Moline Memories - MHS 66 Friends

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mike Collins, MHS 68: The Broken Window Shrine, Theater, and Cars

Mike broke this window as a child.
This is why it was never repaired...

In his own words:

"I was playing marbles with Jim Putnam and Harry Mahar on 11th Ave C when we decided to see who could throw a marble the farthest. My choice was over the house on 27th street facing 11th C. I was short.....I walked up to the guys house and knocked on the door to turn myself in, so to speak, and he didn't even know it had happened. He asked me what we should do and I told him to call my dad. After my dad showed up we went and bought a window and came back to replace it and the owner told us he wanted to do that himself and put the window in the garage. That was about 1960 I think.

Years later when I was living in Arizona , I was visiting and saw the man and his wife working in the front yard. I stopped and told him who I was and he and his wife got big smiles on their faces and he told me he never replaced the window because I had renewed his faith in the youth and wanted a reminder not to become angry over neighborhood kids anymore. He showed the window to his friends and church members and used it for a lesson/story. That was in 1976. I told him then it was time and I could do it for him and of course they wouldn't let me....

I was recently in the neighborhood with my son Joe, 12 years old, and told him the story, and then stopped to see if it was still broken."

Mike spotted neighbors of the original victim on this latest trip, who invited Mike and his son into their house for tea. They spent a long time talking about the neighborhood and the tale of the broken window.

Mike said, "It was a great trip and a chance to impart a little wisdom on my youngest son."

Drama and Communications
Mike was in theater as a child. Moline High classmates remember him in "The Importance of Being Earnest." He was also Von Trapp in "The Sound of Music."

He was also in Playcrafters and the Music Guild. He worked at the Apacheland Movie Ranch, doing stunt work and some small parts, including "one terrible B movie" he has not named.

Back in the Quad Cities he directed Crazy For You. He came down with Guillain-Barre, a neurological disorder causing extreme weakness, among other symptoms.

Car Restoration
Mike earned a communications degree while he was recovering from Guillain-Barre, graduating with honors from Illinois State, and did most of the master's program. That did not turn into a communications job, so he went back to car restoration work. Some of his work is pictured below.

Mike says:
"I did a 51 Frasier and a 36 Pierce Arrow before opening my own location. (photos of both of these are in my Facebook photos albums, I am currently working on a lounge interior in a 40's passenger train car and have a 68 Malibu to start on the end of February. I would like nothing more than to return to Moline, to do whatever work is available. I am hoping to get some more rod and classic interior work, but it is hard to do when out of that for so long."

Pierce Arrow interior work.

The Barbie Jeep.

Frasier seat, green cloth with chestnut leather.

Mike loves being a father again, coaching his young son's baseball and football teams.

Mike and his son Joe enjoy time together.
Mike's favorite job is being a father.