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,
http://www.johnhora.com/JHHTHSReunion.htm to the '68 reunion album
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
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
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.
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.
09/15/07 Bill Shaw
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?
10/05/07 Bill Shaw
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
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
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.
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
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,
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.
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 Beach. Also 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
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.
10/24/06 Tom Doody (Lead Singer for Cryan'
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
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
(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
Your song, "It's Only Love", just played on my play
list and I have to tell you it has really grown on me...it's such a
Take Care and GOD BLESS,
06/28/06 Louise Harrison (George Harrison's
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
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 again...am 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
03/10/06 Aysha - Woodstock Museum
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
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
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
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.
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.
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 johnhora.com 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Douglas Burkhard, HT class of 1970
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,
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
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 writing...you're very good at it! Your writing has
helped inspire me!
Love to see you soon. Thanks for the memories!
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
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),
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.
P.S. You really blow me away Caleb. Extremely wonderful writing!
Cynthia Perina Curry
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
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.
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.
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!
02/18/05 Martha Jacobs
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"
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
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 interesting...it puts me
on my toes.
It's so good to be in contact with you!!!
Love and a very long hug,
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
Anyway John, keep up
the good work!
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.
"THE BLUE SHADOW"
Kim Knickerbocker Hora Powers
“Let me take your picture”
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
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
photos...wow...I can't believe your early work. What were you shooting
through? Are those pre-Columbia shots or during? I really love your eye
for portraiture...how did you get those people to sit for you? Do you
teach classes anywhere? I would take one!
Rolfing Memorial Library
Mike Meador 11/25/05
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.
I gave Steve your web site today.
(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
Great to see some of those images again, I am glad you found a way to
share them with the world.
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.
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!
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
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...
Newbarry (Head of the Photography Department at Columbia College while I
was a student there)
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
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!!!!
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
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.
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 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
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 aquariums........so 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
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
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
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...
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
08/19/05 Russ Peters
(Mobile Print - Art of Barter Trading
Partner since 1993)
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...
(George and Bill Ostrum's Sister)
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
Thanks to John for taking those great snapshots!
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!!!??
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 now....wow! 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
Thanks so much John. Hope all is well with you and the family and that
you had a jubilant holiday!
Peters (Joe Mantengna's sister-in-law)
you are awesome!!!!! I love your work... I read the one about
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.
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
All my best to
everyone, and thanks again.
Joe Pashka -
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
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)
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 time...my 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
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?
12/17/05 Jennifer Robinson (David
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,
"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
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.
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
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
Thank you so much John. You are really something. You have filled a
void in my heart that was deeper than I thought.
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
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!
Scheffler (AOB Trading Partner)
I just had a couple minutes to finally look at your home page....it'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!
Smith - Official International Queen Fan Club
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
Official International Queen Fan Club
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 .....
(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
Real Women Ride Harleys