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December 7, 2007 [ More archived home pages here ]

Early Christmas Morning 1968

The above image, Coffee Time is also available as a Desktop

Today's song is Hazy Shade Of Winter by Simon and Garfunkel, released in 1968.

On my previous home page I mentioned my high school teacher and later friend, Mr. Bill Tomczak. Today I have a story to tell about him.

On December 25, 1968 in the very early hours of the morning, I left the home of my girlfriend to return home. I needed to take two buses for that trip. It was very cold outside with the wind blowing as it always does in Chicago.

My first bus was on-time and took me a couple miles down the road to 106th Street and Ewing Ave. There I needed to transfer to another bus to take me back to my house which was about five miles away. It was about 2:00 a.m. and I had just missed the last bus for that time. The next bus was scheduled around 5:30 a.m.

Standing outside at that corner I was cold. I only had enough money for the bus fare. I was a college student broke in terms of money. Broken in terms of heart and spirit by how my girlfriend had treated me hours earlier on Christmas Eve. I was tired from being up from early the day before and now everything was crushing in on me.

Across the street was a restaurant that was open all night. I walked over and went inside to stay warm. The manager asked me what I wanted to order. I told him I couldn't afford anything, I just wanted to stay warm and wait for the bus. He told me I had to leave if I wasn't going to order any food. It was Christmas outside but inside that restaurant the Christmas Spirit was absent. I walked back outside to the cold and waited, getting colder as I did.

About an hour later I looked up and here comes a face I recognize. It was Mr. Tomczak coming towards me. He really was Santa for me in that moment, only out of uniform. I reached out to him and he shook my cold hand.

He took me inside to the Ba Humbug Restaurant where he had coffee and I had some cocoa. I guess a 25-cent cup of cocoa allowed me to take up some space in an otherwise empty place whose Scrooge manager kicked me out earlier.

Mr. Tomczak wanted to know what the hell I was doing out on the freezing corner at 3:00 a.m. in the morning. I told him I was trying to get home and having missed my bus, I was waiting for the next one at 5:30 a.m. After another cup of coffee, he drove me home. I was so grateful. I didn't have too many good things happen around me in late 1968, so he was a welcome Christmas present to me that morning.

It's now 30 years since I last talked to him in June 1977. You can be sure he'll get a letter, a Christmas card, and call from me this year.

Next time I'm in Chicago, I owe him a cup coffee or two. Maybe I'll even take him to a Chicago White Sox baseball game with Bill and Angel, if the timing's right. That's something I'll mention to Santa this year.


Today marks the 66th anniversary of the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor.


My Scrooged dance just for you.


My brother-in-law, Bob, sent me this link about Baby Boomers. How true!


I wrote my book review for Lions of Medina. I also published my review on Amazon.


There is now a Google Mac Developer Playground.


Another iPhone app from Google.


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