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Here's what people are saying about my photographs, writings, the music, and our collective memories.

01/08/09 Doug Borsom
Dick Arnold forwarded your email with the link to your videos of the HTHS 40th reunion.  The videos are great.  Thanks for shooting and posting them.  With your OK, I would like to add the link, to the '68 reunion album on Photobucket.

After checking out the videos, I took the opportunity to wander around your website.  Great site.  But first, let me express my sympathy on the passing of your sister.  That's a terrible loss and must leave a hole in the lives of all who knew and loved her.  I was moved by the slide-show tribute to her. 

Some comments on people mentioned on your site:
Al Penny: I didn't know Al as a musician, but I remember him in the early sixties as a talented, natural gymnast. Handstands, handsprings, flips, the high bar; he could do it all and make it look effortless.

Oz:In 8th grade, George sang in a barbershop quartet (!) under the direction of Mr. Tantillo, the Hinsdale Junior High music teacher.  Two music/art classes were segregated by gender, creating one all boy-class and one all-girl class.  My recollection is that we boys did one semester of art and then one of music, while the girls did the music semester first and then the art. But it was a long time back.  Mr Tantillo organized the boys' music class around singing songs with 4-part barbershop harmonies. He also formed a standalone quartet with just four of us.  That quartet consisted of Chuck Sted (bass), George (baritone(?)), me (the high stuff) and a fourth whose identity I am ashamed to admit completely escapes me.  We had extra practices sessions during lunch.  The entire class and the quartet performed at some school-wide event up on the stage in the old gym.  It's a testimony to Mr. Tantillo that he pulled it off and got a bunch of hormone-crazed boys to feel invested in the project.  Maybe George remembers the name of the fourth member.  It's a long way from barbershop to the blues, but the Muse is the same. 

Scot Robinson: Scot and I were best friends for about three years (3rd-5th) in grade school.  I spent many nights on sleepovers at his parents' house just down the hill from the Union Church.  (I immediately recognized your photo of adult Scot standing at the front door of his childhood home; and the old photo of Scot's mom in her kitchen.)  We rode the bus together to Oak School.  We were crazy about a collection of science fiction books someone had donated to the school library.  I lived just up Garfield street from Scot--the perfect arrangement for best buddies.  Things changed, and sometime in maybe the sixth grade, Scot and I started to go in different directions.  But for a third of my childhood, Scot was a major force in my life.  I was dismayed to learn that Scot was at the 40th reunion and I somehow missed him in the crowd.

Caleb Church: Relative of Chris Church? The Chris Church I knew lived on South Garfield, maybe around the 600 block.  He was a classmate from Oak School and a friend and bandmate of Scot's.  I remember in sixth grade, Chris delivering an impassioned report about Protestantism that emphasized the "protest" roots of the religion.  Our teacher didn't seem to care much for Chris's subject, but I thought it was pretty neat.  It was the first time I had ever made the connection.  And it's stuck with me all these years.  That his family would have a link to MLK is not hard for me to imagine.

Vernon Hansen: I enjoyed your "Flying Saucers in the Park," not the least because of your take on what Hinsdale was like back then.  Here's an old family story about Vernon: One night in 1949, my father was working late in Chicago.  The doorbell on their Hinsdale home started ringing.  Mom answered it to find Vernon on the doorstep with a flashlight under his chin pointing upward to make a shadowed scary face.  Mom, said something to the effect, "Oh Vernon. You'd better come in and I'll call your mother."  Vernon wasn't wearing a coat.  My mother said, "You wait here while I get you something warm to put on."   It was a different world.  People in Hinsdale knew each other and, as you implied, looked out for each other.  You didn't call the cops. You called neighbors.

As for Buddy Reineke, I'm sorry to report that he and Vernon did not
get along. In the early 60's I was in the old Walgreen's at First and Washington, across from the old bank building and, of course, across Reineke's Grocers.  Buddy had some sort of job at Walgreen's, perhaps sweeping floors, probably as a favor to his folks (again, that Hinsdale community).  Vernon came in and started taunting Buddy.  Poor Buddy.  Poor Vernon.  I imagine Vernon saw in Buddy some of the things that he himself had been taunted for, and Vernon's insults were probably his way of trying to differentiate between himself and Buddy.

My youngest brother drove the Reineke's delivery truck while he was in high school.  He reported witnessing similar incidents on a couple occasions.  Again, the cops were never called.  Folks would talk to Vernon and redirect him, then they would calm Buddy.

About that Walgreens--the Saturday afternoon of our 40th reunion party, I spent an hour or so walking around "the village."  I live out in California and thought it would be a better way to spend my time than at the homecoming game.  Yes, Walgreen's is gone.  I think there's one over in Grant Square, but I'm sure it doesn't have a soda fountain like the old one.  And Vann's Pharmacy, which was at the corner of Washington and Hinsdale Ave is also gone.  And so is the Rexall' that used to be just up Hinsdale Ave. from Vann's, across the alley from the Hinsdale News Agency.  How did that town support three drug stores?

My sense of Hinsdale 2009 is that there are fewer utilitarian stores.  Schweidler's, where we bought school supplies, is gone.  The old movie theater apparently succumbed some years back.  The old bank building has gone through a number of incarnations.  I think it's a Gap store now.  Soukup's Hardware is gone.  What's a town without a store where you can buy nails by the pound?  But downtown still looked prosperous.

Maybe Vernon's ghost walks the streets, tired and hot and looking for a kind soul to give him a cool drink.

I'm sorry I missed you, Scot, and several others at the 40th.  Next time.

Take care,


12/20/07  Brian McKinney
I've been having the best time listening to all the music on your site and the links thereto. What a blast for me to know that Oz, Al, John, Chris, Matt, Scott, you et al. are all out there going strong. Will send you some non-Christmas tunes when get back to Austin (leaving on Xmas sojourn today).  Hope you are well.  I love your site.

Brian McKinney

09/15/07  Bill Shaw
Dear John,

This sounds like a dear John letter but it's not.  I'm still alive and well.  I am at a friends house up in Idyllwild CA and he said he saw something about me and The Shackles on the web.  I was so glad to see your name.  I've thought of you from time to time and still have some of your great photographs.  You were always a great photographer... really good!  The other day I was playing with the Mike Rider Blues Band for the Idyllwild Jazz in the Pines concert and Mike, who was from Chicago, brought up Joe Kelly's name.  It's a small world and getting smaller... thanks to the net.  What are you doing these days?  I found George Faber through the net.  He was our lead singer in the Finchley Boys, Champagne, Il  He is still performing and doing well.  Miss you...  are you still playing drums?

Bill Shaw

10/05/07  Bill Shaw
Hi John,

Thanks to you, I have made contact with John Wallerich, Chris Rhodes, Scott Sneller, and I talked to Matt Morrison today. Do you have a current e-mail address for Oz? The one I have doesn't seem to work.  I need your mailing address and Phone #.  I am going to send to you a dvd copy of the music video I made above the Hinsdale Camera Shop in 1969.  Maybe your son can add a bass part.  Please send it back to me.  It's so great to be talking to you again.  I just wish it was in person.  You have really brought my spirits up.  Hope all is well with you.



09/14/07 Wende Claire Mueller
Dear John,

Just perused your wonder-filled website after being tipped off by my old pal Martha (Schultz) Alberti.  Phenomenal pics & memories of the turf where our roots began!  Well done, kudos, & many thanks for compiling this treasure trove.

My brothers & I have bittersweetly reminisced about Vernon many times as he was a regular in our neighborhood.  To see his picture brings tears to my eyes. I can still hear the too-loud knock at the door & his voice calling out for a response.  A sweet & sadly misunderstood soul.

And Curtis...what a treat!  One of my best friends is Deeber Berk & we've wondered about Curtis from time to time as he's the reason we met.

Ya know how those types of folks that you come across in your life who are so easily recognizable...they have a glimmer about them, a shine, or a wavelength that you pick up on instantly?  Before I even knew you, I remember seeing that in you, feeling that familiarity of kindred spirit. 

Did you catch the bus to HTHS at the bus stop in front of my house?  Cuz I think it was peering out the window watching my brother & the cool "older kids" get on the bus when that happened.

I've just recently moved to Phoenix, AZ, after making my home for the past thirty-five years in Vermont, as my children both live in this part of the country. I am truly blessed to have two amazing daughters in their mid-twenties who've taught me more than I thought I could ever know.

My other finest teacher, my sweet Momma, passed away rather suddenly in June.  So, I spent a lot of time in MI this past spring & summer with her but have not returned to Hinsdale for many moons.  Although, I am still in touch with quite a few people from our hometown.  The fibers of our youth are tenaciously interwoven.  I've stayed in touch with Jeff Greene, Draa Hobbs, & Kim Pinkert, & several others, over the years.

I do remember that you were (clearly still are) a kind, compassionate soul with an ability to connect with people on a deep level.  I was caring for my father & then grieving his passing when we were spending time together then.  Now we're hangin' out again in cyberspace while I'm grieving the passing of my mother. Interesting.

The heartfelt warmth in connecting with those who share the same seeds of our youth is a real gift. The bond of shared history allows for so much familiarity regardless of the number of years passed.

I shared your site info with my brothers, Deeber, & Draa. They're all lovin' it.

Hope you're well and smiling old friend.  Thanks again for the gift.

A deep bow to you,


08/24/07 Scott Sneller
Hi John:

You don't know me.... I just happened upon your web via Google.  Cool Website you have.  I was reading your info on Bill Shaw..... have you located him ?  I was trying to track him down also, if this is the same Billy we both know.  From the pictures I would say this was a much younger Bill than I knew.  Anyway, I would swear this was the same Bill Shaw and if it is here is my story. I worked with him back in about 1982 - 1983 at 'The Organ Exchange' Laguna Hills, Ca selling Piano's and Organs.  We became quite good friends.  He was living at that time in Huntington Beach, Ca.  I think he was going through a Divorce. We went out quite a bit after work for drinks at the Rusty Pelican, usually to see Cindi Grecco of the 'Making Our Dreams Come True' Laverne and Shirley Fame..He was friends w/ Cindi.  From there I sort of lost contact and bumped into him again I believe at the now defunct 'Colton Piano's" (now called Fields Pianos) in Santa Ana, Ca.  I had been to his house a few times in Huntington Beach and saw his collection of Drums and a Organs.  I do recall him telling me he was from outside of Chicago (as you indicated) and his Dad worked for Lowery Organs or something like that.  Such I'm thinking he is one and the same Bill.  Oh ya, he was also driving a 80's white Jaguar with a cool personal plate I can't recall the plate name but it was something cool like 'showbiz' or something.  Anyway, If you have found him already pass on my regards..... If not, I will try and locate him and pass on yours.

Best regards,

Scott Sneller
Musician - So.


Thanks for the quick reply.  I actually would not be too surprised if he is still selling Piano's and Organs  around town here.   He actually made a nice living selling Keyboards to the all the rich folks out here, that is to say he is / was a good salesman, very likeable, friendly and personable, as you indicated.  The one picture you had of him driving with the 'John Lennon' Full Moon Glasses is what zeroed him in to me, 100% Bill.  I think he still had those glasses when we were hanging out in Newport BeachAlso you have some excellent photos, you are a great photographer.  I am friends with the great Mr. Brad Elterman, 70's - 80's Rock photographer, turned paparazzi... I can appreciate great work in Photographs.  I will see what I can do to track him down and have him contact you.  This was fun and cool talking with you.  Hope to be in contact with you soon.

Best regards,

Scott Sneller

05/24/07 Greg Clausen

We don't know each other, however we had much in common at different times in our life.  I, a graduate of Hinsdale Central 1978 enjoyed the lessons of life and music learned from Walter Nechoda and Jerry Shipton.  Walter was not only a leader but a warm caring man who would give you his last dollar if you needed it, and that's exactly what he did when I ran out of money in Virginia Beach at the annual Marching/concert band competition in 1978.  I was a trombone player in concert and jazz and still play many instruments today.  Believe it or not I actually had a dream about Wally last night and googled him this morning and here is your wonderful website.  Not only did it bring back memories of band and a man I wish I had called one last time to tell what a great influence he had on my life before his passing but I received a bonus by checking out the rest of my past what with the old Jr. High, Vern Hansen, fishing at salt creek ( a favorite pastime of mine as well) and many other wonderful memories.  We probably stood side by side at the 4Th of July parades and didn't even know it!  My younger brother a 1985 HTHS graduate also had the pleasure of going through the great band program as well.  I have 2 daughters 8 & 11 years both are into music, my eleven year old is just fantastic and has the natural ability to play by ear. Watching her brings me back in time, you really can live vicariously through your kids.  How about those old days in Jr. High up on the top floor of that old building learning your first tunes. Aah its all good. Thank you for posting this great stuff.


Greg Clausen

10/24/06  Tom Doody (Lead Singer for Cryan' Shames) 
Hey John,

Pilster emailed me your letter and the pictures.  It sure brings back some great memories.  Can't believe I was ever that skinny!  Thanks again for taking those pictures.  Caroline and I are in Mission Viejo, CA.  We have lived here for 25yrs.  I guess we like it.  I will make sure that Caroline reads this and will definitely listen to the the 1010 singing the Shames version of "Up On The Roof" and your other music.  We worship at Saddleback Church.  I was a member of the vocal worship group for years.  If you are ever in S. CA, we would like you to go there with us.

God Bless you

Tom Doody

07/18/06  Kyle Macpherson Wallace

I was searching for some pictures of Hinsdale when I came across your website and the pictures of Ms. Mudd.  I had Ms. Mudd for a third grade teacher at Monroe School!!!   The picture of her classroom brought back so many memories.  I would have been there in 1961. I always pretended that the school was named after me, because my middle name is Munroe!  What year were you in third grade?  This is so exciting for me to think that we might have sat next to each other.  I don't remember much........except a guy named John Anderson who I was in love with until fifth grade, when he finally asked me to a dance :-)

I just recently thought about Ms. Mudd and how much I liked her too.  Apparently she made quite an impression on me, because I don't remember much of anything before third grade.  I quite often search for pictures of things I do remember to try and bring back some thoughts of my youth.

I live in North Carolina now, and have not been back to Hinsdale for quite some time.  But I think about it often. I lived on the corner of Bruner and Chestnut Sts. I searched for a picture of that house yesterday, but it didn't come up very clear.  Both of my parents have passed away, so I don't have anyone to ask about things in Hinsdale.  Do you still live in Hinsdale? Write if you have time.


Kyle Wallace
(I was Kyle Macpherson) oh and P.S. (I'm female) Most people think that's a guy's name.

07/06/06  Kristen Tippett (AOB Trading Partner)
Hi John,

Your song, "It's Only Love", just played on my play list and I have to tell you it has really grown on's such a unique sound!

Take Care and GOD BLESS,


06/28/06  Louise Harrison (George Harrison's Sister)
Hi John,

Thanks I just printed your article about The Beatles ("Get Back") and have read most of it. You definitely are in tune with my beliefs.  Thanks for the photo also!   Keep in touch.

Love and Peace,


04/26/06 Lynne Levine
Dear John,

It was truly a pleasure and a surprise talking to you today...brought back so many, many memories of a time (1960's) that I miss and probably am still living in to some extent.  I know if Walter (Nechoda) were still alive, he would be touched and most honored to have been remembered by you.  From what I see on your website there are many, many people that fall into that category in your life.  Thank you for sharing some of your life with me today - have so many mixed emotions - loved that time and sadly, miss it so much - will never, ever come glad that others treasure those years also.   I read your wonderful story about jr high and when you first met Walter.  I remember Jerry Shipton and Mr.Dean jobbed with Walter at night along with Charlie Rex....and I gave Walter the cashmere sweater he is wearing in the picture for Christmas which, of course, brought tears to my eyes - so many memories.  What joyous and painful memories you have stirred up today.  It is good to reflect but, for me, it is painful to remember such wonderful times "Yesterday, When I was Young" - my favorite song.

Fondly, Lynne

03/10/06  Aysha - Woodstock Museum
Dear John,

I have read who has written to you and found it quite interesting.  It is nice to know that famous people and the people of your past have such great things to say about you.   Your article section really fascinating and intriguing.  Ok, now to comment on "America"... it is touching and pin points what America stands for.  Many years ago we escaped the oppression of England's rule and tyranny and here we are.  We are "land of the free and home of the brave". What you wrote gets right to the point.  I pray that more people will read your article and see what America is really all about.  You and I have been friends for years and I never tire of talking to you.  We have spoken about so much in the years we have known each other.  Especially about The Beatles!  Each time we talk I learn more about you, each call is a new adventure.  You are very charismatic and sweet. 

Thanks for being my friend 

Administrative Assistant
Woodstock Museum
Woodstock, NY

02/21/06: Bobb Nagel

I linked to your website while doing a search for Oz.  What an incredible trip down memory lane!  I looked through your many photos of friends and musicians and was surprised at how many of them indeed touched my life as well.  I knew you during the Trou House apartment days and jammed many times with you, Al Penny, Russ, Oz, and later Steve Shade and Fred Story.  I think we may have jammed some outdoor event at the Community House as well with Chris Olson and Al. 

I am from your sister Lois' class (70) and at the time was in awe of you guys, much the way you related about the mysterious Bill Shaw.  (Right on, by the way, and I certainly aspired to be on that level of hipness as well).  I recall being at that Shackles concert at the old Jr. High, and that performance and Rick Boldens thundering Hofner bass solidified my desire to make my own audiences "feel" the bass lines!  In high school, I was the bassist with The Fourgone Conclusions with the late Howard Krueger, Les Brown and Rick Boss. 

I'm currently with the band Back Alley and have been performing with them since 1989.  For a peek at a few musicians who may have crossed your path as well, check out our website at   We played at Belluomini's just this past Saturday night, so it is timely that I happened on your site. 

Anyway, just wanted to let you know I'm still out here and still loving the music.  Hope all is well with you.  Thanks again for your site.  I imagine it is of special meaning to all of who came of age in Hinsdale during that time.  

Your info on Russ created an immediate cosmic sob.  So sad to hear of his passing.  Carolynn and I get together with Meissner several times a year.

I mentioned to Mary Bruce a moment ago that I reconnected with you and linked her to your site.  She saw your MIA list and asked if you knew of Tina Bates' passing.  She tells it was a drug overdose and that she passed away shortly after our 20th reunion, 1990 or so.  Sorry to be the bearer of such sad news.  Mary says Robin Rathke is the source of this news and that she would chat her up to fill in the missing pieces.

John, I am so pleased to be in contact with you and so many others the past few years. There are 292 of my classmates on a private Yahoo egroup created by Bob Davies of my class. Through word of mouth and a bit of sleuthing, we've managed to locate quite a population.  The site has been up and running since 1999 and it has turned out to be the most spirited, thoughtful, and supportive groups we could ever imagine.  We were truly blessed to have spent those years together in school.  The bonds of time and circumstance stuck tight and we're all better friends to one another now than we were capable of being as classmates.

Bobb Nagel

02/20/06: Barb Green

A friend from class of '65, who's married to someone from class of '70 called me and told me that your sister posted your web address on their class website.  Long story short, I've just spent more than an hour looking over your site and remembering those days.  Do you remember me?  I used to date Scot and once upon a time dated Mike Meissner.  I also introduced Scot to Ginny Boyle, whom you seem to have a number of pictures of and have listed among the missing.  I wish I could help you, but I've lost touch with her, too. 

Wow, Bill Shaw!  I thought I was the only one who felt that way about him.  Saw him once in Oak Park when I was still in college.  He remembered me and that freaked me out to no end!   So many memories, so little time. Write me back and maybe I can spend more time with you.

To tell you everything that's happened in my life the past 38 years would take the novel I have been working on, but thumbnail version is: I'm married to Dick Webb class of '70 Hinsdale Central and have been for 22 years.  We got a late start, so have only one child, Claire, 16. 
I'm still writing, though not as much as I would like to. Until this past July I wrote a weekly newspaper column for the local paper. Oh, local is Lisle, Illinois.

I teach writing at the College of DuPage, where I've been for the past 26 years, except for a three year stint as a technical training documentation developer at Lucent Technologies. I got into technical writing and computers right our of college and have done that fairly consistently, even when I lived in Canada.

My friend, Merikay Higgins, used to live near you, across from Burns Field. She was class of '65. She teaches at Monroe school now and said she's taken a copy of that picture you had of Miss Mudd to show the rest of the people there. They said you're welcome to stop in anytime.

Barbara Green

01/29/06: Brian May (Guitarist/Singer with Queen)
These are great photo's, John. Thanks. I especially like this one of Freddy.  I'm going to copy your link to Richard Gray, because I'm sure he really would like some of these in his archives, and they could be used in a future publication, giving you credit, etc of course ..... much obliged!

See you out there!



12/20/05: Linda Paskvan
Dear John, Sweet, Sweet John, My Old Friend,

I can't believe I found you!  It never occurred to me to google "Linda Paskvan" before!  It is fate... I have NEVER googled Linda Paskvan-never ever.  I have so much (35+ years worth!) to ask you about and tell you...

I have looked at the website and LOVE it. It just transports me back to the really good ol' days....  I love the music and I have explored the 1010 part---love it!  I have been all over your website, your stories, the galleries, etc. and love it so much. Love love love these shots of you!  How cute is this guy (the pix of you!)?  I remember Moss Hill (I actually worked there for you when you first opened and have some nice memories of that time.  I was a vegetarian for 2+ years while I was involved and participating in your dream with you).  I spent many hours hanging out there with you.  I, too, was in Berkeley and stayed in SanFran for 6 months with friends around the same time you were there!  Didn't I see you at Haight-Ashbury?? haha

I think of you and my old love, Al Penny, very fondly and sweetly and the memories always make me smile.  SO many hours we spent together in your basement looking at your fabulous pictures...  you'd tell me why they were artistically and technically "good" or not.  I always loved hanging out with you.  Sometimes we'd just get in your cool car and drive around.  I remember when your Dad died so sadly, and I have fond memories of your Mom, whom I thought was ubercool, your sisters and your house.  What great memories I have!  I am smiling ear to ear that I found you.

My head is filled with so many happy, lovely memories of times with you-in your basement, with your family and the 1010.  Such a sweet, sweet spirit you have always had.  YES, I did go to Woodstock-what an amazing trip that was--more later! 

Your life story thus far is tremendously interesting to me. I knew greatness was in your future, even back then, but didn't know what amazing path you would take.  I always felt you were magical and deep and an old soul in a young man's form.  I was ever in awe of your creativity and talent.

I think, no, I know I was very shy back then and resisted your camera's eye.  I can look at the old pix of me on your website, and then look at the other girls, and see I was hiding and unsure of myself.

I am amazed at all the similarities in our experiences and chosen paths- look at how the Beatles have been woven in and out of many of our lives, look how family-oriented many of us became, etc.

Doug and I moved to Atlanta in 1974.  We both still live here but have been divorced for decades.  Our son, Doug, is 35 and has 2 munchkins and a wife.  I can't wait to sit down and write you some in-depth letters and to hear about the last 35 years I have sadly been without you in my life, and intend to do so over the next couple days.

I hate to be a downer when we just find each other, but there are a couple of distressing things going on in my life right now.  We found out the week before Thanksgiving that my Mom has inoperable lung cancer.  So, the prospect of losing my Mom is also looming. 

This year has been the most amazing one of my life- from the highest highs to the lowest of lows.  I am so very thankful for you and I finding each other and plan to keep in touch from now on.  I look forward to "catching up" and discovering where our lives have taken us.

As I make my way through this continuum of life that sometimes elates and other times hurts very deeply, I will be filled with gratitude that people like you have been in my heart and will carry me through this roller coaster of emotions.   The wonderful memories that we share and the promise of great times yet to be, are exhilarating to me.

I work hard at staying in shape. I am a workout Queen and every month in the past year I have modeled in an ad for a fitness studio where I work out.  I'm probably in the best shape I have ever been in-and in my advanced years, too!

I have lived a wonderful and crazy life, both with and since "big" Doug was a part of it, and thus far it's been an amazing journey. I still see big Doug and we get along great-after all, we share 2 wonderful grandchildren and a deep love for our son.

I have been married 3x- I've always thought it was because I am not good at dating, apparently.  I have 2 sons... an amazing story in itself.  Doug is 35, lives with his wife
about an hour from me, and has 2 darling kids.. Joe is 37 and I just found him this past August!  He lives in Tampa and we talk weekly and see each other about once a month.

I became pregnant in 68 and went away for 9 months to have him.  My parents made me give him up for adoption (the way it was back then) and I have never quit looking for him.  For 37 years, the Catholic church would not budge and told me the files were sealed.  Then the Freedom of Information act forced them to open the files and we found each other.  How's that for a miracle on earth?

For my high school grad gift, my Mom, grandmother, two sisters and I went to visit our 40+ relatives throughout England, also taking a side trip to France.  One of my cousins was dating Neil Aspinall and while I was in Liverpool with her for 10 weeks, I ran all over with them.  We went to the Cavern Club and we double dated quite a bit. I was enamored of Terry Sylvester of the Swingin' Blue Jeans, he replaced Graham Nash in the Hollies, when Graham left to join Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young!

I fought my Mom not to leave for France when we did, but I was 18 and she won. My cousin sent me pix that were in the paper of her with Neil, Terry and John Lennon at the premiere of John's " How I Won The War" flick.  I was so jealous, I was invited to go, too.  I wanted to live in Liverpool and even had a job lined up... but, this was not to be. 

Yes, I did talk on the phone to Ringo once. I was at Neil Aspinall's flat and Ringo called.  Neil told me to answer the phone and it was Ringo. eek!  While in London, I was walking down the street and physically collided with George one day, too. 

I have been a regional manager of a 6 state region for huge corps like Dupont Corian, Levolor blinds and Wilsonart Laminates for 25+ years.  I am called an architectural specification rep and work strictly with architects, interior designers and custom builders on commercial projects like airports, hotels, condo complexes, resorts-that kind of thing.  In the past year, I quit this stuff although I earned national annual sales achievement awards.  I have just passed the real estate board exam and am interviewing different r.e. agencies to see where I can get the best training.  I have an eye on selling just commercial and land properties.

I used to go everywhere the Shames played cause I had a crush on Hook!  The Cellar, etc.
I love telling people how my boyfriend, Al, beat John Belushi at a talent contest held at COD! John did improv comedy and Al just stood there, not speaking or moving, and won simply by virtue of looking just like John Lennon!  Nobody believes this. 

I was good friends with John way into his "Animal House", Blues Brothers, SNL days and was devastated when he died.  I actually sat and held his hand while we watched the media debut of Animal House together!  He didn't like his work and I loved it-so did everyone else.  He and his wife Judy came to Atlanta several times to see Doug and I and we always had a great time.  I was so proud of his success.

My claim to fame was that John arranged for me to audition as a regular cast member of Second City, to work with him, because he thought I was funny enough to pull it off.  My husband, Doug, wouldn't let me try out because little Doug was still a baby.  I know now that he was right, but ouch!

When John was on SNL, he'd call us at the end of the show to see what we thought and was always star struck by the celebrities on the show...  Mick Jagger, etc. 

Did you go to the Beatles concert in Chicago? I went with my cousin who was visiting from Liverpool and we got 3rd row tickets. We had about 8 girls in front of us, wearing dresses made from British flags, standing on their chairs and screaming throughout!  I loved being there.

I remember going to several Led Zeppelin concerts-also Rod Stewart and the Small Faces.  I loved Traffic and Cream-so many great groups then.  I did tell you I went to Woodstock, didn't I?  In the old days, I could hitchhike with my girlfriends to rock concerts all over the Midwest-can you imagine?

I still have about 40 relatives spread over England today.  My Mom is first generation American, her Mum and Dad were born in Liverpool and I was raised in a household that spoke like the Beatles.  I think it is charming now, but when I was a child living at my grandparents house, I'd be mocked by my classmates for my Brit-speak.  Somehow, now it's cool to have an accent of some sort.  When you're a kid, you don't want to be different.

Finding each other at this time in our lives is a miracle and truly amazing to me.  I don't know if God sent us to each other to help heal the losses and pain we've each experienced, but I am so very grateful to have you back in my life and I will cherish you.  So, keep writing dear John, and I will see you soon.

Love to a lovely guy!

07/30/04: Angelique (Webmistress for Donovan at
Dear John

Thank you they are beautiful photographs and I am sure Don would love to have copies for his archive and maybe to use some in his 40th anniversary which is coming up next year. Would it be possible to have copies on a CD.  Don is back from the States next week and I shall pass on your letter to him and show him the photos.

Love and Light


08/17/04 Douglas Burkhard, HT class of 1970
Dear John,

You might not remember me because you were a year ahead of me in the Hinsdale schools, but I surely remember you! The old photos, especially of Walter Nechoda brought back memories.  The photos of Jeanne Gunning are striking, and remind me of the crush I (like many other guys) had on her.  The pictures of Vernon Hansen were extraordinary.  I won't forget his bringing the milk into the house and putting it in the refrigerator while we were gone because "it was getting hot outside".  He was definitely a caring (but misunderstood?) man. His "odd" history labeled him for life.  For reference, I grew up on Minneola, two blocks from him.  I especially enjoyed seeing your photos of the train station, Holland Hardware and Dipper Dan's.  I will pass along the address of your website to my brother (HT class of 1965) and of course my parents.  Thanks for sharing.


Douglas Burkhard, HT class of 1970

07/30/05 Curtis Cade
Awesome Site!  Really took me back to see the photos from what, 35 years ago? 1010 music, hanging out in your basement, all-nighters in the darkroom doing 1 negative 25 times to get the print just right. You also inspired my photographic eye.  I'm just getting back into it fighting digital vs. film like a madman in a losing battle. The other day I was doing work in PhotoShop and imagined the wash bath running with music like Traffic in the background.

Let Mari know that I was one of the lucky few who got roped into moving that piano up the stairs into the apartment. A few major gashes in the plaster & scraped knuckles. When we were finally near the top & exhausted Oz decided to deliver one of his funniest jokes ever - causing each us to lose all strength from laughing so hard. Fear of being squished like bugs levitated that thing the last few steps because WE certainly didn't do the work, as Oz enjoyed every second of it.  Thanks for reminding me Mari. It was vintage Oz, Apartment stuff.

I have 3 amazing adult children whom I couldn't possibly be prouder of. My daughter stumbled upon your site and posted the shots of me on her blog.  She also had raves about John W's OPM Band site.  Spoke with Lana Gits recently who sends her best to all.  Very sad about
Annette.  I very well could have ended up in her tracks without help.



Janna Cosby Glomb Andrejevech
WOW!!!  What memories!  How complimentary, and I am quite humbled by your tribute.  You and I rocked the corporate world, and it still needs rocking!  Keep're very good at it!  Your writing has helped inspire me! 

Love to see you soon. Thanks for the memories! 



02/28/05 Caleb Church
The Meat Circus

Isn't that a rough translation of carnival? Remind me to look it up sometime. Anyway, I'm not sure what happened; maybe it doesn't matter. Though if it didn't, it would stand alone and completely unique. Lately things seem to be mattering (literally and metaphorically) quite a bit and even a little thing like popping an email off to an old friend seems like a large event with echoes that ripple through eternity.

The waking up process is not without some peril. Awareness, if some day I achieve it, looks like it might be pretty intense and require a spine and then some. So it would seem that some intensive spine-building is in order. I read a thing that said, "Find out that which is the hardest thing in the world for you to do, then do that." Well that is almost exactly what I have done, although not intentionally and, ironically enough, I did it in the pursuit of its opposite.

Lately my acceptance of challenges has been a little less haphazard. I mean, why wait and get caught with my pants down when I can meet it head on and somewhat prepared? If I may quote me: “There is no dignity in getting dragged kicking and screaming into the inevitable.” Probably dignity is over-rated, but you get the idea.

The thing is, for reasons unclear to me, writing this is harder than it probably should be. Most likely, at some point I ran off on some paranoid tangent and made some kind of unilateral decision that seemed emotionally safer than resolution. That's my left-handed apology for cowering in the face of honest feeling, which now that I've said it, seems like a pretty close synopsis to what actually happened.

So I came across your website, which is probably as close to time travel as I've ever experienced. Add a sound track (Rubber Soul, Byrds, Yardbirds, & amp) and a smell (diesel fumes at the train station, or Robin's perfume) and I would probably lose my tenuous anchor in the present altogether. I seem to have a tendency to discorporate at the littlest provocation.

Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for doing it. Finding it was another "event" in my life. The Scot pictures especially caught him in those quintessential "Scot" moments. I haven't explored all the corners yet, but among all the really great pictures of people, a few I have known forever, some I've never met, I came across a "me" picture.

Reality, as I've said before, is composed of two regions: the "me" part, and the "not me" part. Once dwarfed to insignificance by the "me" part, the "not me" part was relegated primarily to sets and extras in the grand extravaganza of "me". Now, many decades later, I am still the eyes through which I see, but I discover I am only a fraction of the whole. Imagine such a thing.

There is probably some cosmic justice in that picture I'm in, as I don't remember the occasion, and, other than Scot, the other guys look only vaguely familiar, (the "me" period was apparently reigning supreme) and I would swear in a court of law that it is not me. Except for the shirt.

I remember that shirt, and there were not two of those things in existence at the same time else the very fabric of reality might be in jeopardy. So if it's not me, some asshole with a rug or horrendously bad hair stole it from me, proving his grasp of acceptable social facade as questionable as my own. And honestly, that there could be two such clowns floating through this carnival really stretches the limits of credibility.

Okay, so although this letterish thing makes perfect sense to me, at times I've glanced up out of my self-absorption and noticed that people were looking at me and scratching their heads. If it makes no sense to you, waste no worry in my direction; for the most part, I have the people in my neck of the woods convinced I'm normal, and, in fact, a functional adult.

As I said to you years ago, this costume is getting pretty damn uncomfortable and it needs constant care and cleaning. Even so, the damn thing is showing some wear and has a tendency to smell bad and leak all manner of strange effluvia. And getting it off is no picnic either. It's not like there's a zipper or anything as straightforward as that. And I don't recall asking for this character either. He seems pretty unsympathetic and more than a little thick. Oh well, anything for a part in the play, I suppose. No doubt watching from the sidelines won't be anywhere near as cool.

No reply is required; social protocol is suspended. You should do exactly what you want in this instance (though that can be a dangerous life philosophy; take my word on that).

Love always (in a manly, back-slapping kind of way, of course),


My Reply: Take my pen... my typewriter... my keyboard... I'll stick to photography. You do the writing.

Perhaps it's because we were friends in the formative years and I've had a nugget of your virtual DNA in me all these years that make your words come so alive when I read them... regardless, I suspect anyone reading even the email you just sent me would be thrilled to know someone out there is having as much fun with the English language as you are.

I'm glad you found my web site... years in the making... still adding to it when I can. It's fun to go thru my old negatives and slides and see what's there. I'll have to dig deeper and see what other pictures I can find that you would like to see.

You made my day Caleb. Hope to hear from you again soon.

Love Always,

P.S. You really blow me away Caleb. Extremely wonderful writing!

Cynthia Perina Curry
Dear John, 

Thank you for saving these pictures of me from so very long ago and for including me in your photo library. The pictures you have created over the years are wonderful, I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed looking at them and the memories they brought forth.  I mentioned to my daughters on more than one occasion, that when growing up I always wanted to look like Annette DuCoeur.  Now they get a chance to see her!  The photos of your children are beautiful, I especially like the one of you with them on the lawn.  It was nice to see a picture of Charlie Neiman, I think of him often.  Thank you for the ride down memory lane.

Till then my love to you and yours, and a special hello to Lois from me. 

Cynthia Curry

01/06/05 Dan Duffy regarding photographs of Vernon Hansen

We have never met but I grew up at 428 N. Lincoln. Vernon would stop by the house all the time and talk to me and my Mom. He was a gentle giant of a man, but I'm afraid that someone like Vernon wouldn't be tolerated in this day and age.  You are also right to say that you are a better person for knowing him.  I know that I am.  When I grew older, my Mom would send me to the Hansen house to do chores for Mrs. Hansen, Vernon's mom.  That poor woman was a
saint for what she did for Vernon.  I find it remarkable that you have created this site.  My sister Katie Duffy, found it on the web, how I can't imagine.

Best regards

Dan Duffy

07/15/04 Judy Gale

Received your post..............good to hear from you.  We often have thought of you and wondered how/what you are doing.  And, BAM, here you be. Good to hear about the boys being with you!!!  Love your website.............makes me believe in evolution!!!  Well, transformation, for sure.

Be blessed,


12/06/04 Mark Grondy
While googling 'Nechoda'...  I, too was a drummer for Wally and Jerry at HTHSC from '78 to '82. I really enjoyed your page on that band experience.  I really appreciate now what I learned there.  I see that Wally died in 4/1999.  I wish I would have talked to him one last time, mostly for thanks for teaching me about jazz improvisation and writing custom vibraharp parts into scores that neglected them.  Last time I saw him was at my friend Steve's Bachelor Party in Chicago in the Fall of 1989.

Well, thanks for having such a site!

Good Luck

Mark Grondy

02/18/05 Martha Jacobs
Hi John,

It has been a great gift to find you and get to know you again as adults after all these years.  You were a friend to my now deceased brother Larry Shipman and also to our mother Mame.  It's been wonderful to hear of all your dreams over past couple of years.  You have an incredible talent for writing John!  You make music come alive putting your heart and soul in to every thing you do.

Thank You For "Being There"

Martha Jacobs

Mari Johnson
Hi John,

What a heartwarming reply! It brought tears to my eyes. I'm glad to hear you guys are all in contact with each other.  I'm terribly sorry to hear about Russ. He was such a gentle and loving person. Quiet, wise, warm, with such an interest in the world.  I can see his wonderful bemused smile as I write this.   

I remember you all talking about Ten Ten Balloon Activities. What happened to Chris Rhodes? I met him once or twice. I had no idea Russ hadn't been playing guitar for many years when I met him. Do you recall the piano we had in the apartment? I think it cost $100, if that. It was crazy getting it up those stairs. Were you one of the guys hauling it up? I do remember watching you play it.  I'm glad Oz is still playing. He must be awesome!  I recall the name Joe Kelly, but I'm not so sure I ever met him. 

I loved the photos!!  When I opened the first one, which I did before reading your letter, I knew you were a photographer.  Really nice shots. Cameron and Justin look adorable.  You all must love each other very much.  I can see it in their eyes.  I loved your comment about them being 90% Taco Bell. You look great, John. You must not be eating Taco Bell with your boys...

What happened to Becky? And how about Bill Orcutt?  He managed the ice cream shop where we had the ice cream fight (do you recall that? It was a hoot!).   Say "hi" to everybody and give them my love.

I too have sad news. It's why I've been slow to respond, because it's difficult to write the words. Vicki passed away about a year and a half ago.  It was from some sort of undetected heart condition. She was 51.  I'm kicking myself for this…   I lost touch with Vicki in the late 80s.  She lived in Virginia and was married with two kids, a boy and a girl.  

I learned of her death in a most unusual way.  I don't know if you recall, but Vicki had a baby, a daughter, with Drew Robinson.  She put the baby up for adoption.  As an adult, the daughter, Amy, went on a quest to find her birthparents. Sadly, by the time she tracked Vicki down it was several months after Vicki had passed away.  Then somehow through the internet Amy found me.  She had Drew's name and address, so I assume she contacted him.   

Although I'm in transition right now, my life is going well. I have a home in Marin, just north of San Francisco.  I'm divorced, no kids. I've had a rather long career in advertising but am now changing into real estate.  Though not a dot comer myself, advertising has taken a huge hit here in the Bay Area, and the company where I worked let go of 20% of it's workforce in late July, moi included.

I had lived in San Francisco for nearly 20 years prior to moving here last fall. I also lived in Tahoe for about 8 years when I was married (I married my ski instructor...someone has to maintain the myth).  Some of the things I've dabbled in over the past 30 years include skiing, designing and building a house in Tahoe, windsurfing, scuba diving, lots of travel, restoring a bathtub Porsche (tell Bill Garvey, yes, that was my ad), owning an antique business, and raising and showing rabbits (yes, rabbits).

Now I'm trying to restore this house, but after losing my job, I'm afraid my restoration budget is about to go for basic living while I learn a new career. Oh well, it just makes life puts me on my toes.   

It's so good to be in contact with you!!! 

Love and a very long hug,


Peter Johnson 06/27/05
Hi John,

I've really enjoyed perusing your current version of the website. I'd checked it out occasionally in the past, but the current incarnation is truly moving.  I was pleased to see a note from Joe on your website and would love to know how to contact him.  I too, live in Marin County (like Mari), but I've kind of lost touch with Al, Cathy & John W. down on the Peninsula. I speak to Curtis in Florida occasionally, but probably not as often as I should. I don't know if you're
aware of all that's befallen him and if not, I'd be happy to fill you in.

Anyway John, keep up the good work!


Joe Kelley
Dear John,

Thanx for the correspondence. I really enjoyed the stuff that I saw, and read at your web site. Please do stay in touch even if it's only to say Hi!  I'm getting ready to start to accept some bookings and I'd love to use you on some of the dates if you'd be willing.

Hope all's well for you and yours,

God Bless & Keep you until we meet again.

Sincerely, Your Brother from another mother.

Joe Kelley

Kim Knickerbocker Hora Powers
“Let me take your picture”
Hi John,

My family and I enjoyed the walk down memory-lane.  My son said I should ask you for higher resolution files so we can print a few pictures of our own.   Just showed your site to my mom. She thinks it would make a great movie.

Blessings! Kim

Mike Leary
Hi John, 

Hey, Man, "Roadkill" is quite a piece of work. It is rare that something so short can have a surprise ending...but I really was shocked. I can't say that I "enjoyed" it because it deals with such a sad event...but that was a great piece. I had the privilege of viewing your can't believe your early work.  What were you shooting through?  Are those pre-Columbia shots or during? I really love your eye for did you get those people to sit for you? Do you teach classes anywhere? I would take one!

M. Leary
Bindery Supervisor
Rolfing Memorial Library 

Mike Meador 11/25/05
Hi John,

An old friend of my dad, Stan, found your site and passed it on to my step mom Emily.  I was 5 years behind you guys at H.T. but none the less helped Steve carry the chopped Lowery organ for some Imperials or/and Viscounts gigs back when we were at the 9th St. house.  The Lowery is in Downers Grove and at last word, still kicking.  I ran into Fezz and Mary Jane on the 4th of July at Billy Ware's.  By the way, is that a picture of Randy P. (Jotto) playing the keys in one of the black and whites?  Also, James Meador, (Steve and Sue Ruff) was married recently and I got a chance to see his uncle Jim Ruff.  Jim was playing mandolin for the
processional.  I believe James is the bassist for the band First Name Basis and has a CD out.
My uncle, Brad Wanzer, passed away recently but I still remember stories of his playing drums in Joe's garage in the way early stages of the Shadows of Night.  Great web site, lots of memories.  Stan passed 5 years ago and Mernie about 10.  I'm in Downers, Mary Ann in
Columbia, Mo., Susie is in Elgin, and Steve in Batavia.

Steve:  I gave Steve your web site today.

Randy Poinyatowski (spelling) played keys with Steve, Jeff Peterson, etc.  at the old dairy house by the Ice Man at 61st and Garfield in the "Jotto" band...your "Black and White Photography Portfolio", second to last pic.  John Trilla?, I used to hang out with him and Billy Evans' (Sax HT '78 or '79) little sister Carrie (SP?) Wally brought him up to the High Notes as an 8th grader.

Jimmy Pilster is playing Tuesdays with Peggy Ford (singer, HT) and the lead guitar/etc Jay at a local joint. The Hook sold me my first house.  I think he is still in west Downers Grove.  Billy Ware sang at my wedding.  I'll get it to you with Ann's address or something,

Mike Meador, HT '74
P.S. I picked up the door off of a Meissner blueprint.  Ann Deeley showed up at one of my jobs last year.  GO Wally.  And the first backwards name I ever heard was tocS nosniboR

Lois Hora McDonald
Thanks for the photos.  I'm shocked when I see pictures of myself back in the day looking too cute!  At the time I thought very differently of myself, what a shame.  I wish I knew then what I know now!  I think I'll embroider that on a sampler... 

I am now in day 8 of the flu, this is terrible, but I must say... after looking at your online photo gallery for 30 minutes my nose finally stopped running!  I never realized my big brother's photography had healing properties! 

Great to see some of those images again, I am glad you found a way to share them with the world.



07/26/04: Roger McGuinn (Founding member of "The Byrds")
Thanks for the pictures John!  It was nice seeing them.  Glad you came to the Lord!  That's the best part of your email. 

God bless!


Michael Meissner
John, I visit your site from time to time. The pictures of Jeanne Gunning sure reopen my heart.  Is she well and do you keep in touch with her? 

There is a real and loving God, we are not forgotten nor are we anywhere BUT where we are best meant and need to be.  I love you too, we are not fools for loving the Lord the way we do. We are here to witness the grace he pours on us all!  


Matt Morrison
Hi John,

It was wonderful to read your email last week and to look at the photographs, both old and new.  It was especially touching to see the pictures of Russ and, of course, Jeanne.  I first got close to Russ when I was in the 7'th grade.  He was a really nice guy and, as I recall, had a pretty tough time of it back then, having lost his mom.  I was so sorry to hear that he had passed away.  Seeing Jeanne again brought back so many memories.  She was such a beautiful girl and beautiful spirit!  I remember always feeling that she was WAY out of my league.  So nice to hear that you have kept up with her all these years. 

It has been great to re-establish contact with you, John.  I appreciate your call and email.  I hope that we will have that opportunity to make music again.  It was certainly a wonderful time in old, idyllic Hinsdale. 

Thank you for sharing your life with me through these emails.  What a fantastic picture of you, your kids and Joe Kelly.  It's so strange, the things we remember.  I remember Joe and his band, The Vectors, playing at the old Hinsdale Youth Center.  

I remember Joe singing Little Richard's Lucille and playing his Fender Jazzmaster. I think his amp was a Fender Band Master. He was unbelievable to me. These guys were a "real" band! I remember that the rhythm player played a semi-hollow body Martin that he played through a Fender Concert amp. The bass player played a Gibson Thunderbird bass and had the Gibson amp to match.  I remember the drummer as an exceptional singer.  Funny that I don't remember their names, but faces and gear.  I had their 45 rpm record of "What in the World" on the A side and Dylan's "Baby Let Me Follow You Down" on the B side.  I wore that sucker out!   

So great to hear that Joe and Oz are still well and playing music.  I would love to get together with you and your kids, Oz and Joe, and sincerely hope that we can work it out soon.  In the meantime, I send you my love. Please say hello to Oz and Joe for me, OK.  I hope to hear from you again soon. 


Take care. I hope to hear from you soon...


Jim Newbarry  (Head of the Photography Department at Columbia College while I was a student there)
Dear John,

My son forwarded your message to me and I followed it to your website!  Congratulations on many fine photographs and some first-class writing!  By coincidence I am teaching (part-time) at a college a few miles away from the university at which Kenda North teaches--though we never see each other. 

Keep me posted on your career developments!  Also, I think your photo of me is about the best-looking one ever!  Keep in touch! 

All best wishes!!!!

Jim Newberry

Kenda North

The photos are...  well, awesome and strange to look at.  It appears to be more photos of you looking at me (and Deborah) than my looking, but then I'm looking back at you, etc. etc.  Very strange to be looking at a photo of me at about the same age that Cody is...

Thanks so much for sending out a hug,


02/01/05 Bill Ostrum



My name is Bill Ostrum.  George "OZ" Ostrum and Bill Ostrum are my uncles.

Karl Ostrum is my dad.  I was messing around the other day on the internet,

and decided to google myself to see what happened.  As I scrolled through, I

saw something about Bill Ostrum and an enema, and of course, I had to see

what that was all about.  As I took a stroll through your website, I have

had a chance to see my uncles in their youth as young men, musicians and

friends.  I even remember Russ Fields pretty well and having been introduced

to him when I was much younger.  I was sad to hear of his passing a few

years back.  He was an incredibly nice person.  My uncle Bill is now living

in Wisconsin in an apartment not too far from where my mother and father

live.  They are all in Montello, Wisconsin.  Thinking back, I remember

getting a few phone calls from people looking for my uncle Bill and my uncle

George, and in their search, they came across my number in the phone book.

My wife Jennifer and I are living in Downers Grove in my wife’s grandfathers

old house.  Can you tell that we have a thing for family history?  I love to

see old photos of Hinsdale and my family and their friends.  It was a real

shock to see my grandmother Jane on the front steps of her house on Lincoln

street in Hinsdale.  She looked so young!  Cigarette in hand, of course.


Well, I have rambled enough, but congratulations on the website.  Very well

done.  If there are any more photos of Bill or George or even my dad, feel

free to send them my way.  I love the history.


Bill Ostrum

George "Oz" Ostrum
Hey John What DIDN`T you cover?  Those pics are so cool!  Any shot that transports you to a time of relative innocence and child-like awe is worth a look and a reflection.  I went over to the site and checked Vernon out.  Priceless.  And you’re right to think that we would’ve accepted him right into the circle.  No problem.  You know, there were many examples of that warmth that come to mind. Take Peter King. Super-intellectual nerd type guy with dislocated elbows who looked like a praying mantis.  Now, don't get me wrong, he was cool and everything and would’ve had a good enough time in life.  But when he found that there was a fun-loving bunch of folks, who were SMART, and could keep up with him with certain cerebral matters, that held no pre-conceived notions about him, he was in. He was full of joy. It was nice  

Nice writing John  How about Pricilla Wylie, the preacher’s daughter, who loved the apt.  We were indignant when the preacher came up to "rescue" her.  Or Meissner always creating the illusion that he "floated" up and down the stairs… or Mari Johnson making a delicious reefer stuffing for the Thanksgiving bird.   

Once in a while I’d park in Richie Hope's spot.......and, like the 2 stooges, we’d run around the kitchen table.....................but he never caught me.  We covered all that cracked plaster with burlap..........Russ and I painted the porch "truck and tractor" orange.  We built huge snow pillars all around the door on the street level one Winter.  Back to back upright pianos.  Esmerelda joints (the long ones) hanging from the branches of our Xmas tree.  If Ginger Matthews knew what I felt.........she either never would’ve come there again, or never left.  

The highly mysterious spiritual front man for the band "Nova Express" who haunted the place from time to time.  I tried my best to crack him up.... but he was just too damn serious.  Garvey stopping by with some sort of treat.  Karl and Lynn had just been married and Karl needed a place to put his we had fish for a while.  I seem to remember Elton John’s Tumbleweed Connection album getting played a lot................and Stephen Stills Love the One You’re With................along with all the rest.   

If pressed, I believe I can re-create a little more.  And you’re right.  It was absolutely special.  Innocent, stream-of-consciousness living.  The shame of it is.........Those conditions can’t be duplicated.  The wonder of it is...............we were there.      

Man,  I feel mixed emotions upon seeing your site.  I’m not deserving of such a thing.  BUT, as I believe Hollywood types would say................."It’s about time an adequate tribute was finally introduced to the world-wide web".  All kidding aside, John, it’s probably going to turn out to be the nicest thing to happen to me this holiday season.   

Chuck and Liz were beside themselves.  I told them pictures were on the way and felt so good when they arrived.  Those shots are now archived in the Thayer/Ostrum treasure chest and may even be framed by now. Thanks so much.  

It’s funny,  right now I marvel at how little I know................I create stuff like drawings and music...............and I try to get the people I run into to laugh, and feel that I care a little bit.    How is that different from 35 yrs. ago?   It’s really not.    

Thanks again John 

Yours Oz

Hi John,

 It is my personal belief that you're a genius. You have an uncanny ability to convey cosmic, metaphysical, perceptions through the spoken and written word.  I wrote a pamphlet called "Why I Believe in God" and, along with my book on wrecking buildings, put it up for sale at a weird bookstore on North Ave. in the city. You called attention to the fact that your belief system was in a constant state of flux. (or at least ever-evolving) and so it is with me. That pamphlet is a year old and I can think of 30 things I could add. The paradox is that it's all a matter of faith... using the standard form of a hypothesis.  If...  then... 

The more I delve into the mystery of God's creation the more a simple grass-hopper staggers my feeble mind.  I've contemplated light and darkness, Karma, Good and Evil.  To Be honest, I'm still seeking affirmation of the sophomoric beliefs I've based my faith on.  The thing that makes me wonder the most is why, if one truly believes in God, is there not raucous giddy celebrating going on in the streets. Gay laughter, hugs, peace, world-wide understanding, Love.  Wouldn't you think that the knowledge of a loving God who wants you to be happy would be the be-all - end-all?

I confess to being just as amazed at the camouflage of God.  I think you're a spiritual leader of a sort and that your writings should be made available somehow.  Remembering the persecution of Jesus, I hesitated to put any of my thoughts out there.  I did it anyway...  and I thought to myself that God liked it, even if it was the rambling of a complete idiot.

When you cleared away all the speculation...  I publicly declared that I believe.  You know I take great comfort in the knowledge that one of my dearest friends loves God.  I lean on your strength.

If I'm a soldier in His army...  I'm still peeling potatoes.  Let's talk some more.

Captain. Oz

08/19/05 Russ Peters (Mobile Print - Art of Barter Trading Partner since 1993)
Hi John,

By the way, I was looking on your personal website & noticed that you're friends with Steve Arvey. I know Steve through Kraig Kenning (who I see in your pics). I do a lot of printing for Kraig (Posters, schedules, CD covers, etc.) and we barter the work directly by having him play at our open house (October 6th, 5 to 8 pm - feel free to stop by!).  Also, if you're into the blues scene you may have seen or met a guitarist who goes by the name of Illinois Slim. He used to play at SmokeDaddys a lot. He works here as my letterpress manager.  It's always interesting the way people are connected...

Russ Peters

Ann Thayer (George and Bill Ostrum's Sister)
Hi, George,

The pictures are wonderful. I "bookmarked" the site, too. I've copied John just so I can say "Thank you!".  I remember some of your old gang of friends and loved seeing the pictures of you and Bill.  And the photos of Hinsdale bring back a lot of happy memories for me, too.  John is a wonderful photographer, and those pictures are a mini-biography and history of your early years. They are really fun.

Thanks to John for taking those great snapshots!



Al Penny
Whoa! You're latest website is creating out of body experiences!  Very cool John and I've only touched the surface.  Who would have thought that all the chronicling you did back in the 60's would find it's way to an international communications network!

Too much ....too too much.....memory overload.  Is it yesterday?? Can we return to those thrillllllling days of yesteryear!!!??  SIGH....................................sob

What a trip amigo!  You have joyfully thrown past memories out like a Kiwanas float at a Hinsdale 4th of July parade throws candy out to the crowd.  Aaaah yes I remember the taste of of it all...each moment sweeter than the next!  Obla Di Obla Da...."let me take your picture"

Man you're a fricken Macy's parade!  Your shot of me, Russ in the union coat and Judy ......has brought tears.  I gotta focus......  Wow!..... I just don't know what to say right!  In the past couple of weeks, I have heard from Matt Morrison, Marty Mueller, and Mame Shipman , Larry's mom. Now these photos.......and happier images of Russ.

Thanks so much John.  Hope all is well with you and the family and that you had a jubilant holiday!

Much Love,


Janet Peters (Joe Mantengna's sister-in-law)
Hey man, you are awesome!!!!!  I love your work... I read the one about divorce, city nights.. (got to me) John,  you have a talent for writing and it shows in your passion!  Might I say that not only did that story keep me reading but your last paragraph gave me tingles......   How so wonderful to have experienced that...  You Know John?  In life...I believe... It’s never too late to do anything.

Your Friend, 

PS. Not only are you a talented man but a man with a gift.  

01/13/05 Joe Poshka

Very nice work!  And overwhelming.  Congrats on the 2 wonderful sons!  What a Life!  I did not know about Russ Fields, so that impact has me saddened.  Somewhere I have good Kodachrome slides of him and Oz when they visited Arizona - I'll find them and get them to Oz.  This summer I moved from AZ to Quincy, IL, and am still unpacking stuff.  It may take awhile.

All my best to everyone, and thanks again.


Joe Pashka -
aka Poshka

Chris Rhodes
Hey John, 

I've covered every inch of the website and it's all very interesting. I didn't realize you were such a good writer...all your stuff has your personality revealing itself.  It was a real trip down memory lane!...made me sad to see pics of Russ Fields, but happy to see many of the others...   The Apartment section was quite good and I always wondered how or why the Hinsdale PD didn't bust you guys for all the substances that were imbibed there! 

I can't tell you how much my mind was blown when I got to the 1010 pages.  The evolution of 1010 after I had left was cool to learn about...I never realized the extent to your dedication to "make it".  I would love to have any recording of "Sea and Sky" that might have survived or any other originals for hat matter.   

Your photos are (as always) superb and thank you for the kind words about me in your copy.  If only they were all true!  You captured a slice of my history (and others) that I thought slipped through the old cracks. 

You obviously were not letting your meat loaf putting this all together.  I hope that you can reach everybody that this epic saga includes.  Thanks for one of the best Xmas presents I've ever gotten.  All I can say is WOW. 

I might be able to add to the Billy Shaw story because I saw him at some of my gigs in So Ca. He and his wife had moved to Orange Co. and I visited there.  I think he was working music retailing and not actively pursuing music.  I, too, eventually lost touch...  man, he was definitely a cool dude, not from this planet and musical genius!

As they say up in here in the NC hills..."you done good, John-boy!" 

My oldest brother, David lives a half a mile from us up here in The Blue Ridge. He is a instrument builder and repairman who also records lute music. Check out his website

Also, big thanks for including my website in your links dept.  Check out soundbites of my latest CD, "Raggedy Man" at

Merry Krimble (as Al used to say) 

Chris Rhodes
Hey John,

Thanks for the CD. You must have worked hard piecing it together.  It has just about everything I remember us doing in those days.  Also some stuff that I wasn't on but fun to listen to nonetheless.  I'm a little surprised because I thought you said that very few recordings survived.  I guess they were on old reel to reel or cassette copies.

It's definitely going into my archives and interesting to hear after all this impressions are this is a bunch of high school buddies trying to create a repertoire (and a few originals) of tasteful covers from the era, but not quite having the chops to really pull them off!  At least we aspired...

Once again, thanks for copies of Sea & Sky, Mtn. Top, Mulberry, Let Me Take Your Picture (title?) Nice knowing they hadn't disappeared completely in the sands of time.

PS: I showed Sandie the pic of me and Nancy...not to worry, after 26 years we have no secrets anymore. Her comment was..."I used to look like that!" LOL

David Robinson
Thank You John I have not been able to get any of these pictures out of my mind since the first time I saw your web site the memories have been flowing non stop. The dog was Lady the smartest dog I ever had.   Your web site brings back a lot of memories but I guess that’s what it supposed to do and we all sure have gone through a lot of changes over the years.  I haven't seen you since my father’s funeral how have you been?

Dave Robinson

12/17/05 Jennifer Robinson (David Robinson's Daughter)
Dear John,

I have visited your site countless times in the short period I have known about it.  I don't think I will ever be able to find the exact words that would explain how much this site has helped me, but of course I will try. 

I look up to my uncle Scot so much, he inspires me in so many ways and I love him dearly. For one reason or another I have missed out on a lot of time with him.  This site has been a ticket to my uncle's life and my family in general.  Before this, I don't think I have ever seen a picture of my dad's mother.  That side of my family has always been such a mystery to me.

In addition to the photographs I was for the first time introduced to the 1010's music.  It was a mind blowing experience.  I cant get over the things you and the band accomplished and it really puts in to perspective what I as a person can achieve. 

Being a musician myself I always looked at it as more of a private hobby.  After seeing what Scot and you were able to do I have given the idea of being more then just a amateur pianist a chance.  Not saying I want to make it a career out of it, but maybe putting my music out there more then I have already.

Your stories and compilations of pictures have really helped me get through a part of the year that's tough for me.  I have been able to visit family members that I seldom get to see or have never been gifted with that chance of meeting.  And I was able to read stories of things you and my uncle have experienced.  I am extremely thankful for all that this site has to offer.

Your talents are amazing and exceed most.  Your life is truly one to envy and I am so thankful to be somehow connected.  Please keep updating if you get the chance.

Thank you so much,
Jennifer Robinson

12/22/05 Jennifer Robinson
Dear John,

"Get Back" only further backs up my previous comment. You are truly a genius.  More so than I anticipated.   I would like to say before anything, that having the gift to express your self the way you do (through writing, song and photography) is a talent to treasure.  I know many people built up with so many thoughts but unfortunately have no release or have yet to find one.

To get back to well "Get Back"...  I have to say I read this over and over, only because the first time I read it I was blindsided by the true genius in the theory.

To be honest, I never really based my life off of whether God existed or not.  If in fact I were to believe in God, I might have even held somewhat of a grudge towards him.  Music on the other hand has been my life for as long as I can remember.  I constantly am listening to something. I wake up with a song in my head and usually listen to music until I fall asleep which I tend to do humming something. I say all this to prove to you that before reading "Get Back", I never connected the two.

I can't say what you wrote has fully sunk in. because, for me, that's two huge concepts uniting.  I can say that it has made me think about some things I have chosen to forget might have ever existed.  I will try and get back to you when I know exactly how I feel about what you have written.  I just wanted to let you know I have read it and it is in my thoughts.

Jennifer Robinson

Peter Robinson

Occasionally I go to your site to find tidbits from the past, and boy, you never ever disappoint! Talk about a memory train!  I love the Scot Robinson gallery, and the Old Hinsdale, Apartment, and assorted others.  Your Blogs are most moving, and delightful too. The pictures of your boys, and the pictures Vernon Hansen are the most compelling.  

Your boys are so beautiful.  You are most fortunate.  Vernon was always one of my favorite people in Hinsdale.  Buddy Reineke (sp) was another.  Hinsdale once had so much charm.  Ben Franklin's, the soda fountain at Walgreen's, the bakery, Rexall Drugs, etc.  Now I guess there is no room for people like Vernon and Buddy, what a shame. 

I will never forget your Porsche with the bullet hole decals.  Oh, the past.  It brings you back to the good, and lets the bad go so quietly. 

Thank you so much John.  You are really something.  You have filled a void in my heart that was deeper than I thought.


Peter Robinson

Scot Robinson
What an amazing, incredible, astounding, mind blowing compendium of long lost memories!!!!  I forwarded it to Matt and Lisa and I will to Peter, David  Annie and Sue.  Thanks for the extreme time warp.  I have tears streaming down my face.  You even have a photo of Ginny. I can't believe we were that young and that we got so old in such a short time!  

Such memories! I've spent an inordinate amount of time trying to remember people, places and things. You've brought them all to life by standing behind the lens at seemingly every pivotal moment of our lives. God bless you!  What a wonderful gift! 

I can't tell you what those photos mean to me.  Somehow all the photos I had of my Dad, except for one and now the two you have sent me, are gone. 

How the hell did you get the shots in school?  Amazing!  The Chad & Jeremy stuff and the Donovan shots are beyond belief.  Great stuff.  Thanks for all you have always done.  A lifetime of friendship and perfectly preserved memories. 

Thanks for the mind-blowing pics!



10/05/05 Rori Scheffler (AOB Trading Partner)
Hi John,
I just had a couple minutes to finally look at your home's magnificent!  It was all I could do to pull myself away because I wanted to sit here all afternoon and look at more of your "goodies".  What a rich life you have!  I'm so happy to have been introduced....looking forward to wonderful times with all of you!
Sending love,

Jacky Smith - Official International Queen Fan Club
Wow - these are great photos! I have sent your website address to Richard Gray, who is the Queen photographic archivist, I think he might be interested!  If I want to use any of them in the fan club magazine can I do so?  Some of these are stunning!!  Can I have lots?!!!  That would be great!



Jacky Smith
Official International Queen Fan Club

John Wallerich

Great pics.  I'll forward any others I can find that I might not have sent you.  I have hundreds of b&w shots from the Cryan Shames days.  What ever happened to Dave and Jim Pilster?  I miss all those guys.  I love the pics, all except the one of me in a clown suit, but I guess that's to be expected.  lol  Crazy shots of Allen and others.  I grew up with Scotty Robinson, but I don't ever remember him looking that young.  Did I ever forward you the shots from Terry Brummel's basement during the 1010 recordings?  Man, what a walk down memory lane, especially the shots with Joe Kelly in your basement.  Those were good times. 

I'm always impressed with the quality of your work and enjoy seeing a glimpse into the past.  Yeah, life in Hinsdale in the 60's was about as good as it gets anywhere.  We were really lucky.  But time does march on and life has its twists and turns.  I have nothing to complain about.  Great family, good friends and a roof over my head.  And when I'm bored, I have great memories of an incredible life at Hinsdale High.  Actually, I only went there for one year, but it's the whole experience of living there at that particular point in time. 

I've moved on in my head, and in some ways kinda fear the idea of going back.  I've heard so many stories about how the charm has been lost to monster houses, I'm more content living an illusion.  It's one I can afford to live. 

I hope you have a nice Christmas, John and even more, I hope I get to meet your sons some day.  My kids are everything to me as it's clear yours are to you.  I loved the picture of you hugging your two kids out in a field.   Great shot, lot's of love all around.  Aren't kids amazing?  I'm so proud of mine I can't see straight.  What an experience being a parent.  I love it.  It's life at it's best, despite all the other stuff.   Peace and Love to all of you on this Holiday season and most importantly, Peace on Earth. 


10/07/05 Billy Ware
I have been playing on your web site and its great!  I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful history that you have collected and condensed on your web page.  I also really enjoyed the history of 1010.  I have to tell you every time I look at a clock and it reads 1010, I ALWAYS think of you and the 1010 Ballooooooons.  SO THANK YOU!

Take care hope all is well ..... Billy

05/20/05 Patricia Williams (Art of Barter Trading Partner)
John, I just love your personal page! YAY, a former 70's type person!  Love the pics, text speaks to the heart, keepon keepingon!  "Were we to not join in the chorus of praise, the very rocks would cry out."  This is true, John.  A similar phrase were lyrics we sang in choir one year, I think it was at Easter.  Just remember, God's world strives also to be in balance, IMHO.  So, we have light and we have dark.  Without light, we wouldn't know dark.  Without dark, we wouldn't know light.  Our choice.  That is the way I believe God intended it to be.  Heady stuff.  And I will listen to the music.

Pat Williams
Real Women Ride Harleys