Moline Memories - MHS 66 Friends

Friday, December 30, 2011

Current Lulu Discount

Get something for yourself. 25% off any order. Code: ONEMORETHING. Save up to $150 through January 6, 2012.

Even More Corrections Made To the Reunion Book

Notice the uncredited cameo.
Perhaps the oversight motivated the offended student to pursue liberal arts instead of science.
America could have had zip-loc bags and Google years earlier.
For want of a nail, a shoe was lost...

Here is the absolute latest version of the MHS 1966 Reunion Book. It is a free PDF download. John Robeson got me involved in Dropbox, which made the sharing much easier. Let me know if you want the free software, which is great for backing up files and sending large ones.

I have also changed the link on the left.

Corrections will be made every so often, so do not hesitate to send an email or FB message. I change the title page to reflect the date of the newest edition. This one is New Year's Eve, 2011.

I am looking into an e-book version right now.


Current Lulu discount:

Get something for yourself. 25% off any order. Code: ONEMORETHING. Save up to $150 through January 6, 2012.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Reflections on the Moline High School Graduates of 1966: The Class the Stars Fell On

I finished our 1966 reunion book, so that got me thinking about being born in Moline and growing up there. Since I had no comparison, I took everything for granted. For instance, G. Lavern Flambo organized all kinds of entertainment that brought world famous performers to the Quad Cities. I tell college students about watching Louis Armstrong, Pearl Bailey, and Louis Bellson perform. They say, "You did? In Moline?" Benny Goodman played at Wharton, so I walked over and had my program signed. Wasn't every small town like that? I saw Flambo at Melo Cream all the time. How much does a kid know?

I was a bit embarrassed that my father's business was downtown. Later I came to appreciate the charm of old downtown areas, which get better with age, if the citizens and corporations keep them up. Flambo had his hole-in-the-wall WQUA station almost next door to the doughnut shop. In the background is the spire of First Lutheran Church, the mother church of the Swedish Augustana Lutheran Synod.

Lago's and Whitey's are two examples of local businesses seldom equaled anywhere else. Classmates long to come back to both places, and other eateries they remember with fondness.

Going over the John Deere, Coolidge, and MHS yearbooks reminded me of how organized we were, how often we volunteered to help in various ways. Of course, many adults and parents made that possible. The money earned from manufacturing helped a great deal too, as everyone has learned too late.

The Moline Dispatch seemed to cover every cat-hanging in town, so we took that for granted too. This photo of Jackie Ozanne was one of many about our chem-physics class. Three of those students earned PhDs later - in rocket science, math, and theology. The last category was appropriate because the two teachers prayed the whole time that I would graduate.

I see pictures like this and remember the stories, pranks, and classes. The warm memories overlap because many classmates were my mother's favorite students in class at Garfield, so I knew even more from all classes from her observations about them. People contact me and say, "Your mother saved my life," or "She was my favorite teacher." George Small told me, "I became an engineer because your mother had us build a working model of the Panama Canal." But I tell my grandchildren, "Dairy Queen came from the Medd family, and the Medd brothers invented the Blizzard machine."

Each group photograph seems to include someone who died too young. Many are no longer in contact with the reunion committee or the rest of us. That is another kind of loss. Do the missing or silent ones have children, grandchildren, and photos of where they live?

At the 40th reunion, Bruce Johnson said during a talk, "Yes, the Class the Stars Fell On," a reference to a famous West Point class of future generals. One classmate said at the 45th reunion, "I love that designation, because there are so many achievers in one class."

I will have to name them all a little later, but here are a few who come to mind, in no particular order:
  • A rocket scientist.
  • The best high school tennis coach in the US.
  • A nationally known fiction and business writer.
  • A performer on Broadway.
  • An Iowa Rock N Roll Hall of Fame recipient.
  • Three university professors.
  • A minister and singer with a world-wide ministry.
  • Five PhDs.
  • Three from the same neighborhood who went to Yale graduate school.
  • Two psychologists.
  • A cardiologist.
  • Two veterinary physicians.
  • Several nurses.
  • Several lawyers.
  • Public school teachers.
  • At least one engineer.
  • A Viet Nam war hero who earned the Medal of Honor.
  • Many who served our military forces with distinction, one rising to the rank of full colonel.
  • Parents who stayed together, raised their children, and now enjoy the delights of grandchildren.

Final Version of the MHS Reunion Book:
Free Download and Purchasing Information

Free Final PDF Version of the MHS 1966 Reunion Book.

Everyone can download this free PDF and save it to the hard drive. Share it too. If you see a caption to improve or a name misspelled, let me know at

The full-color print version can be ordered here. The cost is $27.95 because the interior has to be all color or all black and white. I decided to make it color because many historic photos and all current photos are color.

Click here to order the printed version. There is often a sale on printed books, 20% or more off. Click on the main address to find the discount - which is always a big headline. The book is printed and sent to your home, office, or dessert island.

The book happened because Kym Dennhardt Whatley insisted.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Moliners Paid for the Funeral of Charles Dickens' Son:
Grave at Riverside

Dr. Jamieson, Moline.

Mrs. Jamieson

Dr. Alexander Wallace Jamieson (1839-1889) met Inspector F.J. Dickens in an Ottawa, Ontario hotel. They struck up a friendship and Dr. Jamieson invited Francis Dickens to visit him in Moline, Illinois. Whilst in Moline Dickens read to the Jamieson children from his author father's works. The books are still in possession of the Jamieson descendants. Dr. Jamieson assisted in covering the costs of Dickens' funeral in Riverside Cemetery, Moline.

Photos courtesy of - Mr. and Mrs. Darrel (Betty) Hagberg, Moline.
Mrs. Hagberg is Dr. Jamieson's Great, Great Grandaughter.


Here is a unique tale from Canada’s historic North West. It is a tale within a tale for Francis Jeffrey Dickens was the son of a very famous father, the renowned English author Charles Dickens. Dickens Senior wrote many stories but the short life of third son, Francis Jeffrey is an interesting, little known story of adventures.

Francis Jeffrey was the fifth child out of ten as parented by Charles and his wife Catherine. He was born in London, England January 15, 1844. The previous Christmas had seen the great success of ‘A Christmas Carol’. As was his practice Charles while playing with his children, gave them nicknames and eventually Francis Jeffrey would be called ‘Chickenstalker’ which carried hints of another Christmas book ‘The Chimes’.
The moneyed English tradition of sending children away to boarding school at an early age held true with Francis Jeffrey and he was sent to attend an English boys’ boarding school in Boulogne, France. Within a few years he was writing from another school in Hamburg, Germany where he was unsuccessful in studying pre-medical subjects. Upon return to London he was employed for a time with his father’s magazine. It was reported that Francis was a bit hard of hearing and had a stutter on occasion.

In 1863 Francis went out to India to serve with the Bengal Police. Upon his father’s death in 1870 Francis Jeffrey returned to England. In October 1874 he obtained commission as a Sub-Inspector in the newly formed North West Mounted Police and sailed for Canada. He arrived too late to participate in what would become known as The March West of the NWMP during the summer of 1874. However he was posted to Fort Dufferin near the 49th parallel for the winter of 1874/75.

During 1875 he was stationed at Fort Livingston on the Swan River (Manitoba) and then at Fort Macleod. Both postings necessitated long hours in the saddle travelling the seemingly endless parkland then prairie. The following year all of the Canadian and American Great Plains were in turmoil after the massacre of Custer and his men at the Battle of the Little Big Horn by Chief Sitting Bull and his warriors. Both countries were on war alert as the aboriginal peoples far outnumbered the whites.

The following year 1877 Sitting Bull moved into the Cypress Hills under the watchful eyes of the NWMP at Fort Walsh and Wood Mountain. Bull and his people would remain in Canadian territory for almost three years. During 1877 while stationed at Fort Macleod, Dickens was present at The Blackfoot Crossing for the signing of Treaty Number Seven with the Blackfoot Indians.
In 1878 Sub Inspector Dickens was transferred to Fort Walsh where he overlapped with Sitting Bull. In 1879 Francis Jeffrey was still at Fort Walsh and during this year his mother died and was buried in Highgate Cemetery, London. (His famous author father had been buried in Westminster Abbey). In November 1879 NWMP Constable Graburn was murdered while attending to horses near Fort Walsh and this led to increased tensions in the area 

In June 1880 Dickens was promoted to the rank of Inspector and was transferred from Fort Walsh to Fort Macleod. The following year ‘Chickenstalker’ moved to The Blackfoot Crossing on the Bow River about 50 miles east of Fort Calgary. He was involved with at least one confrontation with a brave who had stolen a horse. This incident was settled by the wise intervention of Chief Crowfoot and the support of NWMP personnel who forced marched from Fort Macleod.

Dickens remained at The Blackfoot Crossing during 1881 and the first half of 1882 and was well aware that vast changes were about to occur in the country with the westward progress of the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. No longer would arduous, dusty route marches need to be made down to Fort Benton Montana Territory on the Missouri River to catch a paddlewheeler headed for Bismark, North Dakota to gain rail transport back to the east. During Dickens 12 years of service with the NWMP he never left the frontier.
In 1883 Dickens was transferred to Fort Pitt on the North Saskatchewan River and placed in charge of the small, poorly located fortification which lay on the main river highway supply route from Fort Carlton to Fort Edmonton. Ever since Sitting Bull had massacred Custer and the Seventh Cavalry in 1876 tensions throughout the whole region were high. Fort Pitt was in the heart of the most volatile regions where both Big Bear of the Crees and the Metis were in a state of unrest. There was also ongoing concerns that Louis Riel who had led the Red River Rebellion of 1870 would return from self-imposed exile in Montana to lead another uprising.

Inspector Dickens repeatedly warned of unrest in the area and in March 1885 it all came to a head with NWMP battles at Duck Lake followed by the burning of Fort Carlton then the Crees murdering priests and Hudson Bay Company employees and family members at Frog Lake. This site was 35 miles north west of Fort Pitt. Dickens sent out three scouts to reconnoiter. When they returned they were attacked by Cree warriors; one escaped unharmed, one was wounded - played dead then crawled to the ‘fort’, the other Constable Cowan was killed within sight of Fort Pitt then the warrior cut out young Cowan’s heart and ate a piece of it before the horrified defenders of the fort.
The NWMP detachment were outnumbered and outgunned 200 to 20. Negotiations led to the civilians agreeing to become prisoners of the Cree and Big Bear. The Chief gave Dickens and his men a short time to abandon the fort. This they did, and travelled amongst the ice pans in a leaky scow. Scouts from Fort Battleford reported that everyone at Fort Pitt had been massacred however after six days on the river Dickens and his men arrived at Battleford and received a hero’s welcome.
On November 2, 1885 eight aboriginal men were hanged at Ft. Battleford for their part in the uprising. Louis Riel was hanged at the NWMP barracks in Regina November 16. Dickens had left prior to the executions, travelled overland to Swift Current where he travelled by CPR to Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. He resigned in March 1886.

While in Ottawa he became friends with Dr. Alexander Jamieson of Moline, Illinois who was an admirer of the writings of Francis Jeffrey’s father, Charles. ‘Chickenstalker’ accepted Dr. Jamieson’s invitation to travel to Moline to give talks about his experiences in the Riel Rebellion of 1885. June 11 while sitting down to dinner prior to his scheduled speech, Francis Jeffrey took a glass of ice water, then clutched his chest in pain. He was escorted to an adjoining room but died of an apparent heart attack. He was 42 years old. The townsfolk of Moline made all the arrangements and carried most of the expenses of Inspector Dickens’ funeral and burial. In time a cement marker was placed at the grave and many years later a bronze plaque was attached to the original marker.
Since childhood David J. Carter has been a fan of Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’ and since 1993 has been carrying out research re: Francis Jeffrey Dickens. 

In 2001 funds were generated (led in particular by Jean Carter and the Medicine Lodge Coulee Heritage Society) to cover the costs of an official NWMP headstone which was placed at the grave of ‘Our Mutual Friend’ Inspector F.J. Dickens of the NWMP. The headstone was carved in Medicine Hat by Michael Anctil.  It was officially unveiled September 24, 2002 by an entourage of present members of the RCMP and former members of the RCMP representing The March West Committee. (Inspector Daun Miller-Co-ordinator.)


In 1874, when Northwest Mounted Police Inspector Francis Dickens arrived at Dufferin, an outpost along the west side of the Red River near the Manitoba-U.S. Border, he was angry and upset, first because he had arrived too late to take part in the original trek west, and second because he would have to remain at what he considered one of the most unpleasant places in the entire British Empire. [1] George A. French, the first commissioner of the North West Mounted Police, described the site, where he would assemble nearly 300 people in preparation for a march into Canada’s far west, as a “small shanty town surrounded by a few brothels and grog shops.” [2] In his memoirs, a young NWMP recruit described Dufferin in similarly unflattering terms. “Dufferin ... was [he wrote] of small account ... a Government warehouse, a Hudson’s Bay Company Store, two whiskey saloons and a few log shanties, inhabited by half-breeds ...” [3] Contemporary photographs do little to alter these descriptions. They show a collection of unpainted buildings in a muddy, bleak, and untidy setting. Yet it was from this site that two major and very significant events in Canadian history not only began, but also ended.
A group of North West Mounted Police in 1874. Francis Dickens is standing second from right.
Source: Archives of Manitoba


Charles Dickens Website
Francis Jeffrey DickensFrank was third son of Charles and Catherine Dickens. He was born on 15 January 1844. Catherine had been"exceedingly depressed and frightened" during the pregnacy.
During his infacy Frank began to show what his father hoped was a real promise. As a boy Frank attended a private school in Boulogne, France with his brothers Alfred and Sydney. He left for Germany to study language but quickly abandoned his dream to become a doctor. He had thoughts of sailing to Canada or Australia to become a gentleman farmer. Dickens took him into the office of All the Year Round but Frank proved ill-suited to office work and journalism. Dickens then arranged a commission for him in Bengal Mounted Police. He sailed for India in January 1863. He was expecting to meet his brother Walter there but the time he arrived Walter had died suddenly of an aortic aneurysm in Calcutta. Frank acquitted himself well and remained in India for seven years. After his father´s death 1870, Frank returned in England squandered his share of Dickens´s money. He lost his Bengal appointment. His aunt Georgina helped him to get a commission as a sub inspector in the North West Mounted Police, Canada. He arrived in Ottawa in the fall of 1874. On 16 February 1886 he resigned from The Force. He died 11 June 1886 while visiting Dr. A.W.Jamieson of Moline, Illinois. His brothers wished the body to remain in Moline and be placed in a quiet spot in Riverside Cemetery.

The grave was marked by a simple block of marble with the inscription:

"In Memory of
Francis J Dickens
Third Son of the Distinguished
Born Jan 15, 1844.
Died June 11, 1886.
Take Ye heed. Watch and Pray. For Ye know
Not When the Time Is".

The Dickensian No. 410: Vol.82 


Dickens of the Mounted

Friday, September 23, 2011
Klondike Friday: The Beginning of the NWMP

In my research on the North-West Mounted Police for the Klondike Gold Rush series, I recently bought an out of print book titled Dickens of the Mounted by Eric Nicol (who sadly passed away earlier this year at the age of 91). The book is fiction, but based on fact. Francis Dickens, son of Charles, was an Inspector in the NWMP for twelve years. Francis himself died in 1886 just a short while after leaving the police.

The book is very Flashman-esque. It takes what little is known about the real life of Dickens and proposes to be a book of letters he wrote back to England during his time in the NWMP.

His career was, shall we say, less than stellar and apparently his lasting contribution to Canadian history was that from then on the officer corps of the NWMP showed a ‘growing antipathy… towards Englishmen.’

The book is hilarious in places, poignant in others (Francis lived in his father’s shadow his entire life) and most importantly, in my opinion, a darn good historical read.

Francis Dickens joined the NWMP in 1874 (he secured his position as a Sub-Inspector through family connections while still in England – he had never been a police officer). He was slightly too late to take part in the Great March West which left in July. Dickens followed by train. There being at the time no Canadian train route, he had to go through the U.S. to St. Paul and then by stagecoach to Winnipeg.

The March West of the NWMP is one of the key pivotal points in the creation of Canada west of Winnipeg and in the creation of the Canadian identity (the police were sent to bring law and government to Indian lands, not the Army.) It is, naturally, almost completely unknown to any but the keenest follower of Canadian history.

Although Francis Dickens was too late for the March, he soon caught up and spent the remainder of his career in such outposts as Fort Pitt, Fort Walsh, and Fort MacLeod. (In Alberta, where I visited the historical NWMP fort in the spring). He was there for treaty negotiations with the Blackfoot, dealings with Sitting Bull after he and his people came to Canada following the Little Big Horn, met Louis Riel, and fought the rebels in the North West Rebellion.

In the book, he meets and comments on Sam Steele, James Walsh, Sitting Bull, Louis Riel and many other historic characters. Sam Steele, incidentally, was an important player in the Klondike Gold Rush being the NWMP commissioner at that time. One of the towering figures of Canadian history, he is (of course) almost completely unknown.

A laugh out loud incident happens in the book when Dickens meets the Governor General (and son-in-law of Queen Victoria) and the GG wants to speak to him privately once he realizes Francis is the son of Charles Dickens.
“I wonder, Inspector Dickens, whether you can recommend a good publisher back home?”
“A publisher, Your Excellency?”
“Yes. You see, I do a bit of writing myself.”


Famous Residents of Riverside Cemetery

Notice Dickens on the back cover of this excellent book.
If you want to know the beginnings of Moline, read this book.

The book sells for $20 and is available from these outlets:

Moline, Illinois:
Model Printers, 310 15th Street
Lagomarcino's Confectionary, 1422 Fifth Avenue
Trevor True Value Hardware, 2842 16th Street
Rock Island County Historical Society, 822 11th Avenue

Davenport, Iowa: 

Lagomarcino's Confectionary, Village of East Davenport
Pretend you are going to Lago's for the book. Everyone will think you are a new-born scholar.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Pageants

Do you remember the Christmas pageants, the scratchy costumes, slipping halos, and scene-stealing toddlers? Now our grandchildren get to show us those moments all over again.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Here Is an Old Fashioned Christmas
With Santa and Ribbon-Tied Mittens:
Kathleen Wilcox Kapetanakis

Kathleen Wilcox posed with Santa. It looks like the Christmas of 1949. Do you remember mittens clipped on the coat, so they would not be lost?

Our mothers took the nursery rhyme seriously.

Three Little Kittens

Three little kittens they lost their mittens,
And they began to cry,
Oh, mother dear, we sadly fear Our mittens we have lost.
What! lost your mittens, you naughty kittens!
Then you shall have no pie.
Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow.
No, you shall have no pie.

The three little kittens they found their mittens,
And they began to cry,
Oh, mother dear, see here, see here, Our mittens we have found!
Put on your mittens, you silly kittens,
And you shall have some pie.
Purr-r, purr-r, purr-r,
Oh, let us have some pie.

The three little kittens put on their mittens,
And soon ate up the pie;
Oh, mother dear, we greatly fear Our mittens we have soiled.
What! soiled your mittens, you naughty kittens!
Then they began to sigh,
Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow.
Then they began to sigh.

The three little kittens they washed their mittens,
And hung them out to dry;
Oh! mother dear, do you not hear, Our mittens we have washed!
What! washed your mittens, then you're good kittens,
But I smell a rat close by.
Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow.
We smell a rat close by.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Reunion Book Is Done.
Order a Printed Copy or Check Over the Free Download To Help Correct Errors

Ripped from the Pages of the 
1966 Reunion Book

These true stories--and more--can be found in the Moline High 1966 Reunion Book.

This is the free download link. John Robeson got me interested in Dropbox, which allows free downloads, without the need to install the software. But the free software is great for sharing large files.

Please help with captions and mistakes. Send corrections to or my main email address, which some of you know. It is the address.

This is where you can order the printed version, which I will continue to improve because of print-on-demand software.

The cost went up to $27.95 because the size doubled and it was far better with a full color interior. The book has 80 pages in it.

If there are photos from the reunion that you want added, send them to me with the caption. I can do that. I will make all the major changes and print a Christmas edition (see the title page).

Judy Marsh Ramsay gets the first copy because of all her work on the website. The website and Facebook were essential in putting together the biographies.

Kym and Josephine Schaeffer Johnson

Thank Kym Dennhardt Whatley for the project, because she kept insisting on a book, something we can keep. The website and book together will help a lot of people keep in touch and get to know each other again.

The reunion committee made the event happen.
 Reunion committee members include, in front from left, Bill Serandos, Dave Coopman and Jim Kron; middle row, Karen Sommers, Judy (Marsh) Ramsay, Delma (Winter) Reakes and Barb (Warfield) DeSmet; and back row, Jayne (Johnson) McDermott, True Dee (Giacomelli) Sorgen and Darlene (Gabriel) Katherman.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Just in Time for Christmas,
But Christmas of What Year?

Sharlene Carlson and Jim Kron are in the foreground.
Bruce Johnson and George Small's hand are in the background.
Darlene Gabriel Katherman is sitting at the table.

I am finishing the reunion book. The version I post in a day or two will have the usual, expected glaring errors in it. Feel free to contact me at

I am spending some time noting who lives where, due to a lethargic response about bio information. That is time consuming but worth it. I am hoping that the listing of Facebook participants will encourage more classmates to be in touch with each other. I know it has made quite a difference among those who post, drawing us together again.

I like the idea of an annual, informal get-together. If we know a lot of classmates will be in town on a given weekend, resistance to travel will diminish, especially when fueled by a longing for Lago's, Whitey's, and other fleshpots of the QC area.

Those Were the Days, My Friend

Once upon a time there was a tavern
Where we used to raise a glass or two
Remember how we laughed away the hours
And think of all the great things we would DO

Those were the days, my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way
La la la la la la
La la la la la la

Then the busy years went rushing by us
We lost our starry notions on the way
If by chance I'd see you in the tavern
We'd smile at one another and we'd say

Those were the days, my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never lose
Those were the days
Oh, yes, those were the days
La la la la la la
La la la la la la

Just tonight I stood before the tavern
Nothing seemed the way it used to be
In the glass I saw a strange reflection
Was that lonely woman really me?

Those were the days, my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never lose
Those were the days
Oh, yes, those were the days
La la la la la la
La la la la la la

Through the door there came familiar laughter
I saw your face and heard you call my name
Oh, my friend, we're older but no wiser
For in our hearts the dreams are still the same...

Those were the days, my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never lose
Those were the days
Oh, yes, those were the days
La la la la la la
La la la la la la

More lyrics: