Sunday, September 30, 2012

Someone Else’s Treasure–the Autograph Book of Miss Helen Sundquist, Part 2

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Dear Helen
Round as a ring with no end
and so is my love to you my friend.
Yours Truly
Gertie Cooley
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Dear Helen
A handsome man is hard to find
And when you find one good and true
Marry him if he will you.
Katie Smyth
Toulon, Ill. Stark Co.
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Friend Helen
Do all the good you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as every you can,
Be good to yourself
And remember me
When you can.
Your school mate.
Jeruah Cooley
Toulon, Ill.
Jan. 29, 1890
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Friend Helen
What! write in your Album
For the learned to laugh at,
And the critics to spy,
No not I.
Emma Whittaker (Class of ‘88)
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Yours with Kindly Regards. Plessie Johnson, Toulon, Ill. Class of ‘88 March 15, ‘88.
*
Remember me as a true friend. Edna V. Hassen, Seniors of the Three Eights 1888, Toulon, Ill. Mar. 14.
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Remember me as another true friend. Ollie B. Harlisser.
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Clara M. Myers. Toulon, Illinois. October 12, 1885.
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Zaidee V. Hulsizer. Toulon, Illinois. March 14th, 1888.
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Helen: Ever be faithful to your trust. J. H. Broomall.
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Dear Helen – Remember your friend, Myrtle Ward. Feb. 17th, 1880.
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Maggie Gemmell, Toulon, Ill. March 2, 1885.
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Will Morrison
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Dear Helen
May your life be like an Arithmetic:
Your joys added. Your cares subtracted.
Your blessings multiplied and your sorrows divided.
Your Friend,
Jennie Myers
Toulon, Ill.
Oct. 12, 1885
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You ask for your Album a rhyme;
With pleasure I hear and obey;
Refusal were folly or crime
For who could to Helen say “nay?”
Susie M. Edwards
Toulon
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Helen
Forget me not is all I ask
This simple boom of thee
Oh! may it prove an easy task
To some times think of me.
Your Friend
Alva Ban
March 18, 1887
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Friend Helen
Weeks may pass and year may end
But you will find in me a friend.
Yours Lovingly
Emma Olson
Feb. 11, 1889
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Helen:
If you love me as I love you
No knife can cut our love in two.
Yours Truly,
Mabel Stanley
Toulon, Ill.
Jan. 7th, 1885
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Dear Helen
May the days of your life be as joyous as the birds in the trees.
Yours Truly,
Willie Sundquist
Toulon, Ill.
Feb. 17th, 1885
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Dear Helen:
Bright be the springtime of thy youth, serene thy summer bloom.
And may thy heart like the shrine of youth know not the winters gloom.
Emma Miller
Toulon, Ill.
Jan. 7th, 1885.

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Dear Helen
Lives of great men all remind us
we can make our lives sublime
and departing leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.
Ever Your Friend,
Ella M. Gelvin
West Jersey, Ill.
Jan. 28th, 1890
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Dear Helen
I only ask one little spot where I can write Forget Me Not.
Yours Truly,
Alice Foulk
Toulon, Ill.

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Friend Helen:
May your joys be many and sorrows few.
Is the wish of your Friend
Baye Nowlan
Toulon, Ill.
Feb. 14th, 1886.
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Friend Helen
Away back hear wheare [sic] no one will look
I will write my name in your neat little book
Your Friend
John Follett
Toulon, Ill.
Feb. 10th, 1886

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Someone Else’s Treasure–The Autograph Book of Miss Helen Sundquist–Part 1


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Helen
When sitting in the twilight
Reflecting on the past
Remember you have one kind friend
Whose love will always last.
--Your Friend,
Madalia Johnson
Bishop Hill
Jan. 1st, 1885
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The best wishes of your friend, Ida M. Johnson.  Bishop Hill.  Jan. 1st, 1885
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Earnest Van Osdel
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Friend Helen – Honor thy father and mother. Your Friend, Charlie S. Perry. March 2, ‘85 Toulon, Ills.
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Helen [no excuse for me] Compliments of Adelle Trickle. Feb. 12, ‘88. Toulon, Ill.
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Mrs. Herbert Smith.  Larimore, N. D.
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Compliments of Theresa Volgamont.  Toulon.  School days 1888, March 5.
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Dear Helen
When years and months have glided by
And on this page you cast your eye
Remember ‘twas a friend sincere
That left this kind remembrance here.
With best wishes for your future cheer!
Your Friend,
Mary Christy
2-25-1886
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Dear Helen,
When far away and friends are few, think of me and I will you.
Yours Truly,
Lizzie Gemmell
Feb. 11, 1886
god-is-love
Dear Helen
Some boys are pleased with your Brilliant eyes
But ‘tis your worth and polished mind I prize.
Eva Edwards
Toulon, Ill.
Feb. 11, 1886
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Dear Helen
In twining your wreath of friendship, please twist in a bud for me.
Best Wishes of Jennie Ryder
Toulon, Illinois
January 7th, 1885
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May your life be as pure as these pages as unshadowed as these lines are.
The best wishes of Bessie W. Marsh
Toulon, Ill.
Jan. 7th, 1885
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Dear Helen
Be true to your friends and you will never be friendless.
Katie Anderson
La Fayette, Ills.
Oct. 15, 1885
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Dear Helen
So short our existence a glimpse at the most
Is all we can have of the few we hold dear
And oft ever joy is unheeded and lost
For the want of some fond heart to echo it near
Ah well may we hope when this life is oer
To meet in a world of more permanent bliss
For a smile or a grasp of a hand hastening on
Is all we can have of each other in this.

Maggie Brady
Toulon, Feb. 12, ‘89
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Friend Helen

Look how we can sad or merrily
Interpretation will misquote your looks.
Harry Whittaker
Sunday School days of 1889
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Friend Helen, Remember me.  Chas. Bacmeister, Toulon, Ill.
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Eddie Henderson, Toulon, Ill.  Feb 10th 1886
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Remember your school-mate.  Alice Berfield, Toulon, Stark Co, Ill.
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Compliments of Flora Gelvin.  Mar. 6/’88.  Stringtown, Ill.
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Lines to Helen.  Florence McClenahan
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May your life be full of sunshine.  Yours Very Truly, Mardell Lyon
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Helen, Ever your Friend, Minnie Trickle.  Feb. 12, ‘89
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Compliments of Your Friend and Schoolmate, Esta Cole.  Toulon, Ill.
god-is-love

Friend Helen

Among the many who claim a kind remembrance
I too would add my name.
Your Friend
Flora Smith
Toulon, Ill.  Stark Co.
Feb. 14th, 1887
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Helen

Tis sweet to court but O, how bitter to court a boy and then not get him.
Your Friend
Ada Walker
Toulon, Ill.
1885
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Dear Helen
Remember me and my best wishes,
When your at home washing dishes.
Your Friend,
Effie Holmes
Toulon, Ill.
Jan. 31, 1890
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Helen
Remember me when far far off
Where wood chucks lie with whooping cough.
Frank S. Price
Toulon, Ills.
Feb. 17, 1885
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Helen
Never trouble trouble till trouble troubles you.
Jimmy A.Nowlan
Toulon, Ill.
Feb. 17, 1885
god-is-love

Monday, September 10, 2012

Armour Packing Company


The old Armour packing plant had been situated on the top of the hill - or maybe the enormous building just seemed to be on a hill - just outside of town for as long as I could remember.  It was always somewhat of a mystery with the fence around it and seemingly limited access.  Once, as a young child, my dad took some visiting relatives on a tour through the plant, and we got to get a sneak peek inside of that huge, stinky, and slightly scary old building.  All I really remember was hearing my dad's description of how they would "stick" (electrocute) the hogs to send them to the fate for which they were born - our Easter ham, or breakfast bacon.  I was totally creeped out.

My family's association with Armour & Company began in the early 1950s, when my widowed grandfather left the farm to work at the plant - it put food on the table for his tribe of kids, but to economize, he lived in a box car near the plant during the week.  He eventually remarried and gave up the farm, but Armours was a part of his life for many more years, until his retirement.  Several of his sons took jobs at the plant as well.  

I doubt the work at the plant was easy.  As a matter of fact, I'm sure it was not.  I remember many times hearing the sounds of my mother cooking breakfast at 4 a.m., and hearing my dad wolf it down before heading out the door to work.  I recall his sore muscles, and his tales of working in the freezer, and other temporary assignments he'd get that he didn't particularly care for.  But it was a job, and a darned good one.

The packing plant seemed to be the one bastion of security in the town - the financial benefits it brought to the community ($8 million in the 1970s*) supported numerous other businesses, and could be counted on to pay many a mortgage, not to mention provide some luxuries to the families who depended on it.  Rumors of closings came and went, but the plant persevered.

Eventually, though, the inevitable happened.  The plant was sold to Swift Independent Packing Company in the 1980s, and then to Dakota Pork, and then - the doors closed.  The building was torn down, and an era ended.  Time marches on.  But the sight of that huge building at the top of the hill remains in my memory.

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* According to the book "Huron Revisited."

Monday, September 3, 2012

I Lied to Read True Story Magazine


"What are you doing in there?" Grandma hollered through the locked bathroom door.  "Nothing," I answered.  "Are you 'having trouble?' " Grandma asked.  "No!" I was quick to respond.  If Grandma even suspected you were 'having trouble' in the bathroom, there would be a spoonful of Green Drops waiting for you upon your exit, and that stuff was a punishment worse than any kind of bathroom trouble.

"I'm almost finished," I yelled back to her, as I turned a small piece of the corner of the page to mark my place, and stuffed the magazine quickly back in the linen closet.   A needless flush later, and trying to look as nonchalant as possible, I exited the bathroom and hoped Grandma wasn't standing there with a spoon and that bottle of nasty green liquid.

I was reading her True Stories.  She knew I was reading her True Stories.  I knew *she* knew I was reading her True Stories.   Such forbidden tales as "A Case of Cradle Robbing" or "My Runaway Wife" or "I Am the Other Woman" were about as close to excitement as it got in my small town life.  And to a young girl on the cusp of being a teenager, this glimpse into mysterious and exciting adult lives was too much to resist.

Grandma and I apparently were not alone in our enjoyment of this magazine and the exotic lifestyles and stories it featured.  According to Wikipedia, True Story came into existence in 1919, and in the next few years circulation soared, and the magazine lasted 92 years before the publisher finally pulled the plug.

One afternoon, to my dismay, the magazines were no longer in the linen closet in the bathroom.  I did a thorough search (more than once), but Grandma apparently found a better place to store them, at least temporarily.   Being unable to find their new hiding place was driving me crazy.  They did at some point make their way back into the bathroom closet, and my extended bathroom breaks resumed.  Did Grandma know I was reading her True Stories again?  Of course.  Couldn't hide anything from that woman.  But she never did move them again.