All posts by Dona

About Dona

Mother of two twenty-somethings. Recent empty-nester. Adjusting to the new normal.

Quarantine Release Cards

Back before many childhood diseases could be prevented by vaccines, people were issued quarantine release cards when the disease was gone. Here are my mumps and chickenpox quarantine release cards.

My mom, ever the rule-follower, kept these cards as instructed.

It looks like we changed addresses (262 Hine and 240 Heine) but the house number changed after we became part of the city and the person who typed the first address misspelled it.

I remember both illnesses. The mumps prevented a shared family vacation with friends. The chicken pox just itched.

Ian and Denise

From Back: Ian and Denise and Tobias Bear (their son) in front of a huge Christmas tree. December 9, 1978
Back when I was visiting England a lot, I got to know Ian and Denise. Ian was in a band called Magpie, they had a yellow Citroen Deux Chevaux they called Big Bird, I think. They had a leather couch and once, after an argument in which a tea/coffee mug was broken one of them created art with the broken pieces. I think I liked them because they seemed like the perfect couple.

Jeff

From Back: Jeff [last name] my love 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th and beginning of 11th grade. Really “Just a friend.”
When I was in 6th grade (and beyond) I had a crush on a boy named Jeff. For years I wondered what happened to him and finally found him via his grandfather’s obituary. We emailed and texted a bit — our mutual friend, Carol, was much more excited to have found Jeff alive and well.

I remember his family was well-to-do, at least more-so than mine.

From back: Drawn “free hand” by Jeffery [last name]
I’ve kept some photographs of him, and at least one thing he drew on a notebook of mine. I know he’s mentioned in my online journals too.

As I find more photos and things I will add them here.

 

Elgin Belvidere ST. RR Wreck and Strike Elgin ILL 7-28-1908

I found this old postcard among Mom’s things. According to Wikipedia, “The Elgin and Belvidere Electric Company was a 36-mile (58 km) interurban line that connected Belvidere, Illinois and Elgin, Illinois.”

Wikipedia briefly mentions the strike, saying “[Bion J.] Arnold [the owner] himself was heavily involved in the line’s construction and management, and at one point operated the cars himself during a strike.”

I cannot find anything else about the wreck and strike on the Internet.

Reading and Empathy

I heard a quote by George R. R. Martin this morning that got me thinking about a certain person I know who never reads.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… The man who never reads lives only one.”

I wonder if people who don’t read have less empathy for people who are not a part of their circle then people who read a lot. It seems reasonable to think that if you are exposed to others, even with only words you develop more empathy with people you don’t know, people who are not like you.

I know for a fact that after reading Five Smooth Stones I became a different person. I’d not known anything about the civil rights movement other than what family members had to say.

Two Men from the 1800s

I’ve been meaning to write a post about this photo I found among my mother’s things. It is so faded that it is difficult to see the men, but it looks like it may have been taken around the Civil War years, based on the clothes and hair styles, but I am absolutely no expert on Civil War era fashion.

I assume they are ancestors of mine — possibly Tylers, although I don’t know what makes me think that. I suppose they could be McCornacks.

The photographer, J. M. Adams is mentioned on this blog post and a Facebook member of a group about Elgin History posted two of the photographer’s studio.

Two men -- original scan
Two men — original scan
Photo with "color restoration" enabled in scan
Photo with “color restoration” enabled in scan
Back of photo: J. M. Adams Photographer, Elgin, Ill, First door East of the Bridge. Duplicates of this Picture can be had at any time.
Back of photo

The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket

When the kids were young and, in my opinion, reading books too easy for them, I tricked them into reading the Lemony Snicket books by telling them they were too hard for them to read and maybe they could read them in a few years time.

They fell for it and both of them ended up reading the entire series while I only read up to The Carnivorous Carnival.

I binged on the Netflix versions of the books (oh wow! Neil Patrick Harris!!!) and since season 2 ends with the book I last read, I decided to go ahead and read the rest of the series but it would seem that our copies of the books have mysteriously disappeared, a phrase that here means “someone absconded with them but are not admitting it,” so I was forced to use the Libby app on my phone and put it on hold.

I liked it, just fine, but I am ashamed to say that I like the series better. The repetition in the book got to me (which is why I stopped reading the series after The Carnivorous Carnival (which I may or may not have finished).

I will still read The Grim Grotto, and The Penultimate Peril and The End, but I am pretty sure I will feel the same about them.

The kids gave me a couple of Snicket’s other books (or rather Daniel Handler — the real name of the author) and I do need to get to those, which I will, hopefully this year.

Where’d You go Bernadette by Maria Semple

Very enjoyable book, fun in many ways, easy to read. I was a little put off, however, about the mean-spirited things the author had to say about most people, especially those who were Canadian, Midwestern, from Seattle or even just “nice.” I would have attributed it to the characters in the book, but Semple said that she wrote the book based on her difficult transition from LA to Seattle.

That said, I suppose it was a satire, so I suppose I will let it pass. Looking forward to the film due out in October — although Cate Blanchett is not who I pictured as Bernadette.