Good Living in West Frankfort Spring 2012

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Publishers Letter


ow about this weather? That seems like it is all anybody's talking about these days. I was thinking about that last night when I sat down to write this letter, and it reminded me of one of my favorite poems, “Two Tramps in Mud Time,” from my favorite poet. Robert Frost lived in New Hampshire and probably never ran from a tornado, but he seemed to know a lot about the unpredictability of the weather when winter is changing over to spring and drifting into summer. The sun was warm but the wind was chill. You know how it is with an April day When the sun is out and the wind is still, You're one month out in the middle of May. But if you so much as dare to speak, A cloud comes over the sunlit arch, A wind comes off a frozen peak, And you're two months back in the middle of March. We haven't had a winter yet in Southern Illinois. Let’s hope we don't have it in April. Aside from that, while you're sitting on your front porch enjoying the unseasonably warm days, we have a few really special stories to enjoy in Good Living in West Frankfort. First is a story about our newest hometown hero, Chaz Ligon, injured while serving with the U.S. Infantry in Afghanistan. I was honored that Chaz told us his story, and although it’s not for the squeamish, it is “in his own words,”and it was this editor's choice that it be shared that way. Chad is a hero by fate, but a champion by choice. Another heroic story comes from out of the past. The story of Leonard Hopkins’ death in WWII not only occurred long ago on the shores of France but the Hopkins Family didn’t heard the full story of his heroism until over a year after his death. I won't ruin it for you. Read it for yourself, but it too is touching, amazing, and heart wrenching military heroism. We just met James Carrier of Pershing a few months ago. The stories he shared with us are the remembrances of growing up in the best of times and the worst of times. Mr. Carrier has recorded his memoirs in a series of small books that are for sale at several places in West Frankfort, They make up a collection of snapshots of growing up in the “Patch” in a coal mining town during some very hard times. We highly recommend them. Finally, a guest writer Jo Ann Norovich from Colorado Springs offered us the story of Table Pride Bakery as she knew it in a way no one else could. A member of the Norovich family, first owners of the bakery, Jo Ann worked there daily and remembers details of the changes that took place in the business over a period of 35 years. If only she could have included the smell of that fresh baked bread that Main Street was treated to daily. My husband has a laugh at himself and all the rest of us who are not even tech savvy enough to break into our own online bank accounts. Sherri Murphy comes clean again in an account of lying to Miss Finn, Miss Finn, mind you, about the real date of her birthday. Remember this is the same little girl who scribbled in her mother's Bible! It's a wonder she's not writing from a jail cell by now. Lets all pray the peach blossoms don't freeze in May.

Gail Rissi Thomas, Publisher

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Please support our advertisers. They make this magazine possible: Aaron Hopkins, Attorney ..................... pg. 9 All American Hearing ............................ pg. 15 BFJ Interiors ............................................ pg. 19 Browning Clark Auto Repair ................ pg. 19 Calico Country Sew & Vac ...................... pg. 30 Coleman-Rhoads ...................................... pg. 13 Dr. Seb Pagano, Dentistry .................. pg. 4 Dr. Fred Whitlatch, Dentistry ............... pg. 27 First Christian Church .......................... pg. 10 Frankfort Area Historical Museum ...... Back G. L. Williams Real Estate .................. pg. 13 Gandy’s Auto Body Shop ..................... pg. 31 Heights Market ....................................... pg. 22 Herron Chiropractic ............................. pg. 25 Howell Insurance ................................... pg. 9 James Carrier Books ............................... pg. 18 JenRuss Glass Design ............................... pg. 14 Johnson Realty ....................................... pg. 31 Kreative Design Showcase ........................ pg. 27 Larry Grimm Auto Repair .................... pg. 27 McCollom Real Estate ........................... pg. 31 McDonald’s ............................................... pg. 8 Mike Riva, Attorney ............................... pg. 13 Morthland College .................................. pg. 8 Nolen Chiropractic Clinic ...................... pg. 30 Parker-Reedy Funeral Home ................ pg. 9 PDO Design Group ................................. pg. 20 Ponton Foot Clinic ................................. pg. 12 Professional Pharmacy .......................... pg. 2 Ramey Insurance .................................... pg. 8 ReMax Realty .......................................... pg. 14 Sandy’s Flowers & Gifts ........................ pg. 14 Severin Garden Center............................ pg. 29 Shelter Insurance Agency ...................... pg. 27 Southern Illinois Bank ........................... pg. 9 Stotlar-Herrin Lumber ............................. pg. 29 Union Funeral Home ............................. pg. 7 Weeks Automotive ................................... pg. 31 WF Aquatics & Activities Center.......... pg. 4 WF Chamber of Commerce ...................... pg. 31 WF City Hall ............................................. pg. 13 Contact Michael A. Thomas at 937-2019 if you wish to advertise in “Good Living in West Frankfort”.


Spring 2012

Good Living In

West Frankfort 6

Vol.6 No.1 Spring 2012


Table of Contents


What does a 5-yr old girl with a summer birthday do when she sees all her classmates having birthday parties? Sherri Murphy tells us her idea.


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Remembering FCHS graduate Leonard W. Hopkins, who died a hero on D-Day.

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Good Life Publications announces plans for a new pictorial book on the history of West Frankfort.


James T. Carrier and others remember growing up in the Patch back in the day when coalmining communities were common.

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Jo Ann Norovich Peak recalls the history of West Frankfort’s Table Pride Bakery.

In his own words, Chaz Ligon tells of the day he was injured in an IED attack in Afghanistan and how thankful he is to the people ofWest Frankfort for their show of support.



Having difficulty on your computer with passwords? You are not alone. We take a humorous look at the problem and some serious tips on passwords NOT to use.

28 Good Living in West Frankfort is a magazine about the people, places and pride of West Frankfort. Our goal is to showcase interesting, unique and previously unpublished stories about the citizens, events and places in our community in a positive manner. Good Living in West Frankfort provides businesses the choice to advertise in a high-quality full-color venue at affordable prices. This magazine is free to our readers because of those advertisers.

No portion of this publication, including photos and advertisements, may be reproduced in any manner without the expressed consent of Good Life Publications . Š2012 Cover photo by Andrea Linsley: The West Frankfort City Lake on the first day of Spring, 2012.

Good Living In

West Frankfort A production of Good Life Publications 309 East Oak Street West Frankfort, IL 62896 (618) 937-2019

E-mail Contact:

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I enjoyed Kindergarten. I have only bits and pieces of memories, and the feelings they evoke are always warm. I can recall learning the song "I'm a Little Teapot", and "Itsy Bitsy Spider" complete with actions that I was so proud to have mastered. I remember milk and cookie time and nap time, although I never actually napped, we were required to lie down on the floor with our blankets (no mats at that time) and at least remain quiet and still for a bit. I can still see Mrs. Finn having us place our chairs in a circle in the center of the room as she read stories to us and showed pictures after each page was read. One particular day, I was sitting in an old chair with a jute bottom that was stretched so thinly that I could see the floor through it...which was very unfortunate for me that day as I had a "little accident" (as Mrs. Finn called it) as she discreetly cleaned the puddle on the floor, and phoned my mother to bring a change of clothes for me.


By Sherri Murphy he year was 1969. I was a tiny, curly red-haired fiveyear-old kindergarten student, back in a time when children that had just turned 5 years old were allowed to attend school with the "older" students, so long as their 5th birthday came before the school year began. I had just celebrated my birthday about one week before in August, so I qualified. I have wonderful memories of my first school year, 1969-70 at the old Edward's School on the West end of town. A familiar group of neighborhood kids would walk with me to school every day, back when parents had no second thoughts of allowing their very young children to walk many blocks unattended to school.


I can recall the large, intimidating, towering brick structure that I observed for the first time. I entered through the double doors in the back of the school. Actually, in my two years of attending Edward's School, I never recall seeing the front of the building, unless my parents were driving past the building and I would catch a glimpse from the back seat. Inside the old schoolhouse, it appeared dark, with a musty smell-not a great first impression for a tiny child who was still very attached to her mother at the time, and would have preferred to be home-schooled, had that been an option at the time. I also remember the warm smile and gentle hug I received from my cheerful, plump grandmotherly teacher, Mrs. Emily Finn, that set my nerves at ease.

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My favorite Kindergarten memories were the thrilling times when classmates celebrated their birthdays. The birthday boy or girl would be allowed to go back into the "cloak room" and retrieve an old tattered cardboard box that was filled with party hats- every type of party hat one could imagine! There were "fru fru"cone shaped hats for the girls in hues of pinks and reds and purples with glitter that highlighted patterns on the hat and sparkled under the old ceiling lights. Although the glitter had fallen off in places and the trim was somewhat smashed along the bottom rim, I always felt like a princess, when I would get to wear the pink one, my favorite, and always hoped the birthday child would choose that hat for me to wear. There were plain, colored hats for the boys; some of them were even allowed to wear the fireman and policeman- type hats. In addition to being

the “Passer-Outer” of party hats, the birthday boy/girl would be allowed to bring special cookies from home for all of us to enjoy during milk and cookie time, and of course, the entire class sang a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday.” From August ,1969, to around March in 1970 of that school year, I can remember enjoying these parties and anticipating MY turn at being the guest of honor at our little classroom party. I would dream of which particular girls and boys I would assign my favorite hats to. (Of course, I planned to keep my favorite pink one for myself.) I envisioned myself passing out my mother's delicious homemade treats and then standing next to my wonderful teacher as my classmates sang to ME...and then a startling revelation hit me! I had yet to learn my first real math lesson; however, I must have been very intelligent for my age as I had already learned to put two and two together.... my birthday was in August. It was not going to be celebrated in class during the school year, and I would miss out on the once-in-a-lifetime chance to pass out the party hats in kindergarten to my classmates! NO homemade treats. NO "Happy Birthday to ME" song. How unfair, I thought.

son). I WOULD get to pass out the party hats and treats and be serenaded by my classmates, after all. It was the perfect plan I thought, and really, no harm would be done. Unbeknownst to me, Mrs. Finn had a record of our birthdates, and when I blurted out my statement about my upcoming birthday, she kindly said, "Well, Sherri, I have down here that your birthday in is August." And she looked puzzled. I quickly replied, "Well, it's really in March, but we just celebrate it in August-in the summer." I remember thinking I had fooled her with that quick response and was pretty proud of myself. Mrs. Finn had several options. She could have called me out for lying about my birthdate and trying to manipulate a party in my honor. She could have phoned my mother, or written a letter to her explaining why discipline was necessary. Instead, she took matters into her own gentle hands, after I'm sure, giving it much thought. That sweet teacher of mine, actually

allowed me to bring birthday cookies the next week, and go into the cloakroom and get out the tattered old party hatbox. She allowed me to carefully choose the hats for my classmates, distribute my momma's cookies, and she had me stand next to her as my class sang "HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU" ME, a 51/2-year-old kindergarten student wearing a pink party hat, who wouldn't be 6 until the summer. I believe Mrs. Finn realized that this "child of summer" was going to miss out on some very special memories, and she made a decision to celebrate the birth of one of her students, regardless of the actual date. (Somewhat like the celebration of Christmas) What a gift she gave me that day. As my 48th birthday approaches, I may decide to try this again at Denning Elementary School, where I am a teacher's aide. I must search for fellow "children of summer" and make certain our special day is celebrated with all the fanfare we so deserve.

My wheels started churning. I had to figure out a way for my birthday to be celebrated before summer break. I came up with what my young five-year-old mind believed was the PERFECT solution! I told Mrs. Finn that my birthday was the following week, so she needed to plan accordingly (Well, not in those words exactly). I told my mother to send treats (my Mom was none the wiser, she just thought Mrs. Finn had requested them for another reaSpring 2012

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sion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, where hundreds of American soldiers lost their lives. One of those brave men who made the ultimate sacrifice that day was West Frankfort’s Leonard W. Hopkins who died early in the battle on Utah beach.

By Michael A. Thomas

Photos Courtesy of George Hopkins

Frank Gaughan.

Leonard Hopkins was the second son born to John and Mary Alice Hopkins. Leonard was 3 and his brother, George, was 6 when their father, John, died in the flu epidemic of 1918-19. Mary remarried a family friend,

The opening scene of the motion picture “Saving Private Ryan” features an elderly veteran seen walking through the cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, France, searching the rows of white crosses until he stops at the foot of one of the memorials. The movie then flashes back to D-Day and the Allied inva-

Leonard Hopkins was a member of the 58th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, which was attached to the 4th Infantry Division for the invasion. His unit had previously seen action in North Africa prior to the invasion of France, and Hopkins had attained the rank of Sergeant when he was killed.

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Gold Star Mother Mary Alice Hopkins Gaughan “My Grandmother was a wonderful lady who left a life of nice accommodations in Ireland to marry John Hopkins and move to the USA where life turned harsh,” said her grandson George Hopkins, former superintendent of the West Frankfort school district. “My favorite quote from her (might not be original) was ‘It’s no disgrace to be poor, but it’s darned unhandy sometimes’.”

Few details were given when Mary received the news of her son’s death. It wasn’t until 1945, a year later, that she received a

Hopkins was a star athlete at FCHS in the early 1930’s and quarterbacked the football team.

very poignant letter in the mail that probably brought a mixture of sadness and comfort as she relived the moments of Leonard’s last day on earth. The letter came from Corporal Joseph Shipp, Jr., who was with Hopkins on Utah beach. The 5-page tome recounted Hopkins’ heroism as he braved German machine gun fire to pull Shipp from harm’s way after Shipp had been wounded on the rocks at the water’s edge. Hopkins tended to his friend’s wound and then the pair separated themselves a few yards apart as to not pose too much of an inviting target. Unfortunately, Hopkins was killed a few moments later. (Editors note: What follows is the transcription of the actual letter that

Mrs. Gaughan received.) Dear Mrs. Gaughan:

You will probably be surprised to hear from me. Although I’ve wanted to write you for over a year. At least since D-Day. Only today did I learn of your address or rather get it from Sgt. Dick Reily, our supply Sgt. When I returned to the outfit from the hospital after being wounded on the beach—things were moving so fast on that liberation drive that I just couldn’t check on addresses. In January, when I was all excited over a furlough home, I must have tried to think of too many things. In the States, (I) could only think

of you and that (I) hadn’t let anyone know they’re being thought of. All my army service was and has been with 58-HQ Bttry. From basic training at Camp Cook to now.

was out of the line of fire coming from our left—I was hit in the back of the head with one of these bullets. When I came to (sic) and started to go in again, I blacked out and fell. The last thing remembered was a hand on each shoulder. Coming to again, it was Hoppy bandaging my head. He had been against the cliff and watching me come in, go down hit and getting up—Had left his point of safety and unhurt himself, came back into the fire, because they opened up on us when he came to me—but they missed us both and he pulled me into safety. I asked Hoppy if he was hurt and he said, “No, Not yet.” My hearing left me about then and I left Hoppy, moving down the beach along the cliff to another spot so we wouldn’t expose ourselves by being together.

Hoppy, as we called him, your son Leonard, was 1st Sgt. until D-Day and that is why I’m writing. All the time before, we couldn’t write even our own folks about wounds and things—now it’s different. Naval shells fell short and landed I made the invasion with Hoppy, against the cliff, causing an avalanding at same time and place lanche. When all was over and the with infantry 40 minutes after Hmachine gun nest taken care of, I hour, but not in the same section with him. The water was about hip deep and ran into a cliff, the land from cliff to where water stopped was covered with large rocks. Very slippery with our wet shoes. As least with mine, for I fell twice and was missed by the machine gun shooting at us. A Striking resemblance between uncle and nephew, Leonard Hopkins Before getting to (r) was named after his uncle who died at D-Day. Ironically both played quarterback for FCHS and both wore jersey #15. the cliff which Spring 2012

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sort of staggered around looking and not over 15 yds. away from where I’d been was Hoppy. It must have been a richote (ricochet) bullet that got him, for he wasn’t exposed or torn up. He proved himself more than a soldier but a MAN—all through.

firm that he has led a good life and that he is a “good man” and thus worthy of the sacrifice of Miller and his other fallen comrades. He then salutes Miller’s grave as the camera pans down the gravestones to an American flag.

Always will I remember what he did for me. A soft spot in my heart for him. For one thing, we always got along swell together and I liked him and that sort of makes things seem so much closer. You can only wonder, as I’ve done for 33 yrs. in Sept. how peculiarly remarkable God’s hand moves. It touches deeply.

One can imagine Cpl. Joe Shipp, in place of Ryan, wondering after the war if he may have died on that beach in northern France had it not been for the efforts of Leonard W. Hopkins. Hopefully, Shipp was a good man and did ‘earn it’.

Thought you’d like to hear from someone who was with Hoppy at the time and I wanted you to know what he did for me when he didn’t have to, as he had done his duty already. All this even after a year, but you’ll understand, I’m sure. I feel much better now that I’ve written and hope you understand. Could do a better job of talking, it should be clearer for one thing. Someone _______ us , they always do when you’re doing something you like. Reminds me of some lines I have posted in front of my photo album at home-the desert sands always blow between you and your heart’s desire ! Best wishes always, Sincerely, Joe

Perhaps, after the war, Shipp traveled to that same cemetery in northern France and looked up the gravesite of Leonard Hopkins to pay his respects. We will never know for sure. But we can be sure that Leonard Hopkins and his sacrifice, as well as those of countless others who died to protect our freedoms, should never be forgotten.

Towards the end of “Saving Private Ryan”, James Ryan is with his dying captain, John Miller. As he dies in Ryan’s arms, Capt. Miller says his last words, “James... earn this. Earn it.” Back in the present day, the elderly veteran is revealed to be Ryan at Miller’s grave. He asks his wife to con-

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Sgt. Leonard Hopkins is buried at Plot I Row 15 Grave 14 Normandy American Cemetery in Collevillesur-Mer, France. Hopkins was awarded the Silver Star posthumously. The Silver Star is the thirdhighest combat military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the United States armed forces for valor in the face of the enemy.

Letter from the

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West Frankfort Back In The Day


A Pictorial History and Memories of a Coal Mining Community

ood Life Publications is proud to announce the publication of a pictorial history book of West Frankfort, Illinois, entitled “West Frankfort Back In The Day�. This beautiful, high quality, 160-page volume will contain over 300 photos, many of them never before published. In addition, there will be many stories about the people, places and memories of historical events which shaped West Frankfort and estabished its place as one the leading communities in southern Illinois. Collectors: The FIRST 500 COPIES will be numbered. The first opportunity to reserve a numbered copy of West Frankfort Back In The Day will be on 11:00 AM on Saturday, April 28th at the West Frankfort Library. Numbers will be assigned on a first come, first served basis. All pre-orders must be paid for at the time of purchase.


Coffee Table Size (9x12) Hardbound Color Cover Color Dust Jacket Superior Photo Reproduction Quality Printing-Binding Acid Free Paper 160 Pages Winter scene of the Purcell family enjoying a bob sled pulled by an auto, circa 1935.

Visit: FANS


on FaceBook for the updates on West Frankfort Back In The Day

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The mining company would sink a new shaft, purchase a large patch of land around it and build several blocks of simple houses that the miners would rent from the company. Rent was deducted from the miners' paychecks. They were no frills facilities, no indoor plumbing, and up to the miner and his wife to make it a suitable and comfortable home for their family, which of course they did, because that's what hard working people do.


By Gail Rissi Thomas ust about anyone who grew up in a coal mining area probably knows stories from a section of town called “The Patch.” Let's guess that if you are at least a baby boomer or older, if you didn't live there yourself or visit family or friends there, you heard stories of the adventures, pranks and camaraderie that seemed to go on in those tight knit communities. Talking to a couple of guys from the patch was enough to make you jealous if you never got to experience that bondage and sharing that seemed to be a universal characteristic. “We figured out once that we had 56 kids living in a three block area,” says Kenny Sloan, a West Frankfort resident who grew up in the #11 patch. “We played outside all day long and when those streetlights went on, we RAN home. We had six kids. Heck, everybody had six kids, except for some neighbors who had 13.”

Every time a coal company would sink a new shaft, miners, many who followed the coal seams, would come in droves to find work, creating an immediate need for confused by the terminology myhousing. There had to be a large self. I wasn't too sure where “the number of houses in a small area Patch” was, why it was, or how it so that miners could walk to work, got its name. I had never seen a six- and, which by necessity, meant block area marked off with a picket they were built very simply, cheapfence on the northeast side of town which is where I always thought the West Frankfort Patch was. I had never seen a billboard in West Frankfort stating, “Now entering the Patch,” or “You are now leaving The Patch, Come back soon.”

Personally, I was always a little

It took James Carrier of Pershing and a little research for me to realize that a Patch is often a throwback to what actually started out as a mining camp.

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ly and close together. More often than not, the miners who came for the jobs were recent immigrants, and in many areas whether West Virginia, Pennsylvania, or Illinois, often those immigrants, Polish, Lithuanian, Slovenian, Italian, Serbian, spoke no English and knew nothing about their new homeland. They clustered with fellow countrymen so that they could talk to their neighbors. They built or used an abandoned shelter as a place to worship; a company store sprung up, and they were home, at least until the mine closed and they moved on to the rumor of a new coal seam, sometimes leaving a small ghost town in their wake.

According to Carrier’s written record, the #18 Patch developed when “A family by the name of Deering purchased coal rights and over 2,000 acres of surface land under the name Deering Coal Company in 1908.” The mine was open by 1909 and operated under six other owners before Peabody Coal permanently closed it in 1947. Originally, the village around the mine consisted of 65 company

houses. Additionally, there were other non-company homes built by miners who owned land adjacent to segments of the village. The village grew to include the Moore School, Ike Karnes' General Store, The Yellow Dog Hotel and the Caldwell Depot, where the jitney made regular stops between Benton and Frankfort. The Jitney, owned by the C& EI

James Carrier grew up in the #18 Patch. According to him and other grown up coal miners' kids that I talked to, there were three recognized patches in West Frankfort. The # 11 Patch owned by Peabody Coal Company was on the north side of town with boundaries loosely drawn from 5th Street out to Drumsta's Farm on 9th Street and running west to the railroad tracks. Carrier's neighborhood, the # 18 patch was in an area out on Deering Road, also known as Old Benton Road built around Peabody #18. On the other side of town, in an area from the old railroad bed to what is now the city park was a company patch owned by Old Ben. Many of the miners employed there were Sicilian. Because they were so dark complected, people referred to that area as Mexico. Mexico, whether by facts or rumors, was considered to be a rough and rowdy community, with warnings to young men “not to go there after dark,” and young women “not to step over the line into Mexico at any time of the day.” Spring 2012


Railroad, was so called because it cost a “Jitney” or a nickel to ride. It was mainly for the service of the coal company and the miners, but was available to any passengers. The mine at #18 had its share of tragedies. As early as February 16, 1909, a crew of four miners set off an explosion resulting in such fire and intense heat that the miners could not be rescued. The mine had to be closed for 18 months, which caused a public outcry when rescue was forsaken. In 1920, another explosion killed one miner and injured many more. In 1928 a major explosion in a mine operated by Industrial Coal killed 21 miners and left many more injured and disfigured. After that disaster, #18 was sold to Peabody Coal. James Carrier, now in his Nineties, not only remembers many details of growing up in the #18 patch, but also recorded those memories in a little book titled, “A Little Bit of Heaven and a Whole Lot of Hell.” In his account, written about 15 years ago, Carrier tells about the wretched poverty that brought

his family to The Patch, and what kind of life they were able to make there.

James Carrier has worked as a coal miner, railroader, truck driver and laborer. He served stateside in the U. S. Army during the Korean War. He taught school and attended college at night and during the summers. He earned a B.S. degree from SIU and an M.S. degree from Butler University in Indianapolis. He is licensed as a psychologist in the state of Indiana. He has served as a public school teacher and school administrator.

In 1929, Carrier moved with his parents and two sisters to Franklin County, where his father, James H. Carrier had been able to secure a job with Peabody Coal. The coming of the Depression had caused

the shut down of many mines in Kentucky, and Carrier describes his family as being “on starvation.” With 35 cents in his pocket, Carrier's father walked the 65 miles from Union County, Kentucky to Franklin County, Illinois, hoping for employment to support his family. He was successful and began sending pay back home almost immediately. About four paychecks later, he sent the money for a local grocer with a stock truck to bring their meager possessions to their new home. “We rode in a touring car,” Carrier says, an Overland. I remember the most impressive thing about it all was being in an automobile on a hard road for the first time in my life and hearing the sound that the other cars made as they passed us by.” There are many more stories in James Carrier's memoir. The detailed information within is as valuable as the escapades and memories are interesting. In his words: “It is not good for this little village, which occupies such a small space upon this large earth to be forgotten inasmuch as it has played such an important role in the lives of so many. It is my intention to leave a written record, which tells the story of the village and its people as I saw it during the days of my youth. Hence this book is written and compiled. I can't bring myself to allow the whole thing to be plowed over and forgotten as the pioneer cemetery has been. To be forgotten forever seems to be a most dreadful thought.”

We agree Mr. Carrier. Thank you.


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(Editors Note) Nostalgia is a pretty hot commodity in West Frankfort lately. Whether in club meetings, at the local coffee shops or on Facebook, everyone seems to be sharing information about the good old days. Topics such as the old movie theaters, pioneer businesses and each and every original grade school can generate discussions that continue at great length until every detail has been covered. One topic that many residents seem to be especially interested in is the Table Pride Bakery, once the pride of the community and everyone's favorite for delicious sweet treats and the hearty white bread baked fresh daily, an event which filled West Frankfort's Main Street with the aroma that led the faithful customers to their bakery repeatedly. , When I was growing up, Table Pride was owned by the Zavich family, who had five children, including a daughter, Vida, who was not only my age but was very special to me as we shared the same birthday. My other significant factor about Table Pride was walking down to the bakery in the afternoon to buy bread for my mother and pinching off the end of the fresh, hot loaf and eating it out of the open white paper bag on my way home. I don't remember ever getting in trouble

for my indiscretion, How could I, when my mother would do the same thing as she took the bags out of my arms.

In 1927, my father and mother Sophy Tofilovich, married and moved to West Frankfort, opening the West Frankfort Baking Company on the southeast corner of Route 37 and West Main Street. It was truly a family venture, with his father, George, uncles Nicodine and Nasto, Sophy and her father Gogo Tofilovich all working in the business. They offered a variety of cookies, breads, cakes, donuts, Danish and other items. Barrett’s Restaurant, which served as the Greyhound Bus Stop, was across the street, and later, Uncle Nasto opened a saloon adjacent to the bakery.

In 1930 my father earned his naturalized American citizenship and Luck found Good Living Magazine this Sophy, who was also from Serbia, month, through Sylvia Tharp, whom followed suit just a year later. many know from her association with the Frankfort Area Museum. She has shared a long friendship with Jo Ann Norovich Peak who now lives in Colorado Springs. A word from Sylvia and we received in the mail the complete story of Table Pride Bakery, one of those businesses in West Frankfort that is remembered with much interest and will probably never be forgotten. ---G.R.T.

By Jo Ann Norovich Peak


teve Norovich, my father, gave his best years to West Frankfort, and was able to bring the best in baking to Southern Illinois from the 1920s until the middle of the century. An immigrant from Macedonia, Serbia, Steve came with his father, George Norovich to Buckner, where he opened his first small bakery. After a year in American schools, Steve, began helping his father and uncle, Nicodine in the Buckner Bakery.

In 1933 he opened his second bakery under the new name, Table Pride Bakery, at 116 East Main across the street from the West Frankfort Post Office. Steve's father, George, was his right hand man, but at about that time, Steve's sister, Virginia, married Gene Tedvovich, who began working in the main shop. Gene was responsible for making all the doughs for the breads. As was common in those days, the family was incorporated into the business. Steve's cousin, Bill Norovich Sr. and years later, Bill Norovich, Jr., both served as truck drivers for the bakery. The retail bakery produced a wide variety of cakes, pie, pastries and breads, but Steve had visions of a large wholesale business as well. As time passed, he was able to add more truck routes and expand the wholesale end of the business.

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For a long time, Table Pride Bakery had two ovens, a large brick oven for French and Italian breads and a revolving oven for sliced bread, cakes, pastries and cookies. It was not unusual for schools to bring a class of students to the bakery for a field trip. Steve was always happy to have the children, and the children were happy with the excursion, as they always left with a cupcake or square of sheet cake. One of the most interesting things that George Norovich did was to make Washington Pies daily. These were small oblong pies with both an upper and lower crust, filled with raisins and fruit with icing on top. These became daily staples in the buckets of miners. About 150 went out the door every day, and it would not be an exaggeration to say that over half of all the buckets carried to the mines included a Washington pie. They sold for 5 cents each. George also made donuts and pies, but he really knew how to use the huge peel to make all the French and Italian bread in the big brick oven. It was during WWII, that Steve made his brother in law, Gene Tedvovich a full partner in the business. Gene was drafted, but did not have a good command of the English language, so Steve, slightly older, asked for permission to go in his place. The bakery business was considered vital to the war effort, so one of the owners was permitted to stay to keep the bakery open while the other went into the service. So in 1942, Steve became probably the oldest man in West Frankfort to be drafted into the service. He was 36 years old. He served in the Army in the 112th Quartermaster Baking Company in the Pacific Theater in Luzon, Pg.22

Philippines and New Guinea. He returned home to West Frankfort in 1945. After the war, Gene, ready to retire, settled on a farm near the County Club just outside West Frankfort.

An interesting bit of history about the bakery is that during WWII, Steve had a locked storeroom installed to keep the rationed supplies of flour and sugar, which had to be accounted for to the Federal Government. The bakery had to account on a regular basis for the amounts of rationed flour and sugar that the bakery ordered and the number of items made from those supplies to assure that the rations were being used properly. Every time a flatbed truck came in with 100-pound sacks of flour and sugar, two policemen would be stationed beside the truck. No one except those loading and unloading the sacks were allowed near the product. Gene, with a clipboard, kept an account of every sack that was brought into the shop. If the amount of baked goods did not match the amount of flour and sugar that was ordered, the bakery would no longer be able to receive the rations. Good records were important and had to be kept daily. During WWII, with so many men Spring 2012

going into the service, more and more women began entering the work force. That was when I came into the bakery, learning to clerk, work the drivers' books, make bank deposits, run the mechanical oven, bake and decorate cakes, make rolls, wrap items for the routes and do almost every job in the bakery. I worked weekends during school and in the summers I worked as a relief worker for women who went on vacation. I continued working throughout high school, and put myself through SIU while continuing to work at the bakery weekends and summers. Table Pride was more than just a business on West Frankfort's Main Street. It was an important part of the community. When the explosion at Orient #2 mine devastated the spirit of the town in 1951, the rescue and recovery effort took days to complete. Table Pride Bakery baked donuts and rolls every day and delivered them to the mine until the operation was over. It was

until he sold the bakery in 1955. Table Pride was definitely the largest independent bakery in Southern Illinois from 1944 until 1955. Table Pride made sliced, French and Italian bread, donuts, pies, Danish, cream rolls, bear claws, tarts, horseshoes, and six to eight kinds of cookies, cakes (including wedding cakes), all of which were delivered to every town they serviced. To my knowledge, no other Southern Illinois bakery has had a wholesale and retail business as large as that of Table Pride Bakery during the 20th Century. In 1955 Steve felt that he could no

baking days had not ended, however, because in 1960 he moved to Colorado Springs and worked for a couple of years in a bakery at the Broadmoor Hotel. Finally, in 1966 he opened a fourth bakery there in Colorado Springs that he also named Table Pride. He sold that bakery to a man from Germany. I guess he felt he was getting a little too old to have to be at work at three o'clock every morning. Perhaps this reads more like a biography of Steve Norovich than a story of Table Pride Bakery, but that's because whatever Steve did, he did well, and it was all about his perseverance for excellence and perfection. He made a major contribution to West Frankfort's history. About the author:

After Jo Ann Peak graduated from SIU, she taught at Lincoln school. Her husband, Dexter Peak, finished his R.O.T.C Program and joined the Air Force. She joined him in Alaska when he was at a remote site. She taught school in Anchorage, Alaska. In 1959 they settled in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

In conclusion, the Norovich family actually owned four bakeries in their history. The first was in Buckner in 1920. From 1927-1933, Steve owned the West Frankfort Baking company on the west side of town, located on the southeast corner of Rt.37 and Main, just across the street from Barrett's Restaurant. From 1933 until 1955, Steve owned the Table Pride Bakery across from the Post Office at 116 East Main. When Steve sold the bakery, he moved to Gunnison, Colorado; he purchased a 12-unit motel, which he renovated into a large motel. His

Photo courtesy of Jo Ann Norovich Peak

Photo courtesy of Jo Ann Norovich Peak

longer continue to prosper in the baking business as he wanted, and he sold the bakery to a man whose name I fail to remember. That man only kept the business for a couple of years and sold to Pete Zavich, a By the 1950’s Table Pride Bakery boasted a fleet of 8 trucks and friend of Steves serviced customers all over southern Illinois, including the 149 who had come Grill in West Frankfort. from the same area as his home a part of the town's effort at helpin Europe. The Zavich family kept ing, giving and grieving. the bakery until the late 60's or early 70's. Again, it was a family Table Pride Bakery continued to grow and Steve expanded his truck business, probably one in which the five children Vello, Vlado, Vida, routes. By 1950 he had eight or Vera and Nancy all took part. more routes going out daily, every day except Sunday, supplying near- As the bakery business began to decline and fewer delivery routes ly every town in Southern Illinois were needed, the Zavich family opfrom Carbondale to Mt. Vernon. erated a sandwich shop on the west His biggest competitor was Contiside of the retail store. They also nental Baking Company (Wonder made some bread, but by 1972, Bread) out of St. Louis. He had there was no longer a Table Pride more than 30 people working for Bakery in West Frankfort. him at various times after WWII

Jo Ann Norovich Peak standing in front of the Table Pride Bakery. with her father, Steve Norovich, in 1947.

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By Gail Renee Thomas

(Photos courtesy of Chaz Ligon) “It was an ordinary day, just like any other day,” says Specialist Chaz Ligon of West Frankfort.” We were doing our job like we did on any other regular day.” That's the way Spc. Ligon describes the way things started out on the morning that the familiar phrase “in harm’s way” became a harsh reality, when the truck carrying him and six of his soldier buddies hit an IED (improvised explosive device) that set off an explosion killing four of the passengers and injuring three. Ligon lost his leg and damaged the sight in one eye that day.

danger he faced every day, waking up on the battlefield of Afghanistan to do a job that he had chosen. He enlisted in the Army right out of high school in 2009. “It's what I wanted,” Ligon says. “It's all I ever wanted. Ever since I was five years old, I wanted to be an Infantry soldier just like my grandpa, Charles Everett Ligon who served in WWII.

also knew there was only a 50/50 chance that I would get out of there without being hurt or killed. Our job was to kill terrorists and protect our country. If I wasn't there doing my job with my boys, then we could end up fighting the terrorists over here. I would never have taken the job if I didn't think I was prepared or able to face the danger.”

“I started out at Fort Bening Georgia for 14 weeks and then got my orders to go to Hawaii, where I was in training for 10 months. After that I went straight to Afghanistan. I had been there for 10 months before I was injured.”

“Every time we got in a truck we knew it could happen,” Ligon continues. “I had lost two of my closest buddies in a firefight, you know, a fight on the battlefield, just like you see on TV. I had hit IEDs two times before, but didn't get hurt. Once it just blew out the front end off the truck and the second time it just popped a tire: the dude who set that one off must have been off his game that day. They are good at

Ligon had been in Afghanistan for 10 months at that time serving with the 25th Infantry 2-35 Alpha Company. He was brutally aware of the

“I knew the facts,” Ligon says. “I knew that I would be sent to Afghanistan, because they weren't sending any more troops to Iraq. I

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what they do, but we're better than they are. We killed Bin Laden and Hussein, but that's not the only reason we're over there. Getting hit. In a way it's a lot about luck. We were at the wrong place at the wrong time.” As Ligon tells his story about that “wrong place.” he's so familiar with the routine and the territory that he forgets that it's like hearing the words in a foreign language for someone who knows nothing about the Army or the enemy territory. He has to stop many times to repeat and spell words or names as he relives that fateful day for us. “We were headed down to patrol the border and the Shaunkari Valley that morning,” he recalls. “We were looking for signs of terrorists’ movement. We knew they were in the area, but we were going to try to catch them. What we didn't know was that they were watching us. We drove farther than usual into the valley, which gave them more time to build a better IED.”

“I lost consciousness,” Ligon says. “I was confused. I just couldn't understand what was happening. My helmet had blown off and it seems I was trying to get my helmet. I'm going to be real explicit about this now,” he cautiones again.” “I just didn't know what had happened. I was laying on my back. Someone's guts were in my lap, but they weren't mine. The hole in the bottom of the truck was so big that my buddies Justin Calley and the medic, Doc Satchett just climbed through the hole in the truck and put me on a litter.” “I remember that I reached down to feel if my leg was still there. When I brought my hand up, it was soaked in blood. Calley grabbed my hand and said, 'Don't touch that, Chaz. We're going to get it fixed.' They carried me back behind the truck and set the litter down there. I asked Calley if my leg was still there, and he said, “Yes. It's just broken. I asked what had happened and he told me that we hit an IED.”

“Every time we got in a truck we knew it could happen,” Ligon said. “I had been there for 10 months before I got injured.”

“I know now that they couldn't tell me that I had lost my leg. They were trying to keep me from going into shock. They were afraid if I went into shock that I would bleed out more. They told me that If I

“I was in the lead truck, and it hit on my side of the truck,” Ligon continues. “I remember it going off. We had a bunch of anti tank missiles, rocket launchers and small arms under the seat. Of course those detonated when the IED went off and added to the impact of the blast.” Ligon pauses in his story, then says, “Ok. I'm going to be real explicit here, OK? I mean you want me to tell my story; I'm going to tell you my story. It's pretty gory, but you can decide about that. I'm just going to tell it like I remember it all, OK? “I encouraged him to continue in his own words, as I will here.

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had lost one more pint of blood, I would have died. They called in a medevac helicopter and flew me to FOB Wright. (Forward Observation Base) The first emergency care that they were able to administer was to put a tourniquet on my leg and clean my blood by dialysis, because I had other guys body parts and blood mixed with mine. Then they flew me to Bagram Air Field in Germany. They did surgery on both legs. They salvaged my right leg, but my left one had been blown off. “ “I woke up after surgery and my buddies Spc. Kevin Cauarez and Spc. Rocky Cheek were in the room with me. Cauarez said, 'Hey man you lost your leg, but you still have your right one.' I yelled out for Cheek and Cauarez said, 'Cheek lost his leg too.' I yelled out for Sgt, Muniz. During deployment, you are all buddies and all hang out together, but it seems everyone has one buddy that is their brother, your closest friend. Muniz was mine. Cauarez said, 'Muniz didn't make it. Sgt. Wildrick didn't make it either. I guess that's when I really lost it, and they had to sedate me.” 'When I woke up again, all the guys from my battalion were there with me. Everyone was telling me how proud they were of me and everything like that. People were coming by to talk to me and tell me how well I was doing. The General from the First Cavalry came in and presented all three of us with the Purple Heart.” “I spent four days in Germany,” Ligon says. “While I was there I got to talk to my mom and dad and step-dad on the phone. I don't remember a whole lot because they Pg. 26

had me so sedated. They flew me and Cheek to Lackland AFB in Texas and drove us to BAMC, the Army Medical Center there. They put me in the burn unit because I had burns on my face and neck and left arm and hand. That was pretty painful. About 10 hours after I got there, my mom got there. Man, I'll always remember seeing her walk through that door. I was really happy.”

Ligon was awarded a Purple Heart by the commander of his unit.

And now? Now, I'm recuperating,” Ligon explains. “My Prosthetic leg should be here this week. I'll be completely out of this wheelchair and on crutches within two weeks. They say a month; I say two weeks. Cheek is on crutches now. I had that picture on facebook of me bearing weight on my stump. It wasn't to show that it didn't hurt. It hurt a lot, but I just wanted the picture to say, 'Look, I have enough heart to get through all of this. I'll get through the rest of it too.'” Ligon is out of the hospital now, living in a hotel with his mother who is still by his side, helping him through the hard times. “There's a lot of pain to deal with,” he admits, “but pain slows me down. The pain is in my mind, and Spring 2012

if I give into the pain, I'll never get to where I want to be. I get recreational therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy. We play dodge ball, wiffle ball, and I work out. I use the wheelchair, but most of the time I just scoot around on the floor. The wheelchair just gets in my way.” Ligon's plans for the future are clear. “I'll be in the service for two more years. I can choose to take a job during that time or go to college. I'm definitely going to take advantage of that and go to school. Six months from now, I can go before the NCO board to become a sergeant. I can also take a seven day leave, but I'm not getting in any hurry about it. I want to go home, but I want to be ready. I'm taking my time and getting it all together.” “I do want to say something to people at home though,” he adds. “You know, don't waste anything. You don't have to go all the way to Afghanistan and get blown up to tell someone you love them. Don't take anything or anyone for granted. If you love someone, tell them now. You may not get another chance..” “I also want to thank everyone who sent me packages and cards and showed me they cared about me. The support from home is wonderful. I really want to thank everyone who has been supporting me. Just sending a card. It's great. I can't get over how my town has had my back.” And from West Frankfort to Chaz. You have our hearts.

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Original graphic by Michael A. Thomas

that your life would be better without watching television?” Again, a unanimous show of hands. “And when you go back to your homes, how many of you will get rid of your televisions?” Not a single person raised their hands. “That, my friends,” he said, “is the difference between you and the Amish.”

By Michael A. Thomas


o a guy who remembers life before television, modern technology is a marvelous thing. The GPS in my car allows me to find my way around strange cities. The DVD player in my living room allows me to watch the latest movie in comfort while enjoying a bag of popcorn popped in the microwave. Heck, this magazine would not even be possible without a digital camera, a computer and the Internet. But I recently started thinking about the price we pay living with our gizmos and gadgets after watching a PBS special on the Amish who, as you probably know, shun electricity and all that comes with it. When asked to explain to a group of tourists the difference between the Amish and the rest of us, an elderly Amish man asked, “How many of you own a television?” All in the group raised their hands. “How many of you think


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A wonderful explanation, I mused, but ironically I probably would have never heard it if I had not been watching my television. And if I had been a first hand observer of that incident, I know I would have not raised my hand either. In fact, as much as I loathe the commercials and idiocy of much of what passes for television entertainment, I must admit that I would miss not finding out what happens to those Hoffman fellers on “Gold Rush” not to mention the electronic babysitting that Tom Bergeron and ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos’ provides for our son, Jaybird. But the gaga of all gadgets in our household is the computer. And unfortunately, most of our favorite Internet sites require some sort of password. If you are like us, which means you are basically too lazy to keep track of a dozen different passwords, you use the same password for each site.

Handy and convenient? Yes. Smart? Probably not. And if you are using the same password for all your sites, be careful because a lot of us lazy people are, well, lazy when it comes to choosing our password. If “password” is your online password then you have just become an easy target for online hackers. It’s the worst password you can possibly choose since it ranks first on SplashData’s annual list of worst Internet passwords. “Passw0rd,” with a numeral zero, isn’t much smarter, ranking 18th on the list. The list is somewhat predictable: “qwerty”(4th) and “abc123” (5th) show laziness at its best. “letmein”(8th) and “trustno1”(9th) are better but still made the top ten worst. Using all numbers is a good idea, unless you try “111111” (12th). Showing our

love/hate relationship to the computer, “iloveyou” (13th) and “master” (14th) are not good either. Harder to explain are the animal words “monkey” (6th) and “dragon”(10th) until you consider that most passwords require a minimum of 6 characters. (Sorry dog, cat and horse.) First names are common too. Evidently there are a lot of young girls named “ashley” (16th) and “bailey”(17th) while the popular boys name “michael” came in at 24th. So how did “sunshine”(15th), “shadow”(19th) and “superman” (25th) make it to the top 25? I have no idea, but don’t use them. But even if you think you have a good password, you may not always get in to, let’s say, your online banking account, without typing in a few more words. Me: Knock. Knock. Computer: Who’s there? Me: (Entering password) Me. Computer: No its not. Me: (Entering password again) Yes it is. Computer: I don’t think so. If it is really you then answer this security question: what street did you grow up on? Me: (Ah, I remember putting this in) Greenwood! Computer: That is incorrect. Me: (Thinking of possible ways I could have screwed up) Greenwood Street… Greenwood St… greenwood. Computer: No. Nope. Nada. Lets try another question: what was the name of your childhood best friend? Me: Ricky Computer: Wrong Me: (OMG I thought we were BFF!) Rick? Richard? James Richard? Let me in. Let me in. Let me in! Computer: Sorry, not by the hair of my chinny chin chin. This account is locked down for security reasons. You hackers will never have access to the enormous amounts of money I am guarding! Please try again in 24 hours. Me:@#$(@#$*& Computer: Password accepted. Please proceed to the next screen. See, finding a password isn’t that difficult. Or perhaps it is time to make life simpler and get rid of the computer. Maybe the Amish are on to something after all.

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