Reviewing a Lifetime
(A Psychotherapist's Nightmare)
by John D. Sedory

Copyright©2014 by Daniel B. Sedory, Editor. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 28 (Part 2)
Catching Up

[Where possible, the Editor has rearranged these sections chronologically.]

 

Eleanor and Mono

    In January of 1967 Eleanor developed high fevers and headaches, leading to mononucleosis. She was hospitalized in Elgin, Illinois, a town approximately 13 miles [west of] Hoffman Estates[1]. She was put into an isolation area while there. My life at home with the kids and my job was something else!

1967

    On May 20, 1967, the Little Red Schoolhouse [The MacArthur School] [on the land owned by] the Sanitary District of Chicago celebrated a reunion in honor of Mrs. Estelle Blazek with a catered dinner. Many old acquaintances and friends met and talked of events of years gone by. [See Appendix F which has been mentioned in previous chapters.]

    One of the first purchases Eleanor and I made took place in September of 1947. It was one of the least likely needed things we could have bought, but I guess the salesman was more experienced than we were. The item bought (on terms) was a plot of four cemetery lots in Chapel Hills Gardens West in Elmhurst, Illinois. We made payments on that purchase until January of 1951.

    In 1967 Eleanor and I purchased a lot in Florida from General Development Corporation. It was to be paid for on the "pay as you go plan." It surely was that, for we didn't complete the payment until 1975.

    The way we got hooked that time was through one of those dinners where high pressure salesmen do nothing but sell, sell, sell, all the while you're at the dinner. One sales person was assigned to each table.

    We paid on that lot until 1975 after which time we began paying taxes each year. Not a wise investment—not that the cemetery lots were any better!

1968

    In June, 1968, Timothy graduated from St. Peter Lutheran School (8th grade).

Our Trip Across Lake Michigan, then to Lake Huron, into Upper Michigan and back home through Wisconsin!

    Do you remember Ivan (Leo) Broadhead [from earlier pages here]? He was one of the two partners in the flying service in Price, Utah—the one where I got my private pilot license while working for Monarch Airlines out of the same Quonset hut. Well, here's what happened to Ivan after we moved away:

    He was called to return to military duty as a pilot somewhere around 1950 (I think). I don't know all the places at which he was assigned from then to '68. I know he trained Air Force pilots for a time at various bases around the country. And now he was at Wurtsmith AFB, Michigan.

    We had been in touch with Ivan and Madonna Broadhead from the time we left Utah in 1949. They invited Eleanor and I and the three kids to come visit them at the base, and we took them up on their offer.

    This was going to be an event-filled vacation trip, so we wanted to make it a good one. We arranged to drive to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where we boarded a ship—car and all. It was late evening by the time we got our car and family on board, and the trip was to take the whole night. We were to disembark at Ludington, Michigan.


This is the ship we took across Lake Michigan: SS City of Midland 41 (Note: Although it was there at
times both before and after, the "41" did not appear on its hull when we took this photo in 1968.)

    There was one sleeper allowed per family, but no one seemed to want to waste the time sleeping when there was so much to watch. Even though this vessel was not of the "Love Boat" variety, it was large (it carried many, many vehicles). We spent a lot of time on the bow staring out into the dark, rough waters of Lake Michigan, looking for other vessels. The lake became even rougher, however, and we soon decided to go inside to look around. We ate at a snack bar and tried to get some of the kids to try sleeping. Actually, it was a tiring trip when I think about it. I don't know if anyone slept at all. [Editor's Note: In fact, the youngest member of our family, Jack (only 7 then), was left asleep in the cabin as we explored, but at some point he woke up and was frightened when he found himself all alone!]

    Disembarking at Ludington over, we headed toward [Tawas] City in our auto. The trip was rather monotonous, though I recall the lakes left a heavy mildew stench. Maybe it was because of the humidity, or maybe it always smelled that way in that area. It wasn't that way in Wisconsin, and we traveled that state for years in many different parts of it. And there were plenty of lakes there.

    Arriving at the base (Wurtsmith), we were taken to Ivan and Madonna's place and given our sleeping arrangements. We dined out a couple times and also at their home. And we looked forward to the tour which Ivan arranged for us on the base.


Ellen, Madonna and Sheila Broadhead; July, 1968.

 

[Editor's Note: This is a good place to comment on Daniel's health during such trips: First, he has an allergy to the mold(s) found in all the forested portions of Wisconsin and now we know Michigan too (and would likely occur anywhere there is black soil at a lattitude north of Illinois; including most of Canada). During the day, this usually was not a problem, but at night it caused him to wheeze; his breathing being inhibited, which kept him awake, so he got very little sleep! Every time the family took a fishing trip up into Wisconsin, he would become more exhausted each night, due to lack of sleep.

Also, as may have been mentioned elsewhere, he is alergic to cat dander; notice Sheila is holding a cat! This may have been the worst of the two allergies, so he slept (or tried to) in the basement where we hoped the cat didn't spend much time.

In thinking about the following comment, he believes Ellen must have been really bored at her age where she was living, because shortly after we arrived, she started playing 'footsie' under the table, up and down Daniel's legs! Perhaps just to see what he would do. But his mind was more occupied with the promised tour of the Air Force base, his watery eyes and sniffles from the cat dander and lack of sleep due to molds.]

 

    Ivan was a Lt. Colonel and in charge of the KC-135's (refuelers). His title was Operations Officer. This base was on what is commonly called the DEW line—Distant Early Warning (system). They had to be ready to hit the air in a matter of minutes from an initial warning when unidentified aircraft or objects (missiles) were spotted. So his was a critical role in the nation's protective system.

    The tour found us going through Ivan's KC-135 and through a B-52 as well [which he saved as a last minute surprise]. The KC-135 was huge inside, having harnesses of wires strung throughout the interior. I asked Ivan how on earth he could ever find a short in all that wiring. He told me he didn't have to worry about it, as he had technicians who did that. All he had to do was to fly the craft and command others who did the same thing.

    The B-52, surprisingly, as large as it was, was most difficult to enter into the cockpit. It took all kinds of contortions to enter into the pilot's seat. There wasn't an inch of wasted space in it. [Editor's Note: Unlike the author, as a skinny student, I couldn't wait to climb the ladder into that B-52 and look all around. Although it had been great lying in the the boom operator's position of the KC-135, looking out the rear window while imagining him guiding it into a jet's fuel port, the inside of this plane was a far better experience with all the electronic panels of dials, knobs, displays, scopes, etc. and being able to sit in all the crew seats; including that of the gunner (that's right, he was in the cockpit along with the other crew members[2] since the guns in the tail and elsewhere were remote controlled). And this was a great story to tell as a high school student; along with a copy of the paperwork which authorized us to be there.]

[Apart from the tour of the Air Force Base, your Editor recalls being on Lake Tawas in a motorboat with at least brother Tim and Ellen, and taking a slow ride on some horses with his brothers. Also, one night, we went to a movie theater and saw two films (both made in 1968): The Green Berets (starring John Wayne) and Blackbeard's Ghost.]

    One thing I noticed about Ivan while there was that his hearing had gone downhill quite a bit. He said it was from all the noise pollution around the base, and that even the ear covers they wore weren't sufficient to block it out.

    Our "goodbyes" now over, we headed for the Mackinac Bridge and Upper Michigan. Our plan was to go around the north rim of the lake and to visit with Eleanor's Aunt Emma in Door County, Algoma, Wisconsin. And from there we were to try seeing my cousin [Robert (Bob) Novotney] and his wife and family in Chilton, Wisconsin. He was a Lutheran Pastor there for many years.

    As we passed along Green Bay, we noticed a vile odor penetrating into the car's interior. So we opened the windows thinking we'd let the odor "out." Guess again! It was coming in from the outside!

    Apparently ... was taking place then in Green Bay[3]. Dead fish by the thousands were washing up on shore and decaying, leaving a stench almost indescribable. Turning on the air conditioner in the hope I'd remove the odor didn't help. We had to live with it until we reached the south end of the bay and headed back northeast toward Algoma. It was not a pleasant trip!

    Aunt Emma was Uncle Wally's wife, Eleanor's uncle. He had passed away in 1966, and Emma was alone. We corresponded with her regularly and wanted to visit with her. She put us up in her somewhat cramped quarters, fed us, and was her usual cheerful self all the while we were there. We had a real good time visiting [then] made our way to Chilton, [where] my cousin Robert Novotney (Bob) and his wife Marge and two kids lived, [before finally heading home].

Back to School

    In September, I enrolled at Harper College, [for some classes in] Elk Grove Village ([the college had just finished initial construction of its] own campus in Palatine, IL, [in 1967]) taking "Business Organization and Management" and "Fundamentals of Speech". These were night school classes.

Princess

    Up until [October of] 1968 (having been married nearly 22 years) we had no family pets to speak of, other than some the kids had in their room which I was unaware of (a pet garter snake and maybe a hamster or some such animal). But that year a litter of puppies was found by neighborhood kids (two of ours were part of them) in a barn on a deserted farm off Higgins Road. No mother was found to be around tending to her litter, so the kids took two or three of the dogs and brought them home. One kid's folks wouldn't let him keep the dog he took home, and that one was given to a neighbor. The other one the kids finally persuaded us to allow them to keep. If there was a third, I don't recall what happened to it.

    The one we kept was a pretty buff colored tan and white. She was very small, but it was quite noticeable that she had fairly large paws for a small dog. So we guessed she might turn out to be a medium to large size dog in later years.

    Princess, as the kids named her, would not quit squawking. We tried everything to calm her down: a heated iron in a box alongside the bed, an alarm clock ticking in the box, etc. Only one thing finally worked:

    I had to sleep with my arm hanging over the side of the bed and touch her all night long in that box! That worked. I guess she needed a "motherly touch."


Princess in our author's arms.

Princess (left) playing with her sister.

 

    Princess' sister lived a couple houses to the west of us, and when they visited each other, one thing became obvious to us. All dogs are not like-mannered. Princess was a sweet, gentle, playful dog, while her sister was kind of harsh and unaffectionate. Maybe it was the way that older couple raised her, or perhaps it's just that dogs also have different personalities. We were glad we got the gentle one! I could fill a chapter of things we (especially the kids) did with Princess, her playing with Frisbees® and balls, and her love for the snow as the kids made an igloo and played in it with her. She was with us fifteen years after that.

1969

    In 1969 Eleanor and I along with my brother Ed and his wife [at that time being] Barbra (that's the way she spelled it), took a trip to Naples, Florida to look into a land deal with yet another company. The air fare and stay was to be mostly covered, and it looked to be a good deal to take the trip. As I think of it, the entire cost to us was nil on that trip. Our friends and neighbors, the Schusters, also came with.

    The same high pressure approach was used there as in our other Florida lot purchase a couple years earlier. So Eleanor and I backed down on this one; but I think Ed ended up buying a lot or two from them. We had a lot of fun and entertainment. My mother-in-law [who may have brought grandson Paul Edgren with her] watched our kids while we were away.

 
 
 

Chapter 28 (Part 1)

TOC

Chapter 29

Footnotes

1[Return to Text]  Your Editor still has fond memories of taking a leisurely, though very tiring, all-day bicycle trip, with his brother Tim and friend, all the way to Elgin and back (30 miles or more total for us) I believe in the summer of 1966. I used a short (maybe only 20-inch wheels), beat-up, single-speed bike at that time! We stopped at corn fields, some abandoned farm houses and the train bridge (over Golf Road - Hwy. 58) along the way, but definitely enjoyed finding a MacDonald's on the way into town (the burgers being about 25 cents back then!). We went as far as the Fox River and ended up at the Elgin Watch Company. I recently read that the main plant was closed in 1965, and demolished the next year. (I need to find out exactly when that occurred.) So we had seen 'the end of an era' in watches and clocks without even realizing it. Today, you'll find a public library at the same spot I had been way back then: Gail Borden Public Library.

2[Return to Text]  A typical 6-man crew would include the Pilot, Co-pilot, Navigator, Radar-Navigator, Electronics Warfare Officer and Gunner. There were about 75 of the 'H' versions with many upgrades still flying at the beginning of this decade; over 60 years old now! The Gunner's job was ditched quite some time ago, leaving a 5-man crew (with only slightly different names for the pilots): Aircraft Commander, Pilot, Navigator, Radar-Navigator and Electronic Warfare Officer. See: B-52 turns 60 and look at the 7th, 8th and especially the 9th photo of the plane's lower deck for an idea of what it was like to be inside one.

3[Return to Text]  The author had believed some phenomenon similar to 'the Red Tide in Florida' was responsible for the dead fish. But that was not the case. Here's one of many articles you can read concerning the dead 'alewives' at that time: dead fish by the millions. The most important point to gather from such articles is the fact that it would have been a far worse experience if we had taken this trip in 1967, instead of 1968.

4[Return to Text]  .