The 4th–Family Fun? in Skokie

My dad’s siblings who lived locally gathered at our house for holidays, along with my mother’s brother  and his wife.   My cousin Marjorie much later remembered these celebrations as command performances. Lots of work for my mother, though my aunts helped with the clean-up.

 

I think Tom and I enjoyed playing with Marjorie and her sister Libbie or just talking when we were older.

Sometimes there were family fire-works, like the quarrel Uncles Mike and George had over how much liquor should go into the punch they were concocting.

One year, there were actual fireworks when one uncle brought them to fire off in our yard which was large because it included three vacant lots that we mowed for a playground.

Dad was very anxious over safety. The rule against swimming in Lake Michigan was violated often when we children learned to drive.  There never was a BB gun in the house, though pocket knives were OK.

Fireworks in the yard was unthinkable!  And unnecessary because we could watch the public display in the nearby park from our front stoop.

Dad was angry when he saw that an uncle had brought fireworks and became furious when Uncle Mike (probably)  ignored Dad’s order to put them away. Now we’ve got Dad shouting, uncles laughing,  firecrackers popping, and rockets zipping here and there over the ground.  I don’t remember and can’t imagine how all this entertainment ended.

Surely, we were all back together again for Thanksgiving when the issue was dull knives and Dad showed his persistence with a questionablre idea, no uncles involved.

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Wilmette’s  fireworks show is held at the water-front park about 3/4 mile from our house; the rockets are fired from barges out on the lake.  Without the noble trees here, we’d be able to see them.

Yesterday, I heard a journalist say on the radio that she does not attend fireworks displays, said, “I’ve been in too many war zones.”

As the booming and swishing and cracking started this evening over families gathered to share the excitement of the show, I thought of her and the enormous number of people trying to live in war zones for whom these sounds are terrifying

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And then I remembered that during our Civil War civilians did  pack a lunch and go to a battlefield for entertainment.  Some packed a wagon with food to sell.  Pictures exist showing civilians on high ground observing the slaughter and even mixing with the troops down below.

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One Fourth of July evening I had a window seat on a plane flying over the U.S. From?  To? I remember nothing about the trip except the fireworks.  It seemed that all the little towns below had fireworks shows.  Their colorful explosions looked to me like flowers that continually burst from the ground, grew, and faded,

RJN

 

 

 

 

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PIX

Hi Dad,
This coyote ate some corn at about 7:00 yesterday morning, after checking out the whole yard.  She is beautiful, but it’s scary to have her in the yard.
Love you,
Jenifer

 

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In  Moab,  everyone has their homemade dollies and hand knit sweaters.

With Grandmo Foote:  Paloma, Luisa, Hazel– Beth and Jesse’s kids from Boulder, and Rachel and Michael’s boy River from Richmond (northern) Vermont.

Yes, Grandmo.  Michael and Jesse have always called Alice Mo.

 

Visiting Her in Queens . . .(poem)

 

Visiting Her In Queens Is More Enlightening

Than A Month In A Monastery in Tibet

 

For the fourth time my mother

asks, “How many children

do you have?” I’m beginning

 

to believe my answer,

“Two, Mom,” is wrong. Maybe

the lesson is they are not mine,

 

not owned by me, and

she is teaching me about

my relationship with her.

 

I wash my dish and hers.

She washes them again. I ask why.

She asks why I care.

 

Before bed she unlocks and opens

the front door. While she sleeps,

I close and lock it. She gets up , unlocks it.

 

“What I have, no one wants,” she says.

I nod. She nods.

Are we agreeing?

 

My shrunken guru says she was up all night

preparing a salad for my breakfast.

She serves me an onion.

 

I want her to make French toast

for me like she used to.

I want to tell her about my pain.

 

and I want her to make it go away.

I want the present to be as good as

the past she does not remember.

 

I toast white bread for her, butter it,

cut it in half. I eat a piece of onion.

She asks me why I’m crying.

 

Michael Mark        The Sun, March, 2017

 

 

 

 

Leah Nugent

Our Caribbean relative !

It was a nice surprise, as I watched the Millrose Games yesterday, to hear that  one of the runners in the 60 meter hurdles would be Leah Nugent of Jamaica !  

Leah Nugent starts in the final of the women's 400m hurdles at the Supreme Ventures Jamaica Championships on July 1, 2016Leah Nugent starts in the final of the women’s 400m hurdles at the Supreme Ventures Jamaica Championships on July 1, 2016. Photo by Anthony Foster/Trackalerts.com

Leah ran sixth in last summer’s Olympics in the 400 meter hurdles.

She has been listed on the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll as a student of English.

She was born in Pennsylvania, USA with strong heritage ties to Jamaica. Her father was born in Jamaica as well as her paternal grandparents.

Why did US-born UK grad run for Jamaica in Olympics? Photos

More on 2016 Olympics  photo

Athletic record

Truly Merry Christmas–Photo

 

Christmas, 2016,  gathering organized by John and Beth at their house.  All of Joanne’s and my children, all their spouses were with us and all but 3 of our 12 grandchildren.   A rare event, wonderful  evening, 2 kinds of pasta sauce !

,xmas pic

left to right:  Brian, Susan, John, Jenifer, Rich, Laura                                         Photo credit  Jenna Neihengen

RJN

Family Business !

 

Image result for water tower chicago photosLoyola’s Lewis Towers is the smaller dark building behind the Water Tower.

 

While I was attending Loyola U. in Chicago, our dad let me work in his office in the Chicago Loop with flexible hours and a fair wage.

 

The Burnham Center in Chicago. Photo by Steven W. Sabourin

 

I enjoyed the mile walk from Chicago and Michigan Avenues to the office at 111 W. Washington St.  Time passed easily with various clerical tasks.  And I liked working alone on Saturday mornings.

Image result for photo old typewriter

 

The two others in the office were secretary Mrs. O’Brien and bookkeeper Mr. Keeley,  Mrs, O’Brien was nice, and good at her job.  All the furniture and equipment in the office was old*, including her typewriter.  *  To shift for a capital letter, one would press the shift key with the little finger, raising the type basket with the little finger.  That wasn’t easy– Mrs, O’Brien  used her thumbs and struck hard.

Image result for friden calculator

Jim Keeley had the one good machine :  A Friden mechanical calculator,  To multiply, it added all the numbers, very fast; to divide it made all the required subtractions:  clickety, clickety, clickety . . .   We had a room full of them at Loyola.  I never caught on to the operation.

Mr. Keeley had been paymaster on some big construction jobs, was a pianist with two grand pianos in his Oak Park apartment.  He hated winter and dreamed of living in California.

Dad could be unpleasant  when something went wrong.**  One time he gave me a handwritten order and said, “Call this in to the pit in Indiana and mail; a confirmation.  Substantial order: 200 railroad cars of #2 sand and 1 car of limestone dust. Seemed like a promotion to me and I made the call.  A little later, Dad called me in to his office, said, “So and so in Indiana just called to tell me that his  boy had ordered his entire year’s production of limestone dust!  Yup, I had switched the numbers.  Dad chewed me out pretty well.

I made my worst mistake once when I was addressing envelopes for invoices prepared by Jim Keeley, sealing and stamping them.  One invoice carried a special price for a special customer in a special situation, supposed to be a secret.  Yup, I mailed it to a different customer who was not getting  special price.  He of course chewed out Dad who in turn laid some very stern language on me.

* Until Dad had his office modernized.

** A long time before Keeley and me, Dad had a bookkeeper who cooked the books to avoid reporting bad monthly news, fearing Dad’s reaction.  Must have been crushing for Dad to find out he had been enjoying a fantasy, maybe adjusting family expenditures accordiingly.  Thereafter, he hired a CPA to close the books each month.

It was fun to walk in the city with Dad.  Sometimes he took me to a hotel for lunch.

Nearby the office, in the Knickerbocker Hotel dining room, I  saw something doubly strange–a black man was eating in the dining room.  He was blind.  Dad said he was a lawyer.

After his army service, my older brother Jim  went to work for Dad.  I know it wasn’t easy.  Dad resisted change, so new ideas like selling the plastic  pipe, now common, were not welcome. Dad tried to run the business from his hospital bed, and it was all on Jim after Dad died.

RJN

 

How to Deal with Digitals after Death (or Before)

Help Squad: Even in death, a person’s digital footprint lives on

This column grew from a request for help I received from a reader named Angie. Angie’s husband died in October, and she has struggled with the various government agencies and financial institutions she has had to contact since his death. I am still working with Angie on an issue involving the retrieval of survivor benefits from her husband’s health reimbursement account, which will be featured in an upcoming Help Squad.

Angie’s situation made me realize that, in general, people are not prepared for all the logistics that follow a family member’s death. So for guidance on what can be done to make this process easier, I spoke with Harrison, Va.-based elder law attorney, Sally Balch Hurme, author of the best-selling “Checklist for My Family: A Guide to My History, Financial Plans, and Final Wishes.” Hurme had a wealth of information to share. Below are some of her recommendations.

Do now

Everyone should make a secure list of their digital assets, e.g., smartphone, computer, email, social media accounts, then record the associated user IDs and passwords someplace retrievable by a family member. Hurme warned: “It’s a nightmare if you don’t have these passwords. Without them, you will most likely not be given access (to the deceased’s accounts).” She then added this interesting side note: “iTunes will be a problem if it is not your account. You could potentially lose all your music if it was purchased using the deceased’s account.”

If anyone is a veteran, he/she should acquire his/her DD-214 (certificate of discharge) and keep it with his/her important papers.

“This is your key to the kingdom,” Hurme said. “You’ll get nothing from the VA without the DD-214. And there are both burial and survivor benefits to be had.”

Be sure all pension plans, annuities and retirement plans have named beneficiaries. Without this they become a part of the deceased’s estate.

Do post-death

The following items should be attended to as soon as possible following an individual’s death. And Hurme counsels: “It’s advisable to have a good dozen copies of the death certificate as you will need them for (everything below).

Contact Social Security (800-772-1213) if the individual received social security payments. The last check will have to be returned as it is paid in advance.

Cancel health insurance. If it is Medicare, this will also be done through Social Security.

If the deceased was a veteran, contact the Veteran’s Administration.

“Most funeral home directors know what specific VA benefits are and what you have to do to get them,” Hurme adds.

Cancel the deceased’s driver’s license, and be sure the DMV knows the individual has died.

“This is identity theft protection because you don’t want a fake driver’s license being created,” Hurme said.

Notify the three credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax – to flag the individual’s file as deceased. “Thieves read obituaries and you don’t want anyone using the deceased’s credit history or personal information to get credit using their record,” Hurme warned.

Notify the banks where the individual had checking and/or savings accounts. Be aware if any are joint accounts; they will be temporarily frozen. As necessary, change the names on bank accounts, utility bills, homeowners insurance, auto loans and auto insurance.

If there is life insurance, contact the provider.

Says Hurme: “Many companies require a physical copy of the life insurance policy before they will pay it out, so survivors will need to know where this is and who to contact to claim the proceeds.”

Contact pension plan, annuity and retirement savings plan companies.

“IRAs will need to be rolled over to the named beneficiary’s IRA,” Hurme explains. “This can get complicated, so working with a financial adviser is essential. Do not attempt this on your own. There are very significant tax penalties if you do it incorrectly.”

Need help?

Send your questions, complaints, injustices and column ideas toHelpSquad@pioneerlocal.com.

Cathy Cunningham is a freelance columnist for Pioneer Press.

Copyright © 2016, Chicago Tribune

Names: Nugent, Foote, Batard

Names are wonderful for a lot of reasons, especially their origins.

NUGENT is recognized as an Irish name, but it came  to England as Nogent with two brothers who fought with the Norman French in 1066 when they conquered England.  Nogent is a place-name in France.

 

FOOTE was adopted by Jesse and Michael’s ancestor  when he came to the U.S. from Canada and wanted an American name.  His French-Canadian name suggested the French word pied for foot.

Image result for dan le batard

I’ve just become aware of the popular sports journalist in Florida named Dan Le Batard.  His parents came from Cuba, but his name seems clearly French with  “Le” corresponding to the English “the”. Does someone want to suggest the English equivalent of “batard”?

rjn

Jesse’s Daughters

PARADE MAGAZINE

J.OwensCvr-FTR

(D.W. Johnson)

RACING BACK IN TIME

In Chicago, the city where Owens raised his family, Parade magazine had the rare opportunity to talk with his daughters and the actor who portrays him in the film, Stephan James. It is a stunning coincidence that we are meeting at the Waldorf Astoria, the same hotel that forced Owens to take the freight elevator after his Olympic win, when he was invited to a dinner in his honor.

Read the article here.

1936Olympics-FTR

 

Thanksgiving Poem

 

 

                    Thanksgiving  1978

(for Peggy, Lisa and Rich, Philip, and Steven)

Perhaps I should have said it just between                                                            The wine and grace, the wishing and the blessing.                                                   That was the time for words, when the scene                                                          Had just begun, before we passed the dressing,                                                       Before the knife cut deep into the breast,                                                               I might have paused, looked up and all around                                                         Into the eyes of each of them.  A jest                                                                        Came easier, wit tossed into the sound                                                                   And lost.  Between the stuffing and the pie                                                                Was yet another quiet moment when                                                                      I could have told them all.  Instead I sighed                                                        And let it pass. Just once before the end

I should have cried:  “Listen.  Before you go,                                                           I love you.  I just wanted you to know.”

Peter LaForge

I worked with Pete for a long time, a good writer and teacher, a good man.  rjn