Second vacation to Europe-In early October 1987 we went on vacation to Europe with Nan and Dave Torrence. We first went to London and took a drive in the country very similar to the one we took several years earlier. We went to Starlight Express in London and that was very enjoyable. We stayed at the Churchill hotel, which was a nice, but not luxurious hotel. From there we flew to Paris and stayed in a very nice small hotel near the Arc de’ Triumph. This was Dave’s first trip to a foreign country and because the taxis would not take more than three passengers, we had to take two taxis. Dave had exchanged about $400 US into French francs at the airport. There was a light drizzle that day. Anyway Sandy and I got to the hotel first and when we were standing outside the hotel we could hear Dave coming up the street saying he had been robbed. Apparently when their taxi got close to the hotel, their driver intentionally did not drive up in front of the hotel, but just to an intersection nearby. When Dave asked about the fare, the driver feigned no English and Dave put his hand out with all those French francs and the driver took them all. Other pedestrians tried to intervene, but the driver just took off with all of Dave’s money. We survived that, but there was nothing Dave could do about it, because he did not have the taxi’s number. We walked all over Paris and took in all of the sights. We also went out to Versailles, which we had not done before. From Paris we took an overnight train to Venice. We drank all of the wine in our sleeper car and must have had a pretty good time going through Switzerland. In Venice it was drizzling again and we took the public boat bus from the train station to our hotel. Private boat service was available, but very expensive. Our rooms in Venice were large and beautiful suites right on the large Grand Canal. We went to an outlying island where they blew glass, etc. From Venice we rented a car and drove to Florence, Italy. Again we had beautiful large suites right on the river. The reason we got such good rooms was that Dave had told the travel agent that he was considering these hotels for a business meeting of his company’s top salespeople. Dave was President of ADP’s Dealer Services subsidiary so he had the clout. While in Florence we got news of the huge stock market crash on Monday, October 17. I think the market dropped like 500 points (20%) in one day and Dave almost had a heart attack. From there we drove to the leaning tower of Piza where I climbed all the way to the top. We then drove to Milan where we caught a plane to Madrid. In Madrid our hotel was a very large plain vanilla business hotel. We took in a large variety show one night that even featured elephants on stage. The next day we took a tour to Toledo, about two hours south of Madrid. This is where they make Llardros. We flew from Madrid to London and from there to Chicago. Our plane from Madrid was delayed by a passenger that had failed to check in and that caused a very tight connection in London.
Fourth grandchild born-Johanna (12/8/87)-Margie and Tom had announced earlier in 1987 that they were expecting their first child in December. We did not go up to La Crosse for Johanna’s birth, but we did go up for her baptism a couple of weeks later. Margie’s mother from Wakefield, WI came down to help for almost one week.
Theisen reunion in Las Vegas- In early 1988, someone got the bright idea that it would be great if at least some of the Theisen kids got together for a little reunion in Las Vegas. It was probably April. Anyway, Helen and Dale from Duluth, Harold from New York, Lee and Al from Arlington, Virginia, Barb and Jim from San Antonio, Ermie and Willie and Devada and Dave from MN, Sandy and I and Patty from Los Angeles and Kathy and Mark Weber from Minneapolis. We had a great time doing a little gambling, sitting around the pool and just goofing off. I remember Patty coming with me to the crap table in the Hilton hotel and the table got ‘hot’. I was only betting with $25 chips, but the guy next to me had stacks of $100 chips. After a short while they made Patty stand aside because the table was just teeming with people trying to get into the action. At some point around 1 am I decided to quit and was several hundred ahead. That was one of the only times I remember playing craps. It’s fun when you win. At night we all jammed into someone’s room for cocktails and it was a blast with joke telling, etc.
Sale of House in Arlington Heights and move to Palatine-In 1986 some of our neighbors and friends started to talk about selling their houses and moving. The first ones were Emily and John Costigan, who owned a house on our block and facing Thomas Avenue. They sold their house and moved to Lake Forest, about 15 miles away. Then Nan and Dave Torrence announced that they were moving out to South Barrington and did so later that year. Also, around that time, Mary and Walt Spellman announced that they were moving to Santa Rosa, California. Peggy and Larry Frerk also sold their home and moved to Tower Lakes, about ten mile NW of Arlington Heights. With that we started to talk about moving also and started to look around for a bigger house in the nearby suburbs. Jonathan had one more year of high school left at nearby St. Viator and we also did not want to move too far away from Rolling Green Country Club, where we had some very close friends.
Sandy had been to a house over in Palatine to play bridge and said she really liked that house. We were not having any luck looking at houses within our price range. One day, in early1987, we heard that the owner of the house Sandy liked, Dick Wulfert, was having some health issues and they were thinking of his retirement and moving to Sedona. We called them and asked if they might be selling and they said yes. We went over to look at the house in Forest Estates and made them, Marge and Dick Wulfert, an offer that evening for $340,000. They accepted and that was it. We then talked to Patty Ancona, a friend and real estate agent, to find out what she thought our house in Arlington Heights was worth and she said about $220,000. She was going out of town and we said we would try to sell it on our own until she got back. We put ads in the papers and the first couple to come by liked it and offered us $215,000. We accepted and that was that. Our closing dates were around July 1 and that is when we moved. We did hire a mover for all of the big stuff but managed to take a number of station wagons of stuff over to the new house at 1534 Circle Lane, Palatine, by ourselves. We wanted to make a number of changes to the furnishings and kitchen so we got very busy arranging for all of that. It all got done about by the end of September 1987. This was a much bigger house than the one on Hickory, over 4000 sq. ft. and so we had to also buy some more furniture. This house was really well built. Dick Wulfert was the original owner and did nothing half way. The ceiling joists in the basement were all 12” even though code only called for 10”. The basement walls were all an extra 2” thick. All the doors were made of hardwood, etc. In addition the lot was ½ acre and so we did a fair amount of landscaping also. Many trees. We built a 15’x15’ deck outside the screened in porch and hired a neighbor who did carpentry work to finish off the basement.
One of our concerns about moving, was that Jonathan still had one year of high school left at St. Viators. He did not seem to mind so we bought a small car for Jonathan to go to school, about 20 minutes away.
New neighbors-Sally and Andy Plummer lived next door to the south. They had been good friends of the Wulferts and adopted us as good friends also. They had six children-three boys and three girls, just like us. They were almost ten years younger than us so their children were also younger. We had cocktails and then dinner with them often. I even went over there at Christmas and played Santa Claus a few times after I did that for our own grandchildren. We never went on a trip with Plummers and have not been able to get them to visit us in AZ. Still working on that. We still have dinner together around two or three times a year. They never moved.
Across the street in the newest house in our subdivison was an American Airlines pilot Mike Hudson and his wife. She was a flight attendant for Delta. After a few years they moved to Dallas and we lost touch. They and their children were much younger. We never got to know the couple that moved in next very well. Their children were even younger and she home schooled. He played first violin for the Chicago Symphony.
Forest Estates-The area we lived in was unincorporated and called Forest Estates. We had about 120 homes all on ½ acre lots. Our sewer service was provided by a local water and sewer company. Our water was from our own well. Our homeowners association was fairly inactive because there was not much for them to do. The township took care of the roads and each homeowner had to take care of their own property. The county provided police service. The only thing that caused a bit of a problem was our fire (and thus ambulance) service. This was provided by the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District. This was a separate taxing body with its own board, etc. There was only one fire station and that was on the far north end of Palatine, too far away to give us decent service. Therefore, as part of an exchange agreement, Rolling Meadows provided us that service from a nearby station in exchange for our district providing similar service to Palatine. When Rolling Meadows annexed a large (several hundred acres) parcel just to the west of us it upset the balance in fire exchange agreements and Rolling Meadows insisted that our district pay all of our taxes to them for their service to us. This created a big dispute and our district fought it tooth and nail. Eventually some type of agreement was reached. This battle re energized our little homeowners association. I served as President for several years and was not happy with our situation. Andy Plummer was president in the early years before we got there and then as we moved he became president again. We had no curbs and just regular country ditches. Eventually the township put in curbs, re-did the streets and put in a storm sewer system.
Third Heimlich Maneuver-One night we were at a party at Jaroszs and the whole bridge club was there. Drinks were flowing freely and at one point I was in the kitchen with two other fellows, one of whom was Walt Spellman. I noticed that he was having a problem breathing and immediately applied the Heimlich maneuver on him. A bunch of food came out and he started to breathe freely again.
Jonathan graduates from St. Viator-1988-When we moved to Forest Estates Jonathan still had one more year of high school left so we bought him a used car to get back and forth from school. He parked it in one corner of the driveway so we had to be careful backing out from the garage. Cannot remember a lot about Jon’s graduation, but I know most of the family came home for it. Here is his graduation picture.
Record rain storm-Sometime in the summer of 1989 we had a 9.5” rain fall within a few hours. This was an all time record and our streets were flooded, but nearly like so many others. I could not park in the commuter parking lot so I drove downtown. It took me over two hours using far northern streets to get to the lake. On the way home the Kennedy expressway was still flooded so I drove way north again and it took at lest two hours to get home. What a day.
Fifth grandchild born-Kimberly Kalwat (2/19/88)-Karen and Adam announced that they were having their second child in mid 1987. We went down for the birth and Sandy stayed for a few days and helped take care of the new baby and Michael. Baptism was held about two weeks later and Adam’s parents, Emil and Helen, were there.
Vacation with Friends in Arizona-In April 1988, the Bostroms, Martensens, Drazbas and us went to Arizona for a one-week vacation. We stayed in some very nice condos just off Scottsdale road by the Gainey Ranch resort. The guys golfed on the TPC course by the Princess and where the Phoenix Open was held in January each year. One day the Bostroms and Martensens drove up to the Grand Canyon because they had not seen it yet. Drazbas and us went out to Superstition Springs to play on their new golf course. At the time this was the Far East end of development in the valley. I played lights out and beat Jack Drazba, a much better golfer than me, by a lot. We did not play for much money, but he did have to pay me something and that was all that mattered. Another day we played on the also relatively new Tatum Ranch course, now private. On other days we just sat around the pool. We had great weather and all in all had a great time.
Fourth of July at Bostrom’s-Beginning with the late 1980s and after most of our friends and us moved away from Hickory Ave. in Arlington Heights, we got invited to attend the fourth of July party at Ellie and Kurt Bostrom in Mount Prospect. They had a large backyard pool and very nice landscaping. Some of the many people who attended frequently were Marge and Don Martensens, Loretta and Jack Drazba, Kay and Ed Sweeney, Bob and May Lou Alfini, Sev and Ralph Lindgren, Alice and Nels Nelson, Elsa and Bob Swanson, Carolyn and Jim Bowden, Betty and Dan Novak, Delight and John Eilering(neighbors) and many others at times. Parties usually started at about 3 pm and would end when we all packed up to go watch fireworks at about 8:30. We played water volleyball with boys in deep end and girls in shallow. Boys still always won. We also had an annual water balloon-tossing contest with mixed couples as partners-fun. Kurt had a diving board and one year when I dove off I hit the bottom where the deep end started and cut my head right between the eyes. I bled profusely and Bob(Dr.) Alfinini helped patch me up. I thought I should have had stitches, but he convinced me to just go with a tight bandage to minimize the scar. He was right. These parties were a lot of work for Kurt and Ellie and came to a stop when they moved to Rob Roy in about 2005.
Arthur Young and Ernst & Whinney merge-In the spring of 1989, Sandy and I went on a vacation to Florida. The plan was to stay with the Martensen’s in their Siesta Keys (Sarasota) condo for a few days and then they were going to leave and we would stay there for the balance of a week or so. One morning I got a call from Jack Staley, who had just become office managing partner, and he asked me if I was sitting down. I said yes and he told me that our firm was merging with Ernst & Whinney and that I better get back to the office ASAP. This was blockbuster news to me and to the entire business community. The new firm would be called Ernst & Young throughout the world. There were a million details to handle, including meeting of the partners in each country to vote on the merger, etc. I knew, immediately, that with only three years to go till retirement that I could expect a big job change and perhaps even early retirement. We left for home on the next flight we could get and my business world changed for good.
My office moves to 111 South Wacker-In the months after the merger we started to consolidate offices and move people around. E&W’s offices were at 111 South Wacker and AY’s lease in the IBM building was expiring. Thus some of us moved to the S. Wacker location in late 1989 and the new firm took a big four-floor lease in the Sear’s Tower, which was just across the street from the Wacker location. The South Wacker lease was expiring in pieces within a couple of years. For a while I had the office of E&W’s former office managing partner, but upon further consolidation I moved to the SW corner of that floor near the people in Human Resources that I was directly in charge of. I had to cut our staff and thus let several people go. That was never a pleasant job, but I had done it before. Although I was still Office Director of Auditing, it was not the same, because we formed industry groups that included both audit and tax personnel that did not report directly to me. I knew we had to so some of this and did not mind. I was phasing out of my client work anyway in anticipation of early retirement.
Second visit to Loretta Radowski-After one of our bridge club trips to Jarosz’ home in northern Wisconsin, we decided to make a bigger trip of it and continued north to Wakefield, MI where we visited with Loretta Radowski again. This was probably 1992. On the way up we had to take some gravel roads and on one of them they were doing roadwork. As luck would have it one of the gravel trucks came by and a stone from it hit our windshield and made a nice crack. There was a flagman standing right by us as a witness so I called on my cell phone for the county highway department. I told them what happened and they referred me to their insurance company in Chippewa Falls. When we got home I got things settled with the insurance company and they paid the whole thing. We continued on to Minnesota to visit the rest of the gang and then back home.
Sixth grandchild born-Corrine Ley (6/20/89)- Cory was born on Monday, June 20, 1989 while Steve and Suzanne were living in La Grange Park. Sandy went down to help out for a few days and, of course, we went to Cory’s baptism a few weeks later. Steve and Suzanne moved to Rochester, NY in 1990.
Casey and Ray Youngstrom-Somehow, in 1990 Ray and Casey met and before long got married. They moved into her house in Arlington Heights Westgate area. It was a small Chicago style single floor bungalow, but just fine for them. We liked Casey from the get go. She was very sharp and just as much in need for companionship as Ray. They made a great couple. We, of course, continued inviting them both to our various family functions. In about 1995 they bought a trailer down in central Florida and enjoyed spending the winters there. Maybe a few years later they sold their bungalow and bought a very comfortable new townhouse just a couple miles north of there, but in Palatine.
One morning in about 2000 we got a call from Casey and she asked if I could come over. When I arrived it was obvious that something was terribly wrong with Ray. He kept insisting that we lock the doors again and again. I tried to explain and show him that they were locked, but he persisted. Casey explained that they had come early from Florida because of the way Ray was acting down there. He started to drive the car, but soon Casey had to take over and drive the rest of the way home.
Casey knew that she had to do something with Ray. We talked on the phone and she had checked everything out at several places and settled on the Moorings. As arranged, I drove over to their place one morning and the minute I opened the front door, Ray sensed that there was something wrong and started to moan and resist. Eventually he came along peacefully, but sort of crying. He knew that he was going into an institution. We got him settled into the Alzheimer’s unit at the Moorings. Over the next two years I went to visit Ray at lest once a week without fail. He went downhill fairly fast. At first I even brought him over to our house and Sandy served us lunch. He had a beer and seemed fairly good. Casey also visited Ray very often and after a year or so became unhappy with the way they were treating Ray. She took him out of there and brought him home. He was bed ridden by that time. One morning at 6 am Casey called and asked if we could come over because she thought Ray had died. We threw some clothes on and went immediately. When we got there and saw Ray it was obvious he was not breathing and was dead. We called hospice and they came over immediately and then we made the necessary arrangements with the funeral home and the church. We went with Casey to the funeral home and helped her make all the arrangements. The funeral mass was at Our Lady of the Wayside. I gave another eulogy. It was a very small funeral. His ashes were interned at Acacia Cemetery on Irving Park Rd. on the west side where Betty is.
We continue to see Casey several times a year for our family functions and lunch at Rolling Green. When we are gone to AZ she comes over to the house every week and checks it out. We shut the water off so she does not have to flush toilets, etc. Casey consulted with me about how to invest her money and named us as Administrators and partial beneficiaries of her estate. She gave us copies of her will and other documents and we keep them in our AH safe.
Seventh grandchild born-Scott Larko (1/25/91)- On Thursday, January 25, 1991 we got the word that Scott Larko was born. His birth was at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Kathy, Russ and five year old Stephen were living in a small house on Chicago’s northwest side at the time. Sandy was able to stay with Kathy for a few days after she came home from the hospital.
Mom Ley dies (4/19/91)-Lois called on Friday, April 19, 1991 and told us that Mom Ley had died in her sleep. They would most likely schedule a wake for Monday, April 20 and the funeral Tuesday, April 21. We called all of the kids and though I cannot remember exactly I think everyone came except maybe Suzanne and Jonathan. Suzanne was living in Rochester at that time and had two small children to take care of. Jonathan was in his senior year at Marquette and had to stay there for studying and exams. Cori came with Steve. Most of us stayed at the Cold Spring Americana hotel. The wake, funeral and burial were in Watkins. The Ertl funeral home did a great job. I think I gave some comments about Mom. Mom Theisen was there. We all gathered at the Blue Heron in Cold Spring for dinner on Monday night. On Tuesday everyone, but us kids, left right away for his or her respective homes.
Eighth grandchild born-Megan Ley (6/17/91)-It was on Sunday, June 17, 1991 when Tom called and told us that Megan was born. We were sure that three-year-old Johanna was happy to have a sister. We did not go up to La Crosse right away, but did for Megan’s baptism a couple of weeks later. Margie’ mom came down to help her for a week or so.
Patricia and Charley wedding (9/7/91)-Patty and Charlie had gotten engaged sometime in early 1991. They wanted a Catholic Church wedding in the Arlington Heights area, but Charlie’s annulment from his first marriage was in process and they could not get married at Holy Family without it. None of us knew when or whether the annulment would come through and thus it was impossible to plan for a wedding at Holy Family. We therefore contacted the Christian Community Church in Rolling Meadows and the pastor there was very nice. As a total coincidence he and I worked out at the same Bally Fitness Center in Schaumburg. Charlie had two of his buddies from California in the wedding party and they stayed at Plummers, our next-door neighbor. The rehearsal dinner the night before was at a local restaurant, the Embers (Quentin and Algonquin). We had everyone over to our house after that, including Charlie’s parents and his grandmother. The wedding was very nice. We had the reception at Rolling Green County Club.
Charlie had two children from his first marriage, Christian-6 years old(11/10/84) and Liza-5 years old(11/27/85) at the time of the wedding. Charlie did not have custody, but did have significant visitation rights. Therefore both children spent a fair amount of time with Patty and Charlie until they were age 18. Now both of them reside in northern Virginia. Below is Christian at age 10 and Liza at age 12.
Clients-Although I have made reference to several clients above, here is a list of all those clients that I can remember working on. Some were for only very short assignments and others I served for many years including while I was a partner. These are in approximate chronological order:
Onsrud Machinery Company (see above)
American Standard, Kokomo, Indiana (see above)
Swift & Co, Chicago Stockyards, Main Office (see above)
Security Mutual Casualty Company-This was a sort of subsidiary of Swift & Co. and a very complicated reinsurance business. Eventually this company became involved in litigation and I had to testify. I remember that during the deposition stage, my lawyer objected, and they had to go to the judge to resolve the matter and my deposition never resumed.
MDU Resources (formerly Montana-Dakotas Utilities) (see above)
GROWMARK (formerly Illinois Farm Supply)-This was a large farm cooperative located in Bloomington, IL about 2 hours south of Chicago on HWY 55. Don Goss was the partner in charge, but in 1980, when he was promoted to Regional Managing Partner, he asked me to take over. I had the account until I retired. This was the best client one could ask for. The Board was very engaged in what went on. There were maybe twenty board members and although they were all active farmers from Iowa and Illinois, many of them were very sharp about business matters. Best of all they all had values that were very solid.
Cotter and Company (True Value Hardware)-I became the partner in charge of this account in about 1980 (I cannot remember who was the partner before me). Cotter was also a coop and its board was made up of hardware owners from around the country. It was totally different from Growmark, though because it was created by John Cotter who ruled with an iron hand. When John Cotter died, his son Dan took over and he was not up to the job. We felt that Cotter had to get with the times and compete more aggressively with the Home Depots, etc. There was a limit though on what we could say. I remained partner in charge until I retired.
Controls Company of America (see above)
Wm Wrigley & Co.-I took over this account from Howard Doherty in about 1978 due to SEC mandatory partner rotation. This was my largest account in terms of worldwide operations. I traveled to Europe twice and the Far East once. (See above) I had to give up the account to Dale Phillips in 1986 due to mandatory rotation.
Libby, McNeil & Libby-I only worked on this account as a staff person and manager. (see above).
Massey Ferguson North American Operations (see above)
Allied Van Lines-I took over this account a the time of our merger with Ernst & Whinney. This was a subsidiary of a British company. I only had the account two years.
Southern Illinois University-This audit was awarded by the Illinois Auditor General and had to be conformed in part to his rules. SIU’s main campus was way down in Carbondale, Illinois. They also had a large campus in Edwardsville, Illinois and a medical school in Springfield. This was a large audit in terms of audit hours. Most of us would fly down there on one of SIUs planes. The highlight of my time on this account was an appearance at the Illinois Legislature’s Audit Commission to explain the adverse comments we made after one of the audits.
Klien Tools-This was a very interesting family owned business on the far north side of Chicago. The highlight of my time on this account was putting them on LIFO and saved them a ton of money.
Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company-One night when I was working rather late, say 9 pm, I took a blind call to our office and it was the partner in charge of the account from Louisville. He said he needed someone to call their lawyers at the law firm’s Chicago offices to help them understand the financial aspects of their case against Walter Jacobson, a Chicago TV reporter. The trial was the next day and they could not figure out the present value of all the provisions in Jacobsen’s contract with CBS. I found one of our managers still working and the two of us went over there and ended up working all night, with just enough time to take a shower, shave and get to the trial starting at 9 am. We were all set to go, but after some pre trial stuff the lawyers and the judge adjourned to his chambers and apparently they settled out of court.
Snyder Enterprises-This was a small truck engine reconstructing company. The owner was a very self centered guy who relished holding only tax exempt securities so he would not have to pay federal income taxes. The highlight of this account was that they owned a 60-foot yacht on Lake Michigan and we got on it a couple of times.
International Minerals & Chemical Company-My assignment was to go to a small city just east of Dayton, Ohio that had recently been devastated by a tornado, and do an acquisition review of a small fertilizer company that IMC was about to acquire.
Sinclair Oil Company Credit Card operations- (see above)
Others-There were a lot of other smaller clients that I had like Plymouth Place (a retirement home), Margaret Etter Creche, Illinois St. Andrew Society, Sweeney Oil Company,
Globe Life Insurance company, Illinois Bureau of Insurance Rehabilitation and Liquidations, Moraine Valley Community College, Illinois Department of American Legion (Bloomington, Illnois), Alonzo Mather Aged Ladies Home and probably a few more.