Sunday, November 2, 2014

October Top Posts

October was another amazing month at Along the Gradyent. As per usual, in depth stories and reminisces dominated the most viewed list. Those popular posts are the most satisfying to write, even more so as months and years pass and they are read and reread. A huge thank you to our readers for checking in on our blog and checking the posts out. Here are October's top ten. 

1.  This is the story of what happened the early morning hours of March 24, 1935, near the corner of Austin Ave. and Dempster Street in Morton Grove, Illinois, two and one-half blocks up from my childhood home. Prohibition had ended, but the Club Rendezvous had been designed as a speakeasy with tightly controlled entry in mind. That was good for keeping the authorities at bay. But disaster beckoned when flames licked the ceiling.
Street view, Club Rendezvous, Morton Grove, circa 1934. 
Festivities were at their height at the roadhouse, a remodeled bungalow in suburban Morton Grove, when the first tongue of flame licked out from the ceiling, near a suspended gas heater. 
Place Was Packed. 
Drapes and streamers stretched from the walls and ceiling of the dance hall and the dining room. The bar was packed. A mass of persons moved to the music of a three person orchestra on the dance floor. Every table in the dining room was filled. Many were Northwestern university students who had just come from a school musical comedy production. 
The girl who had sent the cry ringing through the building, snatched her wrap and made for the only exit -- except the kitchen door -- a narrow doorway on the east side of the dance hall. This doorway led into an anteroom which led to the street.
A frenzy of fear seized the merrymakers. Screaming, trampling, striking, they surged to the east exit -- only to discover, firemen said, it opened inward. The foremost were flattened against the door and wall by the desperate press of the panic-stricken. 
Six would die. A popular blogger or news source must have posted a link to this post late in the month because page views skyrocketed Halloween eve. Read about the Club Rendezvous management, and the tragedy and its victims, in Morton Grove before the Baby Boom: Club Rendezvous Goes Up In Smoke.

Janesville,Daily Gazette, December 14, 1967
2. For three summers back in the 1970s we built round and arched corrugated steel culvert pipe at Wisconsin Culvert Co. in Madison, Wisconsin. We was myself, another summer employee or two and the eight lifers who worked at Wisconsin Culvert Co. in Madison Wisconsin, not some flipping politician in a suit. We worked for Warner, the foreman, and the Johnson brothers, Kenneth and Paul. Caring About Culverts is a story of a different place in another era. It was one of those small manufacturing operations that is no more in today's big government corporatized world. If you haven't previously, check out the post to learn about the times, the people, the process and surrounding events. You won't be disappointed.

3. Our perennially popular and all-time top most viewed post, The Golf Channel: Spouse's Guide To Sanity, made the October three spot. Before he was FedEx Cup and Players champion, Henrik Stenson was the guy who played golf in his underwear. Bet you never saw Refrigerator Perry in his underwear, did ya? The wife authored this post as a Father's Day gift in 2013 as a relief from my blogging. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

My work location on September 11th was 8th floor 
of the ten story sandy brown building to the left, 
pictured between the Pentagon and US Capitol. 
4. September 11, We Remember (Repost) relates our experiences that tragic day along the Potomac in Washington, DC, and home across the river in Arlington, Virginia where the Pentagon is located. In an instant, what had started as horrific event live broadcast over the airwaves, popped up outside our window and virtually into our back yards.  This post is my story, one among millions, one that we will never forget.

5. I am a baby boomer. I grew up in Morton Grove, Illinois, a suburb due north of Chicago and about five miles in from Lake Michigan. The village is physically much as it was when I left it for good in 1971. But the times and the people were different. Here is my story about Growing Up In Morton Grove during the 1950s and 60s.

Grace, Albina and Florence
Foster, circa 1898.
6. As the days get shorter and the nights get longer we are drifting back into blogging about genealogy, ancestors, departed family and relatives. Many were pioneers and ground breakers. During October we wrote about Bina, as she was known to all. Aunt Laura Albina Foster was born in 1890 to Isaac J. Foster and Laura Elizabeth ("Lizzie") Armstrong Foster. She was the eldest of the 11 Foster children who survived infancy. My father, George W. Foster, born 19 years later, was the youngest. Pharmacist in her adulthood, she died all too soon on November 3, 1928 of mortification of appendicitis. In On The Road to Bathgate Act 4h: Aunt Laura Albina Foster we were able to piece together a surprisingly large number of snippets, and gather the themes her precious life on this earth.

7. Hillary Clinton's economic ignorance is on par, or I should say subpar, with Barack Obama's. In If You Think Obama Was Bad .... we spliced in a video clip of the woman you will be electing as the next president of the United States, asserting extemporaneously her heartfelt belief that  "corporations and businesses don't create jobs." The only hope we have of escaping from the $18 trillion federal debt trap is consistently strong economic growth. Ain't going to happen under the Barack and Hillary regimes. God help our children who are being forced to shoulder the prodigious debt.

Chad Wagamon 1950-2014
8. In Life And Death we eulogized my departed brother-in-law who left this mortal earth this August in Taichung, Taiwan. May Charles Wagamon Jr.'s soul rest in ever lasting peace. Our deepest sympathies are extended to his wife, daughter and parents.

9. In this October, 2013 post, It's Over, we lamented that the will for deficit elimination and debt repayment was lost in the deal that ended the government shutdown. The government shutdown was temporary but the impact of the White House's and Democratic Senate's insistence on new unfunded and underfunded programs and increasing debt burdens is permanent. With the so-called bi-partisan deal, there went out the window the momentum of fiscal discipline and decreasing deficits during the last couple of years. Going forward we said, "an unrestrained, incompetent and out of control government will succumb to the demographic and entitlement tsunamis and resulting debt load, swamping the economy and crowding out expenditures for fundamental government functions."
10. We found an old backup memory card in our camera case that included a collection of photos of our girls at Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, back in the day. Check it out here and check it out now in Saturday Pictures.

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