Halloween 4 & 5

4–Alice worked hard to give kids a little extra fun.  Instead of having each one choose from a display of little stuffed animals and small toys, she tied a string to each and hid the them behind a table.  Each child would choose a string and the pull up the toy like a fish.  Some learned to pull hand-over-hand instead of just taking an end and walking back.  Only about 25 kids showed up.  I especially liked the one in a wolf’s head.

Cute Vintage Halloween Cat Image - The Graphics Fairy

5–John’s story--Each October 31st,  Halloween, over 1,000 kids descend on our Ravenswood Manor area in the Albany Park neighborhood, north side of Chicago. Their families  are from the Mediterranean to Middle East to Mexico, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Cambodia, Korea and elsewhere.  Parents walk and drive in to Ravenswood Manor from the surrounding neighborhoods with kids anxious to trick-or-treat at the nearly 400 classic Bungalow and Four Square  homes that comprise this National Historic District.

Neighbors decorate their houses (some elaborately) with orange lights, ghouls, goblins, and ghosts.  There is very little doorbell-ringing, because each neighbor plops a chair at the end of the walkway in front of the house, and children queue from the sidewalk while their parents proudly and patiently watch and wait. There are witches, and devils, and Power Rangers, and Minions, and princesses, Cubs players, and Harry Potters, and rock stars, and…teenagers.  Some of the Trick-Or-Treaters are wee and parents carry them up the walkway. Some get flustered and forget the Halloween protocol. Some are terribly shy.  Some kids offer their “Trick-Or-Treat” in newly acquired English. All are terribly cute.
Each year I survey the scene at the peak hour, as Beth and I sit side-by-side with a huge bucket of candy between us. I hear none on the typical city noises – police sirens, cars and trucks– I hear only  the sounds of excited kids running and playing and shouting, “I gotta Twix!”  I see that no street parking spot is free and I see hundreds of parents and children strolling down our street  visiting as many houses as possible. In the morning the neighborhood is again quiet.  The Halloween decorations are damp and still. I’m already looking forward to next year.       jpnugent   🙂

3 Halloween Notes

Clipart - Cat and Jack-O-Lantern

1–My sister Carol had a costume party in our basement when she was about 16.  Hard to understand why Dad permitted that and why Mom (RN) permitted each guest  be welcomed to a collapsing chair.

One kid, an uppity girl, came in a dress consisting entirely of little black beads which flew  all over the basement when her uppity butt hit the concrete floor. As she was put back on her feet, she wailed, “Oh, you naughty children!”

2–When Joanne and I were married, we set up housekeeping in a third floor apartment in a court building in south Evanston, Illinois.  She got very excited about our first Halloween there–bought lots of candy, devised costumes for both of us, decorated the front door of our apartment. And no one came!

We might have noticed there were few houses in the neighborhood, no kids in the park.   In1956, the black kids who lived across the street had no idea how welcome they would be at our door.

3–Alice loves Halloween and sees usually about 60 kids. They don’t get candy here.  They get to choose from a collection  of little stuffed animals and other toys Alice has won on the arcade at the Circus, Circus casino in Las Vegas.

One year, Alice passed up Halloween at home for a complex trip focused on a total solar eclipse in the South Pacific. I took it on myself to cover hero trick or treat job.

I had a long, gray, hooded robe for my costume. I drew red lines on a pair of examination gloves, and bought a black face mask.  I changed the porch lights to orange.  And I prepared to give away a lot of little pieces of  Vegas junk.

I enjoyed seeing all the kids and chatting with their parents.

Then came the headless butler, about 11 years old, alone except for an adult who tried to go unnoticed. From below the stairs, he said his “trick or treat”.  I pointed at him and said slowly in a gruff voice, “You don’t have a mouth.  You can’t eat candy.”

He said, “Oh yes I can” and started to pull off his costume.  I shouted, “Don’t do that” and took him in to choose a toy.

Alice told me later that I might better have said, “What a wonderful costume! However can you eat candy?”

 

 

 

Danger at the Ballpark

 

 

Image result for photo speeding baseball

Pitchers are throwing the ball 90 – 100 miles per hour now. A 90-mph fastball can leave the bat at 110 mph. source

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Anyone who pays some attention to baseball knows that it’s dangerous to get near a game.  That’s why batters wear helmets and pads.  And it’s one reason spectators pay attention to every pitch and protect themselves. Also they want the ball. Also the sharp pieces of broken bats fly into the crowd.

While I was driving past Louisville once, I heard on the radio a man from the Louisville Slugger company who said major league players use 80 bats in a season.

These dangers are greatest in the lower, very expensive seats, though we’ve seen  foul balls come toward us on the upper deck.

I feel sorry for anyone hurt anywhere, maybe especially kids; but I feel no support for lawsuits demanding damages from the team owners.

Why do people take small children and even infants into an area swarming with people, then into a park with 40,000 people, some drinking beer and/or margaritas, busy with hot dogs, tacos, and nachos ?  My authoritative belief  is that most kids under 9 or 10 can’t or don’t want to focus on the process of the game or to be alert to dangers of various kinds, including  hygiene in the busy washrooms.  Is that changing table clean?  The kids can learn the game from television as well or better than in the park.  Always with parental help, of course.

When a hot line drive heads into the stands, will you always see it coming?  You’d better.

You can’t expect to collect on an injury that is your own damn fault.

_______________________________________________________

From the Trib:

Spectators hurt by baseballs face long odds in court
State law shields teams from litigation

By Steve Schmadeke and Elvia Malagon,  Chicago Tribune 10.14.17
Juanita DeJesus never saw the ball coming.
DeJesus was sitting along the first base line at a 2009 minor-league baseball game in Gary when an infield fly struck her in the face just as she looked up to spot the ball. The impact broke several bones in her face and resulted in permanent blindness in her left eye.
Her injuries were strikingly similar to those recently suffered by John “Jay” Loos, a Schaumburg man who filed a negligence lawsuit against the Chicago Cubs this week after also being blinded in his left eye when he was hit by a foul ball while sitting in a seat down the first base line in the outfield at Wrigley Field in late August.
“I had no idea that you were subjected to such missiles and the rate of speed that a ball can come into the stands,” Loos, 60, told reporters Monday. “In the stands, you know, you are sitting behind the plate, you can’t tell when the ball is contacted, you can’t tell where the ball is going, you can’t tell the rate of speed it’s going until it’s on top of you.”
But like DeJesus, whose lawsuit was dismissed outright by the Indiana Supreme Court in 2014, Loos faces long odds of winning in court.
Not only have judges across the country thrown out such lawsuits, but Illinois is one of four states where the legislature enshrined into law the so-called Baseball Rule, which absolves stadium owners of liability so long as an adequate number of seats — largely in the area looking onto home plate — are behind protective netting. Fans who sit elsewhere are presumed to have willingly assumed the risk of being hit by a ball or bat, according to the rule, which is now more than a century old.
The debate over increased safety — versus fans enjoying unobstructed views and the chance to catch a souvenir foul ball — was reignited in September when a little girl was hit by a rocketing foul ball at Yankee Stadium, prompting Major League Baseball’s commissioner, Rob Manfred, to say the league is looking again at extending protective netting.
“The events at yesterday’s game involving a young girl were extremely upsetting for everyone in our game,” Manfred said in a statement, adding: “We will redouble our efforts on this important issue.”
In 2015, the league issued recommendations that ballparks have protective netting between the dugouts for any field-level seats within 70 feet of home plate. Those recommendations prompted the Cubs to extend the netting out that distance at Wrigley Field before the 2016 season, a Cubs spokesman has said.
The team’s president of business operations, Crane Kenney, told WSCR-AM 670 The Score last month that the Cubs would add at least 30 more feet of netting before next season as Wrigley Field renovations move the dugouts farther down the foul lines. Last year the White Sox also extended netting at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Beyond the Baseball Rule, legal obstacles include difficulty proving that spectator injuries are so commonplace that the courts should intervene. Last year, a federal judge in California threw out a class-action lawsuit against MLB filed by two fans who argued protective netting should be strung up along the entire length of the foul lines at all stadiums. The judge ruled that the plaintiffs had failed to show they and any other fans faced enough risk of injury to give them legal standing to sue.
In Loos’ case, his attorney argues there are two exceptions in the law that could allow them to win the lawsuit. He hopes to convince a judge that the MLB isn’t covered by Illinois’ stadium owner liability law and that the Cubs’ conduct in failing to install netting was reckless — both high hurdles. Another injured fan who alleged the Cubs recklessly removed netting behind home plate in 1992 to make way for skyboxes saw his case dismissed, records show.
“It’s obvious that the Cubs have known people are being seriously injured — it’s happened there before,” said Loos’ attorney, Colin Dunn. “It’s at least going to be a jury question as to whether this was willful and wanton conduct.”
But Dunn indicated the case may get settled. “I got a feeling that they want to talk to us,” he said of the Cubs, whom he reached out to before filing suit. “They do care about their fans. I’m hopeful that they’ll do the right thing.”
A Cubs spokesman declined to comment but directed a reporter to the statement issued by the team Monday that said “the safety of our fans is paramount to a great game day experience.”
It’s not publicly known whether these types of injuries are on the rise, though the class-action lawsuit alleged that they likely were, as pitching speeds go up and batted balls travel faster. A 2003 study found that about 35 fans were injured by foul balls per 1 million spectator visits to major league stadiums.
The risks of being hit by an errant ball or broken bat are low, according to lawsuits filed against other major league teams over injuries. But the injuries they cause can be catastrophic, especially to children.
A 7-year-old Cubs fan attending his first baseball game at Wrigley Field in 2008 was left with a fractured skull and swelling around his brain after being hit in the head by a line drive, the Tribune reported. There are no records indicating the family ever filed a lawsuit.
The Atlanta Braves reportedly settled a lawsuit recently filed by the father of a 6-year-old girl whose skull was fractured by a line drive in 2010.
But in an aside in her ruling to toss a California class-action lawsuit, the judge questioned why the league hadn’t done more to mitigate the danger to its youngest fans.
“Why Major League Baseball, knowing of the risk to children in particular, does little to highlight this risk to parents remains a mystery,” wrote Oakland U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in her ruling throwing out the class-action lawsuit over protective netting.
In 2014 a Bloomberg Businessweek report found that about 1,750 spectators are injured annually by baseballs that fly into the stands. Around 73 million people attend major league games each year.
Spokespeople for the Cubs and White Sox declined to provide figures on how many fans are similarly injured each year.
Figures unearthed in the class-action lawsuit show that during the 2015 season at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles an average of about two people were hurt by foul balls per game out of the 46,000 on average in attendance. In Seattle, about 300 people attending Mariners games were injured by errant baseballs out of the 10 million who attended games between 2005 and 2009, according to an appeals court ruling upholding the dismissal of another fan injury case.
This week, the Chicago City Council passed a toothless resolution calling for the city’s major league teams to surpass MLB’s minimum standards for protective netting and instead “lead the league.” The resolution also asks the teams to “reconsider” the Baseball Rule that transfers liability for spectator injuries to fans who sit in unprotected areas.
In the early 1990s, two rare legal victories for spectators injured while attending separate Cubs and White Sox games may have been the impetus for an Illinois law that now protects stadium owners from similar suits.
Delbert Yates Jr., a fourth-grader, was sitting behind Wrigley Field’s home plate in 1983 when he was struck under his right eye by a Leon Durham pop-up seconds after betting his sister whether Durham would get a hit, court records show. His attorneys at trial presented evidence that the screen behind home base was inadequate, and the family won a $67,500 jury verdict.
A state appeals court upheld the verdict in 1992. That same year, another appellate panel reinstated a lawsuit filed by a woman whose jaw was broken at a White Sox game when she looked up from her popcorn and was struck in the face by a foul ball, finding that the issue of whether the Sox had provided proper warning of her injury risks was a trial issue.
Just six months later, state lawmakers stepped in and passed the Baseball Facility Liability Act, shielding stadium owners from most lawsuits by turning the Baseball Rule into state law. James Jasper, who was struck by a foul ball at a Cubs game, filed a lawsuit over his injury and argued the new law was an unconstitutional handout to stadium owners. But in 1999 an appellate court upheld the law and the lower-court dismissal of Jasper’s lawsuit, essentially ending the legal issue in Illinois.
Outside of Wrigley Field during a recent scheduled playoff game, many fans sided with the Cubs organization on the issue of fan injuries. Among them was Naomi Rodriguez, 56, of Wrigleyville, who said spectators must pay attention to flying balls and bats.
“When you walk in the park, you have to know that this can happen,” Rodriguez said. “It’s just what happens, but I love my Cubbies. I back them up 100 percent.”
Others welcomed more protective netting at Wrigley Field. Mike Ford, 46, of Crown Point, said he believes fans are assuming the risk of being injured by sitting in areas where foul balls typically land. Standing outside of Wrigley Field with his 11-year-old son, Ford said the risk of being hit with one of the balls is one of the reasons why he buys seats in the terrace reserved outfield area.
He would like to see the spectator netting extended at the ballpark, which would expand his seating options.
“I’d be willing to go down to that section if I had the opportunity to,” he said.
sschmadeke@chicagotribune.com
emalagon@chicagotribune.com
Twitter @steveschmadeke
Twitter @elviamalagon

Carol Jeanne Murphy

My sister Carol has died in Crosslands, the place where she worked and then lived.  Susan and I went to Kennett Square for the funeral.  It was nice to see Carol’s children and grandchildren.  I will miss my only sister.   RJN

Obituary —  Carol Jeanne Murphy

Carol Jeanne Murphy Obituary
Carol Jeanne Murphy, age 88, of Kennett Square, PA, passed away on Tuesday, October 3, 2017, at her residence. She was the wife of Joseph E. Murphy, Jr., who passed away in 2000, and with whom she shared 47 years of marriage.Born in Evanston, IL, she was the daughter of the late James Nugent and the late Marjorie Forshee Nugent.

She was a registered nurse last working for Crosslands in Kennett Square, PA.

Carol was a member of St. Patrick Church in Kennett Square, PA.

She enjoyed entertaining her family, reading a good book, little children, her husband’s jokes, and being with her family and friends.

She is survived by three sons, Joseph E. Murphy, III and his wife Debra of Amherst, NH, Timothy J. Murphy and his wife Bernadette of Plano, TX and Matthew W. Murphy and his wife Angela of Holly Springs, NC; three daughters, Mary Ruth Johnson and her husband Thomas of Kennett Square, PA, Marjorie Campbell and her husband William of Park City, UT, and Julia Anne Welch and her husband Rudolph of Half Moon Bay, CA; four brothers, Patrick Nugent of Cambridge, MD, Richard Nugent of Wilmette, IL, Thomas Nugent of Delavan, WI and John Nugent; twelve grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by one brother James Nugent.

You are invited to visit with her family and friends from 6:00 to 8:00 on Friday evening, October 6, 2017,and again from 9:30 to 10:30 on Saturday morning, October 7, 2017 at the Kuzo & Grieco Funeral Home, 250 West State Street, Kennett Square, PA. Her Funeral Mass will be held at 11:00 Saturday morning, October 7, 2017, at St. Patrick Church, 212 Meredith Street, Kennett Square, PA. Burial will be in St. Patrick’s cemetery, Route 82, Kennett Square, PA.

In lieu of flowers, a contribution may be made to the ALS Association, Greater Philadelphia Chapter, 321 Norristown Road, Suite 260, Ambler, PA 19002 or to the Robert N. & Lenora C. Zearfoss Fund for Crosslands Staff Support, P.O. Box 100, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

Published in The News Journal on Oct. 4, 2017

 

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