The Zephyr

Letters to Mother Burg 2006

From: Ardie Wingo
Date: Thu, 5 Jan 2006
Subject: Ma Burg As I remember Her

As I remember Home, it always brings a warm spot into my heart. Seem's back then times where so simple and pure. I remember going over and babysitting my uncle children and we could all enjoy the outdoors, there was no fear of the children out playing in the yard by them selfs back in those days. Galesburg was such a peaceful place to bring up a family. Even when I raised my own children, all by myself most of their young lives there in Galesburg. Later I met a young man who became my husband and we too raised our children there and it was a good life. He had moved back from another state with the love of Galesburg too.

As times got tough we did have to move away but we still look back with such sweet memories of home. Always to glad to return home when we can. Over the years we have seen how much Galesburg has changed. She has spread out and grown, but has faced some hard times too. We hope and pray that family's can continue to be able to write in all the great memories of their's and our home town. We do hope to see things pick up for her. Galesburg is a great place to raise a family...she always has been. Also this is a great thing you have done for Galesburg to put this site up for all to relate too. I look all the time at this site for new entries, So come on All from Galesburg, and even those who have moved away...lets keep her going....Hope to see you all in new entries.

I have talked with a lot of people thru this site, and its wonderful to relate and get back in touch with all. Happy New Years Galesburg, my you have a great new year ahead of you, and also all who live there and are from Galesburg even thou you may of moved away from her.

If you would like to get in touch with me E-mail me at In subject please put your name & that you are writing from MA Burg so I will know to open your E-mail.

Ardie Wingo
Calhoun, GA

From: Annette Merrill (Schwarz)
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2006
Subject: Another MotherBurg letter 

I've been reading the letters in the Zephyr for a couple years now and love reading them. I was born at Cottage Hospital in 1963 and graduated from GHS in 1981. My memories growing up in Galesburg were the best. My first job was at the Rib Shack - I worked the drive thru. I remember the cash register in there was old back then, the numbers popped up as you pushed down the keys. It was a fun group. From there I made my way around a couple places in the Mall (Cookie Factory, Herr Pretzel and McDonalds). Do Muellers still own most of the McDonald's franchises? I had a blast working at McDonalds.

I also remember the fun at Kiddyland, the wading pool at Lincoln Park, Lake Storey and Kastle Kreme ice cream. The list could go on... Did anyone out there go to Kindergarten at the YMCA? It was a big deal to hold the flag during the Pledge of Allegiance. 

I'm in Southern California now and sure do miss the seasons and lightning bugs. We also don't have June bugs but I DO NOT miss those. I used to fear they would get caught up in my hair. Would love to live back in Galesburg but once you get stuck in California, it's hard to get out. Maybe when I retire.

 I'll write again soon.

Annette Merrill (Schwarz)
Ventura, California

From: Lori Boynton Hoffman
Date: Thu, 26 Jan 2006
Subject: Sorry to hear about O.T. Johnson's

I was sitting on my couch in Dahlonega Georgia two nights ago, when the Atlanta News flashed a brief announcement about OT Johnson burning down.  What a shock, to hear that little old Galesburg made our local news.

To find out more I got on the computer and pulled up the Register Mail. There I saw some of the graphic photos. Wanting to know more I also contact my uncle, Terry Boynton and he forward several additional pictures. The pictures of the blazing fire and it's massiveness, reminded me of when my father, Donald Boynton, fought a similar fire, also on Main Street. That was over 30 years ago. Main Street hasn't changed that much.

I am sorry for your loss. That kind of history can never be replaced.

Just two weeks before that, Galesburg had made the Atlanta Journal Newspaper. (They highlight something that goes on in each state of importance for that days paper.) This time it was a story about a biker.

Before writing this letter tonight, I came across a letter my sister, Judy Boynton, wrote to you a year ago on January 14th. My sister, Judy and brother, Brian, still live in Florida but I moved to Georgia a year ago.

I haven't been home since my 25th class reunion (class of 73). What a blast that was. Galesburg holds so many great memories and my grandmother Lucy Hedrick, still lives on Maple Street.

Thank you at the Zephyr for having this place where we all can gather to share old and wonderful memories and if we are fortunate, will get in touch with an old friend or two.

Best of luck and sorry again for your loss.

Gentle Blessings,
Lori Boynton Hoffman

From: Ardie Wingo
Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2006
Subject: So Sorry about the Big Fire and OT's...and all the loss

I'm so sorry to hear about the lost of OT's Johnsons and the damage to the area around there. It's truly so sad, I know all have such fond memories of OT's Johnsons and all of Galesburg. So glad no one was hurt, that was a Blessing, some time even our firemen get hurt doing the find job that they do for all of us. Again so glad that no one was hurt, the lost of the Historical building will truly be missed by all. I saved the pictures of what was in the newspaper as I wanted to have them, to look back on as the years pass. Always interested in hearing from anyone from back home, feel free to E-mail subject please write Ma Burg, and your name...

Ardie Wingo
Calhoun, Ga.

From: Bob Johnson
Date: Sunday, February 19, 2006
Subject: My Galesburg

I was born in Galesburg in the winter of 1946. I lived there for 8 short years, but what years they were!  My first home was an upstairs apartment next to Lucky Boy Bakery on East Main Street. I can remember as a 4-year-old, riding my tricycle with my little friend, Barbara Bell, in the driveway of the bakery, mooching donuts and rolls from the drivers. One day we went on an adventure and rode our tricycles over to the Sears & Roebuck store. They were doing some work on the roof, and somehow we found a way to ride our trikes on to the roof. Well, needless to say, our parents were very upset, but also amazed at our ingenuity in finding our way to the roof.

I moved to 1749 East Main in 1951.  My hangout was Silver Street. My pals were Teddy Green, Bobby Dennis, his little brother, and Terry Roberts. AND there were the girls, the Davis's (I remember Jeannine), Nina Anderson, and my babysitter, Tyke (she was 'old', maybe 16). Last, but not least, was the first girl I had a crush on.  She lived up on the 1800 block of East Main, and she was Jane Langdon. I haven't seen Jane since '54, so if you read this, Jane, now you know!  There were lots of kids living on and around Silver back then.  I remember those young faces, but the names have faded with time.

The one thing that has not faded is the freedom we kids had back then. The whole neighborhood was our playground, day and night. We rambled back yard to back yard with no fences, though sometimes we would make a trail through a garden or flower bed and get nabbed by the likes of Mr. 'Ticklish', the Watchdog of Silver. If he caught you, the penalty was a thorough tickling until you almost cried. We gave his yard a wide berth most of the time.

One of my most cherished memories was the summer nights under the old ripple capped, street light, with a single, bare bulb that hung high over the bricks of Silver. We played Kick-the-Can and other games and rode our bikes and trikes up the streets and sidewalks. In the fall of the year we got to play with fire (not really), but all of us who were there will never forget the smell of burning leaves in the gutter along the street (pre-EPA, thank you).

To us kids the mystery man on Silver Street was old Mr. Teton.  He lived in an old faded, wood-framed home at the north end of the street. I remember him as a nice man but very reclusive. I was always drawn to his house but never wanted to get too close. It was kind of spooky. I heard many years later that his wife had died in a chair at the home and remained there for some time before an odor prompted the authorities to investigate. A sad ending for a good man. Anybody out there know WHO Mr. Teton was?

I left Galesburg in 1954. I lived in three other cities in Illinois and Iowa before joining the U.S. Navy in 1964. In my 23-year career in the Navy, I lived on and traveled every continent on earth, save one (didn't get to Antartica).  When I got homesick, whether walking the streets of Madrid or a path in the jungles of Vietnam, I would think of family first and then my hometown, Galesburg. I compared every city I ever visited with Galesburg. Oh, there were cities with unique things and places to see, and people pay lots of money to go there. But me, I'd rather have been walking downtown Main Street or ole Silver in the best town in the world, GALESBURG, Illinois. America.

One final thought!  All you kids from 1950's Silver Street - what the heck, all you kids from 1950's Galesburg:  whaddaya say in about twenty years, when we're real 'seasoned citizens', we all meet down on Silver in the twilight of some summer evening and play a game of Kick-the-Can?  Who knows what magic may still linger in the bricks of ole Silver.

Bob Johnson

From: Bob Durbin
Date: Sunday,Tue, 13 Jun 2006
Subject: Mother Burg

This is great way to remember Galesburg. But where are the east enders? I grew up on Arnold Street right behind Farnham school. Left G-Burg after High School in ' 65. Remember East Main Bowl and Galesburg Bowl, O.N Custer and H.T. Custer ball parks. Growing up cruising on Main Street from the Square to Steak N' Shake and back every weekend night. Went to both Douglas and Farnham grade schools then Lombard the GHS.

If anybody wants to e-mail me do it at

Bob Durbin
Algonquin, IL.

From: Kelly Kilgore
Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2006
Subject: Missing the "Burg"

My name is Kelly Kilgore, born and raised in the Burg. Been in the World's greatest Navy for the last almost 20 years. I'm currently stationed in Tennessee (don't ask) and getting ready to retire. I travel home from time to time, it sure isn't the same these days. I try to visit with my old running buddies as much as I can when I go back, sometimes it's easier than others. If anyone remembers me and wants to shoot me an email, please do. I would love to get caught up on happenings back home. This e mail address will be active for a while but works better. They say home is where you hang your hat…they're wrong, home is Galesburg Illinois.

From: Charles Campbell
Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2006
Subject: Can't quite let go...

Hi, Charles Campbell here. At various times it was Chuck, but usually (groan) Charley, or (worse) Chuckles..

Terrific memories of Galesburg, starting in 1968 at 5 years old, with walks north from my grandparents' house past Butler Mfg. to Haps for sacks of penny candy, when it existed on Henderson and Monmouth Blvd.

Also a bright spot was visiting my Aunt Dot at Wag's on Main and Henderson, waaay before a government agency was there, where she would treat me to red jello. KiddieLand was a monthly treat, along with a hamburger, fries, and orange drink from Mr. Quick; the meal totalled 75 cents. I remember being paddled in first grade for talking on the way to the library, and Mrs. Frank, the secretary at Cooke School, consoling me, and letting me touch the bun in her hair.

Besides Cooke School, there was Steele Middle, Nielsen Middle, Lombard Jr., and of course Galesburg Sr. High Schools. I have fond memories of most of my teachers, with the exception of one, in eighth grade, and I'm mature enough to know now that it was mostly my own rebellion at 13 that caused such conflict. Anyone remember any gossip about 'Bubbles'? Ms. Hinman and Mrs. McNeil were particularly strong positive influences, both gearing me toward a love of literature, with Mr. Raymer batting clean-up instilling a love of music. Ms. Sullivan as a Counselor, and Mrs. Moore as a scholastic teams coach gave me more confidence in myself than I could ever express gratitude enough. Jimmie Crown, of blessed memory, gave unimaginable support of my creativity, and related his love of potato salad. While I'm reminicing about high school, anyone remember Star Patrol? I wasn't a member, but I recall them holding court at lunch...

Speaking of potato salad, it brings up the first of several memory snippetts, namely Little King, and how I was stopped a few blocks from there by the police and accused of robbing the place some days before. Fortunately, I had been out of town during the robbery, with Prairie Players. Summer musicals with the Players, and the Children's Theatre tour with Rossann Baker, before she became -Priestly. That very first drink in a bar, at Lullaby Dad's (at age 19, no less. Sorry Phil...) Art in the Park. Loin & Shake at Rita's Flavor-Freeze. Absolute joy in my work at the Jumping Bean. Uncle Billy's Spinach Bread (Yes, I do relate most memories to food). Actually, the entire "Hunter Green" community is a fondness.

There are, of course, more memories, but I think I've drawled on enough :)


Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

From: Cardinal Robbins
Date: Sat, 9 Sep 2006
Subject: Letter to Ma Burg

Greetings, everyone --

 I was wondering if anyone knows how to contact Sylvia Miller, who used to teach at Galesburg High School, back in 1977-1978 and possibly beyond?

 She was my creative writing instructor in high school and I've gone pretty far because of her teaching expertise. I've been working as a professional writer for several years now, and also write non-pro stories for the action/adventure and crime genres. She used to put copies of "Writers' Digest" on my desk, and was sure I'd go pro. She recognized something in me and knew before I did, that's for sure!

 I wanted to get in touch with her, so I could tell her how much her teaching meant to me, and what it's done for me throughout the years. However, I gather she left GHS and I'm not sure how to contact her. If you know, would you please e-mail me?

 Don't look me up in the yearbook. I didn't graduate. Instead I got my GED and went immediately to Sandburg to take classes in marketing and business, as soon as I could shake loose of GHS.

Hope someone can help me find her. I missed my chance to find Sister Rosemary Powers from Costa Catholic School, and she was very instrumental in my writing career as well. Wouldn't want to miss a second chance to tell someone thanks.

Thanks for any help you can give!

-- Cardinal Robbins

From: Becky Thomson
Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2006
Subject: Galesburg Native

I was born Becky Thomas in 1951 in Cottage Hospital. I grew up on Maple Avenue, in the same house where my mother, 89-year-old Beatrice Thomas, lives still today. My father was Seth Thomas, the founder of Thomas Plumbing and Heating Company. He opened the company in the early 50's and remained active in the business until his death in 1989. The company closed in 2002.

I went to Bateman Elementary School and Churchill Jr. High School, both on Maple Avenue about four blocks from my home. I can remember walking to school even before there was a stop light at the corner of Maple and Fremont. Bateman School has been demolished, but was located right next door to Churchill. 

After I graduated from Galesburg High School in 1970, I attended the University of Illinois in Urbana, but I returned home during the summers to work at my father's business out on Grand Avenue. In 1973 I was married to Greg Bennett, son of Ralph Bennett, who was then the minister of the First Christian Church.  Greg and I moved to Seattle. I have since been divorced, re-married, and widowed.

Since 1973 I have been visiting Galesburg more or less annually. I still love to visit Steak 'n Shake, the Fremont House bakery, and the Maid-Rite place on Grand Avenue.

I remember when the old library burned down, so the Galesburg Public Library was brand new while I was attending school. I remember going to see movies at the Orpheum Theater. I remember eating dinner at Harbor Lights. I remember the big old train station before there was Amtrak. I remember the swings and the wading pool at Lincoln Park.

Galesburg has gone through a lot of good and bad times in my life, but it's still where I go when I go home.

Becky Thomson

From: Jeanie Scholey
Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2006
Subject: Mother Burg

Name: Jeanie Given - Wilson - Scholey

Born: Cottage Hospital - July 1938

Attended: Bateman School - Hitchcock Jr. High - the old GHS (with those wonderful marble steps worn thin on the edges.) Favorite teacher: Miss Lester - 1st grade Raised at 766 North Cedar Street

Favorite memories: Going to sleep for my nap listening to the planes coming and going from the airport on Henderson Street across from Parkway Drive-in (now Midas Muffler)

Lincoln Park and going down to see the old bear cave. (no bear) The ice house on the corner of North Cedar and Mary streets Playing outside on a summer night until the street lights came on My bestest friend in the whole world who lived across the street until they moved to Henderson Il. Janet Nelson - wonder what ever happened to her. She moved before we started to school. And her brother Richard who always knocked our paper dolls down. Watching the Vedels Dairy milkman chase his horse drawn milk wagon down the street. Being able to talk the same milkman out of a piece of the greatest ice in the whole world. It was so clear and wonderful. Bringing the milk inside in the winter with this tall column of frozen cream coming out the top with a little paper cap on top.

Going to OT's book balcony with my jr. high best friend, Teresa Benz to buy Nancy Drew books and trading them after we read our own. wonder what ever happened to Teresa. Her dad used to own and run the bowling ally out on Grand Avenue. We were on a teen bowling team at her dads - not because we loved bowling, but because the pin boys were "cute". Teresa lived in that beautiful house on the corner of Broad and Osage street. It had been part of the underground railroad in it's hayday and we loved looking for hidden rooms and passageways. Skating at Elmos Roller Rink. They had a real organist - no records. There isn't even a dent in the field where it used to be on Lake Story Road. Too Bad. Gregory's candy and ice cream on the square by the Broadview Hotel. (always went there with my Mom - the square was not a place my Mom would let me go by myself then.) Cruising from Steak and Shake on main to Huddle drive-in on Henderson st.  Learning to swim in the "girls" pool at the high school. The tunnel from the high school to the gym. Our neighbors Mr. and Mrs. Augustson who had greenhouses. They were wonderful people - from 'Sweden - she used to tell my mother " you yust must get that girl singing lessons". Didn't happen. Their sons, Class and Elm had the C&E grocery on Losey street where Family Video is now.

And I'm sure I will remember more for a later time. 

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