Like many others in Riverside, I was without electricity for three some days after last week’s storms. Anyone looking into my windows might have thought I had a satanic mass going in the house, considering all the candles which were burning. My garbage is filled with candle stubs as every available candle holder was put into play. I patted myself on the back for buying a ton of candles at estate sales, ostensibly for dinner parties probably never to take place.
My son and daughter-in-law were sure that I would burn the house down, but I told them that I was being careful while doing my Lady McBeth scenes, carrying the candles around. I read by candlelight, paid the bills by candlelight, showered by candlelight. I marveled that Abraham Lincoln was able to read and educate himself by candlelight. I was a squinty mess by the end of the day.
A little after the second day, the refrigerator started leaking. I figured it was time to call out my son, Pepi, and daughter-in-law, Christina, who were like a veritable SWAT team when it came to pulling things together. They had experienced a week of no heat as well as an earthquake while stationed at Ft. Lewis, Wa., so they had all the necessary lanterns and gizmos available to get through the emergencies.
With the ease of an Army maneuver, they emptied the refrigerator and took my foodstuffs home for their fridge and freezer. I think this also gave my daughter-in-law time away from me to get rid of foods she considered questionable. She knew that I would hold out on them forever. Most got dumped, requiring a restocking at Sam’s Club when the worst was over.
Our neighborhood actually held a block party in the middle of all of this darkness, a great success in spite of handicaps. I worried about my neighbors, the Leonards, as they have a new baby. And, it was sad to watch my neighbors, the Mickls, invite the neighborhood children to come over to form a bailing brigade for their flooded basement-a brand new basement with brand new furnishings.
My hair was somewhat flat, since I could not use my hair dryer. I hoped that I could find the right colored slack socks in the dark (I can’t tell navy blue from black on a good day with light). Getting dressed in the dark, one could only hope that things came together. The dogs could not figure out the candle situation nor why things were dark so early. They slept a lot, and mercifully, the outside temperature was not so hot that open windows could not provide some relief from heat.
When the storm broke, I was caught on the Eisenhower Expressway, and turned back from a proposed trip to Evanston to get back to Riverside. It was obvious that this was going to be no normal storm. Being in a car was like being in a strobe light situation out of the Twilight Zone. It took me almost three hours to get out of Chicago and back to the ‘burbs.
It reminded me of a discussion once held in the state legislature regarding evacuating Chicago should there be a terrorist attack or a bomb. I said at that time there was no way Chicago would be evacuated. Now I know that for sure.
But, it could have been worse. The good news was that the neighborhood pulled together, looking out for one another. Nothing like a good, common misery to bring out the best in people.
Riverside President Jack Wiaduck was the perfect choice for the Riverside Lions Club/Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year. He was honored at a dinner at Riverside Golf Club on Aug. 29, which was filled with political and civic leaders. Jack’s daughter gave a great speech about how Jack, himself, emigrated from Oak Park to Riverside at the encouragement of his Riversider wife. He was cited as a man of vision, though teased for his support of the controversial TIF district for the village.
Jack joined a crowd of prominent citizens who had been honored over the years, some more qualified than others, but most outstanding folks who contributed much time and effort toward enhancing the community. A number had returned to the audience to honor Wiaduck.