It was 36 years ago today . . . wait, that sounds like a Beatles song. Anyway, here I am, young, hopelessful, and unemployed. When I woke up on Monday, June 13, it was the first time in my life I had nowhere to go. Adrift. Typical because planning isn’t my forte, but it wasn’t a good feeling. I was too burned out and poor for graduate school to be an option.
After spending part of the summer selling Chicago City Ballet tickets by phone (really), I found a full-time job starting in late September through the classifieds in the Chicago Tribune (really).
One job I interviewed for that I didn’t get — a writer/editor for a dietitian association (if I remember correctly). Why didn’t I get it? I couldn’t type fast enough.
Today is the 100th anniversary of my mother’s birth. I discovered this delightful clipping about a hike to a farm and a picnic with storytelling under a big tree she helped to organize. It could be straight out of Anne of Green Gables.
I love finding these blurbs. This and others are giving me new insight into my parents’ early lives pre-me.
I haven’t moved since I posted “Magnetic personality” in 2008, but my refrigerator was replaced with a newer model in a different location after an apartment remodeling. Not too long ago, I finished redecorating it with magnets I’d found recently. Here we go:
Events and places
Boyer Candies (Altoona, Pennsylvania)
Bristol Renaissance Faire 2018
Clearwater Historic Lodge, Gunflint Trail (Minnesota, August 2014)
The Devil’s Kettle, Brule River (Minnesota, August 2014)
Elk Country Visitor Center (Pennsylvania, year unknown)
Great Lakes, unsalted and shark-free (Indiana Dunes Visitor Center)
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (two from Indiana Dunes Visitor Center)
Letchworth — old railroad trestle, since replaced (May 2015)
Letchworth State Park — wood (May 2015)
Metropolis, IL., Home of Superman (May 2013)
The Naniboujou Lodge (Minnesota, August 2014)
Pa. Dutch Country: Paradise, Bird in Hand, Blue Ball, Intercourse, Virginville • Virginia may be for lovers, but Pennsylvania has Intercourse (visit in 20XX? to Lancaster)
“Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful” moose, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (July 2013)
Presque Isle State Park, Erie, Pennsylvania (May 2015)
Rose Hotel (Elizabethtown, Illinois, May 2013)
Starved Rock (Illinois state park, year unknown)
Illinois, Land of Lincoln
New York, the Empire State
Pennsylvania, the Keystone State
Butterflies and planets (powerful magnets)
Leinie’s Sunset Wheat (gift)
Lincoln Park Zoo carousel animals
Pig in overalls with straw hat and grass blade (bookseller included this with a copy of Covered Bridges of Pennsylvania Dutchland)
Shedd Aquarium octopus (possibly from a 2005 visit)
A few years ago I did a search on my dad’s name and found an old auction for V-Mail (“Greetings from Britain”) from Private Ralph Schirf. I hadn’t known about the auction, long since over, in time to bid. Here are the clues that it’s from my dad:
Ralph Schirf is a unique name. Schirf is rare, and we’re all related. Ralph Schirf is one of a kind.
He was from the Altoona, Pennsylvania, area.
He served as a private in the Army Air Forces during WWII in England (artillery, I believe, although he didn’t talk about it). He was honorably discharged as a corporal.
That’s his block printing.
His beloved sister Marjorie married a Way (Ellis G. in the obituary of one of their children).
He once signed a birthday card to me “Father Ralph.” It’s not a stretch to imagine him signing “Brother Ralph” to his sister.
I would love if the buyer found this post and offered to sell me Dad’s V-Mail, but in lieu of the physical pieces I’ll have to be content with small digital photos.
Continuing Friday’s theme, I met JT for a visit to another Chicago institution, this time the Field Museum of Natural History. First, however, we walked through a gray drizzle from Union Station to Lou Mitchell’s, where we were greeted with …Continue reading →