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december 2008 • www.marionliving.com • 1


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Table

of contents

Publisher/Owner

A Marion Merry Christmas........................................6

Jim Muir

Upward, Upward and Away.....................................12 Lake of Egypt Woman Performs in England...........18

Graphic Design & Layout

Nearing the End......................................................22

Toby Brooks

Marion’s Antique Malls............................................26

Photographers

A Conversation with Claus......................................29

Ceasar Maragni Christopher Kays

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Contributing Writers Harry Boyd Lila H. Colloton Don Gasaway Ceasar Maragni Jim Muir Jon Musgrave Bernie Paul Dixie Terry George Trammell

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16

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on the Cover:

Marion’s Historic Clocktower Square shows the signs during the Christmas Season. Photo by Ceasar Maragni

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december 2008

from the

Publisher

Greetings and welcome to the December issue of the new Marion Living Magazine. A quick look at this month’s magazine shows that many changes have taken place in the past few weeks at Marion Living. I’m also fairly certain that one little word – ‘new’ – in the first sentence has already raised some eyebrows and for some folks maybe even a few red flags. I understand those feelings completely and since I’m a big believer in handling things in a head-on manner I want to spend some time with you talking about where things stand with the magazine and where we plan to see them go. This month’s publisher’s greeting will also provide a lesson in windshields and rearview mirrors. Don’t worry I’ll explain what that means later. Last month I purchased Marion Living from Bernard Paul and before we look ahead at some of our future plans let me say that the transition following the purchase was a smooth one largely because of the cooperation and assistance from Mr. Paul and former ML employees Kevin Clark and Bo Emery. I want to publicly say ‘thank you’ to all three for their help. It was greatly appreciated and it made the mammoth task at hand much easier. I’ve brought in a new staff to help with the daily operation of the magazine; a staff that I believe is top-notch. Ceasar Maragni, of Marion, and Chris Kays, of Benton, will handle photography for the magazine. Both currently work for me on Southern Illinois Sports Connection, another monthly magazine I publish. Toby Brooks, also of Marion, will handle graphic design and will also take care of our new website. Also, writers Dixie Terry, Harry Boyd, Don Gasaway and Bernie Paul, who all wrote previously for ML will continue to write periodically. I will also handle a lot of the writing myself. As far as my vision for the direction this magazine will go, that can be summed up very simply. Marion is often referred to as ‘the hub of the universe’ and we plan on being a small spoke in that hub. In a nutshell, we plan to present you a monthly written and pictorial view about the way Marion works, plays, relaxes, worships, celebrates and educates. Really, our vision can be summed up in the name of this magazine – Marion Living – because we plan to promote every aspect about how Marion lives. But, in order to do that, I’m going to need your help. For the time being we plan to maintain a presence on the Marion square and I would encourage you to drop by and say hello. We want your advice, your thoughts and your opinions about what we can do to improve and what you’d like to see stay the same. And you won’t hurt our feelings if there’s things you don’t like, we’ve got thick skin. Earlier I promised you a lesson on windshields and rearview mirrors, so let me explain. I recently heard a minister pose a question, asking why the windshield on your car is so much bigger than the rearview mirror. I had no idea where he was going with the question when he explained that the windshield is bigger because we should spend the biggest part of our time looking ahead, looking forward and looking down the road. He noted that it’s all right to look in that small rearview mirror and glance back once in awhile but our main focus should be on the road in front of us. He concluded by saying that life should be lived the same way. That analogy really made sense to me and I think it sums up how I feel about this new venture – and a few times in the past month it’s been an AD-venture. The past at Marion Living has been a good one … but it’s behind us now and the future is ahead. I’m excited about making an investment in the city of Marion, I’m excited about being a part of the most thriving city in Southern Illinois and I’m really excited about that big windshield that’s in front of us. I look forward to meeting you in the coming weeks and months. From our little corner of the world here at Marion Living, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.

Jim Muir, Publisher

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Marion Living

feature

By Jim Muir Photos by Ceasar Maragni es Virginia, there is a Santa Claus … and he made a triumphant return to Marion on Dec. 6 much to the delight of the throngs of young and old alike. Giving Donner, Blitzen & Co. the day off, Saint Nick made a 21st Century entrance to Tower Square riding in a sidecar of a slick Harley-Davidson. Doing their best Rudolph impersonation Shad Zimbro, co-owner of Black Diamond Harley-Davidson, and his son Gavin guided the ‘sleigh’ that delivered Santa just in time for a day filled with Christmas-related activities. Adding to the high drama of the event the Marion Police Department, Marion Fire Department and LifeLine Ambulance also accompanied Santa to the Tower Square where he was greeted by Charles Dickens (AKA Marion’s Ed Davis).

After braving near-freezing temps the large group that had assembled to wait on Santa’s arrival moved to the warm confines of the Marion Cultural and Civic Center where Elizabeth Byassee Shore led the Marion Junior High Jazz Choir in several Christmas favorites. Also entertaining was the MJHS pom pon squad. Marion Living photographer Ceasar Maragni (a Santa fan himself) was on hand for the grand arrival of the Red-Suited Rotund One and captured the excitement, anticipation and outright joy of the special appearance. The event was sponsored by Heartland Regional Medical Center, People’s Bank, Hilliard Lyons, and Black Diamond Harley-Davidson.

SANTA ARRIVES IN MARION ON A HARLEY Thanks to Black Diamond Harley Davidson coowner Shad Zimbro, right, Santa Claus got a ride in a side-car in his annual Children’s Parade in downtown Marion recently. That’s young cycle enthusiast Gavin Zimbro riding behind his father Shad. 6 • marion living magazine

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WAITING FOR SANTA Above: Five year old Haven Woolard hugs her mother Dorothy as they anxiously awaited the start of the annual Santa Children’s Parade in downtown Marion. The Woolards are from Marion. Right: Despite a chill in the air, Pat King of Marion got out for the annual Santa Children’s Christmas Parade in downtown Marion as she and her husband Dewey wanted to see their granddaughter Cheyenne march in the parade dressed as an elf. Below: Marion city employee Ed LaBotte directs a fellow worker to ease the truck’s bed lower as they set Santa’s House on the Marion Tower Square in preparation for appearances by the jolly old man himself this Christmas season.

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A CIVIC CENTER CHRISTMAS Clockwise from above left: Members of the Marion Junior High Jazz Choir sang for the large crowd attending the recent children’s Christmas Show fund raiser to benefit the Marion Ministerial Alliance held at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center (MCCC). Ed Davis dressed as Charles Dickens recently at the MCCC and acted as master of ceremonies. An eager youngster raises his hand high to answer a question from Santa Claus. Elves and Santa’s helpers (members of the Marion Junior High Pom Pom Dance Team) entertained the crowd. Each attendee was asked to bring two non-perishable food items as an entry fee. Below: The beautiful Marion Cultural and Civic Center shimmers on a brisk December night in Downtown Marion.

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CLAUS FOR A CAUSE Above: Members of the Marion Junior High Jazz Choir put on quite a show for all attending this year’s Marion Ministerial Alliance Fund raiser Christmas Party held at the MCCC. Top Right: A large crowd of spectators gathered at the MCCC for the show where Charles Dickens, Santa Claus, and a variety of entertainment awaited them. Right: Marion city employee Ed LaBotte directs a fellow worker to ease the truck's bed lower as they :et Santa's House on the Marion Tower Square in preparation for appearances by the jolly old man himself this Christmas season.

SANTA’S PARADE Top Left: Marion Mayor Bob Butler, left, rode in Jim Corey’s 1902 Oldsmobile in the annual Santa’s Christmas Parade downtown as he and Corey tossed candy to children along the way. Bottom Middle: These members of the Paradise Alley Players helped add a festive flair. Right: These special “gifts” brightened Santa’s Christmas Parade in downtown Marion.

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Williamson County hile the experts have given us their blessing to state that we’re officially in a recession, here in Southern Illinois tourism has continued to grow in 2008, even if it’s not as rapid as it has been in recent years. New lodging establishments and wineries have opened and others are under construction. Here in Marion, crews are working seven days a week to finish up Jim Zeller’s new Country Inn and Suites in order to open later this month before Christmas. Over in Carbondale work continues on a new Comfort Inn at the intersection of Route 13 and Reed Station Road. Near Cobden, Rustic Hill Winery opened this summer on Route 51 and joined the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail this fall along with Hickory Ridge Winery which opened last year near Pomona. Twenty years ago tourists and residents could only pick between the old cabins and new ones at Giant City State Park if they wanted to stay overnight on the west side of the Shawnee Hills. As to wineries there was only one, Alto Vineyards. Today there are 48 lodging establishments in the area between Route 13 (Carbondale and Murphysboro) and Route 148 (Anna and Jonesboro) and that figure doesn’t include the hotels and motels in those four cities. As to wineries the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail now boasts an even dozen. We’ve seen some major developments in the art and culture scene this year in the region. The Cedarhurst Center for the Arts in Mount Vernon more than tripled the space in the Mitchell Museum as well as a number of other projects completed on its grounds in its $8.3 million expansion project.

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tourism

In Carbondale, the community has reopened the shuttered Varsity Theatre as a new community performing arts center. A new group, Heartland Arts Network (www.HeartlandArts.net) is bringing visual artists together for both networking and new shows and exhibits. While budget cuts at the state and local level have impacted our region this year negatively, it’s also helped focus attention on the importance of tourism and recreation. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported the economic impact of the recreation use of Rend Lake at $54.1 million in 2007 which supported 980 private sector jobs either directly or indirectly. When they lost nearly $700,000 in their recreation line item at the start of this year and had to start closing campgrounds and roads for a time, it cost Rend Lake about 300,000 visitors and the workforce 136 jobs. In the 22 counties serviced by the Southern Illinois Tourism Development Office tourists directly spent $502 million in 2007, with right at $1 out of every $5 running through cash registers here in Williamson County. Overall the money tourists directly spend here in the region supports more than 4,400 jobs with about a fifth of those, 850, here in Williamson County. Tourism remains a great and growing industry for Southern Illinois with wonderful opportunities for start-up businesses and individuals. There are a number of conferences coming up that offer a wide variety of training and

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jon musgrave support for tourism entrepreneurs, including the Illinois Specialty Crop & Agri-Tourism Conference, Jan. 7-9, in Springfield (www.SpecialtyGrowers. org); the Southern Illinois Regional Tourism Conference tentatively set for Feb. 26, at John A. Logan College (more information and registration eventually online at www.IllinoisAdventure.com); and the Illinois Governor’s Conference on Tourism, March 4-6, in Chicago (www.ILGovConference.com). Jon Musgrave serves as executive director of the Southern Illinois Tourism Development Office based in Marion inside the Man-Tra-Con Building at the Illinois Centre Mall. He can be reached at 618-998-1024 or at director@illinoisadventure.com. Tourism information for the 22 counties of Southern Illinois can be found online at www.IllinoisAdventure.com.


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Marion Living

A pass slips between Reese Hirons, left, and Noah Tarlton, right.

feature

The sky’s the limit for Marion’s Upward Football Program after an inaugural opening season attracted more than 100 youth

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Photos and Story By Ceasar Maragni ith the theme “Every Child Plays, Every Child Learns and Every Child Is A Winner” a youth sports program in Marion this fall attracted over 100 youngsters and offered them the chance to play flag football and experience cheerleading in an organized, positive environment. Upward Football is a fun sports experience for boys and girls in 1st through 6th grades. The nationally sponsored Upward programs provide first class, organized and detailed sports programming in basketball, soccer, flag football and cheerleading and they emphasizes character and integrity, instead of a “win at all costs” mentality associated with much of today’s sports world. Upward equips local churches with all the necessary training, tools and support to conduct an Upward camp or league. The non-denominational program utilizes local churches, and local leaders, to help young people have an opportunity to enjoy sports, while also receiving faith-based guidance to help mold the youngsters into wellrounded members of society. Marion's Third Baptist Church Recreation Minister Brett Cutsinger was the local organizer of Upward Football in Southern Illinois this year, and his church served as the host site for all of this year's games. “The kids have been great, the coaches and all the other volunteers have been wonderful to work with,” Cutsinger said. “We started planning this program two years ago and I was just hoping we'd get at least a hundred involved this first year. As it turned out we had 110 kids participate and I couldn't be happier.”

Left: Making like a miniature Brett Farve, Cole Bundren looks downfield for a receiver during a game. Below: Coach Robbie Lindhorst gives instruction and encouragement to his team, the Bills, just before kickoff.

“The kids have been great, the coaches and all the other volunteers have been wonderful to work with” -Brett Cutsinger

Marion's Upward football program was the only one in Illinois held south of Chicago this year, and Cutsinger said that he and the others will continue Upward Football here again next year. He encourages others to get involved and said that he would be happy to explain the merits of the program to those in other area communities. Cutsinger says he can be reached at 618-922-1869 for more information. Descriptions of all the Upward programs can be obtained by visiting upward.org the organization's web site. “The kids have been great, the coaches and all the other volunteers have been wonderful to work with.” december 2008 • www.marionliving.com • 13


Above: Ball carrier Erza Frick evades defenders during a run toward the end zone. Right: Upward cheerleaders Jessica Kragness, left, Hannah Browning, right, and Briley Shanks, background left, help inspire the players and fans with their cheers.

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Above: Keen eyes and quick hands help Travis Dodson haul in this pass. Top Right: Participants, coaches and officials gather for a circle of prayer just prior to kickoff of each game.

Bottom Right: Eli Harlan, left, and Jade Chew, right, both try to haul in this pass as Peyton Barnett, # 22, keeps an eye on the action.

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Marion Chamber

happenings

george trammell

ongratulations to Jim Muir for his investment in Marion! Jim has purchased the Marion Living Magazine and will bring a new insight to our community. We look forward to doing what I like doing best: Promoting Marion as a GREAT place to “Do Business, Shop & Play, Work & Worship.” Welcome to the community Jim! December is the time of year when most businesses evaluate their accomplishments of the past year and make plans for the upcoming year. This year the Marion Chamber is sad that our long time Executive Secretary, Rose Mary Crear, will be retiring at the end of December. Rose Mary was here when I began working for the Chamber in June 1998, so we will miss her and the knowledge she possesses about our community and the Chamber. The Board of Directors is happy to welcome past Board of Director and business owner, Kathy Gulledge as the new administrative assistant. Kathy brings with her a working knowledge of Marion, the Chamber of Commerce, and our community. We look forward to an exciting year of Chamber activities. I would also like to thank our 2008 Officers and Board of Directors and the companies that allow them to serve our community and for their continued support and guidance. Steve Lappin (Banterra Bank), Chairman of the Board Dr. Jim Parker, DVM (Little Egypt Vet Clinic), 1st Vice President Brian Ziegler (Clarida-Ziegler Engineering), 2nd Vice President Lisa Hudgens (John A. Logan College), Secretary/Treasurer Todd Goodman (Timberline Fisheries)

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Marion Chamber of Commerce President & CEO George Trammell has the Christmas spirit.

Immediate Past Chairman Board Members: Don Bett (Bank of Marion) Jim Brandt (Pepsi MidAmerica) Sara Bond (Perma Treat of Illinois) Rob Cash (Cash’s Baker ChevroletCadillac) John Fletcher (Community Unit #2 Schools) Hayden Gardiner (Individual Member) Kenya Garner (State Farm Insurance) Cindy Gibbons (Old National Bank) Tracey Glenn (Golf USA) Teddi Grindberg (Marion HealthCare, LLC) Deborah Hogg (Hospice of Southern Illinois) Angela Holmes (Aisin Manufacturing Illinois, LLC) Doug Kimmel (Williamson County Regional Airport) John Markley (Franklin-Williamson Human Services) Mary Jo McCurdy (Williams & Associates) Elaine Melby (Century 21 House of

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Realty) Scott Murrie (Palmer-Murrie Abstract) Bill Nielsen (Flanders Electric) Jim Pugh (Golden Eagle Distributing) Darren Pulley (John A. Logan College)

Marion Chamber of Commerce Administrative Assistant Kathy Gulledge.


Jeanine Ragain (Banterra Bank) Rick Richert (Flanders Electric) Tim Schmidt (Heartland Regional Medical Center) George Sheppard (Ameren) Marjorie Wright (Individual Member) The 88th Annual Awards Banquet for the Chamber will be held Jan. 16 at the Williamson County Pavilion where we will once again honor a Business/ Industry of the Year, Distinguished Chamber Member, Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Citizen of the Year. Mayor Butler will also present the ‘Mayor’s Service Award’ at the banquet. Be sure to keep an eye on the

mail box for those invitations. A Social Hour, sponsored by Banterra bank, begins at 6:00 p.m. with the dinner served at 6:45 p.m. Donnie Faulkner will provide easy listening music for the guests while they enjoy their meal and then again after the awards ceremony is complete. Hope you all can attend. As we move through the Christmas Season, the Southern Illinois Regional Chambers of Commerce (SIRC), along with Connect SI and The Southern Illinoisan are promoting “Shop Southern Illinois.” The SIRC is composed of the chambers in Murphysboro, Carbondale, Carterville, Herrin, Marion, West Frankfort and Harrisburg (Saline County). This pro-

gram is an effort to keep the holiday shopping dollars in Southern Illinois. The money spent in our region supports our local schools, social services, and non-profit organizations that serve our communities. The ‘Shop Southern Illinois’ program will give away at total of $5,000 in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Each week we will draw names from a list compiled by the Southern Illinoisan. Contestants will need to re-register after each drawing. You can register by going to the Southern web site (www.thesouthern.com) or by clipping an entry blank of the newspaper and mailing it in.

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Marion Living

dixie terry

feature

Lake of Egypt woman performs in

fter a fantastic trip to England, Norma Smith and her husband, Sam, have settled back into the leisurely lifestyle of Lake of Egypt. This trip was not just a tour, but an opportunity for Norma to perform with the choir of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church of Geneva, IL. The Smiths attended church at St. Mark’s since 1972, when Sam returned from Vietnam. When the Smiths moved to

“I hadn’t sung in forty years and couldn’t read music, but I couldn’t say no to a good friend,” Norma explained. “We sang that Sunday at both morning services. I was praying all the while.” By the second performance, she had improved considerably and congregation members were astonished with their sound as a group. Suddenly, Norma was hooked. The group then held fundraisers and were able to raise $10,000 for the choir’s trip abroad that year in 2004. It was soon off to Durham, England, where they sang daily to an appreciative audience of locals and tourists at the beautiful cathedral. Again this year the choir returned. This time to “Salisbury Cathedral.” Since choirs in England go on holiday during the summer months, the many cathedrals graciously welcome visiting choirs. Each day at 5:30 p.m., the choir presented “Evensong” mostly for locals, and some tourists. Norma said the music is always presented in English. At the request of the Salisbury director, one song however was sung in German, “Let Nothing Ever Grieve Thee,” by Brahms. “It took much rehearsing to get the German lyrics to sound just right,” Norma pointed out. “It was such a privilege to participate in such a worthy place,” she said.

Norma provided this photograph of the beautiful English countryside. the Lake of Egypt three years ago, due to his career, they joined the congregation of St. James Episcopal Church in Marion. However, Norma continued singing with the Geneva choir, at every opportunity. Norma had sung in high school and at her former church in her hometown of Glenview, but she hadn’t challenged her vocal chords in years, when a friend urged her to join a summer adult church group known as, “DDL,” for; “Dust, Dirt and Leftovers.”

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The choir rehearsed every day except Wednesday, known as “Dumb Day.” So on Wednesdays, the group was free to visit great destinations such as the Isle of Wight, where Queen Victoria and Albert once built their getaway home. They also visited Windsor castle, where a uniformed band appeared on the day they were present. A day trip to Lord Pembrook’s place in the Village of Wilton, was also on their agenda.


They spent a few days at the “Rose and Crown Inn,” which was built in the l600’s, before moving into “Sarum College,” where they stayed the remainder of their visit. The Cloisters, Sarwn College, the cathedrals, thatched roofs, bountiful gardens, a miniature town for children, flosting swans, and so much more was enjoyed by the group during the trip abroad. “Practice was fun,” said Norma, who told of rehearsing all morning for the Sunday performance, which brought in a crowd that filled the cathedral. “The rehearsals brought in the crowds... I never had my picture taken so much.” “It’s a human touch in an ancient environment,” Norma recalled. To rehearse her second soprano part at home, Norma had a practice tape with the background of the actual choir concert. She sometimes rehearsed alone, for hours on end, while Sam was at work. Norma said that it takes an entire year to prepare the music, communicate with the cathedral personel, and plan the travel agenda. Sam did the scoping out of places to eat, and chose mostly pubs, with an occasional restaurant. He also discovered the sites to visit during leisure times, and he served as the unofficial photographer. stacks of photos, unsorted, were awaiting the Smith’s attention on their coffee table weeks after their return home. Norma recalled that the weather was beautiful the entire trip, except for a stormy session the day the group visited Stonehenge. And, shopping can be expensive in England,

they discovered, with the 27 per cent additional tax added to purchases. However, Norma discovered some unique gifts for their grands which included British flag pajamas, a neat, pop-up Stonehenge book, Paddington note cards, the Monarchs of England and so much more. This was the fifth residency for the choir, but with the rising costs of travel, “We have trouble raising funds. Upfront, it was $2600 per person. The trips are getting more difficult to finance.” And life goes on at home while you’re gone, too. On returning home, Norma had two days to do laundry, get her nails and hair done, and pack her clothes, to head to Colorado for a niece’s wedding. If the funds are available, you can bet Norma and Sam would be off like the wind. But, even if there is never another singing trip, the past trips will make up with for it with a lifetime of memories.

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Marion

ceasar maragni

in focus

o the rest of us he was known as Minnesota Fats, the world famous pool player and hustler, but to a Marion man who grew up next door to Fats, he was much more than that. Fats' real name was Rudolph Wanderone. He was a New York native who made his living traveling crosscountry hustling pool. He might have continued his nomadic ways the rest of his life, if not for a meal stop during a winter snow storm here in southern Illinois during World War II. That's when Fats became smitten with a pretty young waitress at The Stardust nightclub on DuQuoin's south side, at what is now The Perfection Club. Fats and Evelyn were married two months later. After a brief time living on the east coast, the Wanderones returned to Dowell and set up housekeeping with Evelyn's widowed mother in 1945. It was in this small town setting that Rich Edwards, now 61, grew up with the larger than life figure as his nearest neighbor. Edwards fondly recallsthose early years, "Like many kids in southern Illinois at that time, I grew up

poor. But I guess I was luckier than most of my friends, because I was nearly always able to make some spending money by doing chores for Fats. I delivered his newspaper, mowed his grass. He paid me twice the going rate for mowing. He was a great tipper. He was an absolutely wonderful neighbor who was always kind to me." Fats' pool hustling kept him on the road a lot and especially after the enormous success of the 1961 movie "The Hustler", which starred Jackie Gleason as Fats, Wanderone's fame and popularity exploded. Fats was hot. He appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, ABC's Wide World of Sports, hosted his own national television show, Celebrity Billiards with Minnesota Fats and made numerous guest appearances on other television shows and in films. But Edwards said that Fats was always home for the holidays, especially Christmas. The Marion retiree says he often thinks about Fats this time of the year and decided that it's time he shared a secret that he's kept for forty

The former Maksin’s Grocery in Dowell as it stands today.

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years, "I really get aggravated when I hear people put him down because of his gregariousness, his bluster. But it was just his gimmick, just like Don Rickles, the comedian, it was what he did to make a living. He was as much entertainer as he was pool player. Muhammad Ali once called him a better boaster than himself. But let me tell you about the man I knew. I've never told this before, because at the time Fats swore both me and Jinx Maksin to secrecy. They're both gone now, so there's no harm to share it. Jinx Maksin owned a corner grocery store in Dowell when I was growing up, and most of us from the south side of town shopped there. One time I walked in the store and I overheard Jinx tell Fats that his 25 new bushel baskets had come in. I thought that sounded kind of strange, and Fats could see that I was paying attention. He called me over and told me to help him fill them up with hams, canned goods, fresh fruit and other staples. I then learned that for many years Fats had Jinx buy 25 empty bushel baskets so that he could fill them up with groceries for Maksin to deliver to the most needy families in Dowell for Christmas. My family was one of the recipients of those Christmas baskets. After I helped fill them all up, Fats told me that if Jinx or I ever told anyone


that he was the one who provided those baskets, he would stop doing it. To my knowledge, no one ever knew that their Christmas angel was Fats. For ten more years, until I graduated high school and left Dowell for good at age 18, I helped fill those Christmas baskets. I'll always remember how my mother's eyes would light up each Christmas when they were delivered to our own home. I never told her that I helped pack them."

Dowell, Illinois...old stomping grounds of legendary pool hustler Minnesota Fats

Fats’ home in Dowell

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Marion Living

jim muir

feature

Nearing the End Construction is nearing completion on a $20 million project at John A. Logan College Photos by Ceasar Maragni $20 million construction project at John A. Logan College that will add 18,000 square feet to the Community Health Education Complex is nearing completion. Steve O’Keefe, director of community relations and marketing at the Carterville-based community college, said the project was necessitated by an ever-expanding enrollment. “It really has to do with growth on two ends,” said O’Keefe. “First, there’s the fact that our enrollment has grown and grown steadily. Secondly, the health complex has also grown and is filling a need in the community, whether it’s retirees or just folks looking to get in better shape.” O’Keefe said the environment at the health complex, which features an aquatic and fitness center, is “comfortable” with a blend of older and younger people. O’Keefe said many retirees now make a trip to the health complex a part of their daily routine. “We have a great staff in there that works well with people and it’s just a great environment and setting,” said

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O’Keefe. “We have people that have never set foot in a gym or weight room before to some who are very experienced. They all work cohesively and get along well together. I think it’s great when you see retirees and college students interacting and recognizing each other. Some of our retirees have taken a real interest in our students and I think that’s very positive.” JALC enrollment numbers show that the health complex has grown from 1,948 enrolled in the fall semester 2004 to 2,340 in the fall 2008 semester. Jake Rendleman, chairman of the JALC board of trustees, said the construction project is a “great asset to the community.” “As a community college we can adjust to the needs of the area,” said Rendleman. “When you see construction projects like this that are necessitated by the fact that we’re continuing to grow and need additional space for more students it’s a positive thing for the entire area.” Longtime JALC baseball coach Jerry Halstead is all-smiles about the construction project.


“We felt like we had a first class state-of-the-art facility and now it just gets bigger and better,” said Halstead. “We’re excited about having it open up next semester. It speeds things up for us now and there’ll definitely be no waiting. We’re really looking forward to it, we use it a lot. It’s a real asset.” Left: Completed in 2003, the John A. Logan College Community Health Education Complex is undergoing a major renovation and expansion project.

Halstead said an overlooked aspect is the benefit for student-athletes who are rehabbing from an injury. “It’s a great rehab facility also,” said Halstead. “Without a facility like this sometimes athletes just sit around and wait to heal up, but now we can keep their cardio going and there’s no down time.” The additions to the health complex include bigger classrooms and an indoor walking track. The college’s automotive department is also included in the construction project and will receive additional classroom space.

Above: This large swimming pool is one of two pools at the complex.

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Nearing the End

(continued from page 23)

Above: The west side of the expansion. Right: Chris Dean of Macedonia applies facing trim to one of the huge 6 x 11 foot glass panels at the new addition to the JALC Health Complex and Fitness Center. Below: Adam Velocci, a freshman 1st baseman from Toronto, Ontario Canada works out in the weight room along with fellow JAL College baseball team members. Most of the coaches of athletic teams at the college utilize the facilities.

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Marion Living

lila h. colloton

feature

Marion’s Antique Malls Offer Reasonable Christmas Gift Solutions for the Entire Family Photos by Kevin Casey ith prices skyrocketing and the economy in a spin, many people may be wondering what they will do for Christmas as far as giving gifts to their loved ones this season. Marion’s downtown Antique Mall merchants may just have the solution you are looking for. If you are not familiar with the Antique Malls located in downtown Marion, you owe it to yourself to stop by each of these locations and browse through all sorts of collectables and treasurers. The Warehouse Antique Mall The Warehouse is located at 600 North Van Buren, in Marion is open on Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Plus Sunday from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. The owners are Fred and Sherry Hogg. In October of 2007, while cleaning their building in preparation of opening a new antique mall, Fred and Sherry were approached by a vendor from the Marion Antique Mall asking if they would be open by Nov. 1 because many vendors had to move due the closing of that location. “So we kicked into high gear,” Sherry said, “with all our new vendors’ help and were thrilled to accommodate them with a new home. Not only were we welcomed by customers and vendors, but also from the other antique malls. We feel very fortunate to have met so many warm, friendly, family-like people.” Fred remarked that they have always been interested in antiques and he has a vintage guitar store, which is located at 1300 E. Main in Marion. His vintage guitars are also available at theWarehouse Antique Mall. Fred and Sherry are both thrilled that their antique business is doing so well and it continues to grow as they look for additional vendors and prepare for Christmas. For additional information you may call them at 997-7810. The Madison Street Emporium Located at 309 North Madison, the Emporium is owned by Larry Haase and his business partner, Pepper Lopez. They are open Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6.p.m. They have owned the business in Marion for five years. “Originally

we

had

a

place

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Springs Flea Market, but it was just too small,” Larry said. “We had too many vendors for the space available. And, we found that this place is working out much better. Plus we have a wonderful volunteer staff.” Sharon Farlow has been with them five years. Sandie Newbolds is the manager of the shop, and Yvonne Heal helps with their designing and decorations. In addition to the other volunteer staff, Larryís mother, Anna helps out on Mondays and Tuesdays. They have a variety of collectables, gifts and antiques for sale, plus they also offer Perfume Oils, Aroma Therapy and Fragrance Oils which Pepper claims that the quality of these oils are top notch. There will be a Christmas Open House starting Dec. 1 through Christmas. For additional information call The Emporium at 998-8883. The Purple Peacock The Peacock is located at 410 North Market St. in Marion. The owners are Cherie and Henry Dixon. They have been open since March of this year. Cherie claims the styles in the shop are all unique, colorful and elegant like the Purple Peacock in the front of their shop. “We want to give the impression of someone walking through grandma’s house,” Cherie said. “We have a lot of things that you may not have seen in years. Many of them you may have grown up with. Some of them may be weird, odd and unique, which are not unusual words for them. We offer very different items, and we are open to all tastes. What one person thinks is atrocious, sells the quickest to someone else.”


Marion Antique Mall It has been one year since the Marion Antique Mall, located at 503 N. Madison St. in Marion opened under new ownership. Peggy and Ken Wollberg bought the building in December 2007. Now, one year later, the Marion Antique Mall is full of lovely, useful, old, collectibles, nostalgic, practical, decorative, nicely-priced items, small knickknacks to large furniture. “The 30 vendors who are now with us,” Ken said, “have done an excellent job of filling the spaces, and decorating for Christmas. Why don’t you consider joining us with your creative ideas for selling some of the items you’ve collected throughout the years? We are offering special incentives for new vendors who rent space beginning this month - December.” One of the vendors, at the Marion Antique Mall, Nancy Davis Sparks, has also written a cookbook which is titled, “Court Street Tea Room Cookbook.” Copies of that cookbook will be available for sale in early December at the antique mall. Each of the four antique shops in Marion has a different personality and flair. There is a great friendship and sharing among each of the merchants and they work together by sending customers to each other to help find what they’re looking for. Marion is quickly developing into an antiques community, which makes shopping during Christmas a great time to viist with friends and family, wandering through the isles and remembering a little bit of time gone past by the items seen and shared.

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Marion Living

feature

have to admit that even at my age I was nervous and intimidated when I dialed the phone. After all, it’s not every day that I get to talk with a full-fledged legend like Santa Claus. A few days ago I was reading in the Marion Daily Republican that Santa would be taking phone calls from area kids Dec. 8 – 9. According to the story, Marion Chamber of Commerce President George Trammell pulled some strings with the folks at the North Pole (they must think Marion is the ‘hub of the universe also) and got Ol’ Saint Nick to be available for exclusive phone conversations. Of course the good folks at Alltel Phone Systems should also be commended for picking up the tab for all those calls. I could feel my palms get sweaty when I read the story because I knew I had to make that call. You see, I’m a Santa fan, a big believer in the good works he does and I never pass up the chance to tell him that I’ve been a good – let me rephrase that – I never pass up the chance to tell him that I’ve ‘tried’ to be a good boy throughout the year. On the second day of the call-in I dialed the number and was greeted by a female voice that identified herself as Mrs. Claus. “Is Santa there,” I asked meekly. “He’s outside feeding the reindeer,” she answered in a pleasant voice. “He’ll be with you in just a moment.” In a matter of seconds the strong, hearty voice of Santa was on the other end of the line. I introduced myself and told Santa that I had recently purchased Marion Living Magazine. He told me he was already aware of that, leaving me feeling a little foolish. Certainly he was aware, I thought, Santa knows everything, right? Santa and I had a wonderful conversation and before I could tell him I’d been good he told me he was aware that I had ‘tried’ to be a good boy this year. He told me that the turnout had been “great” with 137 callers on the opening night and even more expected on night two. Santa said requests for guitars and guitar heroes are big this year along with X-Box accessories and a variety of electronic games.

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jim muir

Santa also related that the reindeer are in great shape and anxiously awaiting the long Christmas Eve journey delivering toys worldwide. Without question, my conversation with Santa will be one of the highlights of this Christmas season, but it also made me think about how much times have changed. When I was a kid (long before the days of Alltel and direct phone lines) it was common to write an annual letter to Santa. I recalled that the last time I wrote to Santa was when I was a bright-eyed 10-year-old asking for a Schwinn “Stingray” bicycle.

I could feel my palms get sweaty when I read the story because I knew I had to make that call. You see, I’m a Santa fan, a big believer in the good works he does and I never pass up the chance to tell him that I’ve been a good boy... While it would be very ‘un-cool’ here in 2008 for a 10-yearold to write to Santa, I’m sure many people recall that time in the 1960s when it was quite common for kids 10 and 12 years old to write letters each year with their wish list. I guess the dramatic change in the way kid’s approach Christmas could be explained by the fact that kids nowadays are smarter than we were back then. Or, maybe it’s because those of us from the baby boomer generation were a little more trusting and a lot more naïve than kids today. In any event kids these days are a little harder to impress than we were back then. With computers, lasers, Play Stations and other gizmos and gadgets it makes today’s


younger generation a little harder to shop for, doesn’t it? Perhaps the reason I love Santa so much is because I see some real similarities – aside from the fact that we could both stand to lose a few pounds – between he and I. You see, Santa and I both work hard at jobs that involve deadlines. In the magazine business we actually start from ‘scratch’ every month. And as soon as we get that issue done, it’s time to start worrying about the next magazine. It never stops. Santa’s job is much the same, as soon as he gets one Christmas order completed its time to start working on the next one. And I also think it’s fair to say that we both must love our work because neither one of us are getting rich doing it

that I feel I’ve succeeded as a writer. And I have to figure that Santa is the same kind of person. I think he enjoys taking presents to all kids, but I’ve always imagined that he gets an added thrill when he takes a special present to some poor kid who really is in need. In short, I think Santa and I both have an unwavering belief that we can change things for the better. After my conversation I realized that even though it’s a far different world than it was when I was a kid I still hold Santa in high esteem and I think he does a terrific job. And as always, Santa can count on milk and cookies when he stops at my house.

I think the biggest thing we have in common though, is that we’re both idealists. It’s when I write something that I know touches somebody’s life, changes the way they think, lifts their spirits or even makes them smile or prompts them to contact me

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Muir’s

monthly first time in my life that there really is such a thing as love at first sight. Before we left I coaxed my dad over to the bicycle to show him. He casually glanced at it, obviously not nearly as impressed as I was and then quickly burst my bubble.

Turner / Reuters file t some point during the busy holiday season I’ll take a couple of hours and watch “A Christmas Story” – the tale of young Ralphie, a 10-year-old on a mission to get a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. You’ll remember, at every turn Ralphie was met with the phrase – “you’ll shoot your eye out.” Well, substitute a gold Schwinn stingray bicycle for that Red Ryder BB gun and during the weeks leading up to Christmas in 1963 I could have very well been Ralphie (minus the hornrimmed glasses). About two months before Christmas that year I was with my dad at a West Frankfort business where he was getting tires put on an old truck that he used to haul coal. Along with tires the store sold a variety of items including bicycles. As I wandered around that day I spotted a bicycle that was unlike any I’d ever seen. It was a Schwinn stingray, metallic gold with butterfly handle bars and a banana seat. The front tire was a little smaller than the knobby tire on the back. It had chrome all over it and a price tag of $39.95. In order to appreciate that price you have to think in 1963 dollars. That $39.95 was more than my dad made in two days working as a coal miner. As I stared at the bike I realized for the

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“That’s too much money for a bicycle,” he said matter-of-factly, and then turned and walked away. Did his seemingly cold and uncaring attitude faze me? Was my love for that Gold Schwinn stingray tempered even a little by his comments? Of course not and in fact it spurred me on to scheme and plot my strategy. In the following days I concocted every reason imaginable why I should have that bike and brought it up on a daily basis. And for every good reason I had my dad gave me the same stern answer. “That’s too much money to pay for a bicycle,” he would say and then promptly change the subject. And the harder I would persist the more short and abrupt were his answers. I was in a gloomy mood two days before Christmas when I gathered with a group of fellow heathens, as we did nearly everyday, to play basketball. The house where we were playing was about four blocks from where I lived, but was located directly across the street from my Aunt Thelma. Shortly after I arrived at the pick up game one of my friends told me that he had seen my dad and mom at my aunt’s house earlier in the day. “I couldn’t see exactly what they were doing but they were putting something in her garage,” he said. Perhaps as a prelude to my days as a nosy reporter I had to investigate, so shortly before dark that night I walked down the alley and with the help of a milk crate looked in the window of

• december 2008

the garage. And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but that gold Schwinn stingray bike. I was elated and excited … and at the same time it scared the bejiggers out of me. You see, I’ve never been able to lie about anything in my life without my eyes giving me away, so I had to pretend like the events of that afternoon never happened and then turn in an Academy Award acting performance on Christmas morning. That’s no small task for a 10-year-old, but much like Ralphie and that Red Rider BB gun, my love for that gold Schwinn new no bounds so I had to pull it off. I’m certain I had a little extra spring in my step in the final days leading up to Christmas morning when we opened our presents but I managed to contain my enthusiasm and keep my mouth shut (which was no small task for me even back in those days). On Christmas morning I bounded out of bed and turned in an acting performance that was, if I say so myself, simply superb. I hooted and hollered, yelled and screamed and within a matter of minutes I was riding (still in my pajamas) that spectacular bicycle down the street with the cold December air hitting me in the face. More than 40 years later I can still recall what an exhilarating feeling that was and what a wonderful Christmas I had that year. Of course, during that fateful Christmas in 1963 I also learned an important lesson that I filed away for future reference with my own children – never hide Christmas presents in a building with a window because you never know when some nosy kid is lurking in the shadows.


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December 2008