One of my favorite “Scrapbook” subjects is the railroad history of Decatur and especially the Wabash Depot.
Like the Transfer House that I wrote about in my “Viewpoint” column last week (another favorite subject) the Wabash Depot has a connection to my life all the way back to my childhood, when I rode the Banner Blue to Chicago with my Grandma Bolin.
Several years later, I remember waiting inside the depot one early morning before catching the train to St. Louis to undergo a physical when I was thinking of joining the U. S. Army, instead of being drafted into the service of my country.
Like many of you reading this column, some meaningful events in my life happened at that depot. Whether waiting on a loved one’s arrival in Decatur, or being the loved one arriving at that station, memories made at that depot still live on in our hearts today.
There is a Holiday Open House ad on page 15 of this week’s print and online editions which highlights the Wabash Depot Antique Center at its location at 780 East Cerro Gordo on Nov. 4 and 5.
The Open House is not only an opportunity to visit a productive place of business, but another chance to stand in the place where so many memories have been made over the decades.
I guess, when I saw the ad, I was reminded of that special place and decided to feature some Decatur railroad history in this week’s “Scrapbook” on pages 4 and 5 of the print and online editions.
• MEMORIES — Longtime friend Dick Cain sent me an email in response to a recent story in this newspaper.
Dick wrote: “Your article on Maynard ‘Pat’ O’Brien brought back memories. O’Brien was track coach at Eastern Illinois when I was a student there.
“I was the Sports Editor of the student newspaper and covered the track team. I covered home meets in person, but not meets on the road. To get the results of road meets, I would go to the O’Brien’s home.
“Coach O’Brien and his wife were always cordial and accommodating. They always took more than a casual interest in me and my progress as a student.
“So it was a pleasant surprise to find your feature on Coach O’Brien in the Tribune. Thanks for the memories.”
• A BELATED congratulations to Dan Winter, who was recently inducted into the Decatur Public Schools Athletic Hall of Fame Class, as a Significant Contributor.
Winter was a teacher at MacArthur for 35 years and was PA announcer for MacArthur athletics for over 40 years and has continued close support to MacArthur High School from 1967 to today. Winter also served on the school board, including a stint as board president.
• ANOTHER ONE — My recent item in this column about a young woman parking in a Handicapped Parking space at the Arby’s on Route 51 North, brought a response from faithful Tribune reader Dave Wilhour, who wrote: “Funny, last time we stopped at that Arby’s, as we pulled in, the car behind us pulled into a handicapped parking spot. We parked in a normal parking spot. The young man was out of his car and inside ahead of us! You couldn’t see any sticker or license plate showing disability, but he was ahead of us getting waited on!”
• BY THE WAY, one of our readers called the Tribune after reading the Handicapped Parking item in this column and indicated there is an App that is available nationwide where you can shoot a photo of a vehicle parked in a Handicapped Parking space, and he or she isn’t handicapped, and that person will be issued a $250 ticket!
I checked out the app and found the following information online: “Welcome to Parking Mobility: the #1 app to report disabled parking abuse!
“Report disabled parking abuse to your city in less than two minutes. When you see a vehicle parked illegally, simply launch Parking Mobility, take 3 photos and submit. We tell the city and they ticket the vehicle’s owner. You help improve accessibility in your community and support people with disabilities. The data you help us generate helps demonstrate the worldwide problem of accessible parking abuse and helps us provide the most effective program to end abuse in your community.”
• SORRY to learn of the passing of Judy Locke, former longtime Decatur Park District Commissioner, founder and head of the Decatur Parks Foundation and strong supporter of the park district and community projects. (Obituary on page 20 of print and online editions.)
It seems like only yesterday when Judy pulled up in front of the Tribune office in a convertible filled with sons and dogs to pick up some bundles of Tribunes for one of her sons to deliver. (The scene reminded me of a Norman Rockwell painting.)
That was over 50 years ago — but it seems like only yesterday!
My Viewpoint in today’s edition of the Decatur Tribune is about the sudden passing of a man I’ve known for many decades.
• I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00 for the City Hall Insider.
something I’ve done for over 20 years.