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April 20, 2005 [ More archived home pages here ]

Phoneman Answered Call

I always remember April 21st for two important reasons. The first is that it is my wedding anniversary, a day to recall when my life joined with Sherry in Holy Matrimony. The year was 1973, thirty-two years ago this week. That bond has never been broken.

There is another anniversary from 1970 worth mentioning this year concerning April 21st. At that time, I was working for Illinois Bell Telephone Company on the south side of Chicago as a Telephone Installer/Repairman.

Tuesday, April 21, 1970 started out normal, just like almost every other day. At lunchtime I stopped by Andy's Tastee-Freeze at 79th Street and Marquette Ave., to eat. Andy was my former employer during high school and a good mentor for me in those years. I often went there for lunch and to talk with Andy.

While I was eating my hamburger inside the store that April 21st, I happened to look out the storefront window to the west on 79th street and saw a large crowd gathering in the middle of the street about 300 feet away. After about 20 seconds, my curiosity got the better of me and I went to check the situation out. What happened next is explained in the newspaper headline article shown after the end of this narrative. In fact, most papers in my area picked up the story and published the account during the first few weeks of May 1970. It remains a very humbling experience.

I haven't spoken of this story in this detail to others than my wife and daughter since that time. I did mention it briefly on my page, When My World Changed. Now, 35 years later maybe it will serve some purpose to publish it on the Internet. The original picture included in the article was in pretty bad shape. I have applied a digital copy of the original photograph supplied to me at the time by the reporter in-place of the article's worn version.

I can tell you that although the story calls me a hero, I never thought I was one, even to this day. I just reacted with the training I had received through Boy Scouts, the U.S. Navy, and the telephone company. I never did find out if the boy involved survived or not, I prayed that he did -- many times.


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