Our Times, Issue 41


Class of LP 1953

Dear LP-53 Classmates, Spouses, and Friends;


April 2010


Greetings, and Best Wishes for all of you in the second decade of the 21st century.  It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were worrying about what would happen to our computers when the year 2000 came in ... and, we became senior citizens (most of us).  Do you remember how long four years of high school seemed to be?  Wasn’t it good that we filled those years with so many activities, and made so many life-long friends? 


Have a good spring, summer, and fall.  Consider attending our July Gathering, this year on 9 and 10 July.  The next newsletter will be mailed in November, 2010.


Signs of the Times


Do you understand a commercial that says AT&T gives the best “3G” experience, or that Sprint has the widest “3G” coverage (words like that)?  I don’t.  I asked a friend about this, and he said that “3G” meant third generation, i.e., newest technology.  Well, I missed “1G” and “2G” and will wait until “4G” before I do anything.  When such and such a company starts to advertise “4G” service, I will think, “Hmmm.”  Do I want to carry around a device that is a telephone, has “apps” (do you know that term for “application programs”) for everything, that takes pictures that I can send immediately to my entire family and all the friends in my address book, can show me a map of where I am and where I want to go, can calculate any question of physics that I have, do my income taxes and file with the punch of an icon, tell me the present weather and forecast anywhere in the world, show me pictures of all the houses in the US that are for sale, make restaurant reservations, allows me to pay bills while on the road in my little red truck, on and on? I like it when talking to a granddaughter on our home’s land line that ends with her saying, “I love you grandpa.”  But, I might find it good, when I get a cell phone, to find a text message, “ilvugpa.”  PS. I don’t know how to “tweetr,” and I don’t like receiving an email from “Facebook” stating that a good friend wants me to be their friend.  Some computer, acting on its own, generated the message.


This past Christmas, without my permission or knowledge, our son hooked up a wireless device to my computer.  All of a sudden, all over the house, the grandchildren were using their laptops, or 3G phones, to connect to the internet and send and receive emails and text messages!  I thought about pulling the plug on the thing.  Fortunately, even in their advancing teenage and beyond years, the grand kids like to play board games and do puzzles.  It wasn’t long, before the laptops and phones were put away and we were enjoying each other, taking shifts at the puzzle and the game table.  This year’s game was Seinfeld Trivia. I was surprised that the grand kids knew so much about the characters, since they had only seen Seinfeld shows as reruns.


Two thoughts come to mind after writing the above; first, I’m sure that you can substitute your grand kids for mine; and, second, what is the word to use when the grand “kids” are of adult age?  That’s another sign of the times.


Sitting at the luncheon following the recent funeral service of a church member, Carolyn and I were conversing with a former pastor who conducted the service.  He mentioned his age when he was assigned to our church.  Doing the math, I calculated his current age, and I said that I was also going to be 74.  Carolyn corrected me; “You are going to be 75.”  That occasion was the first time in my life that I didn’t know how old I am!  Scary.


I read an interesting listing of “25 Things About To Become Extinct.”  Here’s a list:


25. U.S. Post Office
24. Yellow Pages
23. Classified Ads
22. Movie Rental Stores
21. Dial-up Internet Access
20. Phone Landlines
19. Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs
18. VCRs
17. Ash Trees
16. Ham Radio
15. The Swimming Hole
14. Answering Machines
13. Cameras That Use Film
12. Incandescent Bulbs
11. Stand-Alone Bowling Alleys and Bowling Balls
10. The Milkman
  9. Hand-Written Letters
  8. Wild Horses
  7. Personal Checks
  6. Drive-in Theaters
  5. Mumps & Measles
  4. Honey Bees
  3. Newspapers, Magazines and TV News
  2. Analog TV
  1. The Family Farm



Technology plays a big role - email, advertising on the internet, cell phones, DVDs, digital cameras.  Bowling is done at entertainment centers (video games), with adjacent restaurant allowing Mom and kids to dine while Dad is bowling (or vice-versa).  Prior to introduction of the measles vaccine, a half million cases, with 450 deaths, were reported annually in the US.  In 2005, 66 cases were recorded.  Most of these extinctions are good; except for Honey Bees and the Family Farm.  I am not giving up on #9, hand-written letters.  Just to aggravate them, I write letters to grand children.  Usually, I get an email reply; “Grandpa, just got your letter.  Thanks.”  This happens about a month after my sending the letter ... they don’t regularly check their mail box (the one the mailman, or in our case, the mailwoman uses), as we did in Our Times.


Our Sunday newspaper, March 21, 2010 contained an advertisement by Dick’s Sporting Goods store.  I usually don’t pay much attention to the ads in the paper.  But, this one caught my attention: “SV12 Little League Bat,” Original price $259.99, on sale for $159.99!  Can you believe that price?  I did a Google search on “Louisville Slugger.”  What I found is a lot of baseball bats in the $200 and above price range.  None made of wood ... all metal or composite materials!  Well, I suppose it is OK for parents to pay $200 for their child’s bat, if dad is paying $200 for his golf ball driver, and $12 for three golf balls that he will lose on the front nine. By-the-way, the same ad showed 10-speed mountain bikes for $169.99.  Just imagine the number of parts, and all the assembly labor, to make a bike compared to a bat!


The Dick’s Sporting Goods ad was included in a ten-pound Sunday paper filled with inserts, some the volume of small catalogs.  Kids don’t deliver newspapers as they did in Our Times.  Today, you need a driver’s license and a pickup truck to deliver the Sunday paper, at least in our area.


What’s Happening in LP and Surrounds


The 13th annual “Bald Eagle Watch Weekend” was held at Starved Rock January 23-24, 2010.  Although the lodge was filled with “birders,” the count of eagles was down from prior years, due to poor supply of food for the eagles around the dam.  No explanation given.  But, it’s wonderful that even a few eagles were seen ... none around in Our Times. I have never seen a real, live, bald eagle.


The Cherry Mine Disaster memorial was dedicated on Saturday, November 14, 2009 on the occasion of the 100 th anniversary of the disaster which killed 259 men and boys in the November 13, 1909 fire in the mine.  An horrific tragedy, with so many casualties amongst the small population in and around Cherry in 1909.. 




Lois Wilmot sent me additional information regarding the automobile accident that killed three teachers.  Five teachers, and many other people from La Salle had gone to the Peoria Cathedral for the ordination of a boy from St. Patrick’s (don’t know his name).  Their car broke down on the return trip, and was being towed, with the teachers in the car, when it was hit by another vehicle.  Miss Clark (LP Office Staff), Miss Crabtree, and Mrs. McCormick were killed; Miss Malone and Miss Held survived.


Lois also sent information concerning my mention of drug stores. She wrote; “In 1953 there were six (6) pharmacies in La Salle: Ford Hopkins, La Salle Rexall, Formhals, and Purity on First St., Malone’s on Marquette St., and Arkins on Eighth St.”  I am surprised that the population of La Salle 60-plus years ago could provide enough business for six drug stores to operate.  In my memory, neither of my parents, nor either of my siblings took any prescribed medications on a regular basis.  But, the measles, mumps, scarlet fever, poliomyelitis, ring worm, and other maladies were more prevalent back then. Do you remember having home visits by a public health nurse, and your mom receiving a “Quarantine” sign to put on the house door?


Fifty years ago, March 14, 1960, the Starved Rock murders took place (nice memory eh?).  The convicted killer, Chester Weger, now age 71 remains in prison.  Would you believe that there is actually a group of people with the name, “Committee to free Chester Weger.”  By election time in 1960, the district attorney had collected enough evidence to charge Weger, but he waited until after the election to bring charges.  The man lost the election. The new district attorney assigned the case to an assistant, Anthony “Tony” Raccuglia, who established himself by the successful prosecution of Weger


Here’s a memory challenge. What was the name and the attraction of that small store located on the southeast corner of Sixth and Crevecoeur Streets? It was hardly big enough to be a neighborhood grocery store. I can remember going there several/many times during school hours in good weather – probably during the lunch hour, not after school. As I remember, the place wasn’t crowded, so what was the attraction?


I can’t picture in my mind a grocery store, other than the one mentioned above, in the area around the high school. Where did the parents of our classmates who lived between Third and Eleventh and Chartres, Crevecoeur, Bucklin buy groceries? In the north end of La Salle, we went to Washkowiak’s at corner of Crosat and O’Connor, or the store at Grant and St. Vincent’s. The city people stopped at the grocery store about every day. The farmers came to town on Saturday and went to the A&P store. One of my high school jobs was delivering bread and ice cream products for Orsinger’s. I probably delivered to 50 stores like Washkowiaks (and, some taverns that stocked ice cream), but never to the A&P.


In Memoriam


We now have 81 classmates to remember. James G. Fenoglio died February 18.  We only learned of this from a lawyer who contacted Richard Pattarozi. The lawyer found a letter from Richard to Jim in Jim’s mailbox. Jim’s mother is in a nursing home with dementia. The lawyer contacted Richard to ask if he knew of any family members surviving Jim. I heard from Jim last Christmas. He did not mention anything in addition to his long time diabetic condition.


Two class mates have lost beloved family members. We name them here and in our prayers:

Another person remembered by all of us:

Johnnie Kaye, who founded the Johnnie Kaye Orchestra in 1946, passed February 12, 2010.  He would have been age 85 on Valentine’s Day. Kaye was a member of LP Twp. HS Class of 1944.


All those we love are part of us,
For things of beauty leave their trace.

And memories of all we’ve shared,

--- Anonymous --                   


Class (and Family) Information


The January 27, 2010 issue of the News Tribune contained an article titled; “IVCC announces hall of fame inductees.”  Here’s the text for one inductee: “Don Haas LPO ‘55, a Chicago Daily News All-Stater while at L-P, he went on to become a star lineman for LPO’s 1954 undefeated state championship team.  In a 31-year career in the U.S. Naval Reserves, he achieved the rank of commander.  From 1957 to 1991, Haas taught machine shop at Hall and LP before moving on to develop IVCC’s mechanical technology program.”  Congratulations, Don !  LP ‘53 now has two members in the IVCC Hall of Fame (Don Mayszak was inducted last year).


Dr. Michael Stuart, son of MJ and Jerry, an orthopedic surgeon at the Mayo Clinic was selected to be the Team USA ice hockey team physician for this year’s Olympic Games.  Dr. Mike’s three sons, Mike, Colin, and Mark now play professional hockey and daughter Cristin led the women’s hockey team at Boston College.  In addition to surgical duties, Dr. Mike researches ways to prevent hockey injuries.  He led the charge to make the wearing of face masks mandatory.  Only the NHL still resists that safety measure.


Until now, I attributed “baby of the class” to Mary Jean Stuart (b. Dec. 1936). But, in recent correspondence with Fred Paulicka, I learned that he was born June, 1937. So, Fred now bears the title. I corresponded with Fred in regard to a political matter.  He replied; “I use all the tools of logic (Venn diagrams, Boolean Operators and Exclusion diagrams) and causal modeling to make assignments of level of priority and generality of all contentions, the obvious derived, most general inferential conclusion ...” Fred continued; “Try the application of the tools of inferential logic yourself ...”  I replied; “Yeah, right Fred! It’s easier to just have an opinion.” Fred earned two PhD’s: (Theoretical Physics and Biophysics). Skipping over his corporate career, Fred now consults, through his own company, for clients in “the Cosmetic, Food, Pharmaceutical, Nutraceutical and Oleo chemical industries and the OMB on matters related to the FDA and CDC.. Also for the Iowa State Secretary of Agriculture on matters related to Genetically Modified Oils and Fats from genetically altered seed cultivars.” Fred I have no idea in the world, what in the hell you are doing!


Golden Wedding Anniversaries


By the end of this year, seven (7) more class members will have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  With these additions, we can brag of our total of 72 members having reached the milestone (5 times the national average).  Celebrating their 50th in 2010:

  Astrid Jensen Berkson and Earl, February 8.

  Joe Smith and Rose, February 13.

  Sheldon Raizes and Marilyn, June 4.

  Joan Rogalla Anderson and Bob, August 13.

  Larry Storkman and Dorothy, August 20.

  John Steinbach and Marilyn, August 20.

  Don Byzcynski and Gloria, November 19.


  Congratulations and Best Wishes, friends.


Address Changes


Elizabeth J. (Betty Pyszka) Weeks, 3400 S. Ironwood, #108, Apache Junction, AZ 85120.


Winter address for Kenneth McInerney, 16131 W. Quail Creek Ln, Surprise, AZ 85374-4910.


Email addresses change frequently.  So, please keep us up-to-date.  I recently sent a group (all the addresses I have for LP-53) email message.  The message to Sandy Perra and Bill Lipka were returned as “Not Deliverable.”  Please send your address changes to address noted at end of this letter. And, if you are new to email, please send us your address.


Earl Trobaugh Memorial Scholarship


As of February 22, 2010 the scholarship fund balance was $11,659.01.   The LP Foundation was authorized to reinvest $10,000 in a certificate of deposit, and move the remainder to its operating account to pay the 2010 award.  The foundation was also authorized to award the 2010 scholarship in the amount of $1,200.


Ms. Cheryl De Paepe is the current chairperson of the LPTHS Foundation for Educational Enrichment.  She does a very good job of handling this matter on our behalf.  I have told her so.  If any of you “locals” know her, please tell her of our appreciation.


July Gathering, 2010


This year’s gathering will be held Friday and Saturday, July 9 and 10, 2010.  Friday evening we will gather at the home of Mary Jean and Jerry Stuart, 1645 Bucklin St., in La Salle, at 5:30 PM.  Following cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, we will go to John’s Northstar for dinner at 7:00 PM.  Saturday evening we will have a cookout at the home of Don and Carole Haas, 2309 15th St., in Peru, beginning at 5:30 PM.  This newsletter is the only announcement between now and the gatherings, so mark your calendar and plan to attend.  We plan to play golf both days - information will be sent later to the golfers, after coordination with the coordinators (Buzz and Wayne).  Many thanks to our hosts and our coordinators.


Web Site Information


 Our class operates and maintains a web site with URL: www.lpths.org.  If you are new to computers and the internet, take a look.  Jim Brooks does all of the work.  We offer the site as a community service for other LP classes.  This year, the Class of LP-1960 is taking advantage of the site to promote its 50 th Reunion (they contributed $25). At this time, the costs of retaining the site are: $35 per year to reserve the URL domain name, i.e., lpths.org, and $89.70 for six months of service from our Internet Service Provider (ISP).  In February, 2010 we ran out of money for the site, so a solicitation was made.  We received $585 in contributions. This will keep the site going through August, 2013 (if charges don’t increase too much).  We DO NOT use money in our class’ bank account for the web site.


Funny Story


This circulated by email recently.  Those of you who don’t use email haven’t read it.  I have altered it, adding personalities and location.


A group of 40-year old LP-53 buddies discussed where they should meet for dinner.  Buzz suggested they meet at John’s Northstar restaurant because the waitresses there were attractive and wore low cut blouses..  The group agreed.


Ten years later, at age 50, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner.  Connoisseur Haas suggested John’s Northstar restaurant because the food was very good and the wine selection was extensive.  The group agreed.


At 60-years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Hughett, now hard of hearing, suggested John’s Northstar restaurant, because it was a quiet place, and they could converse without difficulty.  The group agreed.


Ten years later, now age 70, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner.  Jim Brooks suggested John’s Northstar restaurant, because one of the group now walked with a cane, and John’s was handicap accessible.  The group agreed.


At 80-years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner.  After long consideration, Mayszak suggested John’s Northstar restaurant, because they had never been there before.  The group agreed. K


 Lord, help us.  Doesn’t matter how we choose
where to be, just let us know where, so that we
can all be there with our friends.  They are a
blessing.  And, remind us to tell them so.


LP’s Building History


John Schweickert sent some interesting trivia. John’s father and grandfather were bricklayers, each having their own construction company.  John’s father laid the cornerstone for the new main entrance to LP High in 1928 when the Matthiessen Memorial Auditorium was added to the main building.  John watched his father lay the cornerstone for the main entrance building at St. Bede’s in 1940 (or 1942). (I wish I knew and could remember the correct spelling of Matthiessen. I can spell the word six different ways that all look correct.)


John’s information about the auditorium being added to the main building in 1928 caused me to try to discover some history about the high school’s buildings.  Not much success, so far.



If you can still find your Ell Ess Pe 1953, you see this on page 4: Title - “The Years Roll By —.,” with a picture of the “Old Main” building which stood on the northeast corner at Fifth and Chartres Streets.  Construction of the original main building began in 1897, with the first session of classes held in September, 1898.


The second picture on that page shows the building where we attended classes, situated on the west side of Chartres, with caption that reads ...“occupying the block between Fourth and Fifth Streets..” (That should read between Fifth and Sixth Streets.)  That is, the new, existing building is across Chartres from the “Old Main” building, which is now a parking lot.


That John’s father laid the cornerstone for the auditorium in 1928 is validated by a Wikipedia article, which states that the McCormack Library was added to the school’s building in 1920, and the Matthiessen Auditorium was added in 1928.


If the above date of 1920 is correct, then the new building that we occupied was built some time before 1920.  That means that the “Old Main” building had become obsolete in about 23 years (1897-1920).  It doesn’t mean that the “Old Main” building was torn down by 1920.  Maybe the new building was built in stages, with both buildings in use for some period of time.


It occurred to me to ask Kay Keenan to ask her Mom about this. Kay’s Mom and Dad both attended LP in the late 1920's early 1930's. Kay’s Mom said that she attended high school in the “Tower,” and that the northeast corner of Fifth and Chartres was a parking lot. The gym and swimming pool were across the street.


Jim Brooks' father excavated the hole for the LP gymnasium swimming pool with a clam shovel. He was working for Trompeter's Construction Company from Peru at the time. -- Added by Jim Brooks


Reference to the “Tower,” would mean the clock tower at the main entrance. So, let’s say, by 1930 the “Old Main” had been torn down.


Citizens would not have been receptive to building a new high school so soon after the original was built. I heard long ago that a local philanthropist (may have been Matthiessen, Hegeler, Carus, or a combine of the three) offered $1 for every $1 that taxpayers would commit to a new building. I think the taxpayers took them up on the deal. Probably McCormack and Matthiessen put up all of the money for the library and the auditorium.


Maybe one of you has a local history book that would shed light on the sequence concerning the construction of the LP High School buildings.  Historical matters are interesting to me, and maybe to you.  I like to keep learning.


Information & Stories

Please send information, retirement activities, stories, address changes, etc. to:


Kaye Arkins                                                                                                                                      Alan Berry

437 N. Woodland Ave.                                                                                                                    2358 Meadowgreen Dr.

Oglesby, IL 61348                                                                                                                           Beavercreek, OH 45431

(815) 883-8818                                                                                                                                         (937) 429-0092


Email Alan at: beansb@woh.rr.com


Email Jim Brooks at:   james.r.brooks@lpths.org

Snail mail Jim at: 3518 Calvelli Ct., San Jose, CA 95124


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 Text Box: Astrid Berkson
12 Stanford Pl.
Champaign, IL 61820-7620