April 11, 2015

This was taken in 1969 at St Anthony's Hospital in the pediatrics ward...just a couple months before Stephanie was born.   Love the expression on  the boys face behind  me. These children were of  the same family,  all  admitted for T&As the same day. This was photographed  and article written for  The  Rockford Morning Star.

Tornado kills 2, destroys homes in Illinois town

FAIRDALE, Ill. (AP) — A second woman from a tiny Illinois farming community has died, Gov. Bruce Rauner confirmed Friday, a day after tornadoes struck a six-county swath of the state, injuring about a dozen other people and sweeping homes off their foundations.
Crews embarked on detailed searches for missing residents Friday after at least one tornado brought chaos to Fairdale, a town of 150 people, around 7 p.m. the night before.
Residents reported the skies blackening and windows exploding as the severe weather struck. Crews combed through each structure twice into the evening hours and searched again by equipment and by hand Friday morning. The second person killed had initially been reported missing and her body was found Friday morning, Rauner said. Most other injuries were minor.
Photos: Tornadoes rip through Quad Cities
“We hope and pray that that is all the fatalities,” Rauner said. “We are very blessed that more people were not hurt. This was a devastating storm.”
The two people killed were identified as Jacklyn K. Klosa, 69, and Geraldine M. Schultz, 67.
About 15 to 20 homes were destroyed in Fairdale, according to DeKalb County Sheriff Roger A. Scott. Matthew Knott, division chief for the Rockford Fire Department, told The Associated Press that just about every building in the town about 80 miles from Chicago “sustained damage of some sort.”
All homes were evacuated as a safety precaution and power was out across the area. The Red Cross and Salvation Army established a shelter at a local high school. Trees, power lines and debris lay strewn on the ground. Some homes in the rural farming village were barely standing and many had shifted from their foundations. Roofs were missing. Metal siding from barns was wrapped around trees.
Residents gathered at a roadblock a mile from town Friday morning, eager to check the damage to their homes. Police, though, refused entry, saying it was too dangerous.
Resident Al Zammuto, a 60-year-old machinist, said he and other residents received cellphone alerts at 6:45 p.m., but he dismissed it as previous warnings hadn’t amounted to anything.
Then his windows exploded.
He took cover as the severe weather struck. Bricks were torn off the side of his home. Minutes later he stepped outside and couldn’t believe his eyes. He said the town looked trashed “looked like a landfill” and the sounds were haunting.
“People were screaming and yelling,” he said. “People were in total shock.”
National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Friedlein said at least two tornadoes swept through six north-central Illinois counties, and that damage survey teams would visit the area to determine how long they stayed on the ground, their strength and the extent of the damage.
After raking Illinois, Thursday’s storm and cold front headed northeast, dumping snow in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and sweeping across the Ohio Valley overnight, Friedlein said. The system was headed into the Appalachian region Friday with the potential for severe thunderstorms but “not anywhere near the threat” that it packed in the Midwest, he said.
Roughly 30 homes were damaged or destroyed in Ogle County, adjacent to DeKalb, Sheriff Brian VanVickle said, adding no deaths or significant injuries were reported there. He said 12 people had been trapped in the storm cellar beneath a restaurant that collapsed in the storm in Rochelle, about 20 miles southwest of Fairdale.
One of those rescued from the Grubsteakers restaurant, Raymond Kramer, 81, told Chicago’s WLS-TV they were trapped for 90 minutes before emergency crews were able to rescue them, unscathed.
“No sooner did we get down there, when it hit the building and laid a whole metal wall on top of the doors where we went into the storm cellar,” Kramer said. “When the tornado hit, we all got a dust bath. Everyone in there got shattered with dust and debris falling out of the rafters.”
Tareen reported from Chicago. Associated Press writer Sara Burnett in Fairdale, and Herbert G. McCann, Don Babwin, Tammy Webber contributed to this report

Looking back on April 9th, 2015

Last Thursday was our first taste of severe weather for the season and it was a very eventful day. The event started with a deepening, fast moving low pressure system. This low pressure system was the driving force for converging and gusty surface winds that evening. There was a strong frontal boundary difference making way for backing winds near the boundary helping rotation. The surface was very moist with dew-points observed at Rochelle and Sterling reaching 66° at one point. This became a perfect setup for a large and dangerous tornado.
The night began with some scattered strong thunderstorms, but no Tornado Warnings were issued until 6:09 PM and that is when storms started to fire up all across the Northern Illinois region.
TOR Timeline 9th
The first Tornado warning was for a radar signature of rotation just south of Cherry Valley. Soon after at 6:35 PM was the first issued Tornado Warning for a large wedge tornado near Ashton. Finally all tornado warnings had expired around 7:45 PM.
So far throughout the state of Illinois there have been 8 confirmed tornadoes. Four of these tornadoes were confirmed in the Stateline.
tornadoes april 9th
The strongest tornado being an EF-4 that tracked across Lee, Ogle, and DeKalb counties. This was the first EF-4 tornado on record in the Northern Illinois region since the community of Washington was struck by one in November of 2013. Wind speeds associated with this EF-4 Tornado were around 180-200 mph. This was the major tornado produced with this storm. There have been 2 fatalities confirmed with this tornado and more than 20 people injured. Structures in the small town of Fairdale, IL have been almost completely swept away.
The EF-4 was not the only tornado in the Stateline that was destructive. An EF-1 tornado with wind speeds up to 110 mph roared through areas just south of Belvidere. This EF-1 tornado first touched down near Flora Road where it impacted a zoo.  Two zoo animals died as a result of the damage caused by the tornado.
Then there were the two EF-0 tornadoes that were south of Cherry Valley and just south of Lindenwood that had little to no damage associated with them.
Here is a graphic posted by the National Weather Service in Chicago of the tracks of the four tornadoes.
nws tor tracks
This photo can be found on their Facebook and I have posted the link below. Also, surveying has not been completed all the way yet by the National Weather Service and when they come out with their newest information we will be sure to pass that along to all of you!
– Nick Jansen
National Weather Service Facebook post:

April 8, 2015

Porch quilt

Today I repainted the porch quilt. It is 4 by 4 ft and painted on 1/4 inch plywood with acrylic paint.
Decided to give it an Amish look. with purple ,blue, off white and black



April 1, 2015

 Going back  60 years ago...I remember going to Klines Dept Store in Dixon Il with mom and sisters, to pick out our Easter outfits for Easter Sunday church service. It was a big deal to us girls to get to buy a fancy hat and white cloves...and if lucky new white patent leather shoes.Klines had a section of their upstairs, displaying all sorts of fancy hats to buy...both adult and childrens. .. Mom really enjoyed shopping for us girls...and usually for herself last. what a mom! Childrens hats would be something like this, as I remember. One year mom bought Karen and I matching spring coats of different pastel colors. ...really felt like Prinesses that year! My sister adds...Karen Wellman Roth I remember getting the matching dress, coat, hat, gloves and shined shoes and then leaving the hat in the car before church. Hate to wear hats still! Still wonder how Mom could afford to do it....called sacrifice and doing without herself.

Wishing you a Blessed Easter !

March 31, 2015

I believe as kids, one of our fondest memories was going to the woods to pick flowers for mom. She taught us names of flowers and  how it was important to  never uproot them , to assure their continued growth in generations to come.  I grew up for an appreciation of wild flowers and these photos are a few that I remember seeing. Hopefully this spring I can photograph some in the woods near our home town. ( Photos   from  www.WildflowersIllinois


Helen writes: "
I remember how much loved Queen Annes lace; something you see along the roads. Dad would never let her bring a start of the plant home as it spreads like wildfire. I know, as a little old neighbor lady brought me one (her husband had dug hers out) and wanted me to plant it as she loved it. Well, I did and have regretted it ever since. You just cannot get rid of it; I think her husband must have worked so hard to do it. She has long passed away, her plant lives on, in my flower beds. Also I remember the time I helped to bring cactus home, found it near the cemetery. Were either one of you girls with me? I know I had some help. That didn’t last long, not one of Moms ideas of flowers.(LOL) Remember the  May apple plants in the woods; the Jack in the box, Mom h ad some of those. Wasn’t there  a little white heart shaped one?"   Helen
  Yes, as I remember, she called them "Dutchman's Britches"

March 26, 2015

While canning chicken last night, I was remembering my sister Karen and her husband doing the same one year. I posted my accomplished photo of canned chicken on face book and the store was told by Karen and Helen...always fun to think back of those  times and have a laugh 

Cindy Boyenga   I will never forget Jerry's Chicken Shopathon at the grocery store and all the work you did in canning that night..LOL

Karen Wellman Roth Couldn't remember who all was there just that I ended up with 27 chickens and no refrigeration space so had to do them that night. Jerry still gets chicken cards from Helen! Jerry's chicken fiasco!

Cindy Boyenga I don't think I was there for that one...but maybe Helen was? plus all the kids each having to buy 2 chickens each...ha ha ( there was a limit of 2 per person as i remember the story)

Helen Page Mom and I were there; what a memory that was. We had to catch the plane early so did not stay up to help Karen, never will forget how we went to church and then pulled off the chicken heist at the store. just a limited amount per customer; we all went in, turned out we were the only people in the store at the time, all buying the chickens. jerry was outside putting them in his van as we came out(LOL) Karen I am so sorry I did not help you can them; did you get any sleep?

Karen Wellman Roth Not much! We did enjoy the chicken but Jerry wasn't my favorite person that night! Makes for great chicken cards through the years tho.
Helen Page It is a challenge to finding the chicken cards; a year long venture, sending them for Jerry's birthday
Helen Page Cindy, it was so hilarious that night in the store. We all came in separately and tried to act like we didn't know each other. One by one we sauntered back to the chicken cooler and picked up the limit. Then we spread out at different checkouts; was really sort of obvious that they would have such a run on chickens all at the same time(LOL). It was to be one special to a family; I sort of felt like a crook breaking the law(LOL). There were the kids, Mom, Karen and I; not a word was spoken to each other; the checkout girls had to wonder what the heck was going on!
Cindy  I can see this was one shopping trip it was good to miss out on! ha!!

(No comments from Jerrry were made....Hmmm)

March 16, 2015

The Lee Center Post Office Sign

This is a familiar sign to the Wellman family and residents that lived in Lee Center. It is the sign that hung outside our  stone house  for many years, displaying  the location of our town's Post Office. . My brother Don made the sign  when he was in high school for dad . Dad was post master in Lee Center Il , so this sign is dear to my heart. ( yes, the post office was  at our our home) In the corner of the sign,  Don decided to initial it and included his sweetheart's initials as well. I guess it is a good thing they got married after high school. as  those initials remained there yet another 50 years. After Donice passed away and  five years later,  Don was blessed with yet another happy marriage to Donna Wagoner...another DW that took on the Wellman name!  I have this sign hanging up in our family room downstairs...Long live great memories of having the post Office in the Wellman home...many customers heard the  squabbles, piano/instrument  practice,,  and the laughter that went on  with the five Wellman kids.  no need for the program "if walls could talk"...I am sure everyone heard it all.


February 14, 2015