Moline Memories - MHS 66 Friends

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Donuts at Christmas

 I was already working on my triceps, rolling out dough, and building a portfolio as a donut model for calendars. No royalties, except what I ate.

The origin of "O Holy Night" invoked memories, singing that beautiful song at our elementary school - Garfield. We were so backward, we called it a grade school then. Multi-syllables are the key to sophistication.

One of our teachers sang the obbligato to "O Holy Night", and she had the voice of an angel. One of her students became famous in the opera world, because of the influence of that teacher. My mother said of the teacher, in a hushed voice, "She was first soprano in the Augustana College Choir."

We were so backward, we had a Christmas program every year at Garfield. Each class would sing actual Christmas hymns and songs with parents and teachers in the audience. I would scan the audience for my mother, who was teaching there. She would always give me a big smile and I smiled back, could not help it.

Moline was a small town. When my father plugged in his electric shaver, the trolley car would slow down. 

We did not know that we were living in a peaceful paradise. Some bad things did intrude, but my mother always explained them to us:

  1. "None of your business."
  2. "You are not old enough."
Later, I was learning about nutrition at the Melo Cream Donut Shop. Germans have a tradition of eating jelly-filled bread donuts (no hole of course) for Christmas-New Year's. We had to have trays of them ready because once-a-year customers would come in to buy a dozen.

 This was Photoshopped by a Moline friend.

The tradition comes from Germany, so the donuts were called Berliners or Bismarcks, the first after the town where the baker came from, the second after the famous leader. People used both names in Moline.

Making them was not simple. The filling had to have the right texture, so two kinds were mixed together (my task). That gave me a permanent loathing for the finished product, except when I was especially hungry.

The filling was squirted into the donut by a pedal driven device, later by an electrical motor. I was given the opportunity to learn how. After several jelly blow-outs, I was retired from that task. As Marlon Brando said in "On the Waterfront" - I coulda been something, I coulda been a contender.

I was entrusted with icing the heavy donuts and waiting on the customers. Once a year we had customers with German accents. They grinned at the thought of enjoying those donuts. 

People complained they were the most expensive donuts. But these desserts - or the main course - started as yeast dough which had to rise in a huge bowl the first time. Then it was rolled out on a smooth wooden area and cut into little circles of raw dough, placed on wooden boards, finishing in a proofing cabinet. They did not go into the fryer until they were light and puffy with yeast at work. Then they were slid into the hot shortening vat (a great way to get burned) and turned over with wooden sticks. Next they were pulled out on a metal screen and set aside for cooling.

Left-over raw dough went downstairs into the cooler to be used in the next batch of bread dough. That was, according to legend, the best way to have great dough for bread donuts, based on the origins of sourdough bread, where a yeast culture is named and saved, passed from neighbor to neighbor. 

The trip taking the extra dough downstairs was not a chore, even though the wooden steps were worn and tricky, a cooling rack parked over half of it. Downstairs errands were the perfect way to nick a warm Danish on the way down, because they came out of the oven and could not be iced until cool.

 This was another calendar pose, which took place in an apple orchard.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Christmas with Santa - And Moline's Homegrown Santa, Mike Collins

 Jorja Hepner, MHS 66

 Kris Streed, MHS 66

 Moline's homegrown Santa - Mike Collins, MHS 68

 Kathleen Wilcox, MHS 66

 Bethany Jackson's Christmas dress, MHS 66, once removed

Thursday, November 25, 2021

From and American Thinker - Thanksgiving


"William Bradford was a Separatist religious leader who sailed on the 'Mayflower' and eventually became governor of the Plymouth settlement.

Who Was William Bradford?

William Bradford was a leading figure in the Puritans' Separatist movement. He and other congregants eventually sailed from England on the Mayflower to establish a colony in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where Bradford became longtime governor after a devastating winter. He died in 1657, with much of the history of the settlement recorded in his two-volume work, Of Plymouth Plantation.  

Early Life

William Bradford was believed to have been born in Austerfield, Yorkshire, England, in March 1590, with records indicating his baptism being held around this time. His parents died early in his childhood, leaving Bradford in the care of various relatives. Attending a religious service in Scrooby before his teen years, the youngster joined the Separatist denomination, a more radical branch of Puritanism that believed in removing itself from the Church of England. He and other congregants eventually fled to the Netherlands to escape persecution, though in their adopted land, they still faced attacks, due to the country’s affiliation with England’s King James I.

The Mayflower then sailed for the area called Plymouth, where the settlers set up a permanent community. After a grueling winter, during which many died, including the already chosen governor, Bradford was unanimously elected to be governor of the settlement. He served a combined 30 years (with breaks taken) from the early 1620s until almost the time of his death. During that time, in autumn 1621, the settlers held what would later be seen as the first Thanksgiving, a secular harvest feast shared with the Wampanoag tribe, with Native American transatlantic voyager Squanto having helped colonists in the growing of corn."


Why the 400th Anniversary of Thanksgiving Matters Today- American Thinker

The Thanksgiving holiday, which commemorates one part of the Pilgrim story, remains the favorite holiday for many Americans. And for good reasons beyond enjoying a feast. With 2021 being the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving, it is worth revisiting the Pilgrim “character” and their five significant achievementswhich created the seminal story of America and reveals remarkable insight into who we are.    

First, of the many groups of settlers who came to America, only the Pilgrims were singularly motivated by a quest for religious freedom. They repeatedly spoke about their voyage to the New World in terms of a flight from tyranny to freedom, comparing themselves to God’s chosen people -- the Israelites -- who overcame slavery and abuse in Egypt to get to the Promised Land. Similar to the Israelite’s exodus, the Pilgrims had left what they saw as oppressive and morally corrupt authorities in Great Britain and Europe to create a new life in America.

Thanksgiving could be thought of as the holiday that made the other American holidays possible.  Without the Pilgrims having courage; absolute faith in their cause and calling; and a willingness to sacrifice and risk everything, they never would have embarked on the 94-foot Mayflower -- a ship of questionable seaworthiness. Were it not for their faith and determination to find freedom of conscience and live according to their Christian beliefs there may have never been a July 4th Independence Day or other subsequent American holidays we take for granted and celebrate each year. 

After a harrowing passage across the Atlantic -- one that included wild pitching and broadside batterings by gale-force winds and ferocious seas that caused the splitting of the ship’s main beam -- the Mayflower was blown off course from the intended destination of the established Virginia Colony territory to wilds of Cape Cod. The Pilgrims knew not where they were nor how to proceed, so they beseeched the Almighty for favor in a making landfall in a suitable place with fresh water and fertile soil to establish a new and independent settlement.

Now in sight of land after a frightening voyage and facing hunger from spoiled and depleted provisions and anxious about settling outside the purview of Virginia Company charter territory, the secular Mayflower passengers were clamoring for rebellion.  And this is when the Pilgrims made their second major achievement that would shape the future of America. 

Pilgrim leaders William Bradford and William Brewster recognized that Mayflower passengers, diverse as they were, needed to maintain unity in order to survive and settle in a potentially inhospitable environment.  So they drafted a governing agreement that would be acceptable to both their Christian brethren and the secular crewman and merchant adventurers who made up about half the 102 people aboard the Mayflower. That governing document, known as the Mayflower Compact, provided for peace, security and equality for everyone in their anticipated settlement. With every man aboard signing the Mayflower Compact, the Pilgrims established the foundation for democratic self-government based on the will of people for the first time. Without knowing it at the time of adopting the Mayflower Compact, the Pilgrims were laying the cornerstone of the U.S. Constitution, which would follow some 170 years later.

The fact that all the Pilgrims survived the squalid and cramped ship quarters during the dangerous crossing of a vast ocean is no doubt partially attributable to the good fortune that the Mayflower had previously been enlisted as a wine transport cargo ship. Unlike most ships, she had a “sweet smell,” from all her decks and bilges being “disinfected” with wine sloshing and soaking from broken barrels of Bordeaux and high-alcohol port in the many prior crossings of the sometimes-stormy English Channel.

That all changed once the Mayflower’s passengers settled in “New Plymouth,” Massachusetts in December of 1620. The first winter was devastating, with over half the Pilgrims dying, including nearly half the women. Four whole families perished. But it could have been worse.

Had those colonists not settled where they did, adjacent to friendly natives of the Pokanoket Indian tribe and had they not befriended two who could speak broken English -- Squanto and Samoset -- perhaps none would have survived.  Squanto and his fellow native tribesman would teach the Pilgrims survival skills, showing them how to hunt, fish and plant various crops, such as corn, squash and varieties of beans which were unknown to the Englishmen.

The Pilgrims’ third major achievement was the Pilgrim-Wampanoag Peace Treaty that was signed on April 1, 1621 by leaders of the Plymouth colony and Indian chief Massasoit.  And a remarkable accomplishment it was, for it lasted more than 50 years -- longer than subsequent peace treaties made by other colonizing groups with native Indian tribes. The fact that there were bloody conflicts between other colonists and tribes, such as in the Pequot War fought in Connecticut in 1636-1637, makes the Pilgrims stand out for they succeeded in maintaining the longest-lasting and most equitable peace between natives and immigrants in the history of what would become the United States.

Despite learning from the native Indians how to plant, cultivate and harvest new crops in their first year, the Pilgrims complied with their sponsoring Virginia Company charter that called for farmland to be owned and worked communally and for harvests to be equally shared.  This socialist common property approach created disincentives to work.  William Bradford recorded in his memoirs that while “slackers showed up late for work… everybody was happy to claim their equal share… and production only shrank.”

Although no one is certain of the exact date of the first Thanksgiving, we know it was a Pilgrim initiative, celebrated in November 1621 to give thanks to God after the first harvest, meager though it was, and their survival -- having lost so many during that first winter in Plymouth. When Massasoit was invited to join the Pilgrims, it was probably assumed that he wouldn’t bring more guests than the 50-odd Pilgrim survivor hosts. Massasoit arrived with twice that number, well-stocked with food, fowl and game of all kinds -- including five deer. There was more than enough for everyone and it turns out that the first Thanksgiving celebration would last three days, punctuated by Indian song, games, and dance, Pilgrim prayers and a military parade by Myles Standish.     

The Pilgrims fourth major achievement was the rejection socialism and the adoption of private enterprise.  After the meager Thanksgiving harvest, the second season of collective farming and distribution proved equally disappointing. Governor Bradford had seen enough, recording that the system “was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort.” So before the 1623 season he scrapped socialist farming and replaced it with private ownership of land for each of the families. As a result of becoming responsible for their own welfare and gaining freedom to choose what to grow for consumption or trade, the Pilgrims’ productivity surged.

The fifth factor that distinguished the Pilgrims was their model relational behavior.  While tolerance enabled them to keep relative harmony in their diverse community, they also looked outwardly to serve and help others.  In March of 1623, it came to be known that Massasoit was on the brink of death from an unknown sickness. Senior Pilgrim elder Edward Winslow immediately set out on a forty-mile journey to administer medicinal broth, natural herbs and prayers to Massasoit. Astonishingly, he made full recovery within days, and remarked, “Now I see the English are my friends and love me; and whilst I live, I will never forget this kindness they have showed me.”

Times are very different today. But the Pilgrims’ five achievements and the qualities of character that made them exemplary are as relevant as ever.  A contemporary Thanksgiving makeover might include: rekindling a quest for adventure; developing the faith to hold on to a vision of a promised land no matter what; mustering the courage to go against the crowd and defend the truth; gaining the inner strength to endure hardship; revitalizing respect for and tolerance of people of different beliefs; rejuvenating a joyful willingness to sacrifice for others; and renewing the predisposition to extend love, assistance and gratitude at every appropriate opportunity.

Scott Powell is senior fellow at Discovery Institute. This article is a vignette out of his acclaimed book, Rediscovering America, now available for order on Amazon (  Reach him at

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Honor Our Veterans on This Day


John F. Baker

The John F. Baker Bridge

 The funeral 

 LBJ bestowed the Medal of Honor.

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. En route to assist another unit that was engaged with the enemy, Company A came under intense enemy fire and the lead man was killed instantly. Sgt. Baker immediately moved to the head of the column and together with another soldier knocked out two enemy bunkers. When his comrade was mortally wounded, Sgt. Baker, spotting four Viet Cong snipers, killed all of them, evacuated the fallen soldier, and returned to lead repeated assaults against the enemy positions, killing several more Viet Cong. Moving to attack two additional enemy bunkers, he and another soldier drew intense enemy fire and Sgt. Baker was blown from his feet by an enemy grenade. He quickly recovered and singlehandedly destroyed one bunker before the other soldier was wounded. Seizing his fallen comrade's machine gun, Sgt. Baker charged through the deadly fusillade to silence the other bunker. 

He evacuated his comrade, replenished his ammunition, and returned to the forefront to brave the enemy fire and continue the fight. When the forward element was ordered to withdraw, he carried one wounded man to the rear. As he returned to evacuate another soldier, he was taken under fire by snipers, but raced beyond the friendly troops to attack and kill the snipers. After evacuating the wounded man, he returned to cover the deployment of the unit. 

His ammunition now exhausted, he dragged two more of his fallen comrades to the rear. Sgt. Baker's selfless heroism, indomitable fighting spirit, and extraordinary gallantry were directly responsible for saving the lives of several of his comrades, and inflicting serious damage on the enemy. 

His acts were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.

 Defense Department

Retired Army Master Sgt. John F. Baker Jr. could have had a prominent gymnastics career, since he competed in high school and trained for the Olympics in his hometown of Moline, Illinois. But after graduation in 1966, he decided to pursue something entirely different: service in the Army and a tour of duty in Vietnam, which earned him the Medal of Honor.

Sgt. John F. Baker Jr. posing in uniform.

Only a few short months after he began his Army training, Baker was shipped off to Vietnam with the 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division.  

A private first class at the time, 19-year-old Baker said he and his company went out in the jungles for weeks at a time on combat patrols. Often, since he was small guy – only 5 feet 2 inches tall weighing 105 pounds – he was tasked with crawling through Viet Cong tunnels filled with booby traps to try to lure the enemy out of their hiding spots. 

Baker had been in Vietnam for only two months, when, on Nov. 5, 1966, he and his company were called to help rescue another unit that had been surrounded by Viet Cong. On the way there they were ambushed, and the man at the front of Baker’s unit was killed instantly. An assistant machine-gun bearer at the time, Baker immediately moved to the head of the group, and, with another soldier, knocked out two enemy bunkers. 

President Johnson puts Medal of Honor over Baker’s neck at ceremony.

Throughout the ordeal, Baker repeatedly assaulted the enemy and pulled wounded soldiers to safety. 

At one point, he was blown off his feet by a grenade, but he recovered and single-handedly took out another bunker, then another. 

When the battle was over, Baker had saved eight of his fellow soldiers, knocked out six Viet Cong machine gun bunkers, and killed 10 enemy soldiers, including several snipers. His courage and commitment under fire earned him the Medal of Honor in 1968, which he received from President Lyndon B. Johnson. 

Baker and wife sit on motorcycle surrounded by other motorcycles.

Baker continued to serve in the Army until 1989, when he retired to Columbia, South Carolina. He and his wife regularly attended special events at nearby Fort Jackson, and he continued helping soldiers by working for the Veterans Administration until his death in January 2012. He was 66.

“Five-foot-two John Baker was a giant,” said Army Col. Drew Meyerowich at Baker’s funeral. “Once you got to know him, you realized he’s exactly the giant we expect to see on the battlefield. He was larger than life.” 

In August of this year, Baker was honored by U.S. Army Garrison Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, which named a street after him.

This article is part of a weekly series called "Medal of Honor Monday," in which we highlight one of the more than 3,500 Medal of Honor recipients who have earned the U.S. military's highest medal for valor.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Rest in Peace - Our Good Friend at Coolidge - Jerry Cosner


Gerald" Jerry" W. Cosner

August 11, 1948 ~ October 8, 2021 (age 73)
Obituary Image


Gerald “Jerry” W. Cosner, 73, of Moline, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, October 8, 2021.

Funeral services will be held at 1pm on Thursday, October 14, 2021, at Esterdahl Mortuary & Crematory, Moline.  Visitation will be from 4pm–7pm on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, at the funeral home.  Burial and military honors will be at Greenview Memorial Garden, East Moline.

Jerry was born on August 11, 1948, in Moline, to Warren and Helen Cosner. He married Diane Wilson on September 22, 1979, in Moline, IL. He was a graduate of Moline High School “Class of 66” and a Navy Vietnam Veteran. He was a long-time member of Edgewood Baptist Church, Rock Island. He took great pride in owning and operating the family business, Cosner’s Friendly Service, with his father and sons. He later worked for Export Packaging until his retirement.

Jerry was known for his natural quick wit, making people laugh, and keeping an immaculate yard. He enjoyed bowling, golf, trips with his golf buddies, but above all else spending time with his precious family. Jerry will be greatly missed by his wife, Diane; children, Greg (Donetta), Dan (Thera), and Shelly; his sisters, Sue and Kay; and his eight grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Memories may be shared online by visiting the tribute wall.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gerald"Jerry" W Cosner, please visit our floral store.


October 13, 2021

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Esterdahl Mortuary & Crematory, Ltd.
6601 38th Avenue
Moline, IL 61265

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Thank You - Moliners - For Welcoming Christina Ellenberger Jackson

My wife Christina always enjoyed going to Moline reunions. Her high school was closed in South Bend. 

She was welcomed by everyone from MHS. Kris Streed was very helpful in regards to cancer treatments. Christina and Jorja Hepner Beert had a great time talking. Jorja wrote to me, "SO wish I could have  hugged  her   one more  time ! it  was   the first hug  she gave me  that  calmed me  and  gave  me  strength.   THAT day (  first day met her in person) will  stay with me  always .."

We were asked to dinner with Linda Nelson Pearson and her late husband Dave.

We had a personal tour of Perryville (LCMS' Holy Land) with Mayor Debbie Mitchell Gahan.

Ranger Bob says, "Live every day like it's your last day on earth."

When Larry Easter visited us in Phoenix, we did not realize it was the last time we would see him.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Rest in Peace - Christina Jackson - Always at Home with MHS 66


This recent screen grab is a good indication of Christina's joy in life. She was glad to have the service broadcast to our room, but she especially enjoyed popping in for a surprise. 

Our chapel is little more than "a spare room in a rented house," but that has never limited the Means of Grace, the efficacious Word. A neighbor left paganism and became a Christian through Christina. The lady demanded "her pastor and his wife" at the hospital.

Heritage Funeral Home

1591 S. 48th Street

Springdale, AR 72762 


Pastor James Shrader will preach the sermon at Heritage Funeral Home and Zach Engleman will assist in the service. Chris Shrader will lead the music.

Visiting Time will be at 9 AM on Saturday, August 28th

The funeral will be at 10 AM. The service will be video recorded and broadcast afterwards. We will have the file for use on this blog.

Interment will follow at the Elm Springs Cemetery, which Christina picked out when we were making frequent trips to the college.

Lunch will follow at a local restaurant.

Other Details

Memorial gifts may be given to the Bethany Lutheran Church KJV Bible fund (for distributing books about correct text analysis and precise translations). The mailing address is 1104 Letha Drive, Springdale, AR, 72762. The church also has a PayPal account and non-profit status.

Gifts may also be given to Circle of Life Hospice. 1201 NE Legacy Parkway, Bentonville, AR 72712.

We have five motel rooms (two taken) reserved and paid for, so phone if you need a place to stay. The parsonage is booked.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Mary Parsons (MHS 66) - "We love someone rare!"

 Aaron is the grandson of Mary Parsons Caisley. He has two brothers.


"Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS) is a genetic condition present at birth. It's characterized by numerous physical, intellectual and behavioral differences. Children with CdLS usually have low birth weight, are smaller in size and height and have a smaller head circumference (microcephaly)."

There are many more special conditions in children than we can imagine. Rare conditions give us insights about the complexity of God's Creation.

Golden Wedding Anniversary

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Happy Mother's Day, Colly - Lawrence Eyre's Mother

Lawrence Eyre's mother is nicknamed Colly - she will be 94 in September!

Mother and poet, the early years.

Colly - a few years ago.

Monday, May 10, 2021

And I Remember Mama

The caption read - "Co-ed 1931" - which meant Mom was 18 and going to the teacher's college at Normal, Illinois. Gladys Parker.

Mom is holding her great-granddaughter and wearing the photo button.

A generation or two may recall the TV series, "I Remember Mama," and its introduction.

This old album makes me remember so many things in the past. San Francisco and the house on Steiner Street where I was born. It brings back memories of my cousins, aunts and uncles; all the boys and girls I grew up with. And I remember my family as we were then. My big brother Nels, my little sister Dagmar, and of course, Papa. But most of all, when I look back to those days so long ago, most of all, I remember ... Mama.

The TV series came from the movie, which was derived from the play, which came from the short story "Mama's Bank Account."

Christina and I watched the movie again last night. My classmates and friends remind me of how much they enjoyed my mother as a teacher, one of those rare vocations where someone can have generation after generation of children. The Moline teachers talked about "my children" in their classes, not "my students." Garfield Grade School had equally talented and loving teachers - except for one psycho, the only one I was allowed to imitate at home. They were family friends as well, so we saw little Liz Copeland when she came along with her mother for meetings at our house. Mrs. Copeland and my mother were equally admired and still elicit memories from the past.

Mother's Day reminds me of her talents -
  1. She taught phonetics, which meant we were good readers from the start.
  2. She read stories to us at home. Lassie Come Home had my sister bawling her eyes out at the climax. I just gave Sir Archibald by Wolo to Andrea's parents to read to her (and Wolo's Amanda).
  3. She canned food in the early days, before teaching used up her time.
  4. She gathered wool scraps and made decorated carpeting for the house.
  5. She taught Sunday School, like many other teachers, even though she taught all week.
  6. Playing baseball at school, she reminded the boys she played outfield without a glove. She scoffed at the idea of wearing one.
  7. Growing up on the farm gave her a lot of strength. The wildest kid could not intimidate her or escape the march - or rather the drag - to the principal's office.
  8. She seemed to know all plants, weeds, birds, and crops. I told her, "We need Shepherd's Purse for the rabbits, but I can't find it." She took me to one part of our yard and said, "Plenty right there." 
  9. Organized - every one of the books in her library had the published review marked and taped into the front. The same was true of everything she stored.

Christina and I enjoyed having her in our home in New Ulm and Phoenix. She went through the phase of angry, bossy, and confused - then became quite mellow. She refused to have satellite TV in her room, but loved having Animal Planet on 24/7. 

We have many wonderful memories and wonder why so many - in their pride and selfishness - refuse to enjoy the same today.

I remember Mom reading this to us and reminding us, when we were frustrated, "That is to teach you patience," a memorable point in the book.