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July 2001


Monday, July 16
SPONSOR: Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital
WHAT:
Congestive heart failure and diabetes support group; call (217) 732-2161, Ext. 443 for more information
WHERE: ALMH, Conference Room A
WHEN: 7 pm

Tuesday, July 17
SPONSOR: Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital
WHO:
Public
WHAT:
Free blood pressure screenings 
WHERE: ALMH, first floor waiting area
WHEN: 9 am - noon

SPONSOR: Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital
WHAT:
Breast Cancer Awareness; call (217) 732-2161, Ext. 443 for more information
WHERE: ALMH, Conference Room A
WHEN: 7 pm

Wednesday, July 18
SPONSOR: Lincoln Printers
WHO:
Public
WHAT:
Blood drive
WHERE: Lincoln Sports Complex
WHEN: noon - 6 pm

SPONSOR: American Red Cross
WHO:
Public
WHAT:
Class covering adult CPR, infant and child CPR, and first aid; first of two sessions
WHERE: 125 S. Kickapoo St.
WHEN: 6-10 pm

Thursday, July 19
SPONSOR: Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital
WHO:
Public
WHAT:
Free blood pressure screenings 
WHERE: ALMH, first floor waiting area
WHEN: 9 am - noon

SPONSOR: Atlanta Christian Church
WHO:
Public
WHAT:
Blood drive
WHERE: Atlanta Christian Church
WHEN: noon - 6 pm

SPONSOR: American Red Cross
WHO:
Public
WHAT:
Class covering adult CPR, infant and child CPR, and first aid; second of two sessions
WHERE: 125 S. Kickapoo St.
WHEN: 5-10 pm

Sundays in July and August
WHO: Public
WHAT: Free tours of J. H. Hawes Grain Elevator Museum

WHERE: Atlanta
WHEN: 1-3 pm

Sunday, July 22
COORDINATED BY: Main Street Lincoln and Lincoln Area Music Society
WHO: Public
WHAT: Concert in the Park, featuring Angel Spiccia and Friends; sponsored by Bassi Construction and The Tropics Restaurant

WHERE: Latham Park, downtown Lincoln
WHEN: 7 pm

Monday, July 23
SPONSOR: Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital
WHO:
Public
WHAT:
Blood drive
WHERE: ALMH
WHEN: 10 am - 2 pm

SPONSOR: Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital
WHAT:
Pain management service; physician referral required; call (217) 732-2161, Ext.403 or 444 for more information. 
WHERE: ALMH, on fourth floor

SPONSOR: Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital
WHAT:
Parkinsonís support group; call (217) 732-2161, Ext. 427 for more information. 
WHERE: ALMH, Conference Room A
WHEN: 7 pm

Tuesday, July 24
SPONSOR: Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital
WHO:
Public
WHAT:
Free blood pressure screenings 
WHERE: ALMH, first floor waiting area
WHEN: 9 am - noon

Thursday, July 26
SPONSOR: Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital
WHO:
Public
WHAT:
Free blood pressure screenings 
WHERE: ALMH, first floor waiting area
WHEN: 9 am - noon

SPONSOR: Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital
WHAT:
"Always In Our Hearts" bereavement support group; call (217) 732-2161, Ext. 405 for more information
WHERE: ALMH, fifth floor physicians lounge
WHEN: 1-3 pm

Friday, July 27
SPONSOR: St. Peter's Lutheran Church
WHO:
Public
WHAT:
Blood drive
WHERE: St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Emden
WHEN: 2-6 pm

Saturday, July 28
SPONSOR: American Red Cross
WHAT:
Challenge Class for renewal of Red Cross certification; preregistration required
WHERE: 125 S. Kickapoo St.
WHEN: 9 am - 1 pm

Sunday, July 29
COORDINATED BY: Main Street Lincoln and Lincoln Area Music Society
WHO: Public
WHAT: Concert in the Park, featuring Paul and Win Grace; sponsored by Prairie Years and Lincoln Public Library
WHERE: Latham Park, downtown Lincoln
WHEN: 7 pm

Tuesday, July 31
SPONSOR: Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital
WHO:
Public
WHAT:
Free blood pressure screenings 
WHERE: ALMH, first floor waiting area
WHEN: 9 am - noon

Tuesday, July 31, through Sunday, Aug. 5
WHO: Public
WHAT: Logan County Fair

WHERE: Logan County Fairgrounds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


SPECIAL EVENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS: 

REGULAR POSTINGS FOR ORGANIZATIONS:  American Red CrossGirl ScoutsLincoln Park DistrictOasisVineyard Cafe


SPECIAL EVENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
 

REGULAR POSTINGS FOR ORGANIZATIONS

Red Cross announces July blood drives

Lincoln Printers will sponsor a blood drive at the Lincoln Sports Complex on Wednesday, July 18, from noon until 6 p.m.

Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital will have a drive on Monday, July 23, with hours from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Atlanta Christian Church will be the site for a drive on Thursday, July 19, with hours from noon until 6 p.m.

St. Peterís Lutheran Church in Emden will have a drive from 2 to 6 p.m. on Friday, July 27.

People who reached goals in their blood donations in June were Mike Booher, 17 gallons; Robert L. Thomas, 10; Dale Meier and Dorothy M. Fink, five each; Jeff Short, four; Laura D. Papuga, three; Anne Conrady and Carol Borowiak, two each; and Jeff Farmer, Sherry L. Hall and Susan Storey, one gallon each.

Red Cross classes in July

The American Red Cross will offer a class on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, July 17 and 18, covering adult CPR, infant and child CPR, and first aid. Class sessions will be in the Red Cross office at 125 S. Kickapoo St. Hours the first evening are 6 to 10 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. on the second evening.

A Challenge Class will be on Saturday, July 28, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. This class is for those who have had previous training and want to renew their certification. Preregistration is required.

For further information, call 732-2134. Office hours are from noon until 4 p.m. weekdays.


Girl Scouts announcements

  • Girl Scout leader meetings:  the first Thursday of each month, at the usual time and place.
  • Girl Scout Jamboree Railsplitter event:  weekend of Logan County Railsplitter Festival; Janice Greer, event coordinator.


Websites with lots of ideas that Girl Scout leaders, families or kids can use:

makingfriends.com

crayola.com

elmers.com 

See the website for Girl Scouts, Land of Lincoln Council, at http://www.girlscoutsllc.org/.

You can send questions and suggestions to the council by clicking here: gsllc@girlscoutsllc.org.

Also, see the national Girl Scouts site at http://www.girlscouts.org/.


Lincoln Park District notes

From Roy Logan, program coordinator

Pool parties

"Splash Back to the í60s" will go from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, July 21. DJ Brando will spin the platters.  Games, contests and surprises will guarantee the fun.  Just bring $1 or your pool pass to get in when we crank up the fun!

Youth football sign-ups

Youth football sign-up is July 16 through 20. Equipment checkout will be announced at the sign-up.  The schedule will be posted later. This football program is for boys entering sixth through eighth grades. The fee is $45 per child and $25 for each additional family member.  The commissioner is Greg Curry.

5K run

On Saturday, Aug. 25, Lincoln Park District will host the 13th annual 5K run in conjunction with the Lincoln Art and Balloon Festival. Race time is 8 a.m. The run begins and ends at the Park District at 1400 Primm Road. Dan Slack, a veteran cross-country record-holder for LCHS, is our race coordinator. T-shirts are given to all participants, and awards are given to the top three finishers in each age category.  Refreshments are provided.  Registration forms will be available in July at both the Rec Center and the Lincoln Chamber office.


Oasis update

The Oasis, Logan Countyís senior citizen center, at 501 Pulaski St. in Lincoln, is open weekdays (except holidays) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The center also is open on Friday and Sunday nights for table games. Dominic Dalpoas is the executive director. Activities are open to all Logan County senior citizens,  regardless of membership.

Garden Club special event

On Tuesday, July 17, the club meets at the Oasis at 9 a.m. for a tour of the John Raycraft garden.

Special friends of the Oasis

This month Dominic Dalpoas, executive director, recognizes the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital Pharmacy for their continuing support of the Oasis and its members.

Winners of weekly games

Mable Hoagland won at pinochle June 29 and July 3. Grace McCrea won the June 29 evening pinochle game. Bernie DePuy, Betty Burger and Tom Garrison were 5-in-1 winners. Alice Thornton won pool. Harley Heath was the Sunday night winner for pool.

Newsletter

Friends of the Oasis members receive bimonthly newsletters by mail. For more information, people can call the Oasis at 732-6132 or 732-5844.

 

 


Vineyard Cafe to feature the music of Bridge

The Vineyard Cafe welcomes Bridge for a return engagement on Saturday, July 21. Bridge spans styles and generations with their high-energy electro-acoustic sound. Tickets are available at the door, and baked goods and coffeehouse beverages will be sold. Doors open at 7 p.m. The Vineyard Cafe is at the Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Bloomington. For more information or directions, phone (309) 6563-4943 or check www.communityzone.com/community/vineyardcafe.


Milestones

 

 

Fund-raisers

Shed your locks for St. Jude

[JULY 6, 2001]  Join the first St. Jude Cut-A-Thon supporting the Lincoln to Peoria Run. This event is walk-in haircuts at your local hair stylist on July 21 only, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is a great way to support area youngsters who have cancer. Proceeds from this event (as well as other local fund-raisers) are kept in central Illinois at the Peoria Affiliate. St. Jude research is shared throughout the world, so this is also a great opportunity to help children all over the globe. Local participating stylist is Brett at Blades, phone 732-7213.


Officer Sisk found a positive approach
to working with juveniles

[JULY 16, 2001]  Darrell Sisk, who retired in March, was the Lincoln Police Departmentís juvenile officer for more than 20 years. It was a job he loved, but he admits that it had some negative aspects.

[Click here for Part 1]

"In police work, as a general rule, the job is negative. Who likes to give tickets? A lot of our job is surrounded by a negative atmosphere.

"But DARE [Drug Abuse Resistance Education] is surrounded by a positive atmosphere. Parents support it, the community appreciates it, and the kids love it. When school opens, the sixth graders are already asking when DARE starts."

Sisk, who recalls that he "taught sixth grade in every school in Lincoln," was the departmentís first DARE teacher.

"When I started 18 years ago, DARE was a brand-new concept out of California. I was the only DARE teacher. Today five guys are teaching it.

"Everyone thinks itís just about drugs. Itís not. Itís about stress and how to cope. Itís about how to build self-esteem, how to stand up to peer pressure, and itís all positive. We donít get into negatives. There are DARE dances, DARE picnics, DARE fishing tournaments, DARE baseball, softball and basketball teams. At the DARE picnic in May, there were 400 to 500 kids. And they keep coming up with new ideas, like the DARE bowling tournament."

Sisk emphasizes that DARE teachers arenít trying to get kids to narc (tattle) on other kids, like telling them who is using drugs. "This is about you," he would tell the kids, "not about somebody else."

Although he took the DARE classes seriously, Sisk could also have a little fun with the sixth graders.

"The kids used to ask me how old I was," he remembers. "I would always tell them I was 37. Then I would tell them Iíd been with the Lincoln Police Department for 30 years.

 

"There would be silence. Then about 15 minutes later one kid would raise his hand and say, ĎWait a minute, you canít be 37.í

"I would say, ĎI started with the police department when I was 7.í"

Sisk believes DARE is here to stay.

"Iíve worked with many mayors and chiefs of police, and never did any of them ever even remotely talk about eliminating DARE," he says. "If they had, theyíd probably have seen the biggest uprising in the cityís history. City Hall wouldnít be able to hold it."

Along with DARE, Sisk also taught fifth grade VEGA (Violence Education and Gang Awareness programs). VEGA leads into DARE in sixth grade, and the program was later expanded to reach junior high and high school students.

The Illinois State Police do the DARE training, and there are yearly conferences of DARE officers. "People at the conferences started to recognize that the program needed reinforcement after fifth and sixth grades," Sisk recalls. "First they came up with the idea it needed reinforcement in junior high school, and over the years they recognized a need to reinforce it in high school.

"A lot of communities havenít done what we are doing, teaching a short DARE curriculum in junior high and high school," he says. "The Lincoln Police Department has a consistent program from kindergarten through 12th grade, and the difference it has made is clear.

"If a police officer in uniform had gone to the high school and walked around 15 years ago, he would have felt out of place. He would have been an outsider.

"Today the kids know who we are, and they will talk to us. They relate to officers in uniform. Itís a positive thing. If they have a problem, kids feel comfortable to come to a police officer, especially DARE officers, but others too.

"Itís helped the whole police department. We have officers that go out to the high school and eat lunch with the kids. Eighteen years ago, if the chief of police had said to an officer, ĎGo out to the high school and eat lunch,í everybody would have thought he was crazy. Now itís part of the day.

"Thatís the concept of community policing."

Siskís efforts to be a positive influence on Lincolnís youth are recognized by those who have worked with him.

"He was one heck of a juvenile officer," Detective Mike Harberts says. "He related so well with kids. The kids in this town trusted Darrell and would bring him information. We solved many crimes, both juvenile and adult, because of that.

 

"And he was a wonderful DARE teacher. He had an innate ability to get down to their level. He was compassionate, and he could see where they were coming from. He treated each kid as an individual with a story of their own.

"He was a wonderful colleague too. Detective Bunner and I very much enjoyed working with Darrell on investigations. Any time we had a juvenile involved with any kind of crime, he was a wealth of information."

 

 

[to top of second column in this article]

"Darrell created the Lincoln DARE program," Police Chief Rich Montcalm says. "He was the second officer in the state to be trained in DARE. He put his heart into it. His wife helped him make his own posters for the program, and the state used some of those posters in their statewide training.

"He was also instrumental getting us to proceed into the junior high and high school level. We are one of the few police departments in the state that does it.

"Everybody here still considers him part of the department. We look on him as a resource. Weíre fortunate heís still in the area and we can ask him questions."

Ron Robbins, who was police chief from 1989 to 1997, remembers that he heard nothing but high praise for Sisk from teachers, principals and superintendents. "I would hear it from Washington-Monroe School, then a month later from Northwest, then later from Central. Thatís how I knew it was true.

"Darrell started the role model program. He would pick Lincoln High School students who had good personalities, were popular and had good grades. Sometimes he would get basketball and football players, because the younger kids knew who the sports stars were. Then those role models would go around with him to the grade schools and give the kids there a positive message ó donít do drugs, donít smoke.

"Darrell is the main reason our DARE program is what it is today," Robbins adds. "As chief I sat in on some of his classes. He just had a way of working with kids that helped him get his message across. He really did care about the kids."

Dean Langdon, now assistant principal at Lincoln Community High School, worked with Darrell for six years, ever since he came to Lincoln in 1995.

"He was a great asset, and he will be missed," Langdon says. "Darrell made himself totally available to us, whether we needed help or just advice. We could reach him anytime we needed him.

"He had a great relationship with the kids, very proactive. He always wanted to prevent trouble from happening, and he was always interested in kids learning a lesson from their behavior.

 

"He had a nice balance between being a law enforcement officer and being an educator. He preferred to be an educator, but when needed he could take a firm stand.

"He had a post outside a certain door. Kids would come in, and it wasnít unusual to hear them talking to him, maybe about law enforcement, maybe about fishing, maybe about their personal problems at home. He would give them advice about what they could do if they thought something bad was going to happen at home. He believed in kidsí rights to be free from abuse.

"Because of the program, there is a different attitude about police officers. The trust that Darrell built in the schools has worked to the good of the community," Langdon says.

Although he misses his role in the lives of school children, Sisk is enjoying his work with Sojourn and is looking forward to new developments.

"For the most part, I am a court advocate. I assist victims of domestic battery to get orders of protection against abusers." He doesnít talk about details, because confidentiality is necessary for the safety of the victims.

He is looking forward to a new program. "Sojourn is in the process of putting together a curriculum to teach group sessions at Lincoln Correctional Center. Some of these people have been involved in domestic violence issues. Theyíre going to be released from prison some day. We can give them better skills to cope with relationships.

"Iím on a mission thatís not been done around here. Itís going to be exciting." Langdon thinks it is a natural transition for Sisk to go from working with young people to the Sojourn program.

"He has gone from helping one group of people in the community to helping another. Victims of domestic violence have kids. His expertise with children in a school context is a natural transition to working with young families. He has seen the effects of domestic violence in the schools. From there it is a natural step into the home with victims of domestic violence."

"Heíll do a wonderful job in his new career in Sojourn," Robbins agrees. "When it comes to helping someone, whether itís a kid or an adult, heíll do fine. Heíll see that they get the necessary help. Darrell will always be there for these people."

[Joan Crabb]

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Juvenile Officer Darrell Sisk
made a difference to Lincoln kids

[JULY 13, 2001]  Although Darrell Sisk retired from the Lincoln Police Department on March 1, he didnít go very far away. Just a couple of blocks.

Today you can find him in his office in the lower level of the Logan County Courthouse, where he is a court advocate for Sojourn, an organization that gives shelter and service to victims of domestic violence.

 


[Darrell Sisk]

He likes the new job. "Thereís a real demand for this service, even more so than I thought when I was a cop," he says. The new job keeps him on his toes, the way he had to be as a police officer. "Itís educational, challenging, demanding, and sometimes frustrating and confusing," he says.

Still, he misses the old job. He keeps in touch with whatís happening in the police department and is happy that his old friend, Rich Montcalm, now police chief, is inaugurating some new programs.

"Many of the programs Rich is putting into place are things he and I worked on while I was in the department," Sisk says. Heís especially pleased that Montcalm is establishing an Emergency Response Team that will be prepared to deal with a serious incident in any Lincoln-area school, because kids were such a big part of his life as a police officer.

 


[Darrell Sisk and Police Chief Rich Montcalm]

"Weíve got to have a policy to deal with a school crisis such as a shooting. Weíve got to know whoís in charge, where the phones are, what door to go in, even how to deal with the media. The first people to get to a school emergency are going to be the local police, and they need to have the training and the equipment to end the threat. Thatís what the Emergency Response Team is all about."

Sisk spent almost 31 years (heís one month shy) with the Lincoln Police Department, and for more than 20 of those years he was a juvenile officer, a DARE teacher, a VEGA teacher, and a recognized authority on juvenile investigation and crime.

He designed and wrote the Lincoln Police Department policy manual for juvenile procedures, which is still in use. He assisted in writing school discipline policies and served on many committees concerning school discipline. He organized all juvenile records for the city of Lincoln and for Logan County, helped start the teen court for juvenile offenders, which is still operating, helped coordinate community youth programs of all kinds, and more.

 

He grew up in Lincoln, was drafted in 1967 and spent two years in the Army, 19 months of that time in Vietnam, came back and started to work in the Sheriffís Department as a radio dispatcher under Glenn Nichols. Shortly after that he applied for a job as a city policeman and got it.

He started as a patrolman, driving around in a squad car. The car, he remembers, had one light on top and one little hand-held radio, with the radio equipment taking up the entire car trunk.

"To use the radar unit, you had to stand outside the car and point it at someone," he recalls. "If I got into a squad car today, Iíd have no idea what all that high-tech equipment is. Itís like being inside a spaceship."

He moved up to sergeant and then became a shift commander. But on May 11, 1980, his career took a sudden turn. That was the night he got shot, and, ironically, he was shot by two juveniles who had escaped from St. Charles Juvenile Detention Center, although he didnít know that at the time.

"They were 15 and 16, the kind of kids we teach now," he says.

He saw the two youths running around the old K-Mart building at 2 a.m. and decided to see what was happening. "I got out of the car, and the next thing I knew I was lying in a flower bed. A state trooper found me."

He should have been dead; a combination of good luck and good thinking saved his life. It happened that he was wearing the only bulletproof vest available to the Lincoln Police Department at the time, and that one was a "loaner."

"Back in the old days, vests were heavy ó about 30 pounds," he says. "Today you canít tell whether an officer is wearing one or not. But in 1980 they were just coming out. The department was trying to find idiots to wear this one because it was so heavy. I volunteered because I was working nights."

When he was shot in the back, he was standing close to a steel door. He spun into the door and hit it so hard he got a concussion, but the borrowed vest stopped the bullets and saved his life, at least the first time. The concussion probably saved his life the second time.

 

 

[to top of second column in this article]

An old friend, Detective Mike Harberts, adds some details to the story. Harberts was a patrolman then, relatively new to the department.

"It was the night before Motherís Day. I had taken the night off, and he was checking my building," Harberts recalls. "There were a lot of flats of plants around the K-Mart. Darrell was near the double doors on the east side, walking down a row of flowers, when he was shot in the back two times. The force of the bullets hitting him drove him into the doors. He was knocked unconscious and thrown in a table full of flowers. That saved his life. If the kids hadnít thought he was dead, they would have killed him. They were going to shoot him in the head with his own gun."

The juveniles fled south, finally killing a 23-year-old detective in Little Rock, Ark. They are now in jail in Arkansas, serving life without parole.

"They thought they killed Darrell too," Harberts says. "They told the police down there they had killed a police officer in a town between Bloomington and Springfield."

After the shooting, Sisk gave up patrolling the streets and became a juvenile officer. He didnít know, when he took the job, that heíd been shot by juveniles. But finding that out didnít keep him from becoming what those who worked with him call an outstanding juvenile officer, one who liked and understood the kids he was working with.

 

"I worked on any crime that involved a child ó burglary, armed robbery, sexual abuse cases, anything. I did the investigation. I worked with the detectives on major crimes."

The most common crimes, he remembers, were fights and thefts. He recalls only one murder involving juveniles.

"I was involved in the court system, putting kids in various institutions. Back in the old days, in 1980, a police officer could put a juvenile in detention. If I picked up a kid for retail theft, Iíd put him in detention. In 1980 the police could hold a kid 48 hours, then take him before a judge. Today itís a whole different system. A juvenile probation officer has to authorize detention. That officer will be the deciding factor whether the kid is detained or released to his parents."

But Sisk would always rather find a way to keep a kid out of the juvenile justice system than a way to get him into it. To help do that, he designed a juvenile diversion and citation program, another program still in practice today.

"The largest percent of calls to the police department involved juveniles ó a kid riding a bicycle through a garden, a kid throwing snowballs," he recalls. "I created a special citation. I would write everything down on the ticket, give it to the kid and tell him to take it home to his parents. If I didnít get a call from the parents within two days, Iíd write them a letter. The kids knew a letter was going to follow and theyíd better tell their folks."

He also had some special techniques for the "station adjustments," when a youngster was brought to the station after doing something he shouldnít have.

 

"In the early days, I used to target hair," Sisk says. "If the kid had long hair, Iíd tell him the next time he got caught doing whatever he was doing, he was going to lose six inches of hair. The kid would sign a form that he agreed to that. Or if he was caught riding a minibike in the street, heíd sign a form agreeing that if he got caught doing it again, he was going to sell the bike."

However, itís the positive, not the negative, side of his job as a juvenile officer that Sisk remembers and misses the most. He was the departmentís first DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) teacher, and he still believes itís a great program.

While teaching DARE, he was with every sixth-grade class in town once a week for 17 weeks. "I taught sixth grade in every school in Lincoln," he says. "I loved it. Thatís the part I really miss."

(To be continued)

[Joan Crabb]

[Click here for Part 2]


People all across this country and, in fact, around the world, claim roots in Logan County. They have very interesting stories to tell, and some of them like to connect with those of us who stayed at home. Logan County Diaspora publishes the stories of former Logan County residents. With their permission, we also include their e-mail addresses so that old friends might be reunited.  If you wish to be part of the Logan County Diaspora, e-mail ldneditor@lincolndailynews.com.  


Diaspora correspondents

Click on names to see letters and stories.

v Indicates LDN sponsors


Reunions

LCHS class of í76 reunion

[JULY 10, 2001]   The 25th year reunion for the Lincoln Community High School class of 1976 is planned for Saturday, Aug. 4. Any classmates who would still like to attend, please call or e-mail Janice Greer, (217) 735-2621, jjmm@abelink.com


Ongoing class reunion in cyberspace for 1960 graduates of LCHS

http://www.geocities.com/lincolnhigh1960/


Reminiscence

Lincoln Lakes beach

By Stan Stringer

The accompanying picture of the Lincoln Lakes beach was taken by Mark Holland shortly before World War II. At this time Mark and Glenn Courtwright were photographing local scenes and farms from the air and hoping to develop a local interest in their pictures. The war intervened, and Mark entered the Army Air Corps. Several extra prints were made, and my father, Charles M. Stringer, saved this one.

The picture was probably taken in June, as the lakes are flooded from spring rains. The flooding isnít obvious at first, but if one looks closely, the wooden dock, which ran from the shore to the diving platforms, is under water. A line of swimmers are standing or walking along the dock. From June through August the water line receded, so that the walk over the hot sand from the bathhouse to the waterís edge seemed unending and unendurable.

 

For youngsters, a Saturday at the beach and swimming lessons in the morning during the week were always great fun. As I recall, entry cost a quarter, you were given a numbered basket and pin, and you went to a changing stall. Girls and women went to one side and boys and men to the other. Clothes and shoes went into the basket, and the basket was turned in for holding. You fixed the numbered pin to your trunks and later reclaimed your clothes with it.

For many of us, swimming season lasted only until the end of July. In August the radio and the newspapers began reporting the number of new poliomyelitis cases. For many moms this was enough to forbid further swimming. We thought this totally unfair. It may seem odd nowadays, and while the press never photographed President Roosevelt in a wheelchair, the public knew he suffered the effects of polio, and the onset of his illness came after a swimming excursion.

 

 

[to top of second column in this article]

The polio scourge is rarely thought of now, but until the advent of massive polio inoculations the annual incidence of the paralytic disease was 11.4 cases per 100,000 people. When polio inoculations became prevalent, the incidence declined to 0.5 cases per 100,000, and with the oral vaccine the present rate is 0.002 to 0.005 cases per 100,000.

Notwithstanding the general maternal fear of polio then, I never personally knew anyone in grade school, or later in high school, afflicted with the disease. I might have continued with a childlike naivetť about the disease, except for one Saturday in the fall shortly after the war. I was then in junior high school. On that day, in the storefront of what is now Sew Many Friends, an iron lung was on display. The iron lung wasnít empty. It was operating, and it held a girl a bit younger than myself, afflicted with polio. While the presentation was said to be for educational purposes, a freewill offering was requested. Clearly the disease was not only physically but also economically devastating, particularly in an era when health insurance was almost unheard of. In passing, one thought how unsettling it must be for the girl to be simultaneously subject to scrutiny and sympathy.

[Stan Stringer]

(7-10-01)

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