Monday, June 30, 2008

You can’t beat fun at the ballpark!

Some people take the Cubs – White Sox rivalry a little too seriously!

The Frankensteins

Here are some more photos I recently took at Jewish Graceland Cemetery.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Simon Bournstine

I am a volunteer helping with the restoration of the Jewish Graceland Cemetery. It is a privately-owned cemetery located near the intersection of Clark Street and Irving Park in Chicago -- just north of Wrigley Field. The cemetery, which was founded in 1851, fell into disrepair over the past 10-15 years and is now under new ownership. The new owner is attempting to restore the cemetery and I have been helping out since fall of 2007.

The cemetery is currently closed during the restoration.

When I was last there in late May, I literally stumbled upon the gravesite of a Union Army veteran of the Civil War. His name was Simon Bournstine and he was an immigrant from Poland. I did some online research and found he was born in Warsaw, Poland  in 1844 and immigrated to the United States in 1855 and became a citizen. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Simon enlisted at the age of 17. He was a private in the 22nd Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry. His unit saw extensive action in the western theater of the Civil War including the Vicksburg campaign. Simon survived the war and was honorably discharged in August 1865.

That’s all we know of him.

Simon somehow made it to Chicago and passed away in 1910.

Anyway, in May I found his military marker as I was cleaning away weeds and tree stumps. Today I came back to the cemetery and brought several American flags with me. I placed a flag at Simon’s gravesite, cleaned off his marker again, gave him my best [former] Boy Scout salute and then took this picture. As the grandson, son, nephew and stepfather of veterans and soldiers, I have too much respect for them to let their deeds go unnoticed. And veterans should always have a flag.

If any of Simon’s descendants happen to read this weblog, he’s doing fine!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Cubs vs. Sox

Cubs take Game 1 on Ramirez's homer

It’s that time of year again in Chicago where the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox do battle in what is called the “Crosstown Series.” This year, both teams are in first place in their respective divisions so the games take on a little more importance. The games have always been important to the fans of both teams, but there is a chance – no matter how slight – that this six-game series is a precursor to the Fall Classic.

Around my house, battle lines are clearly drawn. I’m a White Sox fan and Lisa and Kevin are Cubs fans.

They had the last laugh Friday when Aramis Ramirez (above in this Chicago Tribune photo) hit a walk-off home run to beat the Sox 4 – 3. The series concludes with two more games at Wrigley Field and then moves to U.S. Cellular Field next weekend.

Update: The Cubs won Saturday’s game too so I’m really hearing it!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Michael Jones

Found a photo of my stepson, Michael Jones, on the Internet today. Michael is currently serving in Iraq and is located “somewhere"" in Baghdad. He's a military policeman and will hopefully be coming home this September. Michael is kneeling on the far right.