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Larry Lehmer
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Man, floods are bad. So are hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires and mudslides. No matter where you live in the United States, you're at risk of one natural disaster or another. But, no matter where you live in the United States,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2017 at Passing It On
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Much family history slips through the cracks. Through the generations, items are misplaced, destroyed, neglected, overlooked or simply tossed because somewhere along the line their significance faded. Calvin Riley has made it a personal mission over the last 40 years... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2017 at Passing It On
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John Vlahos, like many people of a certain age, would probably tell you that his life was nothing special. To those who loved him, of course, nothing could be further from the truth. The son of Greek immigrants, Vlahos was... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2017 at Passing It On
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At one point in my youthful past, I played softball on a team sponsored by my employer, The Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil newspaper. The boss sprung for a bunch of snazzy jerseys, emblazoned with the newspaper's name across the front. Sadly, the jerseys arrived with "Nonpaeil" (the "r" missing) in... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2017 at Life In the Slow Lane
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“Where are you going now?” Elvis asked. Judy Tyler, his co-star in Jailhouse Rock until just a few days earlier before filming was wrapped up, had an easy answer. After a whirlwind three months in Hollywood where she filmed two movies and one television show, Tyler was eager to return... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2017 at Before Their Time
Oral history is hot. People everywhere are getting the message about recording their family stories. Whether on audiotape, videotape or digital media, there's nothing that compares with hearing a family story told by a family member. Although my primary business... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2017 at Passing It On
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In his heyday, John C. Holmes was compared to Elvis Presley and Errol Flynn. But Holmes didn’t sing and, although his greatest exploits were on film, he wasn’t much of an actor, either. Holmes owed whatever success he achieved in the entertainment industry to something else: He had a big... Continue reading
Posted May 27, 2017 at Before Their Time
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I have this weird problem: How should I respond when someone asks me what I do? I think they’re asking me about what kind of work do I do and aren’t really interested in the mundanity of my everyday life, but even with that realization, I hesitate before answering. For... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2017 at Life In the Slow Lane
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Janet Parker had a splitting headache. A migraine, she thought, as she knocked off work early on Friday afternoon, August 11, 1978, and headed home to the duplex she shared with her husband on Burford Park Road in the Kings Norton section of Birmingham, England. Fortunately, she had a weekend... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2017 at Before Their Time
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It was supposed to be something of a celebration. Helen Gott was just a month from graduation. Across the candlelit table from her at the Tippin’ Inn in Syracuse, N.Y., was her steady boyfriend, Ernie Davis, a recent college graduate himself. It was a familiar scene for the couple, who... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2017 at Before Their Time
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Isn't life interesting? That's one way to explain a lifetime of experiences. Just by virtue of longevity, a senior citizen of today has been through plenty. Some of us have changed a lot over the course of a lifetime; others, not so much. In fact, many of us older folks... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2017 at Life In the Slow Lane
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"Pardon me. I didn't do it on purpose." Those are allegedly the last words spoken by Marie Antoinette, queen of France, after stepping on the foot of her executioner on her way to the guillotine. Last words are important to... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2017 at Passing It On
Legacy letters convey something of importance from the sender to another person. Whether eloquent or inarticulate in their presentation, legacy letters are often so emotionally powerful as to send the recipient reaching for a handkerchief. Such is the case with... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2017 at Passing It On
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For 25 years I worked for The Des Moines Register, winner of many Pulitzer prizes and once ranked by Time magazine as one of the Top 10 newspapers in the United States. My tenure began shortly before The Register's owners killed off our sister paper, The Des Moines Tribune. Despite... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2016 at Life In the Slow Lane
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The cost of health insurance has once again worked its way into public discourse, due to the disclosure that the Affordable Care Act continues to mock its very title. While persons of certain political persuasions try to put lipstick on this pig to justify their own positions, the whole situation... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2016 at Life In the Slow Lane
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1959 Your Happiest Years was a book of advice for teenagers, a topic Dick Clark felt particularly well-qualified for. Besides dispensing generic advice, the book also contained anecdotes from Clark’s personal experiences and included several family and business photos. While Clark was seen as a staunch defender of teenagers and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2016 at Bandstand Beat
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Two of the more popular girls on American Bandstand in the late 1950s were two of the most telegenic as well — Frani Giordano and Carole Scaldeferri. Giordano was a cut-up with a quick sense of humor which was often on display at Pop Singer’s drug store, a favorite hangout... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2016 at Bandstand Beat
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One year after it began on WFIL-TV, "Bandstand" was a bona fide hit. For the show's host, Bob Horn, it was a time to take stock of his new-found fame and start building on his future. The following excerpt is taken from my book in progress, "Bandstandland": After 20 years... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2016 at Bandstand Beat
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For most of the 20th century, Les Waas was one of the most creative people on the planet. Waas, a Philadelphia native who died recently at the age of 94, was best known as the creator of the Mister Softee ice cream jingle, but that was just one of about... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2016 at Bandstand Beat
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American Bandstand made its network debut from the WFIL-TV studios in Philadelphia on Aug. 5, 1957, beginning a run that would take it through four decades and nearly into a fifth before running out of gas. While 1957 was clearly a pivotal year for Bandstand and its host, Dick Clark,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2016 at Bandstand Beat
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As a protestant kid growing up in Council Bluffs, Iowa, I never gave fish fries a thought. I'm not even sure they had them in my formative days in the 1950s and 1960s. The closest I came to Catholicism in those days was playing baseball at Holy Family school. There... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2016 at Life In the Slow Lane
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Myrna Horowitz was not a great dancer. Nor was she a great dresser. She never had a regular dance partner on American Bandstand. There was never a Myrna and Harvey or Myrna and Eddie fan club, yet Horowitz was one of the most popular teenagers to ever appear on the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2016 at Bandstand Beat
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Poor Jennifer Aniston. Having nightmares about being on an airplane without showers or a bar. I'd be happy just to have a seat that didn't push my knees up to my chin. Lousy interviews ... go something like this: Q: How do you spell your name? A: That's a great... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2016 at Life In the Slow Lane
Filling out a family tree or researching a family's history takes time. For some, it can be a very long time. Projects often morph into something quite different from the original intention. Most of us have some idea of where... Continue reading
Posted Feb 29, 2016 at Passing It On
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Does anyone else find it annoying when a cable news channel displays a button in one corner of the screen saying the broadcast is "LIVE," even when airing a clip that says "Recorded earlier?" Who's running these places, chimpanzees? Yeah, I'm cool ... oops: You might want to think twice... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2016 at Life In the Slow Lane