Thursday, October 6, 2011

Springfield Days - 1961 - 1970

After a few weeks of seventh grade in Lovington, we moved to Springfield, Illinois, where my dad took a job working for the State, writing speeches for Governor Kerner. Steve Kirkwood gave me a kiss on the front steps of the school before we left Lovington! I was floating for weeks!

We moved into a house on 2101 Pickett where I lived until I was married. It was a nice neighborhood with wonderful neighbors. On one side was the Burris family and the Andruczk's were on the other side. Dorothy Burris was the same age as Cindy and Kathy Andruczk was the same age as me, but she went to a different high school than me. The four of us became good friends and had a lot of fun together camping out in the backyard, going to movies and shopping.

My family belonged to the First Presbyterian Church in Springfield and I started confirmation classes when I was 13. My first communion was on April 15, 1962. I received the "Book of Common Worship" and a medallion on a chain.

I attended Jefferson Junior High School in Springfield and was introduced to Cathy Cornman my first day of school. We were both flutists. (I decided to play the flute in sixth grade.) Cathy and I have remained very close friends and she was my maid of honor in my first wedding in 1970. My music and flute playing were very important to me at this time.

Allen Thornburg played first chair flute, Cathy played second and I played third chair in the Jefferson Junior High School Band. It was a large band and our director, Mr. Masgar, was terrific. We played lots of fun pieces. Music played a big part of my life in junior high and high school although I didn't go on to do much with it like my friend Cathy did. She is now teaching music lessons in her home and the community choir is a big part of her life in Virginia where she lives.

Allen, Cathy and I played in a flute trio also and we all took music lessons from Wayne Combs. What a health fanatic! Eating all those strange cookies and wanting us to try them. And he died of cancer at a very young age! He was an excellent teacher though and we all went far with our music, winning lots of first place medals at contest, playing individually and in our little trio. I gained a lot of self confidence during those years. I still have one of the judges comment sheets where he wrote "You have a great smile and you show lots of confidence". If he thought I had lots of confidence, then I thought I had lots of confidence. That was a big turning point in my life I think.

I also went to music camp at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana in the summers of 1964 and 1965. We lived in the dorms and practiced with our bands leading up to a big concert for our families coming to hear us at the end of the two weeks. One evening that I remember was when the faculty put on a talent show and did skits. There was a black man who sang "Misty" and I thought it was the most beautiful song I'd ever heard! And his voice just made me melt. That's been my most favorite song ever since.

The Springfield Lake and the house where Cathy lived on the lake also were important in my life. We had many sleepovers there at that house. She had twin beds in her room and she would lie on one bed with her feet on "my" bed and I would put my feet on "her" bed and we'd tickle each others feet! We played badminton in the summers and swam in the lake, sometimes just floating for what seemed hours on a blow-up raft. Cathy and I, side by side. I learned to ice skate there too. Cathy's brother taught me how to water-ski once. It took me several attempts to get up out of the water but I finally made it up on the skis. I didn't stay up long, however. I think it scared me. I was always a little afraid of the water. Even when I took swimming lessons in Monticello I spent most of the time sitting on the edge of the pool.

I went to some dances when I was in junior high school. I attended some of them with George Ecklund, Jr. He played the drums in the Jefferson Junior High School band and I took piano lessons from his dad. I don't remember anything eventful about the dances though.

At the ripe old age of fifteen I was a sophomore at Springfield High School. I joined Orchestra instead of the band and met my husband-to-be. David Tubbs who was a year older than me, was very good friends with Bob Gilbert. Bob was another flute player and sat next to me in Orchestra. David asked Bob to find out what my name was and in doing so, Bob asked me out for three weekends straight! I'd never actually gone on a real date before. When I went to the dances in junior high school with George Ecklund, our parents drove us back and forth since he wasn't old enough to drive. Bob had his driver's license so these were going to be REAL DATES! Of course my parents had to meet him first but they allowed me to go to the high school football games with him. David needed a ride and asked his best friend, Bob, to drive him also. On one of those dates with Bob, David ended up holding my hand. From then on all through high school, I was David's girlfriend. My first date with him was October 3, 1964, and we went to a high school football game.

David and I were inseparable. We went to movies, football games, basketball games, dances, parties with friends, and just "hung out" together. David worked part-time at the Dairy Queen for a while. Several times when he'd get off work late at night, he'd come by my house and talk to me through my open bedroom window. I don't think my parents ever knew this.

David and I remained sweethearts all through high school and college. Janet Baker did come between us for a while and at the time, I thought I'd lost him forever but I married him.

When I was 16, David decided to give me a surprise birthday party. We went to a high school basketball game that night. I remember thinking that he wasn't even going to acknowledge my birthday when he said he was taking me home early. We walked into the house and all of our friends hollered "Surprise!" when we went down to the basement. One of the gifts I received was a bracelet from Debbie Beard and Jim Nation, who ended up getting married. I kept that bracelet and wore it now and then until our house in Dallas was robbed and all of my jewelry was taken in July 1998.

Getting my driver's license when I turned 16 was of no big importance to me since I had David or my dad to drive me anywhere I wanted or needed to go. My parents made me get my license in August that year since I was taking piano lessons, flute lessons, Red Cross swimming lessons, etc. I took a driver's training class with my favorite teacher, Mr. Yutzy. I didn't have my license for very long when I had my first little fender bender. I backed into a car across the street from the Ecklund's when I went for a piano lesson. I didn't tell anyone but my mom soon found out. I don't remember any details or the consequences.

In the Fall of 1966 when I was 17, I entered the Miss Teenage Springfield Contest. It was being sponsored by Bessemer's, and I remember going to Decatur for the first stage of the contest. There were seven semi-finalists named and I was one of them! We went for the next stage of it a few weeks later and one of the questions was about my activities. I mispronounced "extracurricular" and I've always thought that's what blew my chances. Karen Brown was crowned Miss Teenage Springfield. I got a gift certificate for records at The Platter and got mostly classical records. I did get one Andy Williams and a 45 -- "Cherish".

When I was growing up, my family listened to classical music and my sister and I weren’t allowed to listen to rock ‘n roll music. But, when our parents were gone, we would sit by the transistor radio and listen to the music from KXOK. I remember that “Blue Velvet” by Bobby Vinton and “Moon River” by Andy Williams were my most favorite songs.

I met all of David's family shortly after I started dating him. Besides his mom, dad and brother, Mark, he also had all four of his grandparents living and a great-grandmother who lived in Arkansas. His mother was an only child and his dad has one sister, Eleanor, and she and Uncle Bob lived in Springfield, IL. They adopted Craig and Sandy. I baby-sat for Craig and Sandy several times. One time I took over some smooth rocks and paints and we painted faces and animals on them.

Eleanor and Bob had a lot on Lake Springfield and the family would gather there for outings and holidays in the summer. Sometimes after David and I went out on a date, we would go to the lot on the lake and sit and look at the night sky and neck.

David went to college at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and we dated when he came home for holidays and summers. He joined Delta Tau Delta Fraternity and their big dance of the year ended up being the same day as my Senior Prom. I decided to go to Chicago for the fraternity dance. Mom said I'd regret not going to my Senior Prom but I never did. I went to the Prom my junior year when David was a Senior.

David's parents did not want him to own a car while he was in school. The summer after his freshman year of college he found a 1958 Chevy Impala and bought it for $15.00. His parents told him to get it out of their sight so he drove it to our house and my dad and he rebuilt the engine. After they drained the engine oil into a 5-gallon bucket, they put the bucket into the garage. We had an outdoor cat that slipped into that bucket of oil and he looked pathetic for weeks!

The sight of that ugly car in our driveway and car parts all over the garage and driveway made my mother mad. After they put the car all back together again it never did run. I don't know whatever happened to that car but I can guess.

There were some pets we had that just mysteriously disappeared too. We adopted a stray cat named Cassyput. This was my first cat. When we moved from Decatur to Lovington, Cassyput sat on top of the refrigerator for three days! He disappeared one day and Mom told us that sometimes pets when they get old, go off somewhere to die by themselves so they won't make the people who loved them sad. We also had two baby chicks, Peter and Herman, that Cindy got for Easter in 1966 when we lived in Springfield. They followed us around the yard and would sit in our laps like cats. These two hens started laying eggs in the garage. One day we came home from school and they were gone. I don't remember what Mom told us then. I just hope they weren't our dinner that night!

My sister Cindy, neighbors Dorothy Burris and Kathy Andruczk, and I decided to go to St. Louis one Saturday in February 1967 to see the movie "Hawaii". Kathy's mother drove us down. We had dinner at the Mayfair Hotel after the movie and shopped for a few minutes at Stix, Bayer and Fuller before they closed for the day. Then we got on the bus and returned to Springfield. We thought we were Hot Stuff!

In March 1967 before I graduated from high school, our church youth group took a ski trip to Galena, IL. There were three carloads of youths and chaperons that went. It was my first time I'd skied. I took the rope tow up the "bunny hill" and skied down about 3 times, usually ending up on my rear end. One time I made a perfect snow plow stop!

David and I, after we were married, took several ski trips to Colorado, Michigan, Wisconsin and Utah. Our first lessons were in a loft on Astro-Turf and nylon bristles. Actually I think skiing on real snow was more fun but I learned the basics in that loft.

My high school graduation must have been uneventful, as I have no memories of it. I only know the graduation was in the Armory in Springfield. I do remember moving into the dorm, North Tower, my freshman year at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois, the Fall of '67. My roommate was also a Linda (Martell) and really beautiful. She was crowned Miss Teenage Rockford that year. We got along wonderfully. I liked my Earth Science class but hated my Political Science class and flunked it. I'd done really well in school until I got to ISU. I don't know if it was too much freedom, illnesses (I got mononucleosis that year.), missing David, homesickness or what. I only stayed there for that one school year.

The Spring of 1968 I took my first airplane ride. I was very scared but at least I didn't get sick! I went with an on-campus church group (There were 17 of us.) to New York City to study the Apartheid situation in South Africa at the United Nations building. We stayed at the Tudor Hotel on 42nd street and I roomed with 4 other girls. The week we were there, we went to Greenwich Village for dinner one night and to China Town. We also saw the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Plaza, and the movie "Gone With the Wind". We attended a catholic mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral and a service for the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. I think that trip gave me my liking for the Big City Life. I love the high energy and hustle and bustle and being right in the middle of the tallest buildings.

That summer of '68 I moved back to Springfield and back home with my parents. I took a job at Zayre's as a cashier. I only worked a few weeks, as the Mononucleosis returned. Then my mom and dad decided to take a vacation but Cindy and I thought we were too old to go on family vacations and would rather have stayed at home and been able to spend that time with our boyfriends. But our parents, being parents, made us go with them. We went to the Smokey Mountains. Mom and Dad decided to go on horseback rides through the mountains and that day it rained. My brother was on the same horse as the guide under a poncho but the rest of us got completely soaked! I don't remember who started it, but we soon started making jokes and just making the best of the dampened situation. We all laughed and laughed. I think that was the best vacation we ever had!

With my very low grade point average from ISU, I couldn't return to school there so I decided to go to the new Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield and live at home with my parents and work. I went back to work part-time for Tom Boy, a fast food hamburger place owned and operated by this wonderful, very cheerful couple, Gabby Hayes and his wife. I had my very first real job there on May 28, 1966, for that summer and made $1.00 per hour! I worked off and on at Tom Boy during the summers and part-time while I attended school at LLCC.

I started working full-time for the Credit Bureau the year before I was married. I started out as a CRT operator then I was a Skip Tracer. Being a Skip Tracer was fun. I called people and pretended to be whomever I wanted to be to get information about where they were living. Then I gave the information to the collection department so they could collect money on owed bills.

In 1969 I bought my first car. I don't remember what kind it was but it was the most awful shade of green. It had been a car used for delivering the mail. I remember once when the windshield wipers and the heater went out in this car and I was on my way to Chicago to see David in the most horrible snowstorm of the season. I stopped at ISU in Normal to see my sister and to borrow some warm socks! I sold this car right before I was married.

This year before I got married was wild times for me. I moved into an apartment with Myrna on the corner of Jefferson and Walnut in Springfield. Another girl I worked with moved in with us. Then friends of friends started sleeping over and there were parties there nearly every night. I remember one party when everyone, but me, was sucking in helium from balloons. I was too scared to try it. This is when I met Norman Mollet. I broke off the long-distance relationship with David for the few months that I dated Normy. Just as fast as I fell in love, I fell out of love with him. His parents lived in Hillsboro, Illinois, and I'd visit there sometimes with him. He liked to go to this bar there called Elmer's and I'd go but I felt very uncomfortable there. He liked to drink and get drunk and that made me mad. I left his parent’s house in tears one Sunday and still remember that drive all the way home. I never saw him after that.

David graduated from Illinois Institute of Technology in June 1970. I went up to Chicago with his parents to attend the graduation and afterwards we ate at a Japanese restaurant.

David and I got married August 2, 1970, at the First Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Illinois, with Dr. Richard Graebel performing the ceremony. My friend, Cathy Cornman, was the Maid of Honor and my sister and cousin, Phyllis Wickline, were the bridesmaids. Allen Thornburg was the Best Man and David's brother, Mark, and his cousin, Craig Williams, were the Groomsmen. Cathy thought it was strange that I didn't cry.

I wore a long white gown that I bought in Decatur, IL. I remember shopping with Grandma Purdue and we went into Carol's and I described the gown I wanted. They brought that exact gown out and I wanted to buy it right then! Grandma told me I had to look at some more gowns. We went several other places, then I went back and bought the first one I tried on. Grandma also bought me a pink nightgown and robe that day for my honeymoon.

Yellow was my favorite color and daisies were my favorite flower at that time and that's what I wanted to carry at my wedding. My mom told me daisies were weeds but I ended up carrying daisies at my wedding.

My sister liked to sew and she made the bridesmaids dresses. They were yellow with daisies on them. I even had daisies put on the top of our wedding cake.

My Grandma Purdue had a stroke on Mother's Day 1970 and was not able to attend our wedding. After we were married we took the top tier of our wedding cake over to her. Grandma Purdue died October 1973.

David and I opened gifts at his parent's house, then we put all of our belongings in the red Volkswagen that his grandpa and grandma Tubbs bought for him and Mark (David bought out Mark's half.) and we drove to Chicago where we lived for nearly 13 years.

To see more photos from my Springfield Days, here is the link --

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