The rest of the story…
Seldom do I get feedback from readers who go to the trouble of researching my subject and adding to the story. This happened at least once in 2019 when fellow journalist Phyllis Johnson scanned through back copies of the Daily Chronicle from 1926 to find out if my father and his high school buddy Ivan Keene ever reached Los Angeles (my Nov. 29 column).
I had only known that they got as far as Texas on their planned trip to the west coast. She found three other articles later in 1926.
One from Oct. 22 said that they had reached Midford, Nebraska, where they planned to visit my father’s aunt Clara (Cooper) Shank. Next an article on Dec. 24, reported they returned home Christmas Eve from Amarillo, Texas, after spending time working in Texas.
They never made it the rest of the way to their planned destination.
For those who knew Keene, the paper reported on June 24, 1927, that he married Eula Schermerhorn of Evanston. I knew Eula as a child as she taught in schools in and around Waterman with my mother.
Since this is the last column of 2019, I wanted to mention any omissions or corrections from this year – only two so far. DeKalb County History Center executive director Michelle Donahoe emailed me that Wally Thurow did not donate his bike to the Joiner History Room. The Sycamore Lions Club had taken possession of it and donated it to the Sycamore History Museum. In my column about Kate Rogers Maximena naming Peace Road, I did not include her current job. She is a nurse at the Indiana Veterans’ Home, still caring for veterans as she did while a medic in Iraq and elsewhere.
I also must give credit to DeKalb County Historian Sue Breese and the the Joiner History Room volunteers for answering many of my queries about facts or subjects I was pursuing to make the column as accurate as possible. Then my old friend DeKalb historian Steve Bigolin is always ready with answers whenever I call him – which has happened many times over the 12 years (off and on) I have been writing DeKalb County Life.
I can’t begin to name all the people who have either seen or called me to suggest great column ideas, many of which I found to be interesting stories. I actually have three left over from this year I will be pursuing in the coming months: one on corncribs, another on the Haish gym and the third on a veterans memorial park in Somonauk. That leaves 49 weeks open for more ideas and suggestions so please contact me if you have something of interest to share. I don’t always follow up on every tip, but appreciate hearing from people.
It has been a rewarding and heartwarming experience visiting people in all parts of the county, sitting around their kitchen or dining room table to collect stories, perusing family albums or mementos of their lives. As one writer said many years ago: Every person alive today has a story to tell, it just needs harvesting by a story teller.
Happy New Year. I will be one year older when this column runs on Friday, so the new year is really a fresh start for me every January.