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"Hometown" - Where and Why.

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  • "Hometown" - Where and Why.

    (I was intrigued by the responses to Bill Presslers thread about a car show in his 'hometown'.
    Rather than steal his thread, or put it in the wrong forum (heaven forbid!), it'll go in Stove Hugger's).

    My 'hometown' was Itasca, Il. Population was 599 when I was a kid.
    Our phone numer was IT537 and then went to that newfangled dial thing 773-0537.
    The 537th phone in town. Kept that number until 2016.
    Today the town has about 9,000 (but it seems like 19,000).
    Anyways, it was my 'hometown'. But it was where my mother insisted we stay rather than travel the country with my father where he built, maintained, and repaired numerous commercial bakery ovens. They had a mfg. plant in Franklin Park, so my dad based out of there, and took a shuttle helicopter ride from Orchard Field (a SAC refueling base) down to Midway Airport (the commercial airport). That was before old man Daley annexed the airfield and renamed it O'hare.
    (That's why the airport designation is ORD... Orchard Field)
    Anyways... Grew up there in Itasca... Lot's of stories and stuff. Moved a whopping 3 miles to Roselle, IL when I got married.
    Roselle was where Pabich Motors, the Studebaker dealer was. My dad bought a '61 Hawk there.
    Also where the Plain Brown Wrapper was delivered.
    I moved several times, job related. My dad passed suddenly at age 50, when I was in high school. Mom stayed in that house with my middle sister, and my sister stayed in that house after my mom passed. My sister stayed there until she retired. Then we sold the house and the new owner bulldozed it (literally) to build a McMansion.
    So, the 'hometown' was great for me as a kid growing up, but, to the parents, it was just a good place to raise kids. They planned on leaving after the kids were grown and gone.
    I have no burning desire to revisit and relive all those moments in Itasca. The state of Illinois removed a lot of that joy.
    Now... Hometown is wherever I am at. That's where the fun is.
    We (Carrie and I) make the fun!
    HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)


    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain

    Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)

  • #2
    Great post, Jeff! Makes me think you are a "Windshield" sort of guy. An optimistic person anticipating what's ahead. Comfortable in your own skin, not living in your rear view mirror, nor worried and obsessed with your instrument panel. In my opinion, it is an attitude that enables true freedom. Not fame, money, nor any arbitrary goals can produce the freedom, peace, and contentment that you have achieved by having such an attitude.

    You know that's what pisses a lot of grumpy miserable busybodies off!
    John Clary
    Greer, SC

    SDC member since 1975


    • #3
      Bruce Sprinsteen summed it up well in song:



      • #4
        Originally posted by 8E45E View Post
        Bruce Sprinsteen summed it up well in song:

        Springsteen - I tried for more than one-half of it and then gave up. I could not understand most of what he was saying.
        Gary L.
        Wappinger, NY

        SDC member since 1968
        Studebaker enthusiast much longer


        • #5
          Originally posted by studegary View Post
          Springsteen - I tried for more than one-half of it and then gave up. I could not understand most of what he was saying.
          Gary...try Simon and Garfunkel

          Marshfield, WI...JU84502

          I did go back several years ago. It has grown and is somewhat different than when I lived there in the 50's and early 60's. Still enough the same to bring back the memories. All good.
          Dick Steinkamp
          Bellingham, WA


          • #6
            My hometown, Yuma, AZ, had a population of about 20-25K when I graduated from high school in 1964. i was gone from 1965-99. Now well over 100K not counting 25+K in surrounding area. During winter months 80-100K snowbirds come to roost. Still finding streets I have never been on.
            Tim-'53 Starlight Commander Custom in Yuma, AZ


            • #7
              Originally posted by jclary View Post
              <snip> Comfortable in your own skin, not living in your rear view mirror, nor worried and obsessed with your instrument panel. <snip>
              I like your instrument panel comment.
              I remember, several years ago, at an SDC zone meet....
              Pat and Emily (RIP) Skelly and my wife Carrie and I were out in Pat's GT Hawk.
              Carrie and I are back seat riders heading to Dunkin' Donuts for coffee.
              The sun is setting, the headlights are turned on.
              I see that Pat's dash lights are all out, and I ask him about the no dash light situation.
              Without blinking an eye, Pat says "Who wants to see bad news?"
              Says it all......
              HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)


              Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain

              Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)


              • #8
                Born New Brunswick, NJ because Dad was stationed there during WWII. When he was sent to the Pacific a few months later, Mom and I went to stay with her parents in Sioux Falls, SD, their and I guess my, hometown.

                Over the years thereafter-

                Waukegan, IL
                Greenville, MS (graduated HS there)
                Jackson, MS (graduated college)
                Dayton, OH
                Durham, NH
                Seaford, DE
                Taipei, Taiwan
                Spartanburg, SC ever since

                There's something good about all of them (well maybe not Waukegan), but the best was Durham, NH. We lived right on (as in 50 ft from the front door) a huge bay, which was teeming with flounder, lobsters and oysters, and as residents of the town, could take advantage of everything at UNH which was three miles away, the Maine beaches were 20 minutes away and downtown Boston was 45 minutes. We'd go back in a heartbeat...alas a situation like that is now way beyond our means....and I've got no business being out in a small boat, rescuing lobster traps from an approaching hurricane...
                Last edited by jnormanh; 06-22-2019, 04:31 PM.


                • #9
                  This will sound depressing....

                  I grew up on the farm that was located adjacent to a very small town in central Minnesota. Our driveway accessed by going down a side street off the main drag that is a county highway.

                  The town was established pretty late, in the early 1920s when one of the last rail lines run through Minnesota was extended through the area. The farm buildings are older than the town. One outbuilding has a date of 1913 in it I found a few years ago.

                  It was never a significant town, and the population peaked about 360 in the late 40s, early 50s. The last census has it at 238 but that is not the full story.

                  Farming and size of farms in that area has changed a lot and the amount of folks living in the nearby surrounding area has also declined greatly.

                  I was old enough to notice stuff by the mid 1970s and it was already in decline then.

                  A new elementary school was opened in 1955 and originally was 1-8. When I went there in the 70s it was K-6 and was closed in 1979 with only about 60 students the last year. I am given to understand there were 4 school buses originally, so probably something like 160+ kids. The building has been owned by a few different businesses over the years and currently is pretty much vacant I think.

                  Passenger rail service was ended in 1947 and I believe the rail line in general was abandoned around 1960-65. Rails were torn up in the mid 70s. The track right of way was sold off in the 80s and its reverted to farm land.

                  When I was very small, there was:

                  -Bank: still there but now part of a local chain and not independent.
                  -Grocery, 2x: Both of those are now gone and there is a barely hanging on convenience store in a building that was originally one of the hardware stores.
                  -Hardware Store, 2x: Both long gone. A 3rd one opened as a sideline for an electrician for a while but since closed.
                  -Cafe's and bars: 4x: One bar & grill remains. A restaurant operated in the former Ford Car dealer building for a few years until it burned to the ground about 3yrs ago. Vacant lot now.
                  -Service Stations (also did repairs): 3x: only that convenience store sells fuel only.
                  -Farm machinery dealer: 1x sold Ford, Moline, and used. At one time there was also a International Harvester dealer too who sold Plymouth and Desoto. It was closed before my time.
                  -Bowling alley. Was originally a movie theater and now the remaining bar/grill.
                  -Car dealer: Ford dealer also sold some farm machinery. Closed in 1987.
                  -Cenex Oil and farm supplies. Closed about 20yrs ago, building now owned by a hunting and fishing club.
                  -Grain elevator: Closed about 10yrs ago and vacant.
                  -Creamery (buys and processes milk from dairy farms), Closed in 1985.
                  -Lumber yard: Closed in the 80s and building long ago demo'd.
                  -Blacksmith shop: Closed long ago
                  -Independent mechanic/repair shop: Closed in the 80s.
                  -Barber shop and a separate women's beauty shop.
                  -Feed and seed dealer: Gone since early 80s and building long gone.
                  -Auto body repair shop, long gone
                  -Liquor Store: The original one went through several owners and the last one arsoned the place for insurance $. The electrician shop/hardware store guy now sells liquor and probably makes more $ from that...
                  -There are probably others and also ones that came and went before my time.

                  A lot of the former businesses closed when the owner retired or passed on.

                  I think the only currently active business in town is the Bank, convenience store (for sale!), A bar, liquor store, a chiropractor that comes around a couple of times a week, and a trucking company that might do a few simple repairs and oil changes in their shop. Other than that, you just have the post office, fire hall, senior center, etc.

                  My elderly Mom still lives on the farm (land rented out) and its not the best for her as its so isolated but she is stubborn.

                  Folks will generally have to drive at least 12 miles to another town(s) of 1k or so that are also struggling or 20 miles to the local regional larger town of about 20k to shop.

                  My late Dad retired after 1997 season and already was having to travel to get farm supplies. No doubt the remaining consolidated farms get their supplies from a ways off. There is no reduction in actual land farmed in the area, just the size of the operation is larger. Back in the day, most of the small farms had cattle, cows, hogs, and poultry. I can't think of any place around there that has dairy cows anymore and even cattle and hogs are not too common. There are large turkey operations in the county though. Pretty much all the farm land around there is rotated corn and soybeans with some sugar beets. Seldom see anyone grow wheat or hay, etc. When I was growing up we had dairy cows and hogs so we would have some land for pasture, hay, and oats (for feed and straw bedding). Nobody does that anymore.

                  In contrast to all this, I have been living in the Fargo, ND area since 1996. In that time, the growth has been high. There a many square miles of former farmland I recall that are now gone to development of some sort around here. This summer there is so much road construction going on to the north of where I live, that its impossible to get anywhere w/o a massive detour.

                  Jeff in ND


                  • #10
                    I never had a "home town." I tried to count all the places I've lived in when I met my wife. 30 + years ago, and the times I had moved were over 45 differeent places. I went to 3 different schools in my junior year of high school alone! So, I guess home is where you make it and the people you surround yourself with.
                    Bez Auto Alchemy

                    "Don't believe every internet quote" Abe Lincoln


                    • #11
                      Not counting college, I have lived in five (four since I was two) places that were all within seven miles and all in the same school district. We purchased our current home in 1990.
                      Gary L.
                      Wappinger, NY

                      SDC member since 1968
                      Studebaker enthusiast much longer


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jclary View Post
                        not living in your rear view mirror
                        It was told to me at a youngish age; There is a reason the windshield is bigger than the rear view mirror.

                        Good advice that I've tried to keep in my head thru the years.
                        Money may not buy happiness, but it's more comfortable to cry in a Mercedes than on a bicycle.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jnormanh View Post
                          Born New Brunswick, NJ because Dad was stationed there during WWII. When he was sent to the Pacific a few months later, Mom and I went to stay with her parents in Sioux Falls, SD, their and I guess my, hometown..
                          Born in Somerville, NJ and grew up in Hillsborough, NJ just a stones throw from New Brunswick which is were my daughter was born.


                          • #14
                            Really enjoyed Jeff's post above, so will try to do something similar. I grew up in Harrison, New York, which is a suburb of New York City. NYC, like other old cities like Boston and Chicago, had an extensive network of commuter rail lines as early as the late 1800s, so it encouraged middle-class residential development 20, 30, even 50 miles from mid-town Manhattan. My father, like most of our neighbors, took the New Haven Railroad into the city every day. My parents bought their 1937 house in 1940 for $10,500. They had argued with the previous owner over $500 for 6 months. It was a good place to grow up.

                            My father died in 1976 and my mother in 1989. I inherited the house, and couldn't decide what to do with it. Sentiment eventually drove me to keep it and rent it out. I learned very quickly that I was never destined to be a landlord. I had some good tenants and some bad. The best was a Japanese couple assigned for two years to the NYC office of Mitsubishi Chemical, who left the place cleaner and neater than when they had moved in. The worst was a couple with a new baby who managed to damage nearly all the woodwork and most of the hardwood floors. All I remember about them was that he played the Beast in the Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast (he was big).

                            I made the mistake of trying to do nearly all the repairs and maintenance myself in between tenants (my father, who was very handy, must've taught me that guys are supposed to be handy). I would use my vacation time and drive from DC to Harrison with tools, paint, and whatever else I thought I would need, and camp out in the house for a week at a time. I left my childhood twin bed in the attic, and would set it up in my old bedroom with nothing but a portable radio and some books for company. Sometimes the land line phone was still connected, but most of the time it was not. In that pre-cell phone era, I was completely out of touch. I was divorced and living alone, so most of the time no one except my employer ever needed to get hold of me. I now realize that I should've just paid someone else to do the work -- I could have written it off as an expense -- and I would have found something more enjoyable to do with my time. But I was never satisfied with the quality of the work that other people did on my childhood home.

                            Eventually, common sense prevailed and I sold the house in 1999. Peggy and I drove my GMC pickup to the house and loaded it up with my childhood bed and mattress, an extension ladder, leftover lumber, and whatever other junk was left in the basement. I have heard from some old neighbors that the new owners have greatly expanded the place to the point that it is almost unrecognizable. I haven't been back to take a look.
                            Skip Lackie


                            • #15
                              My hometown was Stewartville Mn.The birthplace of Richard Sears of Sears & Roebuck fame.
                              Farming community 12 miles south of Rochester Mn.
                              Nice place to grow up. Population 2,000 when I was there.
                              My folks moved out in 1988 and I have been back there 3 times since even though it's just 2 1/2 hours away.No interest in going there.
                              Mono mind in a stereo world