On Saturday May 7th, Helga Sandburg and Jack Larson met at the Kensington during a public reception for Helga. She was Galesburg’s guest for the annual Sandburg Days Festival. Helga is Carl Sandburg’s youngest daughter. She is also a well-known published author and poet in her own right.
Jack Larson is the familiar name to many. He currently has his own daily morning “Music with Memories” spot on radio station WAIK. Jack was on his way to the beautifully-restored Orpheum Theater to MC a Mother’s Day special concert featuring more popular music than the Knox-Galesburg symphony would usually play.
Beyond participating in an unusually busy weekend in Galesburg full of opportunities for folks to come out and enjoy themselves, and both being octogenarians, Jack and Helga shared something else in common. It is believed that they are the remaining two direct descendants of Galesburg’s “Dirty Dozen”. The Dirty Dozen were a group of young men from Galesburg who named themselves. One was Carl Sandburg. Carl’s subsequent success and his autobiography of growing up in Galesburg, Always The Young Strangers, forever documented this ad hoc group of Galesburg youth.
Helga shared her time not only with Jack, but with other well-wishers who came to meet her, or to meet her again. She autographed copies of her book, and copies of her father’s books that admirers brought with them. She also signed copies of the Sandburg Days poster and copies of CDs that contain Helga reading her poetry. Accompanying Helga was the producer of the CD, Jordan Davis.
It was an intimate, informal opportunity to meet and talk with Helga. She also graciously consented to photographs, even posing outside next to a Harley Davidson and its proud owner, Burt McElroy.
After attending the public reception, Helga and a few friends attended the concert at the Orpheum adjacent to the Kensington.