids too. We may have dropped a few of them at Kattie and Jerry John’s because they did not live very far away in Vienna, VA. The next day we drove into Washington, DC and saw as many of the sights as possible. Lee and Al agreed to take care of Jonathan for a few days while the rest of us drove out to the blue Ridge Mountains and then back to Virginia Beach on Tuesday Shortly after we started and on one of the expressways, one of our suitcases, flew off the roof of our station wagon and broke into many pieces. We stopped and went back as best we could to pick up the clothes, but it was dangerous. We had lunch up on the top of the Skyline Drive . We also stopped at Williamsburg for a few hours and did all of that in one day. We stayed at a Holiday Inn on or near Virginia beach and went swimming in the ocean. The next day it was back to Washington, DC and we stopped at George Washington’s house, Mount Vernon, on the way. We also stopped at aunt Vi and uncle Mac’s house in Arlington, VA. For cookies and something to drink. Then to Lee and Al’s again. The following day we headed off for Marlene and Paul Harbrugh’s place in Mountainside, NJ, a suburb of Newark. They had a very large house and a lot of kids, so we could all fit in. We went to some kind of neighborhood party that night and had a good time. Friday we headed back to Arlington Heights, but did not attempt to do it in one day. Cannot remember where we stopped enroute, but we got home on Saturday. A seven day whirlwind trip.
St. Viator HS and Night of the Lion-When Steve was a sophomore and Tom a freshman at St. Viator’s High School, about 1971, I went to a meeting about their one big fundraiser each year, the Night of the Lion. We had not gone before and did not know much about it. I remember that John Gillen, who also had kids a t St. Viator, stood up and asked how much they raised last year. He publicly ridiculed the amount and said it was not worth the effort. He then said that if they could not raise three times that amount they should try something else. Well that caused uproar and he got the job of being chairman. We knew John and Anne Gillen from my earlier experience in politics and got to know them quite well. They were fun and if you could take John’s occasional tirades you could get along very well with them. John also impressed Bob Bettis, a neighbor of ours up Hickory on Maude, and recruited him to head up the money part of the event. Sandy and I were in charge of tickets, not selling them, but just handling the bookkeeping, etc. John increased the ticket prices to the then unheard of $150 and Bob Bettis really got to work leaning on all his rich friends to be sponsors, take ads, etc. I remember him getting Paul Perlin, one of his Board of Trade colleagues to donate $50,000. We learned later from Bob that Paul had made like $40 million dollars the year before in the wheat pit and then lost about $25 million the next year, but still had enough to buy an island in the Caribbean, etc. .John recruited some top talent for the show in the St. Viator auditorium, I think he was a top professional tenor, John Gary, and made quite a hit. The event raised about $250,000 and about five times what had been raised the year before. We stayed involved for maybe two more years. One year, Bob Bettis invited maybe ten of us who were most involved to attend a Frank Sinatra concert at the Chicago Stadium (pre United Center). He hired limos for all of us, we had champagne, dropped us off at the front main door, had front row center seats, and dinner after it at Rolling Green Country Club.
A rather sad footnote to all of this is that Bob Bettis was one of the first of our peers to get a divorce and we could hardly believe it. Even later he went from riches to rags at the Board of Trade, gained a ton of weight, did marry a very lovely younger woman and today is not in good health and almost broke. He leaned on John Gillen several times for money and John gave him some, but John tells us he has stopped doing this.
Moving Chicago Office to IBM building-1972-In mid 1972, our lease in the Harris Bank Building expired and we choose not to renew. Instead we took a lease in the new IBM Building between State St. and Wabash St., just north of the Chicago River. These were bigger floors and we took two and a fraction floors, with options on more. Being a newer partner I got an office on the west side of the building on the 34th floor. The other floor was the 35th. We reverted back to a more conventional office layout and away from the open space concept in the Harris Bank Building.
Promotion to Midwest Regional Director of Auditing-Sometime in early 1972, I was asked to transfer to the Midwest Regional Office and take the position of Midwest Regional Director Of Auditing. George Carracio was the Regional Managing Partner and I always got along pretty good with him, but never worked on any clients with him. The position of Regional Director of Auditing was not a full time job and therefore I was able to keep most of my major Chicago office clients. I knew this was important to do because when looking around the firm I could see that the partners who did the best were either the very top management or client handling partners. The Midwest Regional Office was on the 36tgh floor, but because of my client work I stayed on the 34th floor. There were two major responsibilities of the MWRDA. One was to make sure each office had a good internal quality control function and the other was to manage (including the recruitment of people for) the annual interoffice quality review program. I had to visit each of the nine offices (Detroit, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Louisville, Des Moines, Omaha, Minneapolis, Milwaukee and, of course, Chicago) in our region at lest once each year to get to know the people and to review their programs, etc. In this position Sandy and I were invited to attend, and I had to make presentations at, the annual combined meetings of office managing partners. The firm had four regions, East, South, West and Midwest, and we would have our meetings combined with each of the other regions on an alternating basis.
Our first regional office-managing partners, with spouses, meeting was held with the Western Region office-managing partners at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas. In those days we flew first class so it was a real treat. We had another meeting at the Homestead Hotel in Hot Springs, VA with the Eastern region, the third one with the southern region at the Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida and the fourth and last one again with the West Region at the La Costa resort north of San Diego. At these meetings we always found time for golf and tennis.
Fourth new car-In 1972 we bought another new station wagon. This too was a Buick that we bought from Mufich’s Buick on Rand road in Mt. Prospect. It was very similar to the other station wagon we had. The color was beige with brown two toned on the sides. We had transmission problems with this car and after getting it replaced had a disagreement with the dealer about how much was covered by warranty. Ten years later we would become friends with Delores and John Mufich when they joined Rolling Green.
Viet Nam War and Economic Controls-Richard Nixon beat Hubert Humphrey in the 1968 race for President. One of the first things he did was to escalate the war in Vietnam and then he started to wind it down. However it took until 1975 before it was completely over. Partly because of the heavy federal government spending for the war, inflation was on the rise.
On August 15, 1971, in a move widely applauded by the public and a fair number of economists, President Nixon imposed wage and price controls. The 90-day freeze, Phase I, was unprecedented in peacetime, but such drastic measures were thought necessary. Inflation had been raging, exceeding 6% briefly in 1970 and persisting above 4% in 1971. By the prevailing historical standards, such inflation rates were thought to be completely intolerable. The 90 day freeze turned into nearly 1,000 days of measures known as Phases One, Two, Three, and Four. The initial attempt to dampen inflation by calming inflationary expectations was a monumental failure.
AY, like the other firms, thought that because of our accounting and tax expertise, this was both an opportunity and an obligation to be of service to our clients and others. Each region was told to appoint a partner as the Regional Director of Economic Controls. Each office was also told to appoint a Director of Economic Controls. The firm had maybe 60 offices in the US. For whatever reasons, maybe because I was still a relatively new partner, was already a part time Regional director of Auditing, and because of my utility and regulatory experience, I was appointed as the Midwest Regional and Chicago Office Director of Economic Controls. Little did I realize how this would impact my career. My first duty was to attend a national meeting of my peers on economic controls on Long Island, NY. Nobody really knew much about it except for having copies of the law. Regulations were not yet written, but it did not take long for drafts to appear. There was quite a scramble in DC to get organized for this. The first 90 days of the freeze were easy to deal with. It was what was Phase II that posed the problem. It soon became clear that health care providers would be treated separately from the rest of the economy.
Economic Controls and Health Care-One day in October 1971 I got a call from Dick Elwood, a human resource consultant and Office Director of Economic Controls in our Detroit Office, saying that he needed help. He had just accepted an invitation from the Michigan Hospital Financial Management Association (HFMA) to conduct a one-day seminar on Economic Controls for Hospitals, in the Detroit area and he obviously needed help, which he thought I could provide. We had about two weeks to get ready. I agreed to help, but reminded him that we had very little to go on. I immediately called our Washington DC Office, where our National Director of Economic Controls resided, and got him to talk to the government people who were busy drafting regulations with their lawyers, etc. He got me drafts of regulations for hospitals that had not even been made public. I also talked to one of my Chicago partners who was familiar with hospital accounting and got filled in a bit on the national recommended chart of accounts for hospitals. I told Ellwood that he would have to put together material on the wage portion of the seminar, that were not too different for hospitals than the rest of the economy. I went to work creating a series of related and cross-referenced worksheets for determining a hospital’s compliance with the price controls. I must have worked night and day to get this done and have it look reasonably professional. Remember we did not have computers or excel programs to do this so it had to be prepared in pencil and then typed and reproduced. I may have had as many as 15 or 20 worksheets and then a bunch of slides for commentary. I did all of this from the “seat of my pants”. To make a long story shorter, we put together a fairly nice looking package of handout material and must have had at least 100 attendees. It was the first such seminar in the country and the top people from the National headquarters of HFMA, located in Chicago, were also there. The seminar was a smashing success and everyone was really impressed that we could put together such a detailed and technical approach for compliance with the yet to be released regulations. Word spread quickly and we got inquiries from regulators in Washington, DC and also requests from all over the country to put on seminars elsewhere.
The result of this was a very hectic three years, with us putting on maybe 20 seminars ranging from Maine to Hawaii. While we were doing this we also consulted with the regulators in Washington, DC and entered into a contract with the National HFMA people to publish an Economics Control Manual for Hospitals. By that time I had gotten our National communications people from our NY National Office involved with advertising, design, editing, publishing and distribution of the manuals and monthly updates. There were maybe 2000 subscribers to this service around the US. The HFMA handled the billing and related administrative work. They charged maybe $300 each for a year’s subscription and we got part of that, but not enough to cover our costs, including time spent. Our firm and individual names were prominently displayed on the covers and inside pages of the manual. The American Institute of CPAs Professional Ethics Committee did not like this and asked me to attend a meeting of their committee to determine if they should take action. I contacted our firm’s general counsel’s office and never heard any more about it. The other big accounting firms realized that we were gaining a competitive edge from all of this attention, but there was not much they could do about it.
One time I was invited to appear on a panel of experts (from top law and accounting firms) for this subject at a national HFMA meeting in Colorado Springs, CO. The day before I was to leave for the meeting, the Government’s office in Washington issued new regulations that were much more definitive for hospitals. I got a copy and immediately began work on both changes to our manual and also preparing a Q&A analysis of its contents. I worked all night on this and had secretarial support so that I could have 200 or so copies ready for me to take with to the meeting. When I arrived at the meeting with my Q&As, including copies of the new regulations, they were gobbled up by the attendees and I got almost all of the questions on the panel. Most of the attendees and panel members had not yet even read the new regulations. They were impressed. On top of that we put out all of this and other material for the subscribers to our Economic Controls Manual in record braking time. Updates were in the mail within a few days.
It was amazing that I, as a single partner in Chicago, could do all of this without any approvals from anyone. Maybe it was a mistake for me not to bring my office managing partner into the loop, but actually I and others were so busy we did not even think about it. They knew, of course, about some of what was happening because of all the time and expenses going through the books and the comments from others around the firm.
During these three years or so I also did a lot of consulting on economic controls with individual hospitals around the country, some by phone and some by visits to the hospitals with our local partners in attendance. I also consulted with a number of Chicago Office clients, including McDonalds, Wrigley and a number of large law firms. It came to be that the law firms wanted more than just wage and price consulting and I was asked to help a number of them with other issues, especially partnership capital issues. All the while this was going on I still had all my regular clients to take care of. There was a price, a personal one, much of the burden fell on Sandy at home because I was gone a lot. With five kids in school and a baby at home Sandy was really tied down.
Tragic car accident in Minnesota-In June 1972 we made our annual visit to Minnesota. It was earlier than usual because we were planning on celebrating Dad’s 75 th birthday. Actually his birthday was on June 21, but that was a weekday, so we celebrated it on the previous weekend, which was also Father’s Day. Everyone, including Mom Rose Theisen was there and we all had a good time. At about 6:30 pm Barb (Holmin) and Dale Hewitt were leaving for Mankato with brothers Dave and Leon and Rose Lundemo in the back seat. Barb was pregnant with their first child. Rose was attending Mankato State at the time. A short time later sister Cleo and George Holmin left for Mankato also. When they got about two miles east of Watkins on HWY 55 and just before the overhead bridge they saw an accident in the ditch and noticed that one of the cars was red. They would tell me that they hoped they would see their red car in the driveway when they got to Nicollet. I and John Lundemo drove Mom Rose home to Cold Spring. As was our custom, John and I stopped at the Blue Heron for a beer on the way back to Watkins. While there we got a phone call that there was a terrible accident and that Rose was in one of the cars. Sandy said that she and Lois would drive over to Cold Spring and pick us up and go to the St. Cloud Hospital. John and Lois went in one car and Sandy and I in the other. We still did not know how serious the accident was. When we got to the hospital they asked us what our relationship was to the victims and after we told them, they ushered us into a side room and told us that Barb and Dale were dead and that Rose was alive, but in critical condition and that Dave and Leon had been transferred to University Hospital in Minneapolis in critical condition. They also told us that the other couple, Don Ertl and his wife Carol were also killed. The Ertl’s lived in St. Cloud, but were the children of Norb Ertl from Watkins and we knew them.
Cleo and George arrived at the hospital within the hour and were told the terrible news. It was very traumatic and hard to comprehend. Prior to that we called Mom and Dad back in Watkins and told them the news. They were in shock. While we were upstairs visiting Rose, the nurses noticed something terribly wrong and yelled out “code blue” and told us to go downstairs and wait. Rose had a ruptured spleen and they had not diagnosed that earlier and she had to be rushed into emergency surgery. We waited until after midnight before the doctor came into the waiting room and told us that the operation was successful and that she was going to be okay. We drove back to Watkins with Cleo and George and then in the morning I drove them to the University Hospital in Minneapolis. We saw both Leon and Dave in comas and there was not much more anyone could do for them except wait. They had multiple injuries, but they were all treated and just needed to heal. Dave would come out of his coma in a week or so, but it took Leon about four weeks to do same.
From Minneapolis we drove down to Mankato to make various funeral arrangements. We also contacted Dales parents, the Hewitts, so they could participate in making the arrangements. It was agreed that there would be a double funeral service. Arrangements were also made with the funeral director for returning the bodies to Mankato, etc. I returned to Watkins that night and the next day Sandy and I went over to the St. Cloud Hospital to see how Rose was doing. Dad and I went out to the accident site and took pictures and generally inspected the site for any missed items. It was cleaned up very good and we did not find anything except trampled grass. We also went over to the garage a few miles north of Kimball to look at Barb and Dale’s wrecked car (on left below). Ertl’s car (on right below) was in a lot just south of Hwy 55 in Watkins. They were both a total loss.
Apparently none of the kids were wearing seat belts. Rose had flown thru the front windshield and landed on the engine. The police theorized that from the location of the cars, etc. that the Ertl car was out of control and basically moving sideways into Dale and Barb’s lane when they hit them from the side. There was no evidence of alcohol being involved and the only thing we could think of was that Ertl’s were going too fast coming around the curve after the overhead bridge.
I think I drove back to Nicollet on Wednesday to drive Cleo and George to Minneapolis to check on Dave and Leon again. The wake must have been on Wednesday night and the funeral on Thursday. Our kids stayed with Mom Theisen, but I am not sure of that. We left for Arlington Heights on either Saturday or Sunday. Everyone was in such a state of shock and grief that it was just a very sad and terrible time.
Subsequently, I believe that Barb and Dale’s estates and Dave, Leon and Rose got some sort of financial settlement from the Ertl’s insurance company. Leon never fully recovered from his injuries, but he is leading a normal life now.
Nixon re-elected-Nixon was re-elected by a landside in 1972. The beginning of his second term in 1973 was rather tumultuous because of the Watergate investigation and Nixon’s eventual resignation on August 14, 1974 and Speaker of the House Gerald Ford rising to the presidency. Spiro Agnew had been elected Vice President, but he resigned because of a scandal he was involved with in New Jersey.
Dad Ley dies-On Sunday, July 22, 1973 I flew down to Richmond, VA to consult with a hospital about their wage and price control issues. Late that Sunday night, sister Lois called me at the hotel and told me that Dad was critically ill from apparent heart failure. She called back within the hour to tell me that Dad had died. I called Sandy and we agreed that I would fly back to Chicago as soon as possible the next day. She would pick me up at O’Hare and we would drive up right from there. All six of the kids would go with. The next morning I did have time to visit the hospital and consult with them briefly about their problems. I then drove to National airport in Washington, DC and got on the first plane available.
It was very sad because none of us were expecting it and Dad was not sick or anything. Still we knew from his heart attack that he had a weakened heart and apparently all the medication just took its toll. Also I think the trauma and emotional stress from the prior year’s terrible accident had some effect on him. We all stayed at Sandy’s Mom’s house and that made a full house. The wake was at the relatively new Ertl’s funeral Home in Watkins. There were large crowds of people because Dad was well known. No one from my firm came up for the funeral nor did I expect them too. They did, however, send a very large bouquet of flowers. My sisters asked me to give a eulogy for Dad at the funeral mass and I did do so, but it was very difficult and I cracked a few times. We were all concerned about Mom because she could not drive and obviously was too old to get a job. Dad had thought that he had provided pretty well for her, but when we learned just how much money there was, it was not enough to provide very much income for her. Somehow, though, with social security and the few thousand dollars of interest income and a very frugal living style she would make a go of it. My sisters were so good to Mom and we really appreciated it. We had to go back to Chicago a day or so after the funeral. Lois handled most of the financial matters for Mom. One of the sad things about Dad’s death was that we were all planning on a big celebration for Mom and Dad’s 50th wedding anniversary on or near September 10 of that year.
Family Vacation on Gull Lake-1974-In early 1974, we decided to combine our annual Minnesota trip with our first weeklong lake vacation in mid July. With a little research we found a small resort on the west side of Gull Lake, NW of Brainerd, MN. Because Jonathan was only 3 years old, we asked Dave and Carol if they would take care of him for that week and they agreed. The resort we were at was not one of the big fancy ones on Gull Lake. It had a small lodge with some rooms, a restaurant, maybe 15 cabins and a nice beach with boats, etc. We had a great time. Even did some sailing and fishing. The mosquitoes were tolerable. We all stayed in one cabin. We went swimming every day. On the last night there everyone was invited to a bonfire and the resort recreation director was a stitch, especially with kids. We only had one rainy day and that was spent exploring Brainerd and the other resorts on the lake. Gull Lake, which is rather large, maybe 5 miles long and two miles wide, is sometimes rated as the most beautiful lake in MN.
Patty’s accident-One day in about 1974 Tom was backing the Buick station wagon out for some reason and Patty and at least one of the other kids were sitting on the tailgate with their feet tangling over the edge. Somehow Patty’s leg got caught between the car and the curb and it broke her leg. I was absolutely a wreck. We high tailed it to the hospital emergency room and I am sure Patty was in great pain. It took a long time for them to fix her leg and put it in a cast.
First overseas business trip-Europe-1974-In about 1974 I was assigned to take Howard Doherty’s place as the partner in charge of the Wm. Wrigley account. Wrigley had plants in Europe and the Far East. One of my first jobs was to visit the European locations and meet our partners in those cities that were responsible for our work over there. In those days we could fly first class and it was not too expensive. My first stop was in London. I remember making my own reservations and thinking that a first class hotel meant just that. I was to soon learn that it had to be Deluxe to meet my expectations. After the first night in a first class hotel in London, with the bath being down the hall, I moved to a better hotel. One of my learning experiences in London was starting a conversation with a very attractive woman n the restaurant of the Hyde Park Hotel on a Sunday night. She was obviously a ‘plant’ and because of the crazy liquor laws in London on Sunday she offered to take me to a private club that served drinks on Sunday. They would not admit her and we ended up on the top of the Hilton hotel. When she went to the washroom, the manager of the Hilton came up to me and told me she was bad news and an extortionist. He said to leave immediately and I did. I called the Hilton later that evening and thanked them. They then told me some details about her past. Scary.
I left by train the next day for Bristol, England on the far west coast. From there the partner in that office who handled the Wrigley account drove us down to Plymouth, in the far SE corner of the country. We toured the Wrigley plant and had lunch with the local officials. I stayed overnight back in Bristol and then took the train back to London where I had dinner with one of our partners from the London Office. While in Bristol we had dinner at the restaurant where they imported Bristol Cream and I ended up taking a whole six-pack of Bristol Liqueurs back with me. They are actually bottled in Portugal.
I next flew to Munich and met our partner there and the next day we visited the Wrigley offices there. It was only a sales office, but a big one for all of Europe. This partner took me to Salzburg and showed me some other sites. I then flew to Basel, Switzerland, just out side of Zurich and by pre-arranged car I was driven up to Ruffach, France where I stayed at a Chateau that had a three star restaurant. My French partner was late getting in from Paris and I had to struggle with the French-speaking wait staff at the restaurant. We had a great dinner and after dinner met two couples from Las Vegas that were in the middle of their annual driving tour of various parts of France. One of the men was a doctor and the other was a collector of money lent to gamblers who needed money to pay their debts. Some job. The next day we drove over to Biehiem, France on the Rhine river, where Wrigley had a big plant. After that we drove to Strasburg where I took a plane to London and then to Chicago.
Arlington Heights Governmental Policy Commission-Because of my friendship with Jim Ryan, mayor of AH, he appointed me to a new ad hoc commission to study whether the village should move toward aldermatic district representation. I cannot remember all the people who served with me, but it was a fairly heavy weight commission and received a lot of press attention. After a number of public meetings we finally decided to recommend leaving the village’s at-large representative form of government unchanged.
Arlington Heights Fiscal Policy Planning Commission-Also because of my close association with Mayor Jim Ryan and my public accounting background, Jim asked me to chair a new ad hoc commission to study the village’s fiscal policies. We had a good commission with a number of local leaders, mostly business people, as members. Again we met a number of times, but this was a more complicated study and while we normally would issue some kind of written report, we had no staff support and eventually made a number of oral recommendations to the village board that they recorded as part of their minutes. I cannot remember what we recommended.
Jonathan’s accident-When Jonathan was about 6 years old, say 1976, and with Patty baby-sitting, he fell off a couch in the family room and broke his arm. Patty called me at work and I took a taxi from downtown Chicago to Northwest Community Hospital. Patty had either gotten a neighbor or someone to take Jon to the hospital. When I got there he was already fixed up with his arm reset.
Fifth new car-Because of the trouble with the Buick’s transmission we decided to get a new car sooner than our usual four years. Therefore in about 1974 we bought a Lincoln Town car. It was dark navy blue and one that we really liked. Steve and Tom were away at school so we only needed room for the six of us and this worked just fine.
Hinton’s-part two- In 1969, Bill Hinton was asked by Regional Managing Partner, George Carracio, to move to Indianapolis and open an office there cold. This was a huge assignment and Bill and Ruth moved to Indianapolis. As soon as they got settled we went down to visit them. Bill got the job done and also got very involved with the Indy races. He and an assistant developed the first computerized timing for the races and he worked with the Penske team in the pits. He also had access to very good tickets and we went down for three years in a row to the Indy races. What fun. Before long he and Ruth built a beautiful new house in a wooded section of northeast Indy. We and several other AY couples went down for their house warming party in the early fall of maybe 1975. Then on Christmas Day they smelled smoke and when son Brian and he looked in the attic they saw a wall of fire. The flu to the fireplace had not been installed properly. The phone did not work and because it was a holiday they had trouble finding a neighbor home and by the time the fire department finally got there and had to string fire hoses a long distance to get to their house it burned down totally. We drove down after a few days and saw the wreckage. It was a big deal in Indy and made evening TV news, etc. They had a big battle over which insurance company would cover the loss, but eventually they settled and rebuilt the house on the same property. We went down to visit and it was beautiful.
Vacation in Arizona-Our first vacation to Arizona was for one week in March 1975. We went with Torrences to play tennis and some golf, even though Nan did not really play golf. Our first stop was at the Wigwam Resort in Litchfield on the far west side of Phoenix. This resort was only open in the winter season and had been owned by Goodyear mainly for their business. It was very nice and we got a small house not far from the main building. We golfed on their blue course one day and were told to speed it up. We next golfed on the new and easier Red course, there were three courses, but we did not try the Gold Championship course. We played tennis too, but it was so hot that we spent more time at the pool. The food was great and they had live music and dancing every night. We then drove up to the Carefree Inn in the far NE corner of the valley and much higher in altitude. Little did we realize as we drove past Sun City (started in 1960 and still under construction in 1975) that we would be buying a house in Sun City West (not yet started) years later. We tried playing golf on one of the courses up there, but the wind was so bad we had to quit after several holes. It snowed one night and we had to wait for them to clear the tennis court before we could use it. They also had music and dancing every night and we used it. Our flight home was near midnight so we had a lot of time to kill on that Saturday and went to an adult movie to kill time.
Vacation in Cozumel, Mexico-One of the perks of the job was to be able to take Sandy with me on some business trips. In the early spring of about 1977, MDU had its Board of Directors meeting in Stuart, Florida, where one of the directors from Wausau, WI had a large winter home. On this trip we visited a big nuclear power plant owned by, Florida Power and Light, which was almost complete. It was at the far north end of Hutchinson Island. Very interesting. We stayed at the Holiday Inn on Hutchinson Island. One night at a group dinner, the retired and semi senile, 85 or so, President of MDU sat next to Sandy and got fresh with her. She did not know what to do and I was unaware of what was going on. That was the last time we allowed her to get into that position. The home of this director who lived in Stuart was at the end of a long drive that was lined with beautiful palm trees. I overheard him say that he had invested about $300,000 in landscaping and it showed. We also went on a cruise on his yacht.
After the meeting Sandy and I had planned on a little four or five day vacation to Cozumel, Mexico, an island off the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, so we drove down to Miami and caught a flight direct to Cozumel. When we arrived it was in the middle of a thunderstorm and the plane was waved off its first attempt to land, but made it on its second try. A little nerve racking. We had picked Cozumel because Peggy and Larry Frerk had been down there the year before and liked it. We stayed at a brand new Mexican hotel that was sterile, but clean. There were not a lot of facilities on Cozumel at that time. We met a young couple from Boston that we chummed around a lot with. One day we rented a motor scooter to go around the island and on the way I almost tipped over going around a curve too fast. We saw a lot of Armadillos on the way. It was very remote all the way around the south end of the island. We had lunch at a small restaurant on the south end of Cozumel on San Francisco beach which is near the reefs where all the scuba divers go. Another day we went on a short day cruise to a remote section of the northerly end of the island where we had an outdoor lunch with fresh conch that had been caught by divers on the way there. The water on the west side of Cozumel is calm and very clear down to maybe 100’. One could easily see manta rays, etc from the boat. It is only about two miles to the mainland. There were no roads on the north end of the island. Can’t remember who stayed with Jonathan, age 7. Maybe Jonathan stayed with Marwitz’s. Chances are the three girls, Patty-11, Karen-13 and Kathy-15 stayed at home with Kathy in charge.
Mom Theisen retires, sells home and moves to John Paul apartments in Cold Spring-In about 1977, when Mom Theisen was 70 years old, she and the kids agreed that it was time to retire from working at the nursing home. Also, the house on the river was getting too much for her to keep up. Selling the house on the river was not difficult, because it was maintained very well and made a very nice summer place for someone from Minneapolis. At about the same time the John Paul apartments in Cold Spring were being completed. She had put her name in much earlier and was very fortunate to get one of the apartments. She had a one-bedroom apartment with a small living room and a small kitchen, but it fit her needs just fine. Ermie and Dave helped her with doing all of this and we were very thankful because it was just too far away for us to be much help. These apartments were physically attached to the Assumption Nursing Home and thus the apartments had their noon meal served to them in the main assembly room. In addition there was a chapel in the nursing home so all the apartment people that wanted to could go to daily mass there. It was not too long until two of Mom’s sisters, Anne and Marie, joined her in the apartments, Mom and one other woman took care of the small store that was operated by the apartments. This was good for her and kept her busy. She could still drive her car and kept it parked at the apartments. We visited her a number of times while she was living there.
Karen-Karen was having a very difficult time in her teen years. In 1977, we were going through both group and individual therapy twice a week both with and without Karen being present. Shortly after her sophomore year in 1978 we agreed that she could not continue to live at home and go to Sacred Heart. We made this difficult decision, with professional help, for Karen and us. We talked to sister Lois and brother John about the problem and after a trip up to Minneapolis to talk to them; they graciously agreed to take Karen in to finish her high school. We were so thankful and will forever be indebted to them for what they did. At times it was difficult for them too, but then suddenly Karen changed, just before they were to give up and Karen finished high school there.
In August 1977, while going through the therapy sessions noted above, I had earlier committed to being the Captain of an inter-firm review team for KPMG’s New York Office. This office was the largest in KPMG and the review would take three weeks. This was the first such an inter-firm review to take place in the profession. Even though I could come home on weekends, it would interfere with our twice a week therapy sessions. I almost resigned from this assignment, but I knew that it would be extremely difficult for the firm to find a senior partner at the last minute to replace me. The compromise we agreed on was that I would fly home on Monday and Wednesday nights for the therapy sessions and then go back to NY early the next morning. This was a rather hectic schedule, but I did not know what else to do. There were about 30 AY Partner, Principal and Managers that were working on this review for me at various times. On the last day, a Friday, there were top people from the SEC Oversight committee, KPMG and AY who were present for our closing meeting. I and one or two other members of my team, had to work all night the night before to have the reports ready for this meeting.
College-Before we knew it, Steve was graduating from St. Viator’s in 1974 and would be ready for college that year. Steve was a good student and was salutatorian. Accordingly, he had to give a speech at the graduation lunch held at the Arlington Hilton by the racetrack. We were very nervous about how the speech would go over with the large crowd at the graduation because Steve was just a bit off the main stream at that time, with his long hair, etc. The speech went well and we were all very relieved and proud of the job he did. “Remember to keep your eye on the donut and not the hole” was his punch line.
When it came to college, he and we looked through the college directories until we were blue in the face. Steve wanted to go to Dartmouth in New Hampshire. Dartmouth was about twice as expensive as Midwestern schools so Steve eventually picked Notre Dame. We had never been there so we went down to look at the campus and we all liked what we saw and heard. The cost was about $8000 a year for room, board and tuition. We would learn later how difficult it was to get into ND. Steve majored in accounting and did very well. The first three years he roomed in Dillon Hall and when Sandy and I saw his room the first time we could not believe what a dump it looked like. The guys did not seem to mind though so we calmed down. One of the perks for us was that somehow we got tickets for some of the ND football games. One weekend when Sandy brought a big cake with us for the boys, she left it on a table in Steve’s room until after the game. When we got back to his room it was all covered with ants and we had to throw it out. I think Steve moved off campus for his senior year. It was a small run down house that he and two other guys shared about one mile south of the campus. Steve graduated in 3 ½ years so when he came home for Christmas in 1977, he was all finished. He and we went back for graduation in May of 1978. It was a racous affair that William F. Buckley spoke at. It was the first college graduation we had attended since mine and the behavior of the grads surprised us. Steve would interview on campus with Arthur Andersen and, because of their firm policy, was told that he could not work in the same city as his father if he was a partner in one of the big eight accounting firms. Thus Steve joined the Minneapolis office of AA in January 1978.
Tom graduated from St. Viator in 1975 and he too went through the process of looking for colleges.
He did not want to go to Notre Dame. He had pretty much decided on majoring in mechanical engineering. We went down to the U of Illinois and took Marty Drazba (we did not know his parents at that time) with us. It was an impressive place, but very big. We also went up to Marquette in Milwaukee and liked that too. Tom eventually decided on Marquette. Marquette cost about $5000 a year, which was less than Notre Dame. His first year he roomed in McCormick Hall. His room was small, but seemed neater and newer than Steve’s. In his sophomore year Tom lived off campus in a big old house with five or six other guys. Beginning in his junior year Tom took part in the COOP program, which meant that he would work as an intern for alternating semesters and that would stretch his college years out one more year. He interned at a large engineering firm, Sargent and Lundy, in downtown Chicago, and accordingly we were able to take the train together once in a while. He lived at home while interning. He also was paid a reasonable salary while interning so that helped our growing college education budget. His graduation ceremony in May 1980 seemed a bit more restrained than Steve’s. I think we took the entire family up to Tom’s graduation and the main ceremony was in their new field house. I believe we had dinner the night before at one of Milwaukee’s Clubs and it was a blast. After graduation Tom went to work for Trane Company in La Crosse, WI.
Kathy graduated from Sacred Heart in 1978. She was familiar with Marquette and they had a good nursing school, which she wanted to attend. Kathy was a good student and graduated in 1982.
She had a boy friend by the name of Russ Larko in high school. Russ would go to Indiana University in Bloomington, IN where he majored in Marketing. Although it was tempting to both of them to go to college together they seemed to agree that if they were meant to be together that it would last through their college years apart. They did visit each other once in a while and of course there were the summers. Kathy’s graduation in 1982 was done at a departmental ceremony for just the nursing school. I cannot remember who all attended. She got a job at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. She and Russ got married on July 17, 1982. Russ went to work for Marshall Field & Company in their Chicago State Street store.
As I mentioned above, Karen graduated from high school in Elk River, Minnesota.
Karen then went to Junior college in Anoka, MN beginning in 1980. In 1981 she transferred to Mount Scenario College in Ladysmith, WI. While in Ladysmith, Karen got pregnant and both she and the father decided it was best to put the baby up for adoption, which they did. Sandy and I went up for the birth of her child and only saw the baby, a girl, briefly. She was a pretty baby. Karen then transferred to Robert Morris Business School in downtown Chicago. After about one year, she met Adam Kalwat from Hammond, Indiana. They got married on Saturday December 1, 1984 and settled in Hammond, IN where Adam worked for a large bearing Company, headquartered in Pittsburgh.
Patty graduated from Sacred Heart high school in 1982.
She decided that she wanted to go to Marquette also. In order to get into the engineering school she had to take some summer courses up there in 1982 and achieve a certain grade level in her first semester. She did well in those courses and was admitted to the engineering school where she got a degree in mechanical engineering. After graduation in 1986, she decided to move out west to LA and look for a job there. She and a girl friend worked in a clothing store until Patty saw an ad from McDonnell Douglas for engineers. She applied and was hired. The rest is history.
Kathy’s HS graduation party-Although we did not have graduation parties for Steve or Tom, we decided to have one for Kathy in May 1978. Because of the number of kids invited, and those that came and were not invited, we decided we had to have it out in the back yard. We had some kind of music and apparently it also got very loud. We did not serve beer, but we are sure some kids had beer, etc. that they brought. Anyway one of our anonymous neighbors did not like the noise and called the police who came out and told us to either quiet things down or move indoors. I think we moved indoors and some of the kids just left. We think we know which neighbor called because of past incidents.
Potential move to Des Moines-Sometime in the mid 1970s, George Carracio called me to his office and asked if I would transfer to our new Des Moines office. The position would not be that of Office Managing Partner, but rather to support the OMP in every way possible. We had just purchased the practice of a small CPA firm and apparently we had promised the founder and only partner that he would be the Office Managing Partner. George felt obliged to keep that promise, but I told him that I thought that was a deal killer. What it would mean was that I would do all of the work of the Managing Partner and get no recognition for doing so. He would go to the various Office Managing Partner functions and I would be left in the dark. In addition there was no promise of a significant increase in my units of profit participation. Sandy and I and the family had a long discussion about it, but even though they were all reluctantly willing to go along with it, the sticking point for me was not being named Office Managing Partner. The owner of the firm was charging about 80 or 90% of his time as billable and that told me that he did not have the time to really do the things an Office Managing Partner should be doing and that he would continue that practice. At that time, Chet Vanatta, was still our Chicago Office Managing Partner and he leaned on me fairly heavily to make the move. In some other firms if a partner like me refused such an offer it meant that he would leave the firm. At AY we did not follow that practice and even though it was good for me in that instance, it showed that we were not a tough managed firm. Eventually, I gave them my final answer of NO and the matter was dropped. They then asked a partner from Minneapolis, Claire Kjome, to make the move and he did. I never regretted the decision and there were no visible repercussions.
Daily running-During one of Tom’s stays with us while he co-opt, he talked me into trying to run for some exercise. This was probably in 1979. The first time I tried to run, I could only go about half way around the block without becoming totally winded. Then I would walk for a while and run again for a while until I got all the way around the block. This in itself told me I was out of shape. Slowly I got better and eventually I was running about two or three miles without stopping. I ran everyday of the year, rain or shine, regardless of temperature and snow and ice and regardless of where I was in the world. I usually ran in early am, but also sometimes in early evening. I never stretched before or after running, which was a mistake. I also should have only run about three days a week. Eventually this took its toll on my knees and I had to stop running in about 1994.
Family Houseboat vacation-In the summer of 1978 we decided to go on a houseboat vacation out of International Falls, MN and on lower Rainy Lake. There were nine of us- Jonathan, Patricia, Karen, Kathy and Russ, Tom and a girlfriend of his, and Sandy and I. For some reason, maybe because he had just started his job with Arthur Andersen, Steve could not make it. We had a big 50’ houseboat that could accommodate all of us, actually ten people. I would be the captain. I thought we would be able to sort of go wherever we wanted and then they gave me a series of very detailed maps that showed the channels we would have to follow, the buoys we would navigate around, the rocks that were just below the surface, etc. This was clearly more involved than I expected. The boat had just about everything you could think of, even a bathroom and shower. They told us we only had xxx number of flushes and therefore we were super conscientious about how many we used and lost count so probably had too many left when we returned. There was also a small refrigerator aboard and a few electric lights. The roof had a lounging area for sunning, etc. There was an open front deck and a rear deck. We had probably two bedrooms with double bunk beds in one of them and in the main living, dinning and kitchen room the sofas converted to beds.
When we got the boat loaded, we brought beer, pop and all food we thought we needed, we headed out into the main channel and found that the two twin 80 hp motors did not work properly. We came back in and had to move everything over to another identical boat. We finally got under way and headed for our targeted first overnight anchorage which was just some large rocks on the east side of an island about 5 miles from base. The lower lake was about 30 miles long and 5 miles wide with Canada being on the north shore. We had assigned each two people with the rotating duty of preparing dinner each night. After dinner that first night we did a little fishing and caught about a 6” perch. I put a big hook under its top fin and then let it swim around overnight. By morning we had a large, say 6 pound, northern on it. We took it aboard, cleaned it and put it on ice for dinner. When we started to leave I could not get the motors started. Thanks goodness there was another houseboat from another company about ¼ a mile away and we took our small 16 ft boat over there to ask them if they could radio our base and have them come out and repair the motors. They did that and within an hour our base repair boat was there and they got us going again. We did not have any trouble after that.
One day when we had to go out into the lake to get to our next landing, it was windy and the waves were about five feet high. I tried to steer into them, but had to turn eventually and when I did we almost capsized. Everyone on board was hugging the floor or hiding in the one bathroom. The appliances came out of their housings and generally it was rough. We lost the big 3” thick gangplank from the front of the boat. Amazingly, just before we left on our trip, we learned that the Weaver family our neighbors from right behind us in AH were also taking a houseboat trip on the same lake and the same week. We agreed to meet for dinner on Wednesday night at the Rainy Lake Hotel at the far eastern end of the lake. To get there we had to carefully traverse through a series of rocks and buoys. We then had to shuttle everyone over to the hotel on our little 16 footer because the river leading to the hotel was too narrow and shallow for our boat. It took three trips to get everyone from our boat to the hotel. The hotel was a very rugged worn twisted thing that was only open in the summer for fishermen and could not be reached by road. Only seaplane or boat. The pike dinners we had were delicious and we had a good time with the Weavers. We then agreed to meet again on Friday night close to our base. One of our favorite pastimes at night after dinner was to play PIT. We must have been so loud that everyone on the lake could hear us (not really). Each morning when we took off, maybe at around 10 or 11 am, I would sit in the captain’s chair with a beer next to me. Maybe even a cigar. On Friday night, when we met with Weavers, we were very slowly coming into shore, which was nothing more than big boulders, and with Tom standing on the front hull. I yelled to Tom to put his foot out to help stop the boat and he yelled back “you’re kidding” and with that we hit the boulders and it really shook up the boat. I don’t know what I was thinking and should have had the boat in reverse so it only went into the rocks at a snails pace. We survived. We shared everything we had left with Weavers and they likewise for our last dinner on the houseboats. I think we took some movies on this trip. (Movies)
Mom Ley moves to Elk River-Sometime in about 1978, Lois and the girls, who saw Mom Ley a lot more than we did, decided that she was having a difficult time living alone in Watkins. Thus they decided that it might be best for Mom if she moved to Elk River and lived in the basement apartment of Lois and John. This was about the same time that Karen moved in with Lois and John, so they had their hands full. Mom did not drive so that meant that, even though she was independent and free to go as she pleased, Lois had to drive her. Mom had a difficult time with this arrangement, but did not complain. All her bridge friends were still back in Watkins and once in a while she went back there to play bridge and a few times her friends drove down to Elk River to play bridge there.
Second business trip overseas-Far East-In 1978 I flew to Auckland, New Zealand; Sydney, Australia; Singapore, Manila, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Taipei, back to Tokyo and then home to Chicago. On the way over to Auckland I worked almost all night on the draft of Growmark’s, S-1 filing with the SEC regarding their merger with Illinois Grain Company, another coop. I slept most of the day on Saturday, the day of arrival. On Sunday, after church, I faxed my comments back to Chicago from our office in Auckland. I had dinner on Sunday at our partner’s home in Auckland. On Monday I visited the Wrigley plant outside of Auckland. On Tuesday I flew to Sydney, a three-hour flight. On Wednesday morning I slipped in the bathtub of my hotel room and almost broke my arm. I could not get medical help that early in the am so I went out to the Wrigley plant with our partner from Sydney and during the day they took me to an Australian medical facility where they x rayed my arm (nothing broken), gave me some shots and put my arm in a sling. It got better the following day. Had dinner that night at my partner’s house on the bay and it was very delightful. His whole basement was a wine cellar with wine from all over the world. I had time the next day to visit an Opal jewelry store and bought Sandy a nice sized Opal for mounting back in the states.
The next day I flew to Singapore, a nine-hour flight, that really surprised me. In Singapore I visited the Wrigley chicle factory that supplied all other Wrigley plants with their base gum material. Chicle comes from the jungles of Indonesia and it is quite a process. In Singapore I purchased a Japanese camera (Olympus) from an Indian store in a mall, but soon realized it was not the camera I wanted. I wanted a Cannon, but was sold a bill of goods by the Indian. My Singapore partner, who spoke Chinese, came back with me and after some hassling, like threatening to call the authorities, they made the exchange. I then flew to Hong Kong. The first night there I took a streetcar out to the outskirts and was shocked to find out that that was the end of the line. It was maybe 10 or 11 pm and I was in a totally strange, not well-lit and Chinese only area. I walked a few blocks toward a busy intersection and was lucky to get a taxi that took me back to the Hilton. My Chinese partners took me out on a party boat that they owned and that was interesting. From Hong Kong I flew to Manila and had a very interesting visit to the Wrigley plant and other sites there. I did not get into any trouble in Manila although I think it would not have been hard to do. I stayed at the very nice Peninsula Hotel. It seemed like I had a permanent housekeeper assigned to my room. She was there all the time. There was a monsoon threatening the Philippines and Taiwan, so they suggested I fly to Tokyo next and then come back to Taiwan. This I did. The Wrigley operation in Tokyo was mostly a sales operation and I could have easily skipped it altogether. I remember having a steak dinner at the Hilton hotel in Tokyo and it was obscenely expensive. From there I flew back down to Taipei and that was really a foreign country. No English subtitles on anything. Luckily I got to my hotel okay and then my partner took me around the north end of the island and to the Wrigley factory. We visited a furniture shop that had a beautiful mahogany dinning room set that I almost bought and wished I had. It was only like $1,200 and even with duty that was a steal. From there I went back to Tokyo for an overnight stay and flight back to Chicago. While I was gone Sandy went out to Portland, OR with Nan and Dave Torrence. She called me in Hong Kong from Portland. Dave was commuting to Portland and had an apartment there.
Vacation in Palm Springs-In maybe March of 1978 we and Torrences agreed to go to Palm Springs for another one week tennis and golf vacation. This time we stayed at one place. It was the Indian Wells Tennis Resort. We had a very nice condo apartment and could play tennis right there. We golfed one time at the Indian Wells Country Club because of their reciprocal arrangements with Rolling Green. We also golfed one time at a public course just south of there. One day we drove up to Palm Springs and took the gondola lift up to the top of the mountain there. It was scary for Nan and I. We held onto the center pole and Nan even dropped to the floor and could not look. The ride did not seem to bother Sandy and Dave. Going back down was not as bad. We explored the entire Coachella valley and basically had a good time. Weather was perfect.
Illinois CPA Society-Sometime during the early 1970s, Harold Hensold one of the senior partners in the office asked me to take over his position as head of the Illinois CPA Society’s Political Action Committee (ICPA PAC). He said it needed new blood and thought I could make something of it. He arranged for my appointment, which was no big deal within the Society. The purpose of the PAC was to raise money from our members and distribute it to elected officials in the state that could help us pass needed legislation. We put together a good committee and started to raise much more money through use of a billing procedure so that when members were billed for their dues there was a space for a suggested amount of donation to our PAC. They could decline, of course, but most went along with it. In addition we made direct solicitations to the CPA firms and got them to pony up some real money. All told we increased our revenue from maybe $50,000 a year to over $500,000. This enabled us to really have an impact in the legislature and with the help of the Society’s lobbyist in Springfield we gave out a lot of money that gave us a presence to get our agenda passed. Mind you it was a good agenda that might have passed anyway, but this was like insurance.
This activity led to my being elected to the Society Board in 1985.Later I was asked to be Treasurer of the Society, which would have led to the Presidency. I probably made a mistake on this, but I declined the invitation because I had just been promoted to be the Office Director of the Audit Department and I thought I would be too busy. In retrospect I should have been able to handle it.
Skiing in Wisconsin-Just after Christmas 1978 we decided to take a long weekend skiing trip up to Oconomowoc, WI. It was not far away maybe 2 hours and about 30 minutes west of Milwaukee on I 94. This was not a very high hill and the resort was new. It was bitter cold and hardly got over zero. There were just Patty, Jonathan and Kathy who was going to Marquette. The most memorable event that weekend was my collision with Kathy. We were going down the hill together and somehow managed to run into each other. No one got hurt thank God. For some reason I also remember Sandy and I going to Dirty Dancing, with John Travolta. It was very good and I never forgot it.
Our 25th wedding anniversary trip-1980–In 1979 we were attending an auction for the Better Government Association and I bid on and won a one week stay at the Hawaiian home of the Heller Lumber Family on Kauai. We arranged for a two-week trip in March of 1980 even though our anniversary was not until September 3, 1980. We asked Mom Theisen to come down and stay with/take care of the kids, which she did. This would be one of her first plane flights. We flew direct to Maui and got to our hotel, the Maui Sheraton, on the west coast near Lahaina. We stayed there for three days and played golf and explored the island. Whale watching was a big attraction off the coast of Maui. We did not know it at the time, but there was a very heavy rainstorm over the east coast of the big island, Hawaii, the same day we arrived. We read about a young couple being killed there when their rental car was swept out to the ocean at night after they took a wrong turn during the storm. When we returned home we learned that the couple were from Arlington Heights and had two small children. I also learned that he had worked for me for a short time at AY.
From Maui, we went to Oahu and stayed at the Hawaiian Hilton on the far SE corner of the island. This was a fine resort hotel and we saw Michael Landon in the lobby and that made Sandy’s day. We drove around the island to see the sights and also visited Pearl Harbor. Then on Saturday we flew to Kauai and drove around to the Hanalei area on the north end of the island, Princeville to be specific. We found our cottage, which had a lovely view, two bedrooms, a large living/great room and small outdoor pool. We explored the island and one day went around to the far SE corner (the road does not go all around the island) and discovered a huge state park beach, maybe a quarter of mile deep and several miles long at least. The road to it went through a sugar cane field and seemed almost deserted. There were a few other people there, but not many. Another day we golfed on a course on the south end near Lihue, the capital. It was right on the ocean and picturesque. Another day, say Wednesday, we golfed at Princeville and to our complete surprise were paired with the Moores, which turned out to be Shirley and Mike Moore who started at AY with me and became our good friends. They transferred to Orange County, CA after a few years and we have always stayed in touch with them. We had a good time with them in Princeville and exchanged dinner at each other’s place during the three days we were together.
Our children gave us the statue shown below for our 25th wedding anniversary. We have kept it with us through two house moves since then. It currently resides on the north side patio of our house in Arlington Heights. It is solid concrete and weighs about 250 pounds.