Family Skiing in Colorado-Sometime after the first of January 1980 we talked to Torrence’s about going skiing in the Colorado mountains. We were going to go to Steamboat Springs up in the northwestern part of CO, but as the time got closer we learned that there was not much snow there at the lower elevations and we switched to the Keystone area just west of Denver. We got two big condos right at Keystone. We had Patty and Jon and they had Julie and David. Everything went just fine except for one incident when at about 5 pm we could not account for Jonathan. I went back down to the ski patrol area and they got a large group together to go up and search the mountain. Mind you it was getting dark and this would be a dangerous mission for them. The last gondola had come down some time earlier. Just before they were ready to go I called back to the condo and just at that moment Sandy yelled “there he is”. He was walking from the bus stop to our condo and had been on one of the buses and no one, including the bus driver knew he was there. They had radioed all the buses about this. Needless to say we were thrilled to see him and after I told the ski patrol they heaved a big sigh of relief. I thanked each and every one of them.
Mom Ley’s 80th birthday party-Mom Ley’s birth date was March 21, 1900, so in the preceding winter of 1980 my sisters, arranged a big 80th birthday party for Mom in Elk River. Cannot remember the exact date, but it was probably in June or July 1980, because most, if not all of our kids and us attended. There were many people from Watkins also and it was a wonderful event. Most of the other grandkids were there also. I remember Rose and Bix playing and singing a beautiful song they wrote for the occasion. I was asked to make some comments and sort of act as MC, which I did.
Home Assault on Patty-At about 4 am one day in early summer of 1981 I heard Patty scream from her bedroom. I jumped up and saw someone running away at the bottom of the stairs. I tried following him, but could not catch or even see him again. He obviously knew his way out and most likely went through the door from the garage and that is where he probably came in. He had climbed atop Patty in her bed and held a knife to her throat and told her to be quiet. She screamed instead and he got off her to run away. He did not physically harm her. We called the police right away and they came to our house within minutes. We sat in the living room for at least an hour while the police interviewed Patty, Sandy and I. They asked Patty to come down to headquarters to look at mug shots and they even had an artist draw a sketch from her description.
We also made immediate arrangements to have our doors and windows hard wired for burglary protection. They did not have wireless at that time. The police also had Patty and her friends sit out front of our house for well over a week and write down the license plate numbers of all cars and trucks passing by. We then gave these numbers to the police for further identification. Nothing came of these efforts. Patty worked at the Walgreen store in Arlington Market and one night maybe three weeks later she saw a young man in the store that she swore was the guy. She saw him go outside the store and drive away in a pickup truck, but could not get his plate number. She reported this to the police, but there was nothing they could do. We all had our suspicions that this was the work of a young man from the house across the street and a few houses south. We knew they had a lot of trouble with their kids and there were other clues, but nothing actionable.
Second canoe trip to Boundary Waters Canoe Country-When Jonathan and Matt Costigan reached the ripe old age of about ten, John Costigan and I thought it would be a good time to spend a week canoeing in the boundary waters with Matt and Jon. I had told John all about my trip with Steve and Tom so he thought it worthwhile. We started real early on a Saturday morning in July 1980 and John drove his car. We had to go all the way to Ely, MN, which was a trip of about 700 miles. Actually we went all the way to Don Beland’s outfitter camp about 30 miles NE Ely and the end of the road. We checked in, got our gear and were bunked in a large three ‘room’ rustic cabin without any running water. There were people in the other two rooms and open ceilings for all so everyone could hear everyone else. We ate dinner at Beland’s. All I remember was that Matt had fried chicken. We turned in rather early. The bathrooms and running water were down a rather steep rocky hill about 200’ away. Matt and Jon were in the top bunks. We had laid out all our gear on the floor, partly between the bunks. At about 2 am Matt got very sick and threw up all over everything. John and I got up and went down to the bathhouse and got towels, etc. to clean up. We had to use flashlights and the mosquitoes were terrible. The boys helped as best they could and after many trips down and back up hill we finally got it cleaned up best we could. What a night. It took till about 3 am. We then slept till about 6:30 so we could go down for breakfast and take the shuttle at 8 am. They were allowed to use a motorized shuttle on several of the lakes so they could take us up to very close to the Canadian border. Our trip plan was to spend all of the time in the US. We had no motor, just one canoe and four paddles. Our first job was to portage to the first lake, Knife Lake, I think. This was a very long lake. We made pretty good time paddling and got to our first campsite early enough to get set up before dark. The next day it rained all day so we set up a lean to and spent all day just goofing around between rain showers. From there we had great weather. Actually it got hot. As before we took our drinking water right from the lakes. One day it was very hot and the algae near shore made us go out into the middle of the lake to get clear water.
The highlight of the trip was visiting an old maid called “Mary” who lived on a remote island without any communications to civilization. She made and sold root beer to canoers like us. Before we left Chicago we had gotten an early copy of the Sunday Trib and low and behold she was featured on the front page of the Travel section. We brought a copy with and left it with her. In the summer her brother from Chicago came up and stayed with her for several months. In the winter snow mobile rangers who brought her supplies visited her. Maybe ten years later we read that she had died.
It was hard work to portage between some of the lakes, but we made it to our rondeveau with the shuttle with a couple of hours to spare. We often wondered what people, like us, would do if we got sick or injured and needed medical care. There were no cell phones yet and we did not see anyone else out there. We did have flares, but that would be a long shot for anyone to see them. The food was pretty good the first couple of days because meat stayed fresh. After that it was canned stuff, etc. We had no bear problems because I had learned on the first trip. We got back to Don Beland’s late that Saturday afternoon and drove into Ely where we stayed in a motel. Sunday was another long day driving back to Chicago. John and I were exhausted. All in all though a very enjoyable trip.
Family Trip to Glacier, etc.-In August 1981 when Jon was 11 and Patty 16 we realized that we had not been on as many trips with both of them as we did with the older children. We then planned and took a trip to Glacier Park via the Black Hills, Yellowstone, Glacier Park, Whitefish MT, Banff, Calgary, Winnipeg and back home.
The first day we drove all the way to Sioux Falls, SD and they had a pool, so the kids were happy. Next stop was by Rapid City, SD where we visited the Mt. Rushmore monument. Thirteen years earlier we were there with the other kids on our trip to CA. We then drove to Sheridan, WY and over the Big Horn mountains to Red Lodge, MT where we stayed in a nice motel right alongside a very noisy and rocky rapid filled river. The kids slept outside the room on a porch so they could hear the river all night. Next day we entered Yellowstone via Beartooth Pass, which was a spectacular switch back climb. We did not see much of Yellowstone and drove right on through up to Helena, where we stayed overnight.
From Helena we drove to Many Glacier Hotel, the same hotel that Sandy and I stayed at on our honeymoon. The next day we took the ferry across Mary Lake and joined other people for a hike up to Many Glacier. Somehow, Jonathan got put into a group of about twenty people ahead of us. We were nervous about this, but felt he would be safe with all the other adults and a guide. We could see him ahead of us and we got very concerned as we saw how steep and precipitous the trail was. On the way up our guide yelled at us “sheep coming, get off trail”. That meant a big horn sheep was actually coming down our trail and we had to jump aside way ahead of him so he would not charge anyone. At times the trial was only a few feet wide next to a drop off of well over a thousand feet. When we got to the tope we joined back up with Jonathan. We climbed onto the glacier, which had big wide deep crevices all over. It was nerve racking and very dangerous. If anyone fell into one of those crevices there was only some rope in a box nearby to throw them and hope they could tie it on and be pulled back up. I could not wait to get off this glacier. On the way down Jonathan stayed with us. Our room at the hotel was very rustic, but adequate. We also did some horse riding the next day. When we left the hotel we drove over the “Going to the Sun” highway, which went over Logan Pass and was full of beautiful scenery. Looked the same as it did 26 years earlier on our honeymoon. We drove up the west side of glacier, just as we did on our honeymoon and got a room in Banff, Alberta. This was the tourist season and it was hard to get a room. From there we drove to Calgary and I went down to our office to pick up a fax that I had to do some work on. They had a pool at the hotel so the kids were happy. From Calgary we started the long trek home and stopped the first night in Regina, Saskatchewan. Then it was on to Winnipeg. Finally we drove the rest of the way to Cold Spring before driving back to AH. (Movies)
50th birthday party-On May 19, 1982 I was 50 years old and Sandy had planned a surprise party for me. Don’t remember how she pulled it off, but she invited a lot of people from AY, etc. to come. What a party. We even called the Schornacks, who were still living in Connecticut, at about 1 am our time. Don Goss was having so much fun that he fell through our living room window (small pane).
Mom Ley falls-A couple of years after her 80th birthday party, Mom fell at Lois and John’s house. It was maybe in late 1983 or early 1984. She hit her head in the fall and we suspected she might have had a slight stroke that caused her to fall. She was hospitalized in Minneapolis. I remember going up to visit her in the hospital and although she could converse with and recognized me, she seemed to drift off once in a while. It soon became clear that she might not be able to continue living at Lois and John’s. I believe she went back there after leaving the hospital, but it wasn’t long before she either fell again or suffered more strokes. It was at that point when she was admitted into the Elk River Nursing Home and would never leave there. We had some family meetings about all of this and I boldly and perhaps foolishly said I would fly up to visit Mom in the nursing home about every two months. Well that became very impractical and I probably only made it up there twice a year. Lois and John were absolutely invaluable in all the care and visiting with Mom at the nursing home. I think Lois went up there every few days and helped out a lot at the nursing home in general. She would play the piano for the residents and do other things. Unfortunately, whenever we visited Mom she could not communicate with us. She would look at us in such a way that we thought she maybe recognized us, but we could not be sure. She could not speak.
First visit to Naples, Florida-One of my small clients was Parker Aleshire & Co., a mostly group insurance broker. The widow of the original owner, Billy Aleshire, was the only shareholder and a very proper lady. She was smart and a good businesswoman. She had a small board with two lawyers, the President of the Company and herself. I attended all board meetings and in the winter we met in Florida at her home there. She had remarried to a very wealthy, but older, man from Naples, Henry Watkins, who was said to own half of Naples. He did own the Naples Beach and Yacht Club and the attached golf course. He was a very nice gentleman. We stayed in one of the new suites in the same building as Billie and Henry who had a penthouse suite that covered the entire top floor. I remember going bass fishing with the two lawyers in the everglades, but we did not catch anything.
One year Sandy went with me and we stayed in the main hotel, but she got to see the whole layout. We played tennis on their clay courts and toured around the area.
Not too many years later, Billy came down with cancer and I remember visiting her at the Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York City during her last days. She so wanted her one and only son, Donald, to be successful and take over the business. Unfortunately he did not have what it takes and I so advised her to make other arrangements. She gracefully accepted my frank advice and began the process of selling the business. She died before she could get it done and the business floundered.
Family Vacation to Niagara Falls and drive around Great Lakes-In about 1982 we took a trip to the Niagara Falls. None of us had been there. Patty and Jon went with us. I remember staying at a Holiday Inn and while they played in the pool I had to work on an SEC document and fax it back to Chicago with my comments. Very similar to the situation in Calgary a few years earlier. The Niagara Falls were very interesting and beautiful. We went down to one of the viewpoints where we had to put on rain gear to avoid getting soaked from the mist coming up from the falls. We next drove through Toronto and the lake country about two hours north. From there we drove to Sault Ste Marie. We stayed overnight in a Holiday Inn that had entertainment and it was loud. We went down to look at the locks between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. The following day we headed off for the long trip around Lake Superior and it was hot out. On the way to Thunder Bay we stopped once in a while and could not see the lake because of the steam coming up from the cold lake. In Thunder Bay we were very happy to get some air conditioning. Our car was starting to act up and every so often it backfired. On the way down toward Duluth it continued to act up. We finally made it to St. Cloud and a Buick dealership and they found the broken part and replaced it.
Hintons-Part Three- Unfortunately, in maybe 1980, George Carracio retired and Don Goss became the new Midwest Regional Partner. Don had other plans for Bill and ‘asked’ him to return to Chicago. Ruth and Bill moved back to Chicago and purchased a beautiful new house in the near western suburbs. Sadly, things did not work out for Bill in the Chicago office. In a few years he got involved with a KLM flight attendant, Lydia, from the Netherlands and he told me all about it, in great detail. He thought Ruth would understand and that he could work something out. Well he told Ruth and she just about had a nervous breakdown and they divorced. Bill married Lydia, left AY, sold the big house and started a distribution company for gifts. It was only moderately successful. I helped Ruth with some of the divorce issues involving AY, but it was awkward because I still was a good friend of Bill. In early 2003, while we were in SCW, Bill died from a heart attack. We did not return for the funeral. Lydia, who worked in the business, continued it and we have lost contact with her. Sandy still stays in contact with Ruth and she even visited us in SCW for a week in maybe 2005.
Kathy and Russ’ wedding (7/17/82)- Kathy and Russ got engaged at Christmas time 1981. They were both seniors in college at that time. Kathy was at Marquette and Russ was at Indiana University. They picked July 17, 1982 and they got St. James Catholic Church in Arlington Heights for the wedding and Rolling Green Country Club for the reception. We had not known Russ’ parents Ursula and Ron before, but we got along well with them. They lived in Arlington Heights about two miles from us. The wedding was beautiful and all I remember is that it was very hot that day and no ac at church. Even at the reception, the ac could not handle it and everyone was very hot. A lot of relatives from Minnesota came down for the wedding.
First visit to Loretta Rodowski –In the fall of 1982 Margie and Tom announced their engagement. The wedding calendar was getting full. They were planning a fall 1983 wedding. We had not yet met Margie’s mother Loretta so we planned a trip up to Wakefield, MI in the far west end of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. People living there are called ‘uppies’. Wakefield was once a thriving copper mining town, but now had many vacant lots and buildings. We stayed in Iron Mountain about 15 miles west of there and on the boarder with Wisconsin. One day we went skiing at their well-known ski hill ‘Indianhead Ski Resort’. This ski slope is unusual because the lodge is at the top of the hill where we park, etc. The ski slope is on the north side facing Lake Superior, some 30 miles north. We had first met Margie about one year earlier when on a trip to Minnesota we arranged to have dinner with Tom and Margie in Tomah, Wisconsin. At that time Tom introduced her as just a friend, but we knew better.
Second Heimlich Maneuver-It was sometime in about 1982 when we took Patty out to dinner at Rolling Green. Cannot remember why Jon was not with us. We were sitting at the west end of this rather large dinning room and there were not a lot of people there. Suddenly Sandy told me that there was some commotion on the other side of the dinning room and I immediately went over and found about ten people, all of whom we knew, crowded around Sue Renzetti. She was obviously in trouble and not breathing. No one there knew what to do and there was some panic. I sensed immediately that she had something stuck in her windpipe. I pulled her up from her chair and gave her a big bear hug with my fist on her chest cavity. Out came some chunks of beef and she started to breathe. Everyone was sort of in shock and thanked me profusely. Not long after that the club started to have all wait staff go to life saving classes. Later, one of my partners, Howard Doherty, told me that one of the Tavern club members had died after choking on some meat.
Carol Theisen (Van Sloun) dies (4/3/83)-For several years, Carol Theisen, Dave’s wife, had been quite ill with MS. They lived in Roseville, just north of St. Paul and had five children. When we were called, on Saturday, April 3, 1983, and were told of her death, we immediately made plans to drive up for the funeral. I think we left on Monday am and then came back immediately after the funeral on Tuesday, April 6. Jonathan stayed home, but probably stayed with the Marwitz’s.
Margie and Tom wedding (10/8/83)- Not long after Steve and Suzanne’s wedding, Saturday, October 8, 1983 to be exact, we had Margie and Tom’s wedding in LaCrosse. This time a lot of friends and people from AY came to the wedding along with a number of people from the upper peninsula of Michigan. We all stayed at the Holiday Inn where the reception was held. We had quite a party because no one had to drive. The band played old and new time music and we even had the Chicken Dance. Mom Ley was at the wedding also and she seemed to have a good time. I think she even danced once or twice. Some of the kids maybe had too good a time because they went down to Margie and Tom’s house and tee-pd it with toilet paper.
We had met Margie for the first time on one of our trips to Minnesota when we arranged with them to meet at the Holiday Inn in Tomah, WI for dinner. Tom emphasized to us that she was just a friend that happened to be a women. Neither Sandy or I fell for that nor it was not too much longer before they were engaged.
Sandy goes back to work-Without any warning or discussion Sandy announced, in 1984, that she had taken a job as receptionist and assistant to Dr. Deol, an OB Gyne doctor. Dr. Deol was just starting in practice and she was all-alone. She was only supposed to work part time, but she rarely did, except in the first few years. She said she needed to get out of Jonathan’s ‘hair’. She seemed to like working again. She and Dr. Deol got along good and eventually Dr. Deol hired another person in the office, which relieved some of Sandy’s work burden.
Promotion to Office Director of Auditing-1984-In 1984, I and several other partners talked about being frustrated with the lack of growth in our office and the lack of any kind of plan to do so. One day late in the afternoon, I went into Harry Kirchhiemer’s office, he was the office director of auditing, and told him how I felt. As we talked, I suggested starting a planning process that would involve the whole audit department. He agreed that something had to be done, so I wrote up a detailed plan of action and got it to him the next day. We discussed it and made a few changes and he asked me to head up the effort. I did this and it was the buzz of the office. I involved others who felt like I did and we ended up having a series of planning meetings that resulted in our agreeing to divide the audit department into three industry groups for specialization purposes. Shortly thereafter, maybe it was early 1985, Harry suffered a serious stroke and could not carry on his department responsibilities. John Schornack was Office Managing Partner at the time and after a few months without Harry, He appointed me the Office Director of the Audit Department. Harry did not like this and somehow felt he could carry on as soon as he got better. Eventually I think he accepted it, but with a grudge. This promotion meant a bigger and corner office, but more importantly, more units of profit participation. It also meant a lot more work and longer hours.
Karen and Adam wedding (12/8/84)-In the fall of 1984, Karen and Adam told us that they wanted to get married soon. We set the date for December 1, 1984. It turned out that the weather was perfect and actually a little warm that day. We arranged for Adam’s parents to come up to our place for dinner a few weeks beforehand and that was our first chance to meet them. Luckily we were able to get St. James Church in Arlington Heights and Rolling Green Country Club for the reception. We were again pleasantly surprised that so many of our relatives from Minnesota came down for the wedding.
First cruise-Caribbean-1985- In January of 1985 we went on a Caribbean cruise with Nan and Dave Torrence. The ship was the Song of Norway, a Royal Caribbean ship that was maybe 12 years old and had a capacity of about 1200 passengers. We flew to San Juan, Puerto Rico and boarded the ship the same day. We had a great time. We stopped at St. Martin, Barbados, Martinique, American Virgin Islands, and maybe Aruba. All of these islands are very poor. On Barbados we hired a taxi to take us across the island to a nice small hotel on a very famous beach. We swam in the ocean for a while and had lunch of flying fish in the cliff side restaurant overlooking the beach. On the US virgin island we took a boat over to St. John’s and saw a few sites there, including a famous beach. On Martinique we took a short, but fun cruise line trip to a topless beach and while I snorkeled, Nan, Dave and Sandy took in the ‘sights’. We also appeared in a ‘talent’ show on the ship. We got hooked on cruising after that.
Suzanne and Steve wedding (6/22/85)- Steve finished course work and graduated from Notre Dame in three and one-half years in December 1977. He started work in Minneapolis in January 1978 and eventually met Suzanne on a blind date in about 1982. Little did either of them know that I knew Suzanne’s dad, John Stewart, because he worked at Montana-Dakota Utilities. Suzanne’s mother had died some years earlier and John had been remarried to a wonderful woman named Pat. We met Suzanne for the first time when Steve brought her back to Arlington Heights for a weekend visit. Steve and Suzanne’s wedding was on June 22, 1985 in Minneapolis. The only friends from Chicago that could make it were Nan and Dave Torrence. The wedding was in a very large Presbyterian church in downtown Minneapolis. The reception was at the Lake Calhoun Club. Sometime in either August or September we had a big reception for Suzanne and Steve at our house in Arlington Heights. That gave all of our friends in Illinois a chance to offer their congratulations, etc.
Lloyd’s of London-In about 1980 I became the partner in charge of the Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. audit. Gallagher was a fast growing insurance brokerage firm. While I was in charge they went public on the NYSE. They also hired us to help them find a new Chief Financial Officer, which we did. Michael Cloherty was the new CFO. Through these associations, I and my fellow partner John Schornack got to know the Gallagher brothers, Bob and John, pretty well. They told us all about Lloyd’s of London which they had been members of for some years. John and I applied for membership in Lloyd’s in early 1985. In addition to putting up around $150,000 in credit as a minimum, we were required to appear in London before the Lloyd’s screening committee. Sandy and I went to London in 1985 and met with all the top Lloyd’s people including those from our intermediary Sturge & Co. Later we were to learn that the people, at least some of them, at Sturge lied to us about various technical aspects of the Lloyd’s operations that if we had known about fully we probably would not have joined. The biggest lie was when I asked whether the syndicates we were joining at Sturge’s suggestion had any long-term or professional liability business, we were assured that they did not and were only in very conservative syndicates. We later learned otherwise, but had very little recourse because this information was not in writing and under British law it was very difficult to prove fraud. In addition, Sturge later went bust along with most of Lloyd’s Names, as we were called.
Our first year of underwriting was for 1986. There was a three-year time lag in Lloyd’s reporting so it was not until 1989 that we received our share of the 1986 profits, some of which we shared with our kids. We made about $60,000 for that first year and in 1990 about $75, 000 for 1987. Based on those results I increased our participation about by double that amount. That meant we had to put up about $300,000 as a five-year non-revocable letter of credit. This was issued by the American National Bank & Trust Co. of Chicago. At first they only required a nominal amount of security, but later they required the full $300, 000 to be securitized. This required us to take out a mortgage on our home in Palatine. In 1991, 1992 and 1993 we learned of losses for 1988, 1989 and 1990 that were rather large and then we started to hear about even larger coming losses and it was not until about 1994 that the U.S. names became organized with legal help, etc. to fight what was going on. Most of the large losses were due to asbestos claims, but also there were a bunch of other losses that piled on. Based on reports that I thought were believable the last year I underwrote for was 1994. This decision was made officially by December 31 of 1994. I did not pay for the losses from 1990, 1991 and 1992 when they were originally assessed.
In 1996 the Names reached a settlement with Lloyds that resulted in them absorbing all unpaid for losses prior to December 31, 1992 in return for our paying a substantially reduced amount to finalize things. I was still participating in the 1993 and 1994 results and luckily those years had modest profits that helped cushion the losses a bit. Because of the complexity of the income taxes involved we did not settle with the IRS until about the year 2000 and that produced a modest refund. Also due to some syndicates from 1993 and 1994 not closing on time we did not finally get out of Lloyds until 2003. As part of the 1996 settlement we became members of Equitas, the company set up to wind down the open syndicates from prior to 1993. Although Equitas will continue in existence for many more years, it was totally reinsured into a Warren Buffet insurance company in 2007. Technically, the lawyers involved continue to say that if the Buffet Company fails, we would still be liable for Equitas. That is so remote that no one is paying any attention to it. If anything, we all feel Buffet will make tons of money on this deal because the asbestos liabilities are slowly disappearing due to massive fraud here in the US by the lawyers involved.
Jonathan’s hobbies-When Jon was just 5 or 6 years old he started to learn some Spanish. Kathy was in high school at Sacred Heart and brought Jonathan to her Spanish class a couple of times. He knew the Spanish alphabet and could count up to way past one hundred if need be. He was a cute young boy and made quite a hit with the class.
Later Jon started to take an interest in birds. We got him some books on birds and he devoured them. On a few occasions I took him to the forest preserves and he could name almost every bird we saw. He became, and is today, very proficient in ornithology.
Next when Jon was about 14 years old we gave him a Christmas present of lessons at the nearby Tae Kwon Do studio. He went once or twice a week and became very good at it. There were not a lot of non-Asian students. By the time he was a senior in high school he got his black belt. We were at his final exam along with maybe thirty or so other people. I took movies of the whole thing. He had all his belts hanging in his room on Circle Lane. (Movies)
First grandchild born-Michael Kalwat (5/28/85)-We were rather excited with the upcoming birth of our first grandchild. May 28, 1985 was a Monday and we went down to the Hospital in Schererville, IN on Tuesday, May 29. Sandy stayed with Karen for a few days to help out. Michael was an active baby and, of course, we thought he was beautiful. Baptism was a few weeks later and, of course, we went down for that also. At that time Karen and Adam were living in a small apartment in downtown Hammond. They soon were lucky to be able to buy a manufactured home in SE Hammond.
First vacation to Europe-1985-In September of 1985, Sandy and I traveled to London to attend our first meeting with Lloyds of London and Sturge, our agents for Lloyds. One of these meetings was a very formal affair where I was interviewed by officials of Lloyds for formal acceptance as a name (see above). We also had arranged for a private car and driver/guide to take us around the English countryside one day. I had gotten the name of this gentleman from one of my clients and made the arrangements with him over the telephone. He was a delightful elderly Englishman and former military officer. He took us up to Oxford, Longfellow’s birthplace, Churchill’s burial site and a whole bunch of other places. It was a full day and he both picked us up and delivered us back to our hotel, the Hyde Park. We also toured London and went to a play.
Next we traveled by plane to Paris and found Shirley and Mike Shanley’s apartment, where we stayed. Mike had transferred to our Paris office a year earlier for a three-year stent. Their apartment was on the left bank, a very quaint section of Paris. Shirley was a doll and escorted us all over Paris. We walked most places and at night they drove us around. We saw all the sights, except Versailles, which we saw on a later trip.
From Paris we flew to Munich and met our partner in charge of the Wrigley audit. He took us to Salzburg, Austria and also Hitler’s Berchtesgaden in the Bavarian Alps. We had dinner at a very fine French restaurant in Munich and also visited and had dinner at my partner’s home in suburban Munich. We entertained this partner a couple of years later at our home in Palatine. We also went to the site of the world’s fair and since it was September, we took in the Oktoberfest and visited one of about nine big tents where they served big liter jugs of beer and bratwursts, etc. along with the omp-pah-pah bands.
From Munich we took a train to Rome, Italy. The first half of the trip was delightful, going through the Austrian Alps, etc. When we got into Italy toward evening, the train got crowded with what we sort of thought were commuter types. Getting into Rome at dark made it hard to get around. We hired a taxi to take us from the train station to our hotel and the driver took us on long ride to nowhere. When he finally got to our hotel, I refused to pay the fare and when I asked the doorman at the hotel, he told me the train station was just a few blocks away. I paid the driver what I thought it was worth and he screamed bloody murder, but did not pursue the matter. When we checked in to the hotel, we learned that the Pope was having an audience the next day, so we signed up for a tour that would take us to St. Peter’s Square. The next morning was very eventful and we were very close to the Pope. There had to be many thousands of people there. After the audience we walked all over the Vatican and Rome. It was a long day. The next day we took a taxi to the Coliseum and found it very interesting. We also walked all over from there. The third day we took a taxi to the airport and flew back to Chicago non stop. We remember that there were a lot of heavily armed police at the airport, because it was not too long before that when a terrorist gunman shot up the place and killed some people.
Second cruise-Mexican Riviera—1986-In January 1986 we took a cruise with Torrences again. This time it was to the Mexican Riviera out of Los Angeles. It was again the RCCL, but I forgot the name of the ship. It was not a real large ship, probably the size of the Song of Norway. By this time Patty was living in the LA area and she came down to the ship to see us off. On the way out of the harbor we met some people who had taken an RCCL cruise the year before, just like us, and learned that we were entitled to one free fare each. On returning and talking to our agent at Cruises International, we got our refund. On the way down the west coast of the Lower California peninsula we learned that the ocean was very cold and fed by the Alaska current from up north. That would only change after we passed Cabo San Lucas where the current changed to the warm northbound Pacific current. Our first stop was Puerto Vallarta, where we lunched at an ocean side hotel. Otherwise it was pretty poor. Next we stopped at Mazatlan where we took a deep sea fishing trip. Did not catch anything other than snagging some small barracuda. Final stop was Cabo San Lucas or just San Lucas as I think it is now called. Not much to do there. At that time they were just starting to build the place up into the big resort area it now is.
Second grandchild born-Stephen Larko (10/31/86)-Kathy and Russ rented an apartment on Chicago’s north shore for the first few years they were married. They then moved to an apartment (house) on North Avenue, in the De Paul U area. Kathy was nursing at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Russ had left Marshall Field’s and was working for Banner Employment.
Kathy had Stephen at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. I remember going up to see them the day after he was born and taking some movies. Ursula and Ron Larko were there too. Everyone
Was thrilled. Stephen was our second grandchild and Ursula and Ron’s first.
Family vacation to Cancun, Mexico-1987-Early in 1986 we talked about and eventually agreed to take the whole family on a vacation to Cancun, Mexico. We felt that this was fairly close, but had almost guaranteed good weather in January. Everyone made it except Suzanne and Steve, because Suzanne was too far along with her pregnancy. Patty was in California, but she made it to Cancun via Miami. Kathy and Russ brought along Stephen even though he was just a baby. Karen and Adam left Michael with his mother. We had three apartments on the north shore of Cancun island at the Club International. These apartments all had two bedrooms and a small kitchen, but we did not cook any meals. The first night there we took an early evening cruise on a party sailboat and we were the only ones on it. We had a ball with all the free margaritas, etc. Some maybe had one too many. One day we rented a Volkswagen van and everyone piled in for a two-hour drive to Chichen Itza to see the Inca ruins. We found and had lunch at a very nice oasis in the jungle, called Club Med. The ruins were very interesting. One night we all went to a Mexican restaurant in town-Cancun City-and had a lot of fun singing, snake dancing and drinking large margaritas. We had to watch what we drank and ate in town because things were only safe on the island, where you could drink tap water, etc. We also took a cruise to the nearby island of Isla Mueres where we snorkeled and had lunch in a local restaurant. Sandy and I even played golf one afternoon while the kids did their own things. We had a ball that week, sunning on the beach, etc. Patty even went para gliding one pm. (movies)
Third grandchild born-Kevin Ley (2/26/87)-Cannot remember exactly when Suzanne and Steve moved to Chicago, but it must have been in early 1987. They first lived in a high-rise apartment just across the street from the IBM building. Steve had been transferred to Arthur Andersen’s world office for one year. As the year came to a close he had a difficult decision to make about whether to go back to Minneapolis and fight for a partner promotion or stay in Chicago and leave AA. He choose the later and went to work for one of their clients, Eagle Industries. At that time they also bought a house in La Grange Park. Anyway, shortly after our Cancun trip Suzanne had their first child, Kevin. I most remember his baptism at that very nice church in La Grange Park. We had a very big party at their house to celebrate after that.