Holiday Inn with a 12 Seat Chapel

Here's another photo from the past, it's the little chapel next to the pool area at the Holiday Inn in Forsyth, Georgia. I remember staying here at least once, but stopping by many time. The pool was pretty nice too, it had a kiddy pool attached to the main pool and a bridge over the intersection of the two. As kids, we really enjoyed swimming under the bridge and of course, checking out that tiny chapel on the motel grounds.

The Holiday Inn has been remodeled since the 70's and early 80's when I stayed there, but the motel still advertises a chapel that seats 12 - I wonder if it's the same one?

Photo is from a postcard

Progress on John's House

Another day at John's house proved to be a lot more than we bargained for! Wanting to replace the dining room windows Friday night, John and Casey removed the siding from that part of the house while they were waiting for me to arrive. We'll at 9:30 pm I finally got there and took a look at the existing windows and header and quickly determined we would need to replace the header. Off to Menard's to get some lumber before they closed at 10.

When we got back, we agreed that we should wait until some other time to rip out the windows and install new ones- out of regard for the neighbors - who wants to hear saws and hammers at 2 AM! So, we installed the drywall on the living room wall until about 1:45 AM.

Saturday morning I was able to go over for a few hours and help with the window. I arrived around 9:30 am and John and Casey began to rip out the old window while I made the new headers. After bracing the ceiling so it wouldn't fall in, breaking a hammer and step stool, and battling the old header for around an hour, we finally got it out and began to frame the openings for the new windows. That part went without a hitch and the openings were ready for windows by 1:00 pm.

Windows in by 1:30 and I was out of there! Casey, John and Ken sealed up the windows, insulated the wall and installed new drywall.

That house is going to look like new pretty soon... Much more to come!

A Taste of Yesterday

It may not be Fall, but all this thinking about how nice things used to be, made me pull up some photos from last October.

We visited Eberly's, a small fruit farm in northern Indiana, to pick some fresh apples. It's a real treat to go back in time on this farm, where things haven't really changed since the 20's or 30's. Standing in the orchard, one can imagine what life was like 80 or 100 years ago.

The orchard isn't designed to be a trip into the past, it just is!

The barn where cider is pressed and apples are purchased is very old and rustic, and filled with the farmer's proverbs handwritten on dozens of pieces of paper or cardboard taped to the walls. The cash register is right out of the Smithsonian too! If the nostalgic look of the place doesn't remind you of the past, then the prices will - only about $1 or 2 for a peck of you-pick apples!

The farmer matches his orchard perfectly, laid back, quiet, quick-witted, and very friendly- offering everyone a taste of his fresh pressed cider and an apple of their choice before they set off searching for apples.

If you long for the past or just want to get away from busy life, I recommend a trip to Eberly's Fruit Farm.

Look under St. Joseph County.

Furniture Guys

Does anyone remember these guys?

They were the furniture guys Ed Feldman and Joe L'Erario on the PBS how to shows "Furniture on the Mend" and "Furniture to G0" and then "Men in Toolbelts"

I miss their how-to tips and especially their humor. It was extremely unique to watch a how-to show and laugh out loud at the same time. Maybe it was because their humor was similar to mine - odd.

I certainly hope they come back to television soon. They do have a couple of books on furniture repair and refinishing that are full of information.

Photo for Tuesday

Mike with Lily Pads
TG July 2005

1970's I-75 Icons

In the 1970's, I-75 didn't run the length of Georgia. I guess there was some lobbying by local businesses preventing the timely completion of the interstate. I can't remember exactly where, but I-75 ended somewhere in Georgia and all traffic had to exit to a state road, take it for several miles, then the interstate picked up again.

Along that state road were little businesses that made their money from the tourists who drove south to Florida. One of the businesses I remember was B. Lloyd's Pecans. This little roadside store was famous for pecan logs (in my family at least). We'd pull up to the store and park around the perimeter of a building with tons of beach towels hanging from the ceiling of the covered porch. Nothing fancy, just an old building with lots of pecans and candy for sale, and local people doing the selling.
It's this aspect of traveling to Florida that I miss most (see yesterday's post).

The Great Sign

Driving south on I-75 in Georgia and Florida in the 1970 s was really different than it is today. Every exit held a surprise, you didn't know what kind of restaurants or gas stations existed around the bend. I really miss that part of travel - you actually felt like you were in a different place - the people talked with strange accents, they dressed a bit different, they offered different things in their stores and restaurants ... it was great!

These days it seems that you can find the same standardized gas stations, restaurants and motels at almost every exit. It feels like you never left home except for the palm trees (which you can buy in Chicago now every spring) You'll find a BP gas station and Cracker barrel at every major exit along the way. Of course the motels are all franchised -but that's not a bad thing.

Holiday Inn started the whole thing back in the 50's with a clean room, a low price and no surprises. Gone were the days of hit or miss lodging; you knew exactly what you were getting when you pulled into a holiday inn. I can't describe the feeling of seeing that 40 foot tall "Great Sign" all lit up as you drove down the dark, empty interstate ready to stop for the night - I can still see it, and hear it! The neon and electronic switches all made noise- an electrical hum along with clicks and pops. That's the single biggest thing I miss about travel - Seeing that sign at night. You can still see it all lit up in the movie The Blues Brothers and the TV show Starsky and Hutch.

I got one of the masonite signs they used to have mounted on the wall in the lobby by the road map. It was cracked and no longer glued to the wall so my dad took it up to the front desk and asked the manager if I could have it. They said, "Sure." My brother and I would play with that sign day after day and year after year with our pedal cars. What other kid had a "real" Holiday Inn sign when they pretended to stay in or work at a motel?

I hope one day they bring that sign back. It was a great piece of Americana!

It's Tracey's Birthday!

Happy Birthday Tracey!
Here she is waiting for photo after blowing out the candles on her cake.


John is working hard to make his house look good, but he's working even harder to make it more efficient. Rather than just patch a few spots and tack up wood trim, he decided to tear all of the drywall off of the outside walls on his house to make sure it's insulated properly. Of course, he didn't count on there being two layers of drywall to remove! Here he's tacking up new insulation and getting ready for new drywall.

He's got lots of work left, including installing 10 new windows, crown moulding, chair rails, baseboards, door and window trim. But John just doesn't install new windows, he removes the siding on the entire side of the house, puts up styrofoam insulation, fan-fold insulation and house rap, then he installs the windows and replaces the siding. It certainly is done right!

He should be finished by October!!

Boat on Navy Pier

Boat on Lake Michigan
Taken from Navy Pier in Chicago
T. Gill

Another Food Memory Long Gone

Yet another food landmark is gone - The Huck Finn Restaurant and Donut shop on Archer and Kedzie. Open 24 hours and home to plenty of strange people.

I can still remember stopping in there the mornings we left for Flordia to get a dozen French donuts for the trip down. Carol demanded that we couldn't open the box until we got past, "The big turn" which was the on ramp to I 65 South from I 94.

At least a few HuckFinn Restaurants remain in the Chicago area, so we can still enjoy the best donuts around.

Flashback -- Veli's Koffee Kup

Remember Veli's coffee cup on 95th Street in Oak Lawn? Here's a photo (taken by Ed Kwiatkowski.) of Veli and Ali a few days before the diner closed.

I remember going there every Sunday for breakfast with Ed, Ed and Bill and getting French Toast, bacon, hashbrowns and coffee. We didn't even have to tell them what we wanted, they already knew.
Here's a note I found on a messageboard on the web:

Just a thought...

What is everyone's favorite breakfast?

No, doughnuts do not count!

My favorite breakfasts:

1. Three eggs, over easy, with white toast, sausage patties, hash browns and coffee from a little storefront diner in Oak Lawn, Illinois called Veli's Kofy (pronounced coffee) Kup.

Mike F.

Moderator, Ye Ole Celtic Pub
It's places like these I miss the most.

Anyone else remember this place?

How, What and Why

I've always loved taking pictures. As a kid, I had a Kodak 110 camera I would use to capture palm trees, waterfalls and storm clouds in Florida. I would take a couple rolls of film a year and couldn't wait for the film to be developed at our local film processor called Solar.

Since getting my first digital camera back in 2000, I've been taking loads of digital photos, mostly snapshot of the kids and places I've been. I would average about 1500 images a year, burn them to CD in January, and make three copies to keep in three different locations in case of theft or fire.

Learning a lot of things along the way, I began to crave a camera that could perform better than a 1.3 Mp, fixed focus camera. After a little research on Steve's Digicams and many other places I found this camera to fit my needs and still allow for some growth as I learn more about photography.

Here' s the digital camera I use to capture the photos on this blog:
It's a Fuji Finepix S5100 with an assortment of filters, a 10X optical zoom, many scenes and preset features, and best of all - full manual mode. I have a couple of tripods, a slave flash that works in conjunction with the built-in flash, a few XD cards (256Mb, 512Mb, and a new 1Gb (thanks John!)) and a set of good rechargeable batteries.

Since May 2005, I've taken over 4000 photos! Lots of them are junk - test shots that I've taken to experiment with depth of field and exposure, but the majority of them are decent shots. I'm going to use this blog to show some of the more interesting photos; they may not be works of art, but I hope they convey the intended message.


T. Gill
Sunken Gardens, St. Petersburg Florida
June 2005

On a cold January day in Chicago, I thought it would be nice to share a warm image to help remind us that winter won't last forever.

Photo of the Day

Door Prairie Barn, LaPorte, Indiana
Photo taken in November 2005