Graue Mill Underground Railroad Journey

And then today…

Graue Mill in Fullerburg Woods Forest Preserve will again present at 6:30 and 8:15  their program  Journey on the Underground Railroad.

We took part in last night’s presentation and have been talking about it ever since.  The brochure described it as;

“Children and adults can experience what it was like to be a passenger on the Underground Railroad. This theatrical experience begins with a skit in which passengers will meet the legendary Harriet Tubman.”


Graue Mill has recently been restored and it’s history as part of the Underground Railroad have been documented carefully.  The basement (with an outside access) holds the archived information and photos.

The program last night was story telling, songs, and an outing in the woods to duplicate the experience Freedom Seekers might have had.  There were children there (always good) and elderly (descendents of slaves) and those of us seeking a better understanding.

The talented participants soon had us joining in the singing as we got more comfortable with the story.  Several of the participants have written books about the Underground Railroad.

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Thank you, Graue Mill and these participants, for a very memorable journey.


Kareem Abdul-Jabber Book Signing

And then today….

I was looking through the book, Writings on the Wall,  that I bought at a book signing in Naperville last night.


Kareen Abdul-Jabbar is so impressive, so respective, and so informative.  The description inside the book says that in this book “basketball legend and cultural commentator Kareem Abdul-Jabbar explores how the America of Today is a fractured society, sharply divided along the lines of race, gender, religion, political party and economic class.  Abdul-Jabbar, in his celebrated second career as a writer and social critic, examines these issues with insight and passion as her draws from his own experiences as a superstar athlete, an inquisitive scholar, a celebrity, a father, an African American and a Muslim”.

Richard Roeper conducted a Q & A session followed by a few questions from the audience.  I was really struck by the diversity and respect shown by the audience, not only to Abdul-Jabbar but to each other.  It was a diverse grouping of varying ages, skin colors, and Muslims.  The young children seemed to be a particular favorite of Abdul-Jabbar and I hope they hear beyond the sports accomplishments to his thoughtful message and history lessons.

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It is such an honor to meet someone of Abdul-Jabbar’s character and accomplishment.  I read his column in Time magazine.  He has a good grasp of the current political scene.   Rational, respectful dialogue is a major part of the answer.



Meatloaf’s BAT OUT OF HELL Revisited!

And then today,

I relish rediscovering last night, via a TMCHD hour television documentary, the music  and life of   Meatloaf: In and Out of Hell!

When I was creating my soft sculpture people, Marli Originals, in my over the garage studio in the ’70’s and 80’s, I use to play my two favorite 8 track tapes (Meatloaf Bat Out of Hell and Queen’s Greatest Hits) at high volume!   Because I often would get lost in my work, and because 8 track tapes continue to loop around and around, it didn’t take long before I knew every lyric, every pause, and the order of every song.

Last night was like a special visit from a long lost friend.


I have an addiction to music and vinyl in particular.  I looked up my album this morning (#339 of Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Albums) and I will soon have a chance to play it on one of my 5 phonographs.  Another indication of my addiction?  I continue to seek out records and music memorabilia at garage sales, but vinyl is “Hot” once again and the competition is fierce.

I particularly enjoyed seeing the process in putting together this album. Meatloaf’s scenes with Jim Steinman in the movie, both triumphant and testy, reveal how both men show incredible raw talent.  I appreciate that.

I did see Meatloaf in recent years on Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice”.  I was more impressed with him in this documentary than I was with him on the tv show.  He is genuine in the music arena and maybe not so much on a reality show.

Regardless, I’m enjoying singing with the record again and reviewing the lyrics on the liner sheet.  Jim Steinman is a poet and the productions are unique.


Now I’ll also look up my vinyl copy of Queen.  I love everything they’ve ever done, but being a “fat bottomed girl”, I am especially partial to that song.

Music makes my world go round.  Thank you, Meatloaf and Jim.






Price of Pork, Chicago Tribune–My Take

And then today, after reading the Tribune series….

I want to talk to my Dad.

I grew up on a pig farm in central Illinois in the fifties.   I recently read the series in the Chicago Tribune titled “The Price of Pork” in Illinois.  The series was broken down into 4 major parts–cheap meat, animal abuse, pollution, & hard work.  The stories, editorial, photos and video are available online:

My dad was a hog farmer with a vision that brought him much success and accolades during his farming career.  Breeding stock buyers from around the country and from as far away as Japan and Brazil came to our farm.

Dad Fair Ribbons

Every summer was spent at the fairs.  Dad showed hogs for 50 years at the Illinois State Fair, but he also traveled to many local and out of state competitions.

world book hog

This photo is from a later edition of the World Book Encyclopedia featuring one of my dad’s Yorkshire hogs.  Dad also was known for Black Poland China and Spotted Poland China breeds.

I feel like the morality has disappeared from our food chain.  A few years ago I attended a Farm to Table dinner in Wisconsin.  Constant confinement was a new concept for me.  The huge family milk farm operation was probably the best it could be.  The owners seem to be conscientious of good care and cleanliness.  The Chicago Tribune editorial points out that other states do a better job.  They mention “the more regulatory authority there is in place, and more visible it is, the more likely farmers and business owners will be to act responsibly.”

Once more, Illinois has let us down.

(Before I continue, I will admit I had bacon for breakfast.  Bacon and Snickers are my two favorite foods and the state fair today probably offers deep fried Snickers wrapped in bacon–mmmm.)

Therefore, from this day forward, I am going to do my best to switch primarily to a plant based diet.  In order to feed the world and save the planet, it seems to be the only way.

I’m tired of worrying about antibiotics and hormones and the lack of health safety associated with our food, especially meats.  I know chickens are raised in tiny little overcrowded dirty cages.

This week I bought Vital Farms pasture-raised eggs.  The informational insert says “Family Farmers Raise Our Girls With Loving Care” and “raised on grass and free to roam, y’all”.  And surprise–the yolks are a little darker, firmer, and tastier!  However, they did cost more.

But then again, my dad always used to say, “You get what you pay for”.

Quality over quantity is admirable, but it doesn’t pad the greedy corporate bottom line!