It Is much cooler today as we say, ‘May the 4th be with you.’ Just my kind of day for traveling to the Southern Illinois town of my youth, Eldorado. Although this is my fourth trip within the past few months…there were still photos that I did not snap on the first three journeys. I recall Eldorado being so much larger than it seems now. The streets seemed longer and wider…especially when I was riding either my bicycle with the knobby tires that looked like a motorcycle…or later my three-speed. Mom and I lived in somewhat mean circumstances for our first years in Eldorado and everyone seemed to be my better…while now I feel fully qualified as an alumnus of the Eldorado Education system and a former resident in good standing for over twelve years.
When I lived in Eldorado…I was excited to leave. Now that I have been gone for almost fifty years…I am happy to return and good memories flood my mind. During my early childhood years, everything about Eldorado seemed larger than life. In those halcyon days it was a bustling community…although we were told on numerous occasions by the Life Long Veterans of Living in Eldorado…that, ‘We should have seen Eldorado in its’ Heyday!’ Jackie Brooks and I spent many a fun Saturday visiting at each other’s homes and I especially enjoyed going to Jackie’s where his mom, Thelma, prepared hot dogs for each of us…straight out of the package…just the way that Jackie liked them. I began to like the cold hot dog…as well. Jackie’s dad was a bricklayer and he was a dark and swarthy man…and kind. He was the first man that I had met who was named Carol.
Mom and I particularly enjoyed living on West Street where she could walk one street over to attend her adult education classes at Lincoln School. She was taking classes to become a photographer…and she was good. It was a peaceful tree-lined street full of friendly people. My friend, Steve, lived next door and the Cunninghams lived across the street. The Cooks lived on the corner and it was the finest house on the block. Bozarth’s Market was at the end of the lane and to the right. I was saddened to see the condition of the former Pearce Hospital…that I had attended to see Dr. Pearce on numerous occasions. The hospital closed many years ago and has fallen into extreme disrepair. Mom considered Dr. Pearce an outstanding physician.
I photographed the Gospel Assembly Church where my Grandma Askew and her kids were members and dated back to the founders of the denomination… My earliest memories of this church were of a low-profile stone building that was lovely except for the extremely worn carpet on the inside of the sanctuary. The photos that I did take were of what we often referred to as the New Church…that is at least 50 years old. There was a low-profile group of buildings just down from the New Gospel Assembly…that looked remarkably like the old church…but clad in brick instead of stone.
Big John is an Eldorado Icon. There is a Big John’s Supermarket that dates back to my grade school years…but I remember when it was built. My friend, Doug P’s, father managed the initial store…and the current humongous statue of Big John is not the original…but it has been there for many years. As I came out of Hucks Market I heard a car horn honk and I subsequently looked around wondering if one of my old classmates was greeting me…and enchanted that they could recognize me… Seeing no one I walked out to Big John and strained my neck to look up into his massive grinning face and snapped a picture of him…whereupon someone honked again and waved…and I waved back…but I could not see the friendly person through the window glass…
I love reading your posts, sharing towns and cities I will never get to see. Happy Star Wars Day!
Thank you, my friend. Your kind comments are a great encouragement.