Category Archives: Family

Service Opportunity in Biodiversity: WeDigBio @ the Field Museum

Scientists from Field Museum and around the world need your help! Join us in transcribing scientific label data from our collections and from field notes books using online and computer tools. Activities may also include hands-on curation with specimens. This … Continue reading

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Mitchell’s Food Mart — A Thriving Throwback in Joliet

This essay was published as an op-ed piece entitle “Mitchell’s Still Has Magic for Me” in the Joliet Herald-News, p14, on 30 December 2010. I offer it here five years later as a commentary on supporting local economies and celebrating the … Continue reading

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Back to School in Joliet: Reflections on Junior High

As Labor Day recedes sadly into the distance and we come to grips with the fact that, yes, another school year has officially begun, I can’t help reflecting on the pervasive and damaging myth within American educational culture that junior … Continue reading

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Remembering Don Reiter

Today in Joliet, while picking up a prescription after dropping my daughter off at school, I ran into a friend from my Jr. High days. Lori and I both worked at Plainfield Road Pharmacy back in the 1980s, when the … Continue reading

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All’s Fair in Love, War, and Science Education

The great poet and critic T. S. Eliot once wrote “April is the cruelest month.” I’m unsure what he had in mind exactly. But it quite possibly could have been an elementary school science fair. As a professional educator, former … Continue reading

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Getting the Kids Outside

Today’s the last day of winter here in 2013. Not a bad opportunity to go outside and look around, if I can carve out some time in between helping the kids with homework after school, running errands, grading papers, and … Continue reading

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Joliet Shouldn’t Be a (For-Profit) Prison Kind of Town

As my family and I drove over the river to Joliet’s East Side, I had little idea what to expect at our Collins Street destination — a fundraiser by the local grassroots organization Concerned Citizens of Joliet. All we knew … Continue reading

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Labor-Managment Conflict in Blue-Collar America: The Caterpillar Strike in Joliet

Without Caterpillar Corporation, I probably wouldn’t exist. Once upon a time, a Kansas farm boy (my grandfather) moved to central Illinois with some of his brothers to find work. He eventually caught on at Caterpillar in Peoria, where he became … Continue reading

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Leopold’s Shack, Wild Turkeys, and the Wisconsin River

This summer my family and I took our annual vacation to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where we camp out at the Bryson family cabin — a fairly humble one-room cottage in Hiawatha National Forest on the shores of little … Continue reading

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A Tribute: Remarks at My Grandmother’s Funeral

If you had met Millie Bryson for the first time in the last few months of her life, it would have been easy to underestimate her. She was 98 years old, blind, hard of hearing, and increasingly forgetful. She lived … Continue reading

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