Retirement-In 1991 I was approached by Jack Staley, the new E&Y office managing partner, about taking early retirement. I had been scheduled to retire as of September 30, 1992. He wanted me to retire effective September 30, 1991 and they would give me a six months severance payment at my previous year’s compensation rate. I really did not have a choice so naturally I agreed. E&Y had a new fiscal year ending June 30th so my retirement party was held in May 1992 and whether anyone realized it or not I retired early. The new firm adopted the practice of E&W of give retiring partners a tax free $5,000 travel certificate which was originally intended to pay for an around the world trip for the partner and his spouse. You could do it for that at that time. Instead Sandy and I used it for a cruise in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and Greek Islands in September 1992.
2x4s Golf Group-When I retired, my friend Kurt Bostrom asked me if I would mind substituting in his/their 2×4 golf group. This was a bunch of mostly Swedes that got together every other Thursday to play golf usually out at Randall Oaks Golf course in West Dundee, about 20 miles west of AH. I agreed and played maybe three times the first couple of years. After that I became a regular. Golfers were Bob Swanson, Ralph Lindgren, Ken Moorcraft, Steve Lundgren, Kurt Bostrom, Sven Lindgren, Jim Bowden, Cliff Jensen, Dan Novak, Bertl Brunk, Nels Nelson, Matts and various others who substituted at times. After golf we would adjourn for drinks and dinner at the Countryside Inn in Dundee. Some of the guys always ordered the Greek style fried chicken. We would drink draft beer, manhattans, etc and then always sing some Swedish songs, O Lord It’s Hard to Be Humble, etc. Other patrons always got a kick out of our singing. The Swedes all had good voices.
Jonathan graduates from college-In 1992 Jonathan graduated from Marquette. He picked Marquette without really giving serious thought to some other school. I think he was influenced by the fact that three of his siblings had gone there and they all liked it. During the summers Jon was lucky and got good paying jobs through our neighbor Andy Plummer who worked for the Illinois Highway Department. One of those jobs was on Highway 53 just to the east of where we lived. If I remember right he only interviewed with one firm for a job after graduation. Sandy and I were getting concerned. Anyway, Cypress Semiconductor from San Jose, CA liked him and invited him to visit their offices and both he and they were apparently impressed. He got the job and they were interviewing a lot of others that were not hired. Jon had a pet snake and wanted to take it with him. So for that reason and others he decided to drive out there. We were concerned about whether the car we had bought him would make it. We took it to Midas Muffler and they found all kinds of things ‘needing’ repair. I think it cost over $1000 and probably more than the car was worth. Jon got as far as someplace in the middle of Iowa and the car broke down and was not worth repairing. So Jon sold his snake to a very happy local mechanic. He then shipped most of his things and caught a bus all the way to San Jose. (This picture was taken a few years later.)
Third cruise to Greece (9/92)- We got a travel certificate worth $5,000 on retirement so we planned a trip to the Greek Islands for early September 1992. Nan and Dave Torrence decided to join us. We flew to Athens, via a layover in Paris, and after a day of recouping from the trip and site seeing we boarded a relatively small Greek cruise ship near Athens. In Athens we went to the Parthenon and found that to be the highlight of Athens. This ship only held about 500 passengers and was probably 2/3 full. The weather was excellent. It took us two days to get to Istanbul. There we stayed overnight on the ship and saw all the sites in the western and old part of Istanbul (Constantinople), including the Blue Mosque and the huge Grand Market. This part of Istanbul was really old world, Muslim and interesting. We were docked right next to the bridge that was featured in the movie Midnight Cowboy. Next we went to Kuşadası and visited the old recovered ruins of Ephesus. Ephesus was very interesting and they had restored so much that it was easy to understand the layout of and life in this old city from around the time of Christ. It used to be on the sea, but now is almost ten miles from it. It was buried in multiple volcanic explosions. We took a taxi from Kusadasi to Ephesus after haggling over the fare. The driver told us he understood English, but as we drove it was obvious he only knew a few words and was next to worthless as a guide. We sort of hitch hiked onto a few other guided tours. Our cruise next went to another Turkish city, Hayat, on the SW coast and then to Rhodes, Crete, Delos, Mykonos and Santorini. Delos is unpopulated, but extremely interesting because French archaeologists are recovering large areas on this small island that reveal an ancient resort setting. Mykonos is known for its all white buildings and nude beaches on the eastern shores. Santorini constitutes the remains of a huge volcano that exploded in about 1500 BC. The west side of the island is a sheer cliff formed like the outer edges of a cone left from the volcano. In the bay is an uninhabited cone from the volcano. The city is located around the top of the west coast high over the sea and has very picturesque views. The ships dock on the west coast and you either walk, take a donkey or tram to the top, about 1000 feet high.
After the cruise we rented a car and drove over to the Peloponnese peninsula on the SW part of Greece. This is a very mountainous and beautiful part of Greece. We stayed at a very nice hotel in Nafplio on the southern coast. We drove all over the peninsula and had lunch in Tripoli in the center of the peninsula. We only stayed there about four days and then flew back to Chicago via Paris.
Ninth grandchild born-Amy Larko (9/8/93)-On Wednesday, September 8, 1993 Amy Larko was born. Kathy and Russ were then living in a small house in Wilmette. Sandy stayed with Kathy and the kids for almost one week to help out. Amy was a very good baby. We all were at her baptism about two weeks later and had a big party at their house later.
George Holmin dies (9/19/93)-Brother-in-law George Holmin had been very ill with colon cancer for well over a year and gone through a massive surgery at Mayo’s about a year earlier. We got the call on Sunday, September 19, 1993 that George had died. Sandy and I drove up for the funeral, which was on Wednesday. All of their eight remaining children and spouses and grandchildren were there along with Rita, Dick, Lois and John and some of their children, our nieces and nephews. It was a big funeral with a wake the night before in Nicollet, MN. We drove right back to Chicago later that day because we had been to MN earlier in the summer. . I am sure we stopped at Margie and Tom’s place either on the way up or on the way back because our route took us right through La Crosse. Cleo’s kids were there to help and support her and she did just fine after relocating to an apartment in Nicollet. .
BBRT Senior’s golf league-Sometime maybe 20 years ago, Ed Miller of Rolling Green started a senior’s group of golfers from nearby clubs. Other parts of the Chicago District also did this. We had four clubs, Rolling Green, Biltmore, Boulder Ridge and Turnberry. Everything went along pretty good for many years and then Ed asked me to take it over. His timing was great! Each club was supposed to send 10 players and we would have double match play with the winning team taking home a dozen golf balls for each player. We rotated going to clubs on Wednesday at 8:30 am and did not interfere with other players and events that way. As soon as I took over Turnberry started not having ten players show up. Then last year they dropped out completely. They were having membership problems and could not field anyone. When Boulder Ridge heard this they accepted an offer to join another league. That left Biltmore and us. We also have interest from Ivanhoe and Royal Melbourne for next year. Biltmore and we tried to play, but rain cancelled out every time we set a date. We’ll have to wait and see how it goes in 2010.
Tenth grandchild born-Ryan Ley (10/4/93)-Naturally we were thrilled with our tenth grandchild, Ryan Ley. He was born on Monday, October 4, 1993 in Rochester, NY. Little did we realize that we were almost at the end of our grandchild producing years. Sandy went out to Rochester, NY to help out for a few days. We did go to Ryan’s baptism a few weeks later.
Second invention-After retirement I naturally started to golf more frequently. One of the annoying things that was always present was the loose divots that were always laying around. Sure almost everyone replaced their divots, but the mowers would almost always rip them from the ground and there they would lie. I thought, why not nail down these divots with some kind of turf nail made from a bio degradable material, These could be sold to golf courses all over the central and northern part of the country, but not the south where they do not replace divots and just fill the holes with seeded sand. I prepared detailed designs of my invention and then took everything to a company that specialized in helping inventors like me with patent searches and marketing plans, etc. I think it cost $600 up front. They thought the idea had merit, but they reminded me that the market was rather thin for anything like this and seasonal. After maybe four weeks they called and said they had their first report ready to go over with me. The very first thing they told me was that another guy from Seattle, Washington had already patented every conceivable design I had come up with about 18 months earlier. They suggested I contact this fellow and see if we could work something out. I talked to Bob Wagner, a patent lawyer, friend and fellow member of Rolling Green and he said to forget it. I had no bargaining position. Maybe that is just as well before I put even more money in it because I have never seen one of those turf nails at any golf course or in any advertisement. Maybe it just never worked. I never made a prototype for testing.
Las Vegas weekend with friends-In the late spring of 1994, the Drazbas, Bostroms, Martensens and us had decided to take a short vacation to Vegas. Actually we planned it a few months earlier. We stayed at the Mirage. We got tickets to a couple of shows and one night we had dinner in a private dinning room overlooking the Pirates show at the Treasure Island. That was special. Mostly though we enjoyed the very large and beautiful pool are in back of the Mirage. We would sun and play around there in the morning and have a nice lunch on the veranda overlooking the pool. We spent the afternoons just walking around taking in the sights at the other hotels. We did very little gambling. Here again we would meet in someone’s room about 5 pm for cocktails and snacks.
Union League Club-Treasurer-Back in the mid 1970s I served on the Finance Committee of the Union League Club. After a few years of relative inactivity I was surprised to be asked to be a candidate for Treasurer. I think that was in about 1992 and I served three years. This also meant I was a member of the Board and a member of the executive committee. I clearly was on track to become President in a few more years if I wanted it. However it also meant I would need to get active in the Boys and Girls Club and the Civic Arts Committee. Being that I was retired and was coming into the city less and less each year, I sort of dropped out of the ULC activities. I was very involved in hiring a new manager after we sort of pushed the old one out after his 30 years of service. The one we hired, Jonathan McCabe, is still there and doing a great job. He came from Phoenix.
First trip to Branson, MO w/friends-In May of 1995 the same gang that went to Vegas a year earlier, decided to visit Branson, MO. We all had heard so much about it and none of us had been there. It was about a 9-hour drive. I rented a Chevy van that seated 8 people and off we went. We had made early arrangements with the connoisseur at the hotel we were staying at to get tickets to all the shows we could see. We went to two shows on Friday, two on Saturday and came home on Sunday. Thursday night on arrival we went to a large, but nice restaurant connected to the hotel and they had a sort of amateur night. Big band and all. Well somehow all eight of us made it up on stage and sang our signature song “O’ Lord it’s Hard to Be Humble”(Appendix C). It was a big success. Each couple got to pick one show. We all agreed that Shoji Tabuchi’s show was best and Bobbie Vinton a close second. There were dozens of big beautiful theaters. What a place and very clean, show and all. I was impressed at how Broadway professional all the shows were. It was a tiring, but fun weekend.
AICPA-Public Service Committee-Even though I had retired I remained active on the AICPA Public Service Committee. I became chairman in about 1993 and we had a big project to produce a guidance manual for use by each of the state societies. This was an ambitious project, but it ended when I could not convince the AICPA Board of Directors of its merits and compatibility with AICPA goals. I went to their meetings in NY several times. One or two of their directors did not like this project and behind the scenes killed it in committee, even after telling me they thought it had a good chance for support. The Board was quite split on the idea and we lost in a very lively debate in NYC and that effectively ended my involvement with the committee. We were successful in establishing and keeping alive the issuance of a Public Service Award at the national level. Candidates came from the state societies and were judged by a committee of notable outsiders, like Bud Selig, Bruce Boxleitner, etc. I had to recruit these notables to be judges and used all sort of contacts to get this done.
Rolling Green Country Club Presidency-In 1993 I decided to get more active in RGCC. I had been Treasurer in the late 1970s for about three years. I decided to run for Director and got elected. The procedure for electing the President had changed since then and now the Board elected the President from among its members. A few of the other new Directors thought we should have a new President other than the one slated through the chairs procedure. We met in Ben Trapani’s offices and to my great surprise they picked me to be the next President. I agreed. At the first board meeting for the new board, I was a lock to get the job. Prior to that I had to select various Committee Chairmen and make certain that those Board members supporting me got committees that they wanted. I enjoyed this job and did not have any of the grief that others seem to have had. We purchase the land at the corner of Rand and Euclid and made it into a nice landscaped introduction to our club. It cost $240,000 for this .6 acre of land and another $50,000 to fix it up. In later years others have tried to take credit for doing this, but I started it and called all the shots to get it done, including holding a special meeting of our members to approve a special assessment. We also made the by laws gender neutral and accomplished a number of other changes. The biggest one was to hire an outside firm to help us develop a long-range capital plan. The main feature of this was for a completely renovated clubhouse. I wanted to get detailed and biddable specs, but the Board did not want to spend the $50,000 for such plans before getting members approval to go ahead with the $1,200,000 soft estimate. When bids came in they were all around $2,000,000 and too much over the member’s approved amount and so we went back to the drawing boards to get it down to about $1,500,000. At a special members meeting after I was finished with my third year term, Our legal counsel, who was not in favor of our project, would not rule a motion to table out of order and the new president did not know enough about how to proceed and so the whole thing was set aside without counting the absentee ballots, etc. I was furious and left the meeting in a huff. About five years later a new board got the members to approve a $3,000,000 project for something very similar. Such is life.
Illinois Senior’s Golf Association-When I was President of Rolling Green we hosted one of the two annual golf tournaments organized by the Illinois Senior’s Golf Association. This is the first I had heard of the group and I was invited to play with them. I was very impressed by the type of members they had. There were about 350 members from all over the Chicago district and beyond, but most were from the Chicago area. Most of these members were from private clubs. The only purpose of this Association was to sponsor and organize two golf tournaments a year. Usually one was in mid May and one in mid September and usually on Monday when most clubs are closed. I joined the group and found that there were maybe 10 other members of Rolling Green that were members. Over the years that has changed a lot and now only I and maybe two other members from when I joined are still members. I have done very well in these tournaments, but not so much any more.
Labe Federal Savings and Loan-Soon after retirement, in 1992, I was contacted by one of my new partners from E&Y about whether I was interested in a possible Board position with Labe Federal Savings and Loan. This was exactly the kind of job I was looking for on more than one boards, but they were not very easy to come by. I had lunch with Lowell Stahl who was the majority owner of Labe and Chairman of the Board. I also had lunch with Jack Foster, one of the board members and a retired VP from Montgomery Ward. I was invited and accepted the board position. Labe was located at the corner of Elston and Pulaski on Chicago’s NW side. Labe had been a mutual until just a few years earlier and when it changed to a stock company, Lowell Stahl made a very smart investment in it. He arranged to buy 50% of the stock at about $2 per share. Labe was a rather sleepy S&L and had some board members who were not very savvy about banking, accounting, finance or anything business like in particular. I stayed on the board until we sold the bank in 2006. It was a rocky ride, with regulatory problems, personnel problems, etc. Anyway, thanks to Lowell’s determination we greatly improved the quality of the board and top personnel. I once told Lowell that the board was good enough that it could have run the First National Bank of Chicago. We expanded the bank by building two branches and grew deposits from about $150 million to $500 million in the 14 years I was there. I had only accumulated 1000 shares of common at $11 per share and had another 4000 shares of options at an average of about $25 a share. When we sold the bank, we got $120 per share. So those of us that had some shares and options made out pretty good.
Visiting Jonathan in San Jose-In 1994 I decided to fly out to San Jose and visit Jonathan. He had hooked up with two other guys from Cypress and had rented a house in a nearby suburb, Santa Clara. The house was a small ranch in a run down area of town and I even stayed with them for two nights. The kitchen was over run with empty beer cans and pots and pans and dishes. You get the idea. They had a big dog that occasionally drank water from the toilet. Yuk. I slept in Jon’s bed with the window left a bit open so Jon’s cat could come and go during the night. We went golfing up in the hills north of San Jose and as always Jon could just crush the ball.
In 1995, Sandy and I flew out to see him. We got a motel. Jonathan surprised us by taking us up to Napa for a ride on the Wine Train. This is a slow moving train that only goes about 20 miles north through the wine country and then turns around for the trip back. We had lunch and various wines on the train. The trip takes maybe six hours, but a lot of fun. Another day we drove out SW of San Jose to the coastal city of Santa Cruz. We golfed at a very nice and well-known country club up in the hills overlooking Santa Clara. On another day we drove out west of San Jose and had lunch up in the hills at a motorcycle hot spot for lunch. It was great. We then drove north on what is like a skyline drive to San Francisco. Jon had a convertible and it was a sunny day. A bit windy, but nice. One of the days we also went into San Jose and saw some of the sights. When we left Jon we drove our rental car down to the Monterey Peninsula (including going thru Gilroy CA, the garlic capital of the world) and from there down the coast on Hwy 1. I think we stayed overnight someplace in Pebble Beach. Hwy 1 is a very scenic drive. We stopped at and toured the Hearst Mansion along the way. That night we stayed at a B&B in San Luis Obispo. This was noteworthy because it was owned by a couple from the Midwest who sold everything to buy this beautiful place and I think were struggling to make a go of it. Each room had a special theme and we liked it a lot. Kind of expensive though. We then drove down to Fountain Valley to see Patty and Charley’s house that they had just purchased. At that time, Charley’s two children, Christian and Lisa were living with them. We must have stayed in a motel, but I cannot remember. P&C’s house was a very nice three-bedroom ranch on a quiet street in the very quiet bedroom community of Fountain Valley.
Visiting Torrence’s in CA-In probably 1994, Dave Torrence left ADP and was hired by a payroll software company headquartered in Thousand Oaks, CA to turn the company around. It was then owned by a venture capital group and they wanted some results. Dave did not want to move out there full time so he got them to lease a very nice house in nearby Westlake Village. They kept their house in South Barrington and would go back to visit their kids, etc. about every three weeks for a few days or so. Sandy and I decided to go out to visit them and also go to Arizona where Helen and Dale had recently bought a house. We flew into LA and drove up to Their home in Westlake Village. It was a very upscale area and about 30 miles NW of LA. We went golfing at their country club where they lived. One day, while Dave worked, Nan, Sandy and I drove their big Mercedes up to Santa Barbara to do some sight seeing. After maybe two days, Nan and Dave drove with us down to La Quinta where we stayed at the La Quinta hotel and played golf. We then dropped Nan and Dave off at the airport in Palm Springs from where they flew back to Chicago. Sandy and I drove off east to Arizona. This would be the first time we visited Sun City West. We came north from I10 on Dysart Rd. and did not have too much trouble finding Helen and Dale’s house. It was a typical ranch with two bedrooms and two baths. We played a little golf and just had a good time visiting and exploring the nearby area. Even looked at model homes because Del Webb was still building homes. We enjoyed our visit.
Guillian-Barre Syndrome (GBS)-A few days after Christmas 1995, I caught a cold and to my surprise it only lasted three days and went away as fast as it came. I was working out at the Bally Health club those days and on one visit I noticed that I could not ride the upright bike more than a couple of minutes without being totally wiped out. Next when I went to the weight machines I could not lift hardly anything. I knew something was wrong. When I got home I called my regular internist Dr. Marshall and described the symptoms to him. He said it sounds like Guillian-Barre Syndrome (I never heard of it and could not even pronounce it) and wanted to meet me at the hospital emergency room at 8 am the following morning. They ran all sorts of tests and sent me to a neurologist. The neurologist did all the nerve ending tests and said he thought it was GBS. He did not do a spinal tap to confirm it because he was so sure. For the next month it got worse and I could hardly walk up the stairs. Then for two months it leveled off and the fourth month it got better to the point where I could not notice it at all. I went on the internet and joined a GBS chat room that was depressing because many of the people had very much worse conditions. One woman-Dorothy- was so bad that she had to spend most of her time in a respirator. I felt very lucky. Amazingly, during that time Sandy and I had planned and went on a trip to California to visit Patty and Charlie in Fountain Valley, CA. We even went golfing at Tustin Ranch Country Club and one time I hit the ground real hard and it felt like I had broken my wrist. On this trip we also drove up to Torrence’s one day to show Patty and Charley where they lived.
William Rainey Harper Community College-Sometime in early 1996 I saw an article in the Daily Herald that said due to a resignation there was an opening on the Harper Community College Board. I applied along with several others and to my surprise I was selected to fill out the remaining term, which was a little over one year, and until the next election in November 1998. This turned out to be a very busy job, with various committee meetings, monthly board meetings and other functions at the college. I had promised the board that if they picked me I would run for election to the board at the end of my term. I did run for election and the Daily Herald endorsed me. However the Faculty Union did not like me because I called the shots the way I saw them and would not always agree with the faculty. They endorsed two other completely new and much younger candidates and because these elections were very poorly attended they got their guys elected. I must admit to having been deeply disappointed because, naturally, I agreed with the Daily Herald that I was by far a more qualified candidate. Many good friends of ours help in the election campaign, but we were no match for the Union. As it turned out this was a blessing in disguise because the terms were for six years and our plans to spend the winters in Arizona would have meant many trips back north. It would have been expensive and very inconvenient. In addition Sandy suddenly said that she was retiring from her job and that meant she was free to travel much more. Actually this is what gave us the motivation to spend the winters in AZ.
Eleventh grandchild born-John Hoyt (8/1/97)-Patricia had a very difficult pregnancy with John. I remember when she and Charlie were in Florida for his Master’s Degree graduation at the school near Jacksonville, when she was having a very difficult time trying to balance her newly discovered diabetes I(Juvenile) with her pregnancy. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when John was born on Friday, August 1, 1997. Sandy flew out to help out for almost one week. Later they had John baptized at Holy Family in Inverness. Charlie’s mother was there also.
Visit Jonathan in Seattle-In 1998 we decided to visit Jonathan in Seattle. He had changed jobs within Cypress a year or so earlier and that involved his move up to Seattle. Actually he lived in Kirkland just to the east of Seattle and Lake Washington. We got a room at a local B&B with a view of Lake Washington. The place was a bit old and run down, but it was clean and very homey.
One day we borrowed Jon’s car and drove down to Mt. St. Helens. I did not enjoy driving Jon’s car because it was a very low-slung firebird type car. However the drive was only about two hours and well worth it. We were there on May 18, one day before my birthday and the 18th anniversary of the famous Mt. St. Helens volcanic explosion. Many people do not realize that Mt. St. Helens is about 60 miles east of I 5, so it took almost one hour just to drive in to the observation points. We could not reach the closest observation point because the work crews were still opening up the highway from the winter’s snow and mudslides. Still the sight was impressive and difficult to believe. The most amazing thing I thought was the way huge trees were snapped off at the ground and laid right down. There were miles of these trees in the direct line of the blast.
Another fun thing we did was to drive up to Vancouver, BC with Jon and see all the sights there including going up in a gondola to the top of their biggest ski mountain. The views of the city and surrounding area were beautiful. We stayed overnight in Vancouver and then drove down to the ferry dock maybe 20 miles south and boarded the first ferry at 6:30 am car and all. This was a big ocean going ferry and we enjoyed the scenery going through and around the Gulf Islands. We landed at Ladysmith and then drove around on the north route to the Butchart Gardens. They were every bit as beautiful as we had been told. In May many flowers were just starting to bloom. We then drove down to the capital of British Columbia, Victoria. (This is where Costigan’s daughter Kathy, now lives and teaches at the University). Victoria is a very quaint city with a very large old hotel stretching along the east side of the bay. We were 2 hrs early for our ferry so we just bummed around and found a very lively local pub where we had a beer outside and chatted with some American student types. Our ferry to Port Angeles, WA left around 4 pm. It took an hour or so to get over to Port Angeles, WA and then we had to take another ferry to Port Gamble and then one more ferry that took as back over the sound to Edmonds where we could drive to Kirkland. It was a full day and a lot of interesting things to see and do. We were very fortunate to be able to see Mt. Rainier everyday we were there. One day in Seattle we just bummed around and went up the space needle, down to the markets along the water and drove around the north side of Seattle to see older parts of the town and Green Lake.
Hope Now-After the Harper experience I thought that there must be some non-profit organization that could use help from someone like me. Out of the blue, in about 1997, Margaret Schlickman called me and asked whether I might be willing to serve on the board of Hope Now. Margaret, divorced wife of Gene, was on the Board. This was an independent local charity that provided counseling and other help to homeless people. They worked closely with, but independent of, PADS which worked with maybe 13 churches in the area to provide overnight sleeping and light meals in the evening and in the morning for homeless people. I questioned her a bit about the organization and agreed to come to their next meeting and be considered for election to their Board. The Board was meeting in the AH Village Hall because the current President, Ed Geiss, was the head of a village department which provided similar services. I had a difficult time staying quiet about the way they were handling meetings and other matters. No member of the board had any real business or other organizational experience. Still they were all very good and well-intentioned people.
I finally volunteered to get involved in a project that they were starting to acquire a more permanent site for their operations with the help of a government grant and an offer from an anonymous person who would “contribute” as much as $300,000 to this project. At the present time they were using a very small storefront on the far south side of Arlington Heights next to Arlington Heights Road. The terms of the federal grant said that the required matching funds for this project had to be contributed funds, with a signed statement to that effect from the donor attached to the application, and not loans. Ed told the board in sort of double talk language that he had promised the donor that we would somehow repay him the money. Now the organization had a local lawyer (now on the village board) who sort of went along with Ed’s comments. I was on the ad hoc committee to deal with this matter and I did not go along with this approach at all. We had a meeting of the ad hoc committee at the lawyers office and it got a bit heated over this issue because some people were afraid we would not get the “contribution” if we insisted it be a contribution and at the same time were concerned that we might not get the federal grant money. I persisted and got the lawyer boxed into saying it would be illegal for us to sign a fraudulent document like the application. Finally it was decided that Ed and I would contact the donor and explain our predicament. The donor was not real happy with this, but went along and said we should contact his lawyer in Oak Park. It was getting close to our deadline for applying for the grant, so Ed and I drove down one snowy afternoon to the donor’s lawyers office to get the documentation straightened out and to get the check for $300,000. We got it done and the application for the federal grant got filed before yearend and we got our money shortly thereafter.
The next job was to actually buy the building on Northwest Highway in Palatine that had been selected. This was complicated because of the way it had changed hands and the real estate agent’s conflict of interests in that deal. Finally we had to get the Palatine village board to go along with rezoning the area so we could operate. This was very controversial in Palatine because there was a small, but vocal group opposed to having the homeless come to their town. There were a couple of contentious public meetings with the board, but eventually they agreed, subject to various conditions that we could easily meet.
The main fundraiser for Hope Now was an annual art auction. I somehow got to be chair of the fundraising committee. After trying to get someone to chair this art auction one year, Sandy and I agreed to chair it. It was a lot of work. We held it in Latoff Chevrolet’s showroom and it went off very well. We invited many friends who came and one friend, Warren Hansen, donated $1,000.
The remodeling of the building went fairly well and was on budget and on time. It turned out very well. About this same time we had been having talks with PADS about merging. This finally happened and when it was time to merge the two boards we needed some people to resign to make it workable. I felt that I had done enough so resigned at the time of the merger in 1999. It was a busy, but satisfying two years.
SCW Rental-1998-Sometime in mid-1998 we were talking to Dave and Devada about possibly renting a house out in Sun City West, AZ for the winter months. Helen and Dale had owned a home out there for several years and we had visited them several times for a week or so each time and we liked the area. Anyway we agreed that Devada and Dave would rent the house we were to rent for January and February and we took it for March and April. Helen and Dale did some scouting around and found a couple of houses and we finally settled on one at 13518 Spring Meadow Drive. It was a two-bedroom two-bath ranch and on paper it seemed just fine. The rent was $1,900 a month, which was reasonable. We did not know any better and because it was not owner occupied, but rather an absentee owner from CA, it was very tired and needed a lot of fixing up. While we were there I prepared a page and a half of items needing repair and gave it to the rental agent. I think we got visits from Susanne and Steve and family and from the Larkos. Maybe others came, but I cannot remember. We had pretty good weather and had a good time. We even had a brief visit from Janelle Arendt and her husband. They lived in Sun City and we got together thru Lois.
One day Steve and family decided to visit the White Tank Mountains to the west of us. I looked at the map and suggested they take Cotton Avenue from Bell Rd south. Little did I know that Cotton was just a two track bumpy dirt road from Bell to Citrus about two miles south. When they got back they were in stitches and overnight it turned out they also had a flat tire on their rental car.
Another highlight of our stay was to learn that Kathy and Ed Theisen and Carolyn and Frank Jung had also rented a house in SCW. I had roomed with Ed Thiesen, Sandy’s first cousin, for one semester at St. John’s. Carolyn was originally from Watkins and I knew her during my three years at Kimball High School. She was a cheerleader and very attractive. However I never dated her. While at St. John’s I did date Erma Oberg, one of Carolyn’s best friends at both Kimball and St. Cloud State. Erma invited me to a Sadie Hawkins dance and we double dated with Carolyn and her date. I had not seen Carolyn since then and had never met her husband Frank Jung. Kathy and Ed invited us, Helen and Dale, Carolyn and Frank over to their house for dinner. We had quite a reunion and since then have seen Carolyn and Frank many times. Kathy and Ed rented another much larger house the following year (1999), but Ed came down with renal cancer and that pretty much consumed them.
Second trip to Branson-In May of 1998 we decided to repeat our fun trip to Branson, MO. There were only three couples because Kurt Bostrom had a last minute medical problem and could not join us. We followed the same routine, but did more exploring of the surrounding area. We went south to the Bass Resort on the water and had lunch and just looked around at all the stuffed animals from all over the world. Also stopped at the Bass sport shop in Springfield, which takes in over one whole block. They had all sorts of interesting things there. Can’t remember all the shows we went to but they were wonderful. Probably not as impressive as the first time.
SCW Rental-1999-When we decided to go back to SCW and rent for two or three months the next winter of 1999, we talked to Kathy and Ed and found that the house they rented was going to be available because they were going to rent a much bigger house. We were very surprised to find out that the rent was only $1300 a month. It was on the 11th hole of Trail Ridge golf course. The address was 12600 Sky Hawk. We had a great time there and Willie and Ermie decided to rent a place for one month also. The highlight of our rental was Jonathan’s visit in April before he took on the PCT hike.
Jonathan’s hiking Pacific Coast Trail-1999-Probably in late 1998 Jonathan told us he was quitting his job at Cypress Semiconductor Company to hike the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT) from Mexico to Canada. It was to take 5 months and he had no plans after that. In early 1999 Jonathan started shipping supplies to us at our second rental house in SCW. His plan was to come out to AZ toward the end of March, get his supply packages all made up and leave from Campo, CA early in April. He even drove up to the Grand Canyon one day and hiked to the bottom, half way up the other side and then back, just for some training. I drove him down to Campo, about 6 hours away. We stayed nearby in a motel and then were up before dawn so we could be at the border near Campo by daybreak. Sandy and I had many misgivings about his doing this all alone, in view of the illegal immigration problem, etc. We were somewhat comforted by the fact that there were others doing the same thing and he could kind of join them, at least part of the time. We shipped those few packs that he needed for May and early June and then took the rest back to Palatine where we kept shipping them to him at various intervals.
In July I flew out to Reno, NV, rented a car and drove up to Sierra City in the mountains in eastern CA to meet him as previously arranged. This is about 2 hours NW of Reno. At this stage of the trip he was hiking with a young female lawyer from Washington, DC. I got two rooms at the only decent motel in this small mountain town. They had a great restaurant though and we really chowed down that night. The next day we drove down the mountain and took in some local sights, his traveling companion had to stop at a health clinic and we just bummed around. They both picked up their packs at the local PO, which was just flooded with similar packs for the many hikers who came through there. The trailhead was only about 2 miles east of town and even though they hiked in to town to meet me I drove them and a few others out in the morning. What a motley group they all were. A number were from Europe.
In September Sandy and I flew to Vancouver, BC, rented a car and drove about 3 hours east to the place where the PCT ended. I think it was called Manning Park Ski Resort. Being off-season it was not hard to get rooms in sort of a ski chalet. The next day we waited for several hours west of the trailhead because a sign said the trail was closed there. Well when we got frustrated we drove back into the main park area and here was Jon and two buddies that he was hiking with. We immediately went to their very nice restaurant and the guys really ate. (The woman that Jon was hiking with left the trail about two weeks after I saw them and she met her Mom and went to a family wedding. Later on Jon heard she got married to some guy from back in DC.) We made a collective decision to drive back to North Vancouver that evening and got a couple of motel rooms and everyone showered. We ate dinner at a very nice restaurant nearby and everyone crashed from a long day. The next morning Sandy and I dropped the guys off in Vancouver and then we went to the airport and home. Jon wanted to visit some friends in Seattle and he came back to Palatine later. We have movies of all parts of this trip. (Movies)
Trekking party for Jonathan-1999-In early November we invited maybe 50 or so of our friends to a Trekking party for Jon at our house. It was a blast. Oh I forgot to tell that I let my beard grow from the time I dropped Jon off in Campo. Jon had not shaved either. Anyway we had a great time with some live German music, etc. We did have it catered. Some of our family from MN even drove down for it. They have been just great to come to various functions we have had-weddings, etc. We have movies of this party. (Movies)
Fourth cruise-Far East-1999-In mid November 1999 we flew to Patty and Charlie’s place and then after a few days we flew up to San Francisco for our flight to Hong Kong and then to Bangkok, Thailand. It was a very long flight and we arrived in Hong Kong at about 6 am. Not much was open yet in their new and very modern airport. We next flew to Bangkok and arrived there about noon. It was hot in Bangkok and it took a little longer than normal to exit the airport because my luggage was damaged in route and we had to make arrangements at Cathy Pacific’s offices before departing for the hotel. CP was very good about it and arranged to pick up my bag at our hotel and get it back to us the next day. We took a taxi to our hotel, the Oriental. This was a fine hotel and the service was outstanding. That evening we took a boat across the river to the hotel’s restaurant on the opposite side and we were both so tired we almost fell asleep at the dinner table. The next day we had made arrangements for a guided tour of Bangkok with a private car, driver and young women guide. Our main destination was the Grand Palace, which it took several hours to tour. Very elegant and spacious. We also had time to explore on our own and found our way to a jewelry store (like all good tourists) where Sandy bought a very nice ring. One of the interesting things about Bangkok was that the expressways were all elevated so as to avoid tearing down buildings.
The next morning we took a hired car down to the ship, which was about one hour away. It was a Princess cruise ship, but not a real large one. Maybe 800 passengers. Our first two nights were at sea and as we cruised around Singapore it was interesting to see how busy it was. They told us that something over 200 ships a day sailed around Singapore each day. Our first port of call was Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. There we toured some of the local factories (weaving), a temple in a cave up in the hills, and looked at the twin PETRONAS towers, the tallest buildings in the world. From there we sailed down to Singapore and docked for two nights. We had dinner at a very fine Chinese restaurant with another couple from the ship, visited the beautiful and impressive bird park, the island across the waterway (took a tram to get there and met two young women from Europe who were backpacking to Australia) and toured the downtown district which had transponder activated tolls all over.
From Singapore we sailed to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). This was on the Saigon River and we had to dock way down stream and take buses up to the city. It was very poor. However, half way to the city we stopped at a very large and modern supermarket like a super Wal-Mart. The city was interesting and we saw a water puppet show in very local style. We also saw all the sites that we heard so much about during the war.
The next day we went up along the coast to Tra Nang, a resort city maybe 200 miles north. Went thru a local market and then along the coast where we were protected by police from all the vendors. We had about a two-hour delay docking in Tra Nang because of a dispute with the local pilot who wanted to dock different than the captain of the ship. We never found out who won, but I would guess the captain because other wise he would have just skipped this stop and the local merchants would have lost out. We were met by a local band that played as long as they could before they had to leave.
From Tra Nang it was on to Manila and a day at sea. Half way there the captain informed us that one of the engines had failed and they had to decide on either Manila or another city along the Chinese coast that we were scheduled to visit. We could not do both with only one of three engines. The third engine was down for routine scheduled maintenance. Everyone seemed to want Manila and the crew especially because they had a lot of family there that were looking forward to meeting them there. We had arranged to be met by one of Jonathan’s friends who was living there and worked for his company. We had to call him from the ship and tell him that we were going to be one day late. We finally did meet up with him and he took us to his club at the top of a nearby hotel and downtown to see the sites in the center city. Only certain vehicles could drive in the center city so it was not real crowded.
We left Manila late that evening for Hong Kong and made it there on time. This was our embarkation port, but we could stay on board overnight. This gave us time to look over the city pretty well including going over to the other side of the island and having lunch on a big boat anchored in the harbor. We also took the tram up to the top of the mountain just like I did many years earlier. It was fascinating to see the tens of thousands of people take the subways, ferries, etc. across from Kowloon to the island in the am for their daily commute. They also had hundreds of people doing Chi Cong in the square in the am. The city had very modern infrastructure and an express trains from the island and Kowloon to the airport. We could check our luggage at the Kowloon station hours before our flight and walk over town till it was time to leave for the airport. We flew back to San Francisco and then after change of planes on to Chicago. We have movies of this trip. (Movies)
SCW Rental-2000-Kathy and Ed Theisen had rented a fairly large (3 BDR) and new house on Desert Trails golf course in 1999. We had seen it and during the following summer contacted the owner and rented it for three months in 2000. Sadly, Ed Theisen had succumbed to his cancer in the summer of 1999. We went up for the funeral and it was a big one. Ed had just retired from being President of Northern States Power Company and was very active in various community organizations including St. John’s University where he was on the board.
Purchase of home in Sun City West-Sandy and I thought that it was going to be a drag to keep driving out to AZ. As long as we rented we had to drive to take so much stuff back and forth. If we owned a home we could leave almost everything and fly back and forth. We contacted the same real estate agent that Helen and Dale used, Sam Ratliff, and made arrangements to spend a week out in SCW looking at homes in October 2000. We looked at a lot of home and even made an offer on one that we later that day withdrew after thinking about it. We made an offer on the present house for $290,000 and about $5,000 less than what they were asking and the Civales accepted it. We closed on the house sometime in mid November and then came out in early December for a week of shopping for furniture, etc. Helen and Dale were wonderful to let delivery people in while we were gone until late in January.