From: Wayne Gilson
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999
Boy, do I still remember a lot about my wonderful times in Galesburg. I remember when I moved to Galesburg from Canada in the early 50's. I remember my first American friend, Danny Brown. I fondly remember football practice at Churchill Junior High and smelling the soybean factory every afternoon. Coach Edwards always believed that Camphopenique was the cureall for any football injury. I still remember football tackling practice under Coach VanDyke at Galesburg HS. Kenny Kimbrough used to always pick me for tackling practice and he used to always "clean my clock". I remember sneaking into a Duke Ellington concert and being caught by the Duke himself. He gave me front row seats! I remember living at 498 Monmouth Blvd. I went back for my 35th High School reunion, only to find out that the house was now a vacant lot. That was sad, because rumor has it that it used to be used as a safe haven for the underground railroad. I still keep in touch with Al Sheehan and Lindell Goodman. It's great to talk over old times. I'll never forget Galesburg in the spring and in the fall. What a wonderful place to grow up.
VP of Systems Engineering
From: Jane Roberson (Case)
Date: May 21, 1999
I graduated from GHS in 1970 and moved to Texas in 1981 so I spent all of my growing years in Galesburg. The thing that I miss most about Galesburg is being a teenager in the 60's. That was when they had Teenland at the YMCA. There was also a place called Peppermint Lane but I wasn't allowed to go there because my Mom said "that's where all the bad kids go." I was allowed to go between 7:00 - 10:00 on Friday nights. My girlfriends and I would start getting ready on Thursday night, we would pick out the clothes we were going to wear the next night. Life was so much fun and simple then. Today when kids graduate they go to all night party's and spend the weekend at the beach; when I graduated, Margo Mahle and I drove around town going through the Steak n Shake on Main to the one on Henderson and back around again, with an occasionally stop at Quints tire and Sandy's. We were allowed to stay out until 1:00 am. I had a wonderful life growing up in Galesburg and had many friends. I am looking forward to my 30 year reunion in the year 2000. Anyone wanting to email me, please do. Sincerely,
Jane Case Roberson
From: James Hatch
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 1999
Dear Mother Burg
Memories, Ah the memories. Where do I start? Born and raised in Galesburg I've spent 19 1/2 years of my life there. Yes I did say "There." After graduating from GHS I promptly entered the US Naval Seabees.Getting away from G'burg was the best thing I ever done! I found a great world out there! Friendly people, places to go, things to do. I learned I didn't have to live a life that was a rut like so many people there do. Staying in the same place, not doing anything different for fear of having to face something new in their lives. Just try to walk down Main St. and pass someone looking them in the eye and say "hello". Most say nothing at all, but drop their faces and look at the sidewalk.Most not paying any attention to what there government is doing. While officials pass new laws and Ok new taxes to stifle the people and anything that might raise the standard of living there. Just ask Caterpillar why they didn't get to build a plant in Galesburg.City Government! Now you have a PRISON instead!Yes the memories. I remember the city police. Pull you over and try to act like they're Superman or something. Conceited, smart mouthed punks that I went to school with. And yes, I remember the schools, and teachers too. Ms. Christine Todd! I don't know where you went to school but in 72, 73, and 74 we DID have riots, fights, and crowding! I also remember that if a kid had a learning disability, they were pushed aside and left behind if they couldn't keep up with the rest of class. Lawrence Martin, and LeRoy Miller DID know what they were talking about.Remember? Yes I remember. That's why I never moved back there. I live in the south now where the people are REAL and friendly. The only time I come back now is to visit family. And after this letter most of your local city patrolmen there will be stopping cars with southern plates.What about Galesburg do I remember as "good"? My family, and my 9th grade English teacher at Lombard Jr High, Miss Hinman. She is the best teacher anywhere.
Removed by author’s request
From: Toni Raska
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 1999
Dear Mother Burg:
Having been born and lived 44 yrs. off and on in the Burg, I do have many memories. Virginias Ice Cream, Mrs. Nelsons tacos out on Monmouth Blvd. in the 60s. Lake Storey, Lincoln Park the way it was in the 60s and 70s. The squire when Al Nelson use to play Jethro Tull tunes on his Magical flute. Those were fun times. Of course, Mrs. Mary Creighton, whom I loved dearly as a wonderful friend and friend of Carl Sandburg. Many interesting people and many I would like to forget, and many that I have.
From: Sal Santamaria
Date: Thurs, 18 Nov 1999
Dear Mother Burg:
Hi, my name is Salvador (Sal) Santamaria.I attended Galesburg High School and graduated in 1980. Before that, I attended Costa Catholic School and Lombard Jr. High School. I also went to Lincoln Middle School and before that I attended Immaculate Heart Of Mary School all in Galesburg.My brother David or "Dave" is I believe the only Santamaria living in Galesburg to date. I come from a family of 6 kids, one of which is my sister Margarita, which is now married and lives in Charleston, SC. Soon after High School I enrolled in the U.S. Navy with my older brother Abraham and our good and old friend Michael Nieve, who is still in the Navy. (I just heard from him a few days ago) During my tour of duty I managed to attend a semester at the Citadel in Charleston, SC. In that time span I really learned a lot about life and friendships and most of all loyalty to those who had done right to you.After many, many years here I am writing to Mother Burg. 2;am looking for old friends or anyone who knew any of us. I think it could be interesting to write to you. In the past three years I began to work at a magazine in Chicago. A lot of work and dedication seemed to have paid off. I am now the editor of that same magazine.I am interested in anyone filling me in on anything about my siblings or friends that knew them or now know of them they can reach me through the internet at: email@example.com P.S. Where has Galesburg gone and where is it headed to in the year 2000?
From: Becky Van Fleet
Date: Sun, 21 Nov 1999
Dear Mother Burg:
After reading "Letters to Mother Burg", for the first time, I had to write. I came across some familiar names from school. People I have not heard of since I was at Churchill Jr. High. Often wondering where they are, and how they're doing.For me, school is what first comes to mind, whenever I think about Galesburg.Then I get past all the pain and misery caused by "fellow students", who thought they were better than the rest, (only because their families were better off than others), and remember many friends through my school years, but very few did I considered "good and true friends" I have left my home town now and I rarely visit. Although the people never change, I will always love Galesburg.Some of my fondest memories come from "Kiddy-Land", the old Orpheum (movie)Theatre, the annual Christmas parade (where many friends gathered), the old A & W (which I loved very much on a hot summer's day), and so, so many more. Galesburg has expanded so much today. It just keeps losing its character and charm. There is one thing that remains the same, the traffic jams on Main St. and Henderson St., (but then those are memories too).
From: Sal Santamaria
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999
Dear Mother Burg:
My name is Sal Santamaria, I just wanted to commend you on your "idea" of putting these letters into the internet. Since I had started writing to you or your column, I have gotten in touch with three people I had either grown up with, or went to school with at one time or another. I wish that only more people would tap into this means of communication. "It's Great". If there are any more of you guys out there, "I'm waiting for your e-mail". Has anyone heard anything about Mike Indelicato, Mike Holt or any other Holt? Mark Sprague, Salena Walsh, Janet Welch, Kim Martin, Jeff Roberts, Greg Nichols, Kelly McNaught, Clay Britton, Rob Long, Jackie Brennen, Tony Padilla, Mike Cabrera, Chris Polillo, Tom Brown, Lisa Lee, Vicky Guerra and brother Steve, Silvia Padilla, Jeff Pacheco, Steve Boos? O.K. guys, I know someone out there has heard something about someone, so please write. Rick Mendenhall, Molly (Brown) Mendenhall, and Michael Nieve have. How about you? Where are you now? If I forgotten anyone, just because you aren't on this list doesn't mean I wouldn't like to hear from you. Anyone that graduated in the Galesburg Senior Class of 1980, stand up and write to the occasion! Sal Santamaria Chicago Boxing Magazine, 3401 W. Cermak Rd., Chicago, IL 60623
From: Sal Santamaria
Date: Fri, 26 Nov 1999
Dear Mother Burg:
Hello folks! it's me again writing in a response to the person responsible for the "micky422@webtv" comment/insertion. I tried to respond to your e mail address but it said it was not a valid address. So here we are: Back to where you had written that "PEOPLE" never change. Well I for one, disagree. Just like the seasons, "PEOPLE" DO CHANGE. I don't know what kind of people you ran into, but remember we were all "KIDS" at that time. And to me THAT, is what makes ALL the difference. When I was growing up in Galesburg sure, I was made fun of, laughed at, ridiculed, picked on, hit on etc... I agree that it did hurt at the time, but along with TIME comes the healing process. As I was getting older, I would remember things I too had done to other students, and what they had done to me also. I had to rule the "immaturity level", we were all under (some more than others). I hope that by now we have all outgrown our teenage feelings and mentalities. After all even though it hurt then, and sometimes we think about those times, we were just kids trying to be "COOL" we didn't think the way we NOW think. I honestly feel that it was all a part of growing up, and if we were hurt, laughed at, made fun of, picked on, hit on, ridiculed, then I tend to think, THAT IS what HELPED make us THAT MUCH BETTER of a person today. That is my honest feeling about this whole situation.P.S. I tried to write back, but this address is nonexistent, unless it was typed in wrong. Either way, I'M HERE! It would be nice to put a name behind the address indicated.
Your trusty friend,
From: Becky Van Fleet
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 1999
Dear Mother Burg: Hi Sal. First of all..the e-mail address is valid, I assure you. Second...you are right a lot of people do change, but some just don't. My opinion was based on the fact that I have seen many people to which I am referring, and they have not changed a bit. In fact many are still walking around with their noses in the air. You couldn't possibly know to whom I am referring, an I assure you it didn't bother me when I was in school how they felt about me, and it doesn't bother me now. I was just stating facts by my own experiences. Galesburg has many loveable people in it, but then there are those, like the fellow classmates I am talking about, who have not changed. So let's just leave it at this...I have my opinions, and you have yours. And here is the name behind the address...
Becky Van Fleet (my maiden name, so my classmates who read this know who I am)
From: Barbara McCoy
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999
Subject: Chris Verene
Dear Mother Burg: I live in the Atlanta area, and am wondering if the Zephyr is aware of this photographer? He has been selected as one of 97 participants in the 2000 Whitney Museum of American Art in New ^York's Biennial. Why should you be interested? He took many of his photographs in Galesburg! According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution of Dec. 19th, " He does know--and makes something out of--family ties. His paternal roots are in the prairie railroad community of Galesburg, Ill., which has produced three generations of Verenes. He spent holidays and summers there as a child, and he has devoted the better part of 13 years creating a loving photographic portrait of the town that is as quirkily American as ketchup on mac-n-cheese." I have seen one of his exhibits here. As a person born and raised in Galesburg, I cannot say that I agree with his limited view of Galesburg and its inhabitants. However, I think that Galesburg residents would like to learn about him and especially about his Galesburg work. The High Museum of Art in Atlanta has purchased 2 of the Galesburg photos for their collection. This honor may make Chris Verene and even Galesburg famous.
All letters above were printed in the December 30, 1999 hard copy of The Zephyr.
From: Tammie Talbert
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 1999
Dear Mother Burg: I have just finished reading some of the letters and I have to say that it is good to see that others are starting to realize that Galesburg holds a lot of history. I myself have been here for all of my life and in this time I have had numerous opportunities to see the living history that is Galesburg. I am now currently a bookstore manager in the historic downtown area. Before working here, I never even once considered that the people that come in as customers could hold the wealth of information that they indeed do. I have learned so much that hopefully one day I will find something worthwhile to do with my life.Personally, I have left this town on three separate occasions and have always found a way to come back. Destiny for me to remain here? Hopefully I will quell that odd feeling I have that I will never leave here. But more than likely I will find my "niche" and do the best that I can for myself and those around me. My name, by the way, is John Brooks and I am also a G.H.S. graduate.We just had our ten year reunion and let me tell you, it was great to see those that could make it and hopefully at the next more will come "home".
From: Jeff Anderson
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 1999
Dear Mother Burg:
I left Galesburg almost 23 years ago but have never failed to return at least once a year. My parents, my sister and her family, as well as my grandmother still live there along with some other assorted relatives. It always seems like home when I visit even though I have my own family here in Los Angeles, Calif.I've followed Galesburg's actives by subscribing to the papers and getting the gossip through family and friends. I'm watching from a far the current controversy over leaf burning. I remember raking and burning leaves as a child and when I smell that unmistakable odor of burning leaves now it gives me a warm and safe feeling. But it seems it too will become a thing of the past. Is it a major loss to Galesburg's culture? No. Should the controversy be a top concern of the people? No. As we say in La La land... get over it. The good of Galesburg in not about burning leaves. I'm old enough to remember the old main street and reminisce about shopping downtown. Like many I miss the atmosphere but realize and accept its time has passed. I imagine those at the turn of the last century reminisced about Galesburg long past and I'm sure today's children will miss many things in Galesburg now that are their present. For over 30 years the debate has raged. To this day I hear people still living in the past and wanting to bring the downtown back. I always said rename Henderson to Main street and be done with it. Has Galesburg lost anything by losing the downtown? Yes, a little. But the good Galesburg is not about Main Street. Basketball dominated my life and much of Galesburg's when I was growing up. My uncle was Bobby Hoffman the first "Thiel" guard. He was the ball handler in the famed Rock Island game and for Thiels first state appearance team and set the tone for all future guards at GHS under Thiel. I was also fortunate enough to see Dale Kelly play and remember the excitement of Streak basketball in the 60's. It was rekindled with Joey Range. I even made a trip back to old GHS to watch him play and listened over the phone long distance to the radio broadcast of the final game at state. Many people long for the days of great Galesburg basketball and always compare the current coach to John Thiel. Some are bitter and long for Coach Thiel. Coach Thiel as great as he was is gone. Play ball. Galesburg is about the people. You make Galesburg what it is. Not the smell of burning leaves crossing the old Main Street while some kid bounces a basketball past your house. You haven't changed in 23 years. When I visit in the winter and come out of the cold and into the mall to shop its the same people I saw 30 years ago at the old Main Street Sears. In the summer its the same people out walking or coming by to visit. I miss Galesburg and always will. I don't know any of these people out here in Los Angeles. But in Galesburg it seems I know all of you.
Los Angeles, CA
Read the Letters to Mother Burg written in 1998
Read the Letters to Mother Burg written in 2000
Read the Letters to Mother Burg written in 2001
Read the Letters to Mother Burg written in 2002
Read the Letters to Mother Burg written in 2003
Read the Letters to Mother Burg written in 2004
Read the Letters to Mother Burg written in 2005
Last updated January 3, 2004