Moline Memories - MHS 66 Friends

Growing nostalgic about my youth, I decided to post some memories of a lost era:
Moline, Illinois and the Quad-Cities.
MHS 1966 - 50th Reunion, 2016 -
September 9th -
Miltown Coffee and Restaurant
3800 River Drive, Moline
September 10th -
Oakwood Country Club
1067 US Highway 6
Coal Valley

Monday, August 15, 2016

Mike Collins Had His Business Go Up in Smoke When the Firemen Let the Blaze Rekindle From the Other Side of Building

Mike Collins, MHS Class of 1968, lost his entire shop when the local firemen let a fire rekindle from next door. Let's pitch in and help him with rebuilding his business.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Sassy Returns as the MHS66 Mascot

Dateline - Sprindale, Arkansas

Sassy has agreed to return as the MHS66 mascot. Her fanbase continues to grow as she visits various cities on her travels. She was booked early for the 50th Reunion of the Class of 1966, The Class the Stars Fell On.

Favorite food - Pupperoni, grilled chicken.
Favorite snack - Frosty Paws Ice Cream.

Sassy is a big hit with children and adults, because she gets along so well with three legs. One let had to be amputated after a horse kicked Sassy and her family neglected her. They dropped her off at a shelter and a rescue group provided her the medical care she needed.

Sassy is extremely loud when she is happy, but always gentle with everyone. She makes friends with cats by barking loudly in their faces. That has not worked out well for her.

Small dogs adore Sassy and love to follow her around.

She is an excellent manager and herder. She helped return one lost little boy who was crying on a busy corner. The boy knew her and followed us home, one block away.

Sassy also collected a pitbull named Gucci, who followed us home and into the garage. His anxious owner put the full-sized dog in the car and said, "He is such a baby and he is always breaking his chain."

Sassy Sue's catching and fetching ability left the owners at the dog park slack-jawed and the other dogs jealous of that magical orange ball, which made everyone clap for the three-legged German Shepherd and Cattle Dog mix.

Sassy treats her staff well, smiling when we catch onto her hints.

A rotating tail means displeasure. When the speed picks up, the displeasure is turning into extreme disgust.

Scratching the antique table meant she wanted attention. After the table was moved, she simply began scratching in the air.

Sometimes she will perform the Cattle Dog Blues, either howling for the chorus or barking. Once she got a room full of dogs howling with their snouts in the air. It looked like a scene from Lady and the Tramp. When she performed at a tire store, the customers asked for her blog address.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Big Question for the 50th Anniversary, MHS 66 -
"What About My Hair?" - Men Are Asking

The Elvis look is classic and bound to get attention.

Larry Easter had a special speech about anyone who wore a mullet.

The Yul Brynner was a far-sighted
way to hide hair loss.

No one ever again reached the heights
of Wayne Cochran, the blue-eyed soul singer
who broke new records in hair excellence.

Wayne Cochran could sing beautifully in this tear-jerker, a bit better than "Teen Angel."

Monday, July 18, 2016

Coolidge Teacher and Principal Burt Ringquist's Birthday is July 20th.
Join Us on the Coolidge FB Page To Wish Him Happy Birthday

We are wishing Coolidge Teacher and Principal Burt Ringquist "Happy Birthday" now on our Coolidge Facebook Page.

We are just getting started, so join us and leave a greeting and thank-you for Mr. Ringquist.

Here is his personal Facebook page in case you want to go there too:

Burt Ringquist - outstanding teacher and principal at Coolidge, will have a birthday on July 20th. Let's start with some Happy Birthdays and comments about his classroom excellence.
LikeShow more reactions
Gregory L. Jackson Mr. Ringquist was one of the best teachers I had at any school. He was always ready for fun and had a great project for us in learning about civics and government.
LikeReply7 hrs
Sarah Rosborough Bancroft Happy Birthday Mr of the best teachers I ever had. He always kept my attention!
LikeReply6 hrs
LikeReply6 hrs
Linda Franks Snyder Nache Happy Birthday Mr Ringqiust!!!
LikeReply5 hrs
Jennifer Steffen Happy Birthday, Mr. Ringquist!
LikeReply5 hrs
Liz Copeland Have a Happy one!!!
LikeReply4 hrs
Guy Johnson Happy Birthday Mr Ringquist!
LikeReply2 hrs
Linda Swanson Lootens Happy birthday Burt
LikeReply2 hrs
Tim Cook Happy Birthday!
LikeReply2 hrs
Becki Searls Grimes 🎂Happy Birthday ~Burt🎂
I hope life is treating you wonderfully!!😊

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Famous Homer Jackson, Melo-Cream Owner, Cubs Fan -
Shadow Manager of WQUA

This photo looks so much like grandson Alex, sitting on my lap,
but his father Martin was there, Grandma Chris on the right.
My father arranged these annual calendars and drafted various family members.

My father, Homer N. Jackson, was famous for his Melo-Cream Donut Shop, 1313 Fifth Avenue, Moline, Illinois. The nearby radio station called him the shadow manager, because the official manager Jean LaVern Flambo, listened to his suggestions and implemented them.

Dad was also a tireless but constantly discouraged Cubs fan. Born July 4th, 1910, he lived 85 years hoping for a Cubs World title, the last pennant won in 1945.

He began the business with his brother and later bought him out. The business was owned by the Melo-Cream chain, which still exists, but the Moline outlet had not done well.

Dad had Popeye arms because he mixed large batches of bread dough by hand in the early days. As a young adult in the Great Depression, his idea of work was anything that paid, which included being a laborer in building Wharton Field House. He talked about handling hot bags of concrete mix and loading them. In other words, "You kids have it easy. You are spoiled rotten."

Moline was very prosperous in those days, with income and taxes flowing from John Deere and related industries.

This recent view looks toward Melo-Cream, hidden, on the left.
First Lutheran, on the right. was the mother church
 of the Augustana Synod in that region.

Dad boasted that he outlasted at least 200 bakeries during his decades on Fifth Avenue. People still write to me about his doughnuts - or donuts - as they were spelled for the business (an invention in WWI to feed the soldiers quickly).

Here is the secret to the addictions generated by any prodcut he made - the best ingredients and quality control:

  • Chocolate was the best Baker's cocoa nibs, which were melted and mixed into icing.
  • He only used cane sugar because bakers knew beet sugar was not quite the same, even if the chemical formula was identical.
  • The best flour came from General Mills and a California company, mixed for the best cake donuts.
  • The peanuts, walnuts, coconut, and pecans were the largest and best from the suppliers. He paid for the peanuts late because he loved the ferocity of their dunning letters. He let me read some and have a laugh.
  • The shortening was also the highest quality and cleaned or changed often. To this day I judge food by the quality and cleanliness of its fat. 
  • Overcooked and undercooked products were dumped or sent home to be consumed by the family. The quality was shown by our ability to warm up donuts or danish days later and get that just-made taste. We laughed about getting the discards, but they were pretty good too.
  • Spices were top quality, so it was a treat to open the cinnamon barrel or the nutmeg barrel and inhale.
  • He used a blend of Maxwell House Coffee and Yuban for full, smooth coffee, drip grind. His rule was - coffee was no good after 15 minutes and had to be tossed.
This was my Melo-Cream calendar picture, about age 4.
I soloed again years later.

That is just a sample. Any given ingredient could be A+, A, B, C, or just plain dreadful and still used in a bakery. We visited one, which was large and profitable. The backroom aroma at that bakery revealed that there was a considerable amount of compromise involved.

When the best ingredients were put together and used with skill, the Melo-Cream donuts and danish were the best anywhere. I have never seen them equaled. When he took over the bread donuts for a time, rolling them out, cutting and frying them himself, the long johns and cinnamon fries  were almost weightless. That was a combination of the perfect mixing, the right rise and proofing, the correct cutting and frying. Some of his employees could get close to this, but no one mastered what he could do.

Dad was also famous for peanut brittle, which was light and crunchy - and fudge, rich in chocolate flavor, walnuts, and chocolate icing. I loved his oatmeal raisin cookies, with chopped walnuts in them. I suggested an improvement for the chocolate chips cookies, and that worked out very well.

Adam Jones was the most original DJ
at WQUA or anywhere else.

Cubs Fan
Dad loved following the Cubs, so going there for games was not a debatable topic. He always marveled at the way a Cubs player could be lackluster until traded to another team, then suddenly become a league champion in his position. The jeremiads continued year after year.

Long after I was gone, the trips to the games continued, often on busses filled with fans and a little beer. WQUA disk jockey Adam Jones said he really enjoyed those trips to the Cubs games with Dad.

This is the year for the Cubs to win the pennant and World Series, so the experts say. I could repeat a few expressions that I heard about those years when the Cubs led their division until the end and choked. But I do hope that Cubs fans will find justice and victory at last, this year.

Some Springdale boys were asking for donations for their all-star team, working the crowd in front of the largest Walmart in Arkansas. I said, "Are you Cubs fans?" One said, "No, Cardinals."

I said, "Oh no! They are the worst." His friend muttered something to him.

Then I added, "A lot of my friends are Cardinal fans too, and I enjoyed their games in St. Louis."

I gave them a donation and that got me some gift cards to Sonic, which I gave them to use. "Build your muscles." They laughed and their adult sponsors behind them laughed with them.

Growing up Melo-Cream meant having no tolerance for
inferior ingredients, no excuse for shirking hard work.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Adam Sandler To Move to Moline

He could entertain our 50th reunion!

Adam Sandler is Moving to Moline, Illinois

MOLINE, Illinois – In a huge surprise to everyone in Los Angeles, Hollywood actor Adam Sandler reveals in a new interview that he is moving to the Moline, Illinois area. He tells the magazine that he is “tired of the L.A. lifestyle” and is looking for a big change in life.
“I’m just tired of the L.A. lifestyle and I feel like, at this point in my life, I’d rather just live in a place full of real, genuine people. I’ve been to Moline, Illinois a couple of times over the years and the people there are real… they’re genuine, and yeah every community has its problems but the people there are good, decent people and they care about their community. Those are the things I find most important in deciding where to live,” Sandler told the magazine.
“I’m not retiring, I’m just looking for a change in life and I think I’ve found that in Moline,” Sandler reassured fans. Let us know what you think in the comments section especially if you’re a resident of the Moline, Illinois area and click the share button below to share with friends.

 He is going to enjoy the eating - Lago's and Whitey's,
but he is too late for Melo Cream.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Teacher's Day - Part III - My Wife the Teacher.
Mother's Day

Our son is in this photo with my father,
but he looks exactly like his son at that age.
See Batman below.

My wife Christina was trained to be a German teacher at Augustana College, and she lived in Germany to learn more and become especially fluent. Later she earned a master's degree in German literature at the University of Waterloo, a tough program where all the reading was in German - and  so were most of the lectures.

I was one of her first students. She thought I should learn German, and I took plenty of courses at Augustana in German, and she took Greek - based on my suggestion. I was not a natural in languages, but I thought they were important to learn, so I took Greek and more Latin.

Every mother is a teacher, and Chris devoted herself to teaching our children all the time. She gave her language abilities to our son, and gave our daughters a special love for conversation and laughter. Bethany and Erin Joy could not talk, but they spoke with their eyes, laughter, smiles, and tears. Story time was so important we even phoned up story time from a special number.

All three children heard stories, listened to books read, and enjoyed group lovey time. There are many ways to teach.

My wife Chris decided that learning itself was good, not something received at a school, even though she substitute taught at various schools. Learning happened all the time, which is how we talked her into an Atari game computer - for education. "They have all kinds of programs to teach math and everything else."

That little game computer turned into a career. Today, we had the best time talking about the latest advances.

I remember Chris driving Little Ichabod to the community college for classes, very early, as I mentioned before. We home-schooled, which was a great experience. I got to tutor him in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and he tutored his classmates in Latin and Greek.

My wife and I love literature, so we had a home full of literature, classical music, and hymns. When I read stories, I insisted on junior editions of literature or classic children's stories, like Wind in the Willows. We read Tolkien and Lewis too.

The wonderful thing about a wife and mother working at home is the astonishing amount of education that comes from that experience. During Fiddler on the Roof being played on the record player, the young groom sang "Miracle of miracles, God gave you to me." At that point our toddler ran over and kissed his mother. During the "Fifteen Birds in Five Fir Trees," song from The Hobbit record, he danced. I was in my office downstairs and heard the song and the feet thumping - so much fun.

Chris was always looking for ways to get the best education for LI. Various opportunities worked out, and we found ways to work around the drones and drudges in education.

I had to say at one school, "It is better to deserve honors than receive them." That was where the school secretary controlled the principal and decided on giving awards to the dumbest - truly a practical education in how the world works, even in putative Christian schools.

WELS had some excellent teachers in Shakespeare (Oxford), math, and science. Chris was 100% for that, since we thought an education was valuable in itself, not a way to earn a ton of money. A great liberal arts education is now The Thing in careers, because people with a broad education are better at thinking through problems and solving them. And they can articulate ideas in good English, a real bonus today.

Teaching mothers become teaching grandmothers, which means enrollment in a mutual admiration society.