Hi and welcome to the Powell family archives. These are some photos and information on the photos that I compiled and scanned. Yes, I know that my family's gonna love me for this one, but, HEY!, I never listened to them before and I'm not going to start now... These photos are clickable. Now, shall we begin the tour? Let's start with this one to the left. That's me, your host for this auspicious occasion. Can you figure out what I'm standing in front of? If not, click Here for a clue. Use your scroll bar for more photos.
That's a hot air balloon during a hot air balloon race we attended in St. Louis. I think my mother took the shot.
Hey, look, ma, he's got hair! And no beard or glasses! You can see his eyes! This is one of my senior photos taken in 1977. A lot better than the studio poses wearing a (I almost hate to admit this now...) leisure suit. We wore a lot of dumb clothes in the '70's, didn't we? As another historical note, though you can't see it in the photo at all, the left hand is basically out of site 'cause perched in the fingertips is a cigarette.





This is myself and my siblings at that same hot air balloon race that was held in a park in St. Louis. From the left is me, my sister-in-law Alma, my sister Cheryl, my brother Kevin and that polar bear in the lower right hand corner is my brother's dog (yes, I said "dog"), Yeroff, who's a Great Pyrenees dog. Another shot of Yeroff, one of the sweetest dogs you would ever want to meet, although maybe not in the dark... I have no idea of when this photo was taken. Mid '60's is my guess. I'm not even certain of what I am holding, but, see that box off to the left of my feet? I can tell you that's my G.I. Joe footlocker, so I imagine I'm holding one of my G.I. Joes. Either that or a toy gun of some sort.

That's Dad and my grandfather, Melvin Powell. They're standing in front of Granddad's house. Wanda and Kenneth Powell. My mother and father.

Dad and Yeroff. I don't know. For somebody who swears up and down that he doesn't care for dogs (even though he really does...), they all seem to flock to him. A soft touch for food is my guess...This is Lena Mayes Powell, my grandmother Powell. She is sitting on the old back steps to my grandparents' house in Cleaton, Ky. Believe it or not, this was before they had an indoor bathroom in the house. I've spent my time in an outhouse. Bathing was in a steel tub.

This is one of the very few photos of my Grandmother Powell. Its hard enough to find photos of her, let alone photos my Aunt Jo (Jonell) approaves of, so, Aunt Jo, stuff it!

These are some old friends who grew up down the street from us
The one that's marked "dad", that's Ray Alstrom. That's my brother's best friend growing up. When one of them was in trouble, the other one was not far behind...
Yes, Ray, I "liberated" this and the other two photos straight from your web site.
Of course, I was friends with all the Alstroms, but Diane (Ray's "sista", by the way) was the one that was closest to my age. She's the one I went to school with and I hope she is doing ok. I have no idea as to how recent of a photo this is. That's another of Ray's "sistas", Linda. That's my sister Cheryl's cohort, partner-in-crime, whatever you want to call it. All of these photos are courtesy rayalstrom.com, even if Ray didn't know it. (Go ahead, Ray. Install that java script that prevents visitors from "liberating" graphics and I'll demonstrate how a person can get around it.) We should have some photos or slides of the Alstroms and Powells at a picnic at Joe's Pond. I'll have to check it out.

"I don't know who he is behind that mask of his..."

These are from a camping trip to the Kankakee River State Park
That's dad in front of our tent. That was a great tent. Could comfortably hold 6 people on cots, 8 people straight on the floor. One or two weekends, every summer, we kids would set up that tent in our backyard and have sleepovers. We would run extension cords to the garage for some power, for stereos or portable tvs. (On which we would watch Svenghoulie - as far as I can remember, this would be the only time Ron and Mike Doles, my two best buddies growing up, could watch Svenghoulie.) Dad cooking. Julia Child and Graham Kerr have nothing to worry about. No, that's not quite right. Dad's actually a very good cook, especially with a grill, especially with that old Coleman stove, too. Not that he could give Julia Child or Graham Kerr a run for their money (not that I could, either), but he is a good cook. That's my brother an me. This may have been at the Fox River, but I think its at Kankakee. What we are in, trying despertely to keep afloat, is a one man rubber raft we kids dubbed The Yellow Submarine (give you a clue as to what time period this was from?) For some reason, I don't think Dad, or Mom for that matter, liked the name. I can't imagine why...

So, who is this Keyes and why am I having to give him 50% of my royalties? I wonder what I said concerning the thermodynamic propeties of steam? While looking up something else, I ran across at the Eyes of the Owl Used Book site.

These are documents from my families history.
One is a jpeg, one is a .pdf file
*.pdf file *.jpg
This is a list of the people who were at one time involved in Scout Pack 3442. Several of you seeing this will see several familiar names. Everybody will see at least one familiar name. This is the discharge paper of an ancestors of mine. (Great-grandfather? Great-Great-Grandfather?) This discharge is from the Union Army circa 1863, 97 years before I was born.

Here is another bit of history for the family. This group of men are union organizers from the coal mines, the UMWA. This was taken in Cincinatti (I believe) circa 1927. The one with the arrow pointing at him (you may want to call up the full size graphic to see it better) is my great grandfather, the late great Logan Bobbitt. He was a Union organizer for Kentucky in the mid to late 20's. (got blackballed for the effort, too - Thank you so kindly, John L. Lewis) My grandfather Powell has told me tales of fighting in the Coal Wars of the '20's. See? Political activism has deep roots in my family.

Ok, now we'll go back to more embarressing subjects.

Christmas time, 1966. The person being flashed burned out is my brother, Kevin. The person on the floor with what appear to be curlers in her hair has got to be my sister Cheryl. Next to her is me. Please note the Batman Utility Belt at my feet. This was '66 and we kids were gripped by Batmanmania. I wish I still had that belt. Dad later put in one refinement for me. Seems some episode of Batman, Batman opened the buckle of his belt and pushed a button in there. Mine, as I explained (More than likely, I explained that fact rather loudly, too...) didn't do that. How Dad got that dummy button to stay in there, I don't know, but he did. Christmas '67. That's me on the left. What I'm holding was a Cuddly Duddly. Almost as big as me. My grandmother gave that to me. She had to buy a subscription to the Chicago Tribune (remember Col. McCormack?) in order to get me that dog. That's better than when my mother, eight months pregnant with me, had to go downtown with my sister in order to get my sister a Patti Playdoll (? Play-something...), a lifelike, life size doll which was taller than my sister was at the time. I can just see mom, eight months pregnant, on the L train, my sister on one arm and this taller-than-my-sister doll on the other. My sister is in the middle of this photo, my brother is on the right. That box in front of my brother was a multi channel radio transmitter (walkie talkie range) receiver (AM and probably the first radio we had which could receive FM) My sixth birthday. That button that I'm wearing is a Batman and Robin button. The cartoon characters. That decoration on my cake may have been a Saturn V with an Apollo rocket on top (that's what we went to the moon on), but that may have been a little early for the Saturn V. This was probably a Titan with a Gemini capsule sitting on it. It was either this year or the following year that my parents made this grave mistake for my birthday: they gave me a drum set. Woke up the entire family doing an imitation of Ringo Starr.

While we're on the subject of Cuddly Duddly,

Chicago Childhood Heros
This is Bill Jackson, better known as Mayor BJ of Cartoontown. The puppets are Mother Plumtree and the Old Professor. I would imagine this one is a publicity photo for Cartoontown. Use to watch this show everyday after school for years and years. All of these photos are courtesy of Roger's Basement. But if you really want to know about Bill Jackson, Dirty Dragon, et al, go to dirtydragon.com Bill's a wonderful, warm person. He's retired out in CA. I do have the pleasure of corresponding with him through e-mail every now and then and I have had the pleasure of thanking him for all the hours of entertainment during my childhood. I wish him continued health and happiness. This is Ray Rayner. Every morning, while I was in grade school, at least till I was in Jr. High, I would imagine, I watched his show. He ran the Warner Bros. cartoons, introduced us, as you can see, to Cuddly Duddly and made the worst looking handi crafts that you could imagine (always had a proper one made by someone else handy to show us what it was suppose to look like). I've heard that Ray is retired in Arizona now. I thank him for all the hours of entertainment during my childhood and wish him continued health and happiness. "Answer me this question in your loudest voice possible. Who's your favorite clown?" Of course, this little tribute would not be complete without a shot of Bozo's Circus. Chicago had the longest running and, IMHO, best Bozo show there was. I tell you, these kids today, they don't know what they're missing! (Eygads! I am "getting old", aren't I?)

Nice shot, isn't it? That's at the hot air balloon race in St. Louis.

Every photographer, hobbiest or pro, worth their salt has stories about doing what other people would consider really - how shall I put this? - "insane" in order to get a shot. Sometimes to the point of risking life and limb. This photo does have a story attached to it, though not of the "life and limb" variety. Behind me, just off my left, a crew was inflating a balloon. Now being around a balloon that's inflating can be dangerous as they tend to flop around a bit, even slap the ground, till they are - oh, about half way inflated. I waited till it was safe enough before I went to take this shot. The balloon was still waving around a bit, I was keeping a weather eye on it just in case. While I was getting this shot, I could hear some female members of my family yelling about the balloon that wasn't coming all that near me. I took the shot, returned to the family and was keel hauled about this "stunt."

Without thinking about the consequences, I told my mother "Oh this is nothing compared to what I have done . . ." You know that little voice in the back of your head that tells you when you've done something really stupid? Mine was going off big time. This is not a statement you want to make in front of your mother. "Oh? (in that tone that only mothers have . . .) Care to tell me a few?" I still haven't as she really doesn't want to know. However . . .

  . . . I don't have to worry about that anymore. As this is my mother's hand trying to feed a squirrel so she could get a close shot of him. Whenever she starts in on me about doing something insane, all I have to do is remind her of this shot.

I have no idea. I have no earthly idea. Don't bother writing me and asking me what this photo is all about as I have absolutlely no idea.

Before we get into something rather heavy, let me show you these photos:

This is my sisters cat, Ted. He's named for a baseball player. One of the old negro league players who made it into the white leagues later on. He was Satchel Paige's catcher. And if you were catching for Satchel, you were pretty good. You had to be pretty good.

This is her royal majesty, Cleo, sitting on her perch. If you want to know more about those perches, drop me a piece of e-mail and I'll ask my sister, but I don't remember where she got them. This is both of her cats on their perches.

One evening in April of 1967, my family and I had just sat down to eat dinner when the lights went out. Mom and Dad went to get some candles. They had been gone a minute or two, so I got up to see what was keeping them. I met them in the hallway and mom said the one word everyone dreaded in that part of the year.


There was a tornado heading for our house.

"F4 tornadoes struck Belvidere, Lake Zurich, and Oak Lawn. The twisters left 58 dead, 1100 injured and $100 million in damage. Many of the deaths in Belvidere occurred when the tornado struck the high school while students boarded buses in the parking lot. The Oak Lawn tornado struck the busy intersection of Southwest Highway and 95th street at rush hour, tossing cars and buses. A roller skating rink and high school were also hit. This was the most violent and destructive weather event to occur in northeast Illinois this century".

Taken from http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lot/century.html

We were lucky. It turned before hitting our house. We had a solid wood garage door and the winds opened it partially. That was all that happened to us. Others were not so lucky. The one that nearly hit us had already, if I remember that night correctly, hit the high school. After turning away from us, it leveled a trailer court and severely damaged the roller rink.

The attached photos on this message and the two following messages are of that night and come from the Oak Lawn Public Library site. For more photos go to http://www.lib.oak-lawn.il.us/olpl/photos/photos.htm and key the word "tornado" into their search engine. My brother said that there is a collection of news articles and obits for the people who died, but, as of yet, I have been unable to locate them.

One story concerning this night. There is a supporting actor/character actor by the name of Peter Crombie. He was in My Dog Skip, played the maniac stalker on Seinfeld, played the Monster in that horrible NBC version of the House of Frankenstein, but his biggest role was the maniac serial killer in 7. That night, Peter's father strapped himself to a pole and took some wonderful shots of the tornado as it passed him. These photos made the cover and an article in Life Magazine. Circa April, May of '67. So far, I haven't located any of them online, but I can't really say that I've done more than a superficial search.

The photos are:

There will be more added to this page later, but this is all for now.

Here's a couple of photos for history buffs viewing the archives
This first sign, of course, is the sign from the infamous Check Point Charlie, which was the entrance through the Berlin Wall from West Berlin to East Berlin during the Cold War. Btb, that makes what I'm standing in front of in the first photo a section of the Berlin Wall itself. This is the sign the 9th Armored Division erected at the bridge over the river Rhine at Remagen. This was the first bridgehead across the Rhine the Allies were able to establish.

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