Monthly Archives: March 2008

Last House in Champaign / Urbana Illinois


This house is located on Oakland Street in Urbana, Illinois.  It was the last house I lived in before we moved up north to the Chicago land area, the north end of Kane County.  The house was made out of concrete blocks and was strong.  There were tile floors in all of the rooms and the walls were cold to the touch in the winter.  My brother and I slept in the back bedroom on bunk beds.  I had the bottom.  That worked well for us until one morning I woke up and the clothes I had left on the floor were covered with ants.  I called my mother and after she told me that “this is what happens when you leave your clothes on the floor!”  My father came home from working on the Ice Cream truck and she spoke to him and they changed our bedroom from the back bedroom to the dining room in the front of the house.  I no longer had the luxury of the bottom bunk I had now been relegated to the top bunk, which I hated.  It was always hot up there and I could never sleep.  I could however hear the bells and reindeer hoofs on the roof.  This room we moved to was where the TV was.  We never watched TV but it was somehow important and when my Uncle Roy came to visit from Chicago, my father and he tapes three colors of cellophane across the front of it to make the people in it seem like they were in real color.  I would never laugh out loud at the two of them.  I just agreed that it looked better until they realized that it was a joke and they laughed at themselves.  It looked totally dumb to me, but they were happy.  I never wanted to leave the house and never wanted to move here, but I never went back. Except to visit once in a while.  I was only 6 so what would I know? 

I planted my first flowers there.  My mother bought me a package of Astors and I carefully planted them by the tree on the left.  I don’t know where I got the idea from but I loved how they looked on the package.  I remember squatting down and pushing the dirt to the side and then covering up the seeds.  I watered them and let them grow.  This house had many things to explore. 

Especially the big old dilapidated barn across the road.  It was forbidden to go there but I could not resist.  When no one was looking I went over there and climbed on the old floors and imagined how the cows were, where they ate and where they stood.   There was no roof on the building and barely anything left, but I knew it was a barn. 

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Filed under Champaign Illinois, Stories

Burnham Woods Elgin, Illinois

Burnham Woods Fall 2007 008 One of my favorite places in the world.  It is a small wonder but its peace and quiet is beyond all.   I have finally captured all of the seasons there and I am still working on Winter and fog.  Fog was almost done.  I went there on the foggiest of days but a sin occurred.  I did not bring a camera and so I missed the greatest shots.  I will continue to stalk there and of course the lesson learned again I will bring the camera.   I have a small one but I can only go there during my lunch hour before it gets dark during the winter so sometimes it is too much to bring it along.  I use a DMC  07 for my pocket camera and the photos are spectacular for such a small piece.  I do use a heavy tripod when I bring it along.  I had a small Velbron but it seems as though that is just to flimsy.  So I use the big one. 

I can not describe the peace it brings over me and when I am setting up shots I get so involved the afternoon is gone and I have enjoyed every minute of it.  There will certainly be more shot of this place.  I thought I saw a crane there once so you know I will be on the constant look out for it.

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Filed under Elgin, Illinois, Landscapes, nikon, Snow, Trees

What happened here?

Street-SnowOur house when the snow came.  Just keeping up with the snow was a major issue.  I heard that this was the most snow we had since 1978.  Hard to believe but more is on its way this evening.  I did this photo without a tripod using my Nikon D70s.  My Nikon Page  Just a quick shot to remember.  I like looking at those web pages that show the old days and big snows.  So maybe these will be one on those pages people can look at in the future. 

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Filed under nikon, Snow, snow storm, street, Street scene

Camp Big Timber, Elgin, Illinois

P1000939 This is the edge of Camp Big Timber.  I have not seen it since I was a boy in the late 50’s and early 60’s.  It is a Boy Scout camp.  I camped there with our troop.  We went in late fall to get in one last over niter.  When we got there we started to pitch the canvas tents but the scoutmasters stopped us.  They told us that we were going to stay in the lodge this time.  In a way I was disappointed and in another way I was happy as it was starting to get real cold.  We filled the lodge with firewood and went outside to get fresh air but mostly stayed in when it got a little later.  There was plenty to do with stories and a class on knot tying. 

A bunch of us wanted to get out and talk a walk, even though the cold was getting a little bitter.  For a few of us it would be the last time we went camping and we knew it would soon be over.  We were getting older and the time was fast approaching when we would get jobs and cars.  We would soon be teenagers and wanted to spread our wings a little.  Our walk took us to the creek by the railroad tracks where in the summer the The Song of Hiawatha pageant was preformed by authentic players who spent a good deal of their time making real costumes from the period.  After all we were in Indian country.  I had never seen the pageant as tickets were very costly and I could not afford to go.  I heard from the guys who went that it was a spectacular show.  Later on in life I would meet a couple of the players one would be the brother of one of my good friends.  The pageant ended around 1979 the best I remember.

The trees in the photo remind me of the next day when we woke up in the lodge and walked outside to the most beautiful winter wonderland I have ever seen.  The snow was deep all around us and the scout masters were worried about how we would be getting out.  The word was that we would not be staying another night as we had planned.  We walked around, played in the snow laughing with our cheeks turning red, while waiting for the scout masters to make up their mind.  It was decided we would be leaving.  Dejectedly we loaded the cars and all of us participated in the pushing them up the hill so they could get out.  Camp Big Timber a great place from another time. 

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Filed under Camp Big Timber, Camping, Elgin, Illinois, firewood, lodge, Snow, Song of Hiawatha, Trees

What Happens Now

This is a journey of photographs and a little history. 

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