Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Happy Birthday, Hans!

Happy Birthday, Hans! I hope you are having a great day today. When I awoke this morning, I looked at the clock and realized there were only two hours left of "September 5th" where you are. Even so, I am celebrating you all day here.

On Saturday my dear friend Florine and I visited your birthplace in Joliet, Illinois -- St. Joseph's Hospital. The hospital has had many changes in the past 36 years, making it hard to recognize. We went into the lobby to see what, if anything, I could recognize, and noted the beautiful marble hallways by the main elevators were still intact. We traveled to the 2nd floor where the maternity department had been located. That's now the "psych" ward. The labor and delivery rooms have vanished too, as well as the baby nursery. Now there are lovely birthing suites, much like a 5 star hotel, we were told.

Progress is good. It was nice to see the hospital expanding.

Next we traveled past the parsonage on Mississippi Street and the church on Union Street. I was very pleased to see both buildings were very well kept, probably looking the best in the neighborhood. Except for the handicap ramp on the front of the church, both the house and the church looked pretty much the same to me. The surrounding neighborhood has really gone down hill. The locals won't even drive through that part of town after dark any more because of the dangerous gangs.

We also drove by Union School, where you attended Kindergarten through 2nd grade. It had an addition, but the original building hadn't changed. I'm sure you would recognize it.

Since I couldn't be with you on this special day, I wanted to see some of the places that were important to you in your early stages of life, and that helped give you the foundation for the wonderful man you are today. Happy, happy birthday, Hans. We all hope to see you soon!

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