One of the nicest things happened to me today (August 30, 2006) as I revisited Grayslake again on Market Day. As I was walking down Center Street, I recognized a student from long ago ( the 1980's). Joan Hammel was at Market Day in Grayslake to promote her newest CD that is called "joanland". Naturally, I stopped to chat with her and purchased a CD. She was so kind and signed it for me with the notation that said, "To smart, cool Dee" then a heart and her name JOAN.
Ironically, she told me that just a few weeks ago, she had been discussing me and my fellow teacher Mrs. Monroe with fellow classmates at the class reunion!
Joan looks as beautiful as ever and is as down-to-earth as she always was.
Fondest memory: After reading the information about her CD and listening to it many times, I was so thrilled that I met up with this remarkable woman by chance on the streets of Grayslake.
Her CD has original compositions that explore "the ups and downs of how people come together, blossom or wither". This album (CD) has it all...all the experiences we all share. It explores how we feel about love; it examines our sorrows and disappointments; however, it also rejoices our hopes and our positive determination to survive.
Joan says that she wrote 7 songs with "my musical soulmate, Marty Bartels. I notice that she wrote two of the songs by herself: "Boardwalk Angel" and "I Saw You Today" A great song, "He Asked Me to Dance" was written by Eric Smythe (grandson of the inventor of the jukebox)
"Run Like the Wind"
"Give It to Me Straight"
"He Asks Me To Dance"
Check out her web at www.joanhammel.com
I smiled to myself when I read that Joan dedicated this CD to the memory of her parents "who had all kinds of music in our home and encouraged me to play"...So like Joan....family was always important.
This young talent has done a great deal in her young life, performing all over, including Chicago and Las Vegas.
I vividly remember all her musical performances at Warren Township High School where I first met and admired her as a talent and as a wonderful student. She's changed so little since then...she remains warm, friendly, kind, humble, and very talented.
For the second time in two weeks, I went to see a high school in Grayslake. This time I found the newest high school, Grayslake North.
This new high school is huge. It's located on north on Route 83 in a beautiful, spacious location surrounded by some retention ponds and some woods. If you look at all the photographs, you will see that it is certainly spread out and, in spots, spread upward.
Grayslake North has Black and Gold as their colors, and they are called %The Knights.
When I was there, school was out for the day. The only activity was after school sport's practices. There were quite a few cars in the parking lot, most belonged to teachers.
Fondest memory: It is amazing that Grayslake has grown so much that they now require two large high schools. I would assume that Grayslake North services students around Washington Street and north. There are many sub-divisions in that area.
After purchasing bird seed at the Grayslake Feed Sales, I noticed a building that I had not seen before; thus, I walked over to investigate.
This new building turned out to be The Village Hall. I did not have enough time to investigate when it was built or the name of the architect, but that will come later.
I think that it is quite attractive, but I was glad that it was off the main street of the village. It is too modern to fit in, but at least it is attractive.
While discussing The Village Hall, I think that this is a good time to discuss some (just a little) history of Grayslake. This village was established in 1895. It was named after a man named Gray and was really called Grays Lake.
This village is located in the central part of Lake County and is about 40 miles (north) of the Chicago "Loop". It's also just about the same distance from downtown Milwaukee. I live in Libertyville, which is one of its neighboring communities along with Round Lake, Lindenhurst, Gurnee, and Mundelein. One of Grayslake's finest assets is the 78 acre recreational lake (that is private) called Gray's Lake.
Fondest memory: Even though Grayslake encompasses 12 square miles and has sprawling suburban housing developments and strip malls, it still has managed to maintain that small town quality.
I do so hope that the "powers on high" continue to remember how delightful the Village Center is...keep its historic feel, please. The antique lights, the historic storefronts, the small, privately owned businesses all contribute to the special attitude of this lovely community.
It was important for me to take photographs of Grayslake Central High School because this is the high school where I had my first teaching experience from 1963-1965. At that time, the school was known as Grayslake Community High School. I must tell you, I actually did not recognize anything about this school because it has changed so much. It is about 4 times larger and so spread out. It takes up more than a city block. At least they kept the same school colors Green and Whiteand the same mascout, The Rams!
The population explosion that has taken place in Grayslake is so huge, that besides adding on to this school, they had to build an additional large high school that they now call Grayslake North They have the school colors of black and gold, and they are called the Knights!.
Fondest memory: When I taught at Grayslake Community High School, I taught English and some business courses since I had a double major. I was also sponsor of the Girls Club.
Those were the days when teachers always dressed up. I wore dresses or skirts and tops and always wore 2 inch high heels! I was only 21 years old when I began teaching, and in my senior classes, some of the students were 18. Yes, some of the boys asked me out. Of course, I said "NO!"
I still remember a few of the teachers and a few of the students. It was a great experience in a wonderful little village called Grayslake.
One of the many reasons I came to Grayslake on Wednesday, August 23, 2006, was to check out Allan and d and my first home after we were married in 1963.
At that time, we were both beginning our first teaching positions. Mine was in the village of Grayslake, Illinois, and, at that time, I did not have a driver's license. I know that is hard to believe, but I had never had a reason to need to drive until then.
We were supposed to move into an aparment over a cleaners in downtown Antioch, but while we were away on our honeymoon, someone tried to break into it. That annoyed us so much that we decided not to move in. We went out looking for a place to live.
At that time, there were hardly any apartments at all in Grayslake. We saw a sign on Lake Street (my school was just a few blocks away). We knocked on the door, went up the flight of outdoor steps on the right of the house (which is now hidden because the bushes have grown so tall.) It was one bedroom, a kitchen with the one bathroom off the kitchen, a large living room...that's it. However, we did have use of one parking spot in the gargage and the use of the washer/dryer in the basement. And, would you believe, all of this for $95.00 a month!!
Fondest memory: So, on this beautiful Wednesday afternoon, I parked the car and proceeded to take photographs of this first home. It has been "sided", updated inside, and a gazebo has been built in the back yard. Other than that, it looks the same. This is the home that Allan brought my first cat to...he purchased it from a farm. I plan to do a Grayslake travelogue with photos of that cat that we named "Ishi", and you'll be able to get a glimpse of the house inside..
This was a bittersweet moment for me because it brought a rush of lovely memories but also reminded me that it was 43 years ago, even though it seems like yesterday.
Here are some clever and/or unusual spots that I happened upon while walking around investigating:
1. The building with the mural painted on it is quite clever. It is a scene with trees, a park bench outside a home with windows and a black cat sitting in the window. There is a sign that says that the spot beside it is for additional parking for The Village Hall.
2. Centennial Park is a lovely spot in the middle of the village that has been set aside for people to relax. It has trees, vines growing up the sides of the buildings, an antique street light, a few benches, and lovely wooden structure for the entrance.
3. The commemoration thanks The Village Chamber of Commerce in 1995 for setting aside a memorial to the Centennial of the Village of Grayslake
4. On my walk to the Municipal Museum, I happened to see this quaint little building that is a barber Shop. I just had to take a photograph because we just do not see these kinds of shops much anymore. It reminded me of my childhood.
5. Also, next to the museum, I noticed two firemen chatting outside a relatively new fire department building. Although this is not clever or unique, I found it to fit right into the charm of the village of Grayslake.
Fondest memory: I'm sure if I had more time that day, I would have seen many more charming places to photograph in Grayslake.
You have to understand that I do not live in Grayslake, but I was surprised to see the new Lake Center Place built here. Up until now, I was so glad that Grayslake had maintained its "village" look. This HUGE development looks out of place in this quaint village. I was impressed by the low price that I saw on the sign denoting that starting prices for "luxury" condos was $180,000. That is a low price for this area. I also think that the convenience that people would have who lived there is very nice. To be able to walk out the door, cross Lake Street, and be right in the village proper, would be just wonderful.
I also noticed that there are plenty of empty spaces on the lower level for retail business. I also noted that one of the shops, "Sweet Tooth", did not appear to be open. I asked around and was told that it did not have a reliable schedule for being open. Also, others indicated that it was overpriced. I can not speak for it myself.also n
I see a plus for these condos; they have indoor parking that comes with it. For a development of that size, it would have been horrid without parking.
I was also informed that many people in the community went to the board meetings to voice their displeasure before it was built. Looks as though their complaints were not heard.
Fondest memory: I hope that this kind of "monster building" does not continue. If it does, it will, no doubt, ruin the ambience of this lovely northern Illinois village called Grayslake