35th Annual Ice Fishing Derby

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Boys running toward frozen lake
Upper Fish Lake, Indiana

The 35th Annual Ice Fishing Derby in Fish Lake, Indiana was lighter than usual due mostly to the extreme weather. At 12:00 noon, the temperature was 6 degrees with winds gusting 30 to 40 miles per hour - not a great day to sit on a frozen lake! January was much cooler than normal, so nobody knew if there would be ice on the lake by February 3. Two weeks of below freezing weather produced about four inches of clear ice on the lake, with a few inches of packed snow just in time for the derby.

Absent were the fishermen sitting on buckets in the open; only two men were seen at noon without a shanty. In the 30 minutes or so we braved the cold, five fishermen packed up their tents and walked off the ice empty handed as the high winds kicked up the powdery snow.

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Too Cold for Ice Fishing
Fish Lake, Indiana

Florida Greenery

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Old Cedar
Phillippe Park, Safety Harbor, Florida

I once knew someone who hated Florida. I guess that's not so unusual, but the reason she hated it so much was because of the trees. She hated "stupid palm trees." "That's all that you ever see, skinny palm trees, it's so ugly!"

I happen to love palm trees, but even today- years after she said this- I cannot understand what part of Florida she visited. Every place I've been in Florida has more Live Oak and Bald Cypress trees and other regular looking trees than palm trees - except maybe for the beaches. Even on the beaches you see lots of Sea Grapes (those are really cool plants).

If you look at the photo above, you get a sense of how dense and lush the wooded areas of Florida can be. Maybe she's right, you can't get away from those "stupid palm trees" -there's one in the middle of this photograph!

Fishing in Comfort

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Fishing in Comfort

As crazy as this one time gag may have been, It was very comfortable lounging around on the pier!

Stormy Skies

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storm clouds
Storm Clouds after Sunset
Clearwater Beach, Florida

Minutes after sunset, clouds from an approaching storm give off an eerie glow over the calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Burnham Harbor

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Sears Tower taken from the Burnham Yacht Club
May 2006, Chicago, Illinois

Warming Up

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Turtle Warming Up
Kapok Tree Inn pond
Clearwater, Florida

This little guy is warming himself in the Florida sun. I wonder how old he is? He's got algae growing on his shell, so I guess he doesn't spend a lot of time out of the water.

Blue and White

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White Bird
White Bird, Blue Water
Lake Catherine, Palos Hills, Illinois

Bumble Bee

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Bumble Bee Gathering Pollen

Summer on Ice

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Frozen Lake
Fish Lake, Indiana

January 20

Finally,cold enough weather to freeze the lake! Only about an inch thick so far, but it's only been about a week of cold weather.

Let's hope it stays below freezing until the Ice Fishing Derby in early February!
Then it can climb up to 80 degrees.

The Sands .. Then and Now

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The Sands of Treasure Island, Florida
postcard circa 1960

And here it is now....

Not much has changed it seems. A second storey on the back, a little paint, and a few less trees, and that's about it!

Brown Pelican

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Brown Pelican
Clearwater Harbor
Clearwater Beach, Florida

Summer Sunset

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Sunset over Fish Lake

I can dream this time of year, can't I?

Dusting of Snow

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Dusting of Snow on Woodpile
Naperville, IL

Almost a week of weathermen screaming about a significant winter storm with freezing rain followed by snow and this is the result. About 200 snowflakes per square mile!

I'm certain that when they call for sunny skies and a high in the 40s we'll get buried under 10 inches of snow.

At least I was able to spend lunch in the park.

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Snow on a Fallen Tree
Naperville, IL

Midway House Motel

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Original Midway House Motel
Cicero Avenue, just south Archer

Chicago, Illinois

This was the original name of the hotel on Cicero Ave close to Midway Airport that my friend Bob worked in about 12 years ago. It was renamed a few different times, but always looked the same - like a 1950s motel with a new sign! -And very interesting clientele I've been told!

Great looking lamps and television set in the postcard! Looked pretty nice then, but when my friend worked there in the early 90s, you wouldn't want to take your socks off if you stayed overnight!!

Chicago's "12th Street Store"

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Invitation for Employee Anniversary Party
12th Street Store, Chicago, IL
Circa 1955

The 12th Street Store was a large department store in Chicago, located on Roosevelt Road (south 12th street) and Halsted. Along Halsted St. were numerous little shops and of course the famous open stands full of everything from fruit to clothing. I'm not sure when the store opened or when it finally closed, but my aunt worked there in the 50's, and until recently, I thought "12th Street Store" was a nickname or just a location that some people used to describe a chain store on 12th street (like "Walmart on 18th street").

"Roosevelt Road had the wholesalers, Halsted was basically one price with two big department stores, L. Klein and the 12th Street Store, and Maxwell Street was the pushcart, open stand bargaining bazaar but it also had a few small, but very busy department stores such as Gabel's, Robinson's, and Mackevich's." - Maxwell Street Foundation web page.

Here's a copy of an invoice sent to someone for their purchases. I don't know what was purchased, but the prices are unbelievable- $1.62 for infant clothing!

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12th Street Store
Chicago, IL 1953

Something to notice on the envelope is the zip code. Until the mid 70s, addresses would only have the last one or two numbers of the zip code, presumable because everyone knew the Chicago IL prefix. So, here it's just marked "Chicago 7" instead of 60607.

That was true with telephone numbers too. Note the invoice that reads, "Telephone, Haymarket 1100" That means: HA1-1100, or 421-1100 in today's terms. Click here to see a document that lists all of the Chicago telephone prefix words and their numeric meanings.

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Invoice Envelope
12th Street Store

Holiday Inn

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Holiday Inn Hotel Courts
Memphis, Tennessee
circa 1950s

This is the original version of the Holiday Inn. Back in the 50s, it was not always easy to find a clean motel, and Holiday Inn started to offer clean, consistent lodging across the country.

Anyone who knows me knows I love the old Holiday Inn motels. They're okay today, but they're not the same as they used to be. Starting with the Great Sign, that 40 foot tall landmark that could be seen for a mile or two away. The lobby was inviting for car travelers in the 1970s, with comfortable chairs, friendly people, clean washrooms, maps and mileage charts, a restaurant, and sometimes a gift shop. Today, this stuff would drive the price of a room into the $200 a night range!

B&O Railroad - 1960s

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B&O Railroad Schedule

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B&O Railroad Ticket

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company was founded in 1827 and was the first common carrier railroad in the United States. You've probably heard of it if you've ever played Monopoly!

In 1987, B&O merged with C&O and in September they both merged into CSX.

Service Station

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Texaco "Fire Chief" Truck
Circa 1930s
from family photos

Back when gas stations were service stations and full service meant everything from pumping the gas, washing the windshield, checking the fluids, tire pressure to full engine repair. The service stations of yesterday offered everything a car owner needed - except coffee, huge bags of mulch and novelty key chains.

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Texaco Service Station Owners
Circa 1930s
from family photos

1920's Shopping

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Workers in a Store

A lot has changed in the 87 years since this photo was taken! You'd be hard pressed today to find many of the item and features in this photo in a single place. On the left side is the soda fountain (what happened to those?) Most drugstores had one up until the 60's or 70's, and I remember a couple in the late 80's and early 90's. To the rear of that is the cigar counter with open boxes of cigars on display. Along the wall by the cigars appears to be bottles of liquids for sale . On the right side is the candy counter with the trays of candy in the glass display case and the old scale on the counter top. Going back into the store, apparel can be seen hanging on the walls of the center section, perhaps this was the tailor's area.

It appears all of the goods were in the glass door built-ins along the walls. Self service was not an option back then; full service was expected if not demanded by the customers. Today, we're lucky if the store even rings up the purchase, now that they have the wonderful "self service check-out" - which is rarely self service because something always go wrong and an unenthusiastic employee (sorry- team member) has to struggle over to fix things.

Bring back the days of full service at no extra charge.

1920's Power Company

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Consolidated PowerHouse