Even though Waterman has a reunion for all its high school alumni each June, I found more hometown folks at the Summerfest/Antique Tractor & Truck Show on July 21.
Spending a few hours wandering around the park, I got to talk with some of the Waterman Lions who sponsor the show, as well as see a lot of beautifully restored tractors, trucks and small engines. I was told they had 135 vehicles on display this year, up from 118 in 2011.
Lions President Steve Bock was upbeat about the show, even though he has had a tough year at Honey Hill Orchard, losing about half of the apple crop because of a late freeze and having to fight the drought with lots of water for his trees, pumpkins and raspberries. He did say the bees like the dry weather so the honey should be plentiful by fall.
Likewise, Terry Tuntland of the Waterman Winery told me his grapes do well in heat and dryness because it stresses them, creating a better product.
Leonard Johnson and I sat listening to the young vocalist Mallory Jean Wilson of Serena, a high school senior with lots of talent. Leonard predicts she will reach the big time in the country, pop and gospel field if she keeps at it. He added that she even writes some of her own music.
The Fruit family from Kirkland was conducting the mini-tractor pull for kids for ages 4 to 14, and Nicole Fruit explained the rules to me. I recalled talking to her husband’s father, Wayne, at the Sycamore Steam Power Show last year about their steam shovel that is a popular attraction there.
After a brief chat with Craig Rice, a fellow journalist from the past, I ran across an old Waterman Grade School classmate, Paul Dolder. He reminded me that he and his wife, Carol, had operated Dolder Electric Supply from 1970 to 1977, buying the business from the late Carl Larsen. The building now houses a candle business next to Casey's on Route 30.
Paul and I also talked about our third-grade teacher, Bernice Kirkus, who lives in the Oak Crest Health Center in DeKalb. I believe she is the only teacher still alive today who taught all the Waterman kids from the 1940s through the '60s.
My last stop was at the petting zoo, where the Indian Creek Future Farmers of America members were showing their animals. Two of the FFA members, Cody Suddeth and Brad Gustello, posed for a photo with their projects, purebred Hampshire pigs and Dutch and dwarf hotot rabbits.
Truck show and parade awards included Ben Anderson of Waterman with his 1954 Allis-Chalmers WD-45 – People’s Choice; Ken Perrin of Princeton and his Huber Super 4 – President’s Choice; Jim Quinn of Clare with his 1958 IH Cub – Speaker’s Choice; Curtis Larson of Hinckley and his cutter sleigh – Oldest Entry Award; Harry Schoger of Big Rock with his 1921 Olds truck and Jim Gavin of Somonauk and his 1929 Ford AA truck – Most Unusual or Unique awards.
• Barry Schrader was editor of the Daily Chronicle from 1969-1972. He and his wife, Kay, are retired and live in DeKalb. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail at P.O. Box 851, DeKalb, IL 60115.