Posts Tagged ‘Clem’

Happy 100th Birthday

This year marks two centennial anniversaries.  Of course, the most famous being the launch and sinking of the SS Minnow (err,,) RMS Titanic.  Today, our village celebrated the anniversary of the dedication of Clem, the Civil War Monument that first stood at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Indiana Street until it was moved to its present location on July 22nd, 1972 (just under a year before the author of this post made his own appearance in the world).  Clem’s dedication date was May 30th, 1912 but what a lovely (if a little warm ) day to honor him.

My preparation for the day began shortly after my recital.  I had been asked if I would be interested in performing a few songs for the day around the time of “Songs I Have Learned” but really had hard little aside from the inquiry.  The songs I had to choose from was vast.  I figured two from the Civil War era would be appropriate or anything patriotic.  I decided on first, “Aura Lee” a little ballad written during the period which lent its melody to a very popular song made famous by a past artist which was the title of his first movie.  ANYONE?! (no cheatin).  With some help, I also decided on “Just Before the Battle, Mother” another lovely tune that was popular (with different lyrics) on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line.

I was going to perform the pieces accompanied by my guitar-playing coach.  Unfortunately, she forgot that she had a prior commitment today.  I eventually decided that I would sing them a capella unless a suitable accompaniment track could be found.  Fortunately, yesterday I was informed that another performer for the event had a copy of “Aura Lee.”  Because I was really unfamiliar with my second selection, I decided to sing “America the Beautiful.”  A good thing I did, because the other singer was singing “Just Before the Battle…”

This morning, I made my way to the bandstand where the accompaniment tracks were waiting.  I could have sung them either way but the tracks were both easy to perform to even if they were in a lower key.

So, after the Right Honorable Mayor /Friendly Friar made his opening remarks and the high school band played a few pieces, I was invited to take the stand and performed my “five pieces.”  It could have been five; however, the other singer stole at least three of the pieces I had considered (“Oh, Shenandoah,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” as well as the aforementioned piece).  I was congratulated on my performance by several members of the crowd who braved the temperatures.  At least there were not trains that passed by as happened a few years ago when my cousin and I performed during our summer festival.

All in all, a fun little ceremony and a very fitting tribute to Clem and all the service men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice.  Hopefully, we all made a special effort to remember them today but also everyday.



Edgerton Bombed

It seems we have been inundated with storms, storms, and more storms for the beginning weeks of the summer.  Our little area has been relatively lucky… UNTIL Wednesday night.  I was fortunate enough to get off work in time to go the the City Band concert (more in that later).  I got home around 9:15.  I went out to the beauty shop to finish cleaning.  At 9:30, here go the sirens (AGAIN).  Looking out the window, there wasn’t a lot to see at the moment so we decided to step outside and see what we could see.  In the west, we could see the sky lit up up lightning.  However, as our neighbor pointed out, it was eerily silent: no birds, no mosquitos (I noticed that myself).  A half hour later, I felt a rather large raindrop and decided that was enough for me.  Thirty seconds later, the power went out.  So… my brother, his wife, and two kids, my sister and her two little ones, my mother and I all headed to the basement.  Someone failed to get batteries for the flashlights or the radio so Dad was upstairs lighting candles.  The rest of us lit our way into the chamber of secrets armed with cell phone illumination.

Around 11, we headed back upstairs.  The corded phone in the kitchen rang.  A neighbor was just informed that the town hall had been hit.  Dad and a neighbor went up to check it out.  The night was so dark that they could not see any sign of damage.  Our side of town was completely black.

By this time, the excitement was over.  Everyone decided to stay the night and hope that there was no damage in the morning.  It gets hotter than…. upstairs with a fan/air conditioning so I slept on the couch.  About midnight, a car pulls up and someone comes in.  Still not being able to see,  I shouted “Who goes there?”  “It’s me!”  Well… that helps a lot!  It was our oldest sibling who had been out driving, surveying the damage.  And HE had power at his house.  Go figure.

The next morning, I walked around a bit before going to work.  Limbs, branches, trees toppled.  The east wall of the Flea Market wiped out.  VERY noticeable now… the gaping hole in the 120+ year old former town hall.  It really looked like a missile went through it!  Also gone was poor “Clem” the one casualty of the war.  He had been standing guard in front of the building for years whether he was in the courtyard or in the middle of State Route 49.  I am too young to remember his transfer from the road,  One of our fine firemen was injured while he was outside rolling up car windows… nothing life threatening but a broken femur.

At work all day, we joked out the condition of the town hall debate.  For the last few years, the historical society had been wanting to purchase the condemned building, restore the second floor opera house from yesteryear, and create a museum dedicated to the town.  A worthy ambition to be sure. But where was the money for this undertaking to come from?  Well, I guess that debate was settled Wednesday night.

Like many storms, it is just amazing the spottiness of the devastation.  Indiana Street was definitely the hardest hit.  Two blocks north along North Michigan Avenue, I found a small branch lying on the ground.  Family safe… could have been so much worse.

town hall

sign from the bank across from town hall

what's left of "Clem"

a new window into town hall

clem's old home buried

flea market (former True Value store) across from town hall)

The strange thing the weather “experts” have yet to assess the situation fully and state unequivocally what caused the damage.