First Congregational Church Organ

IMG_20171108_115959 this was the original organ at the First Congregational Church in Oak Park. It had seven divisions including two in the balcony. This organ could out play a 1,000 member congregation plus 5 choirs. It was a Skinner organ and could even out play an orchestra.


 When I was eight years      Old. My parents gave me Waggles a cocker spaniel. It had the  biggest ears. But Waggles snapped people and when he did so, people came to take him away. And I charged the poor guy who came to pick up my dog. I lost the battle and my dog. My parents next got me a beagle, Sam. He even invented a new sport called stretch ball. Those back legs need tightening.    Sam has an enormous appetite which cost him his life when he ate poison. About two months before that happened, well, I’ll save that for Part 2. 

Abandoning the Choir Loft

this is where the choir of the First Congregational Church used to perform during services. It was the choir loft just below the pipe organ. That seemed to work until 1976. Then an organ was removed, a merger with the Presbyterian Church was instituted, and a new organ installed. The new organ took too much room from the choir loft and so the choir was moved to the side of the sanctuary on the ground floor. occasionally the choir, or part of it, returns to the choir loft to sing. The Children’s Choir also uses the choir loft. What I would propose would be that the Senior Choir would sing from the balcony so they would be on the same tier as the organ. the trumpeters and singers were as one. To make one sound and praising the Lord.

Susies 5th Birthday

This was our home on Lathrop Avenue in Forest Park, Illinois, when I was a young boy. My sister Susie was celebrating her fifth birthday. My mother had the usual yard birthday games and then everyone went inside for ice cream and cake.

For some reason, I have only scant memories of Forest Park and even list it under the category Oak Park. I was very active in my church in those days.

The Tower and Echo Division

IMG_20171003_155242 This was the tower and Echo division of my Home organ located in the balcony of the church. This organ had seven divisions. All seven divisions were played by the organ in the choir loft. This organ could out play five choirs and a 1000 member congregation. The tower and Echo organ were both enclosed. The tower division had chimes. And these two were the largest portions of that organ.

The Glory of the Rose Window

This is the Rose window of the First Congregational Church Oak Park Illinois. It is located in the rear balcony where also the Echo and Tower organ are enclosed. In almost all weather beautiful colors come through that window. At this time when the Photograph was taken the sanctuary was having a facelift. Now the work is completely done. Isn’t that a beautiful rose window?

First Congregational Church in Tower Hill camp

Tower Hill camp now the day is over night is drawing nigh, Shadows of the evening steal across the sky. I attended Tower Hill camp when I was 9 years old through the First Congregational Church of Oak Park Illinois. I remember the great food there, Mount Baldy at Lake Michigan, and the great campfires. For a nine year old boy nights are a little spooky as it was even in this Christian Camp and some of the counselors assisted that fear we’re stories of the green hand coming out of Lake Michigan. All in all it was a great experience.

Children’s Choir

it was also special for me to be able to sing in the senior choir loft. The Children’s Choir only used this twice a year. Usually  the Children’s Choir  sang in the balcony  where the Echo and Tower organ were . This has  always been a special church for me. It created for me a life long passion  for pipe organ music.12307313_1082767765087376_605944

My Home Church

Advent Darlene Reynolds sometimes talks about her faith and this being Sunday I thought I’d share with you a little about my home Church. It has an extremely large pipe organ with five divisions including two in the balcony. When played to its fullest it can outplay a 1,000 member congregation including five choirs! 

Tower Camp at Lake Michigan

This was the walkway from camp to Lake Michigan where we did the majority of our swimming. Tower Camp did not have its own Lake per say. Old Baldy was a sand dune near the lake which we used. But swimming in Lake Michigan was fantastic albeit cold. I enjoyed it when it was a bit wavy. We used Lake Michigan at least once a day. Tower Camp had two week sessions and I attended it through the Oak Park Congregational Church which sponsored us. Tower Camp had a special relationship with area congregational churches. We arrived on the South Shore Railroad which was a fun trip all by itself. Tower Camp is located in Sawyer Michigan.

The Good Humor Truck

Where I live now you can buy a Good Humor ice cream in supermarkets but when I was a young boy living in the Oak Park Illinois area we used to be frequented by a Good Humor truck in our neighborhood daily. We had another fellow that stopped by in a Jeep selling popsicles but most of the kids preferred The Good Humor truck. The ice cream from Good Humor was fantastically good. You can hear his jingle as he came by and the race was on to be first to that truck. My favorite was the chocolate coating with Vanilla Ice Cream or a fudge bar. The Good Humor truck was a experience to be sure that was very pleasurable. Where you lived did you ever experience The Good Humor truck?

Do you Remember Green River Phosphates?

I grew up in the Oak Park Illinois area and in a soda fountain there they served up Green River phosphates and boy were they good. They put the lime flavored syrup in a clear glass and then sprayed phosphate water on top of it producing a great flavored beverage. But there were more than Green River phosphate.

How about a cherry phosphate with a real Cherry in it. I like this flavor too. Or what about a…

Chocolate phosphate with a strawberry on it. They may just about every flavor phosphate drink you wanted including lemon phosphate. I haven’t heard of this drink for a long time so I’m not sure if any existing soda fountain serves them? But I understand now they have this.

Even though this looks good it’s still not the same thing.