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Saturday, April 7, 2012

POST 593: 04/07/12: CHATSWORTH - PONTIAC, ILLINOIS

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. I wish all a safe and pleasant holiday.

Historic Note: My most memorable Easter Sunday:

1942, De Moines, Washington Grade School Field House Easter Egg Hunt - I was 6, in Second Grade.

At the sound of a whistle, we students ran onto the Baseball Field, basket in hand, looking for hidden decorated eggs. I quickly found one. It had a name - Mark - written on it. My "friend", Ralph S. saw my egg and said...that is Mark's egg. You have to put it back. I did.

I found two more eggs with names...and dutifully put them back.

I also found one egg which was nameless...I remember being so pleased I found a "legal" one I could keep.

After the hunt, us kids all went into the Field House - I did a blog on that Field House about 1.5 years ago posted on Google - for sandwiches, cookies, and milk.

Announcement from the stage: OK, kids...time to announce awards for prize eggs...anyone find an egg with a name on it?...about 10 stood up holding up their egg...OK, anyone find more than one with a name?...

Friend, Ralph S. stood up...I found three with names.

I watched in horror as Ralph S. handed over his three prize eggs, receiving first prize choice.

70 years later, I remember as it was this morning. Not all learning is in the classroom.


From our overnight park in Chatsworth, we drove SPIA immediately to the town of Forrest, Illinois, where we parked - above image - in the still darkened village.

I walked BACK to Chatsworth - 6 miles away - and returned to SPIA. Again, my walking speed was considerably over 4 mph (actually walked the 12 miles in 2 hours, 36 minutes; @ 4 mph, would have taken 3 hours).







From Forrest, we drove to the town of Pontiac, Illinois, about 13 miles away.

Arriving in Pontiac, we parked SPIA while I walked BACK for another 12 miles.


Pontiac is on the famed Route 66.

Route 66 actually passes through Pontiac, which has a well managed "Route 66 Museum".


Pontiac Court House...presently being renovated.






Please say HELLO to the staff of Route 66 Museum:

From left: Jim Jones, President Cathie Stevanovich, Martin Blistein, Teacher John Wiley, and I apologize I do not have the final gentleman's name.

I spent a good 45 minutes with these folks, talking about Route 66 - I walked part of it in New Mexico and again today here in Pontiac -, and of course, about SAM & ME.


Following are photographs I was allowed to take from the US 66 Museum display...





Pontiac, Illinois has received a national award for the murals to be found throughout town...such as the Case Tractor above and more which follow:


This one was particularly relevant to me. My Uncle Babe was at Guadalcanal during WWII. Later on, the US Marines assigned a squadron of the "gull wing" CORSAIR fighter aircraft flown by a bunch of (so it is said) misfit pilots known historically as the "BLACK SHEEP"... anyone remember the series: BA BA BLACK SHEEP?

The above mural is of the BLACK SHEEP.

Historical Note: In 1953, I was assigned to the UNCMAC Panmunjom Peace Talks as a Stenographer. Among other events, I witnessed a night-time dog fight with one of the BLACK SHEEP gull wing CORSAIR fighters shooting down his 5th "Bed Check Charlie". I watched the entire encounter, from the North Korean bi-wing airplane fly over Panmunjom heading for Seoul...only to be intercepted by the Marine airplane. They fought just a bit to South of me - between Panmunjom and Seoul - with Bed Check Charlie falling from the sky and crashing.

I do not recall the US Marine Pilots name, but with that victory, he became an Ace (an Ace must shoot down 5 enemy airplanes). All 5 of his shoot-downs were Bed Check Charlie.

Bed Check Charlie was so named because these slow North Korean aircraft flew over our bases every night...just to harass the troops.

On a particular night in downtown Seoul, a Bed Check Charlie forced us outside into slit trenches. The aircraft flew directly over my head...I could have easily hit him with a rock..., dropping two bombs on us (I saw them as they released), both of which missed by a hundred feet or so, killing two South Koreans on the sidewalk outside the wall of our base.



More Murals.




I was parked in the lot of the US 66 Pontiac Family Kitchen.

I took the opportunity to join them for breakfast and dinner today...both excellent.


Please say HELLO to Sunny, Host of US 66 Pontiac Family Kitchen.

Before dinner at Sunny's, I walked another 8 miles North on US 23, the route we will follow to De Kalb, Illinois.

All told, walked 32 miles today. Did not fully recover foot soreness from yesterday, and this evening, am particularly sore. Will go to sleep early and try to recover for tomorrow's walk.

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