[ {"id":"c25cbfa6-01ff-56d8-a6e6-f0d89d2059d0","type":"article","starttime":"1481451300","starttime_iso8601":"2016-12-11T04:15:00-06:00","sections":[{"home-and-garden":"lifestyles/home-and-garden"},{"alma-gaul":"news/opinion/editorial/columnists/alma-gaul"}],"application":"editorial","title":"The last person born in the 1800s","url":"http://qctimes.com/lifestyles/home-and-garden/article_c25cbfa6-01ff-56d8-a6e6-f0d89d2059d0.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/lifestyles/home-and-garden/the-last-person-born-in-the-s/article_c25cbfa6-01ff-56d8-a6e6-f0d89d2059d0.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/lifestyles/home-and-garden/the-last-person-born-in-the-s/article_c25cbfa6-01ff-56d8-a6e6-f0d89d2059d0.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"The Times carried a story recently about a woman in\u00a0Italy who was celebrating her\u00a0117th birthday. What struck me about the story is that, according to available documentation, this woman is the\u00a0last\u00a0person\u00a0on\u00a0Earth who was born in the 1800s. The last of millions. And how fast this happened. When I was young, all the obituaries of \"old people\" had birthdays in the late 1800s. Then those dates became fewer and\u00a0finally stopped entirely.\u00a0I remember remarking on this to my brothers and sisters. First-hand memories\u00a0of American Indians coming around the farm house for food, or of what it was\u00a0like in the trenches of France,\u00a0were no more. If these events were to be recalled, they had to be read from a book.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["christina waters","transports","work","mention","sled","dad","news release","marie kono","scrapbook"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","revision":8,"commentID":"c25cbfa6-01ff-56d8-a6e6-f0d89d2059d0","body":"

The Times carried a story recently about a woman in\u00a0Italy who was celebrating her\u00a0117th birthday.

What struck me about the story is that, according to available documentation, this woman is the\u00a0last\u00a0person\u00a0on\u00a0Earth who was born in the 1800s. The last of millions.

And how fast this happened.

When I was young, all the obituaries of \"old people\" had birthdays in the late 1800s. Then those dates became fewer and\u00a0finally stopped entirely.\u00a0I remember remarking on this to my brothers and sisters. First-hand memories\u00a0of American Indians coming around the farm house for food, or of what it was\u00a0like in the trenches of France,\u00a0were no more. If these events were to be recalled, they had to be read from a book.

SLEIGHS:\u00a0Every time mention of a sleigh comes up, I think of one of my dad's stories, the story of his parents taking him \u2014 as a newborn in November \u2014 in a horse-drawn sled about three miles to church so he could get baptized.

Nowadays I don't think parents would take such a risk. They'd wait until the child was older, or the weather warmer, or both.

But in the staunch Catholic teaching of the time, it was considered more of a risk that\u00a0your baby would\u00a0go to \"limbo\" if it died before being baptized. So baptism was of prime importance. That way, one could be assured the child would go to heaven instead of that perpetual holding place, as limbo was described.\u00a0

HARNESSES: Mention of harnesses makes me think of Dad, too.

As he grew older, he would occasionally comment that his head was full of \"all kinds of\u00a0useless information.\"

That is, he had firm grasp of things he had learned about, or how to do, as a child,\u00a0but now that knowledge was no longer needed because those\u00a0skills or ways of doing things\u00a0had been supplanted by new.

One of those skills was the ability to hitch a team of horses to a wagon in the dark.

CLUTTER: While we're walking down memory lane, I have one more thing to say. In my inbox recently\u00a0was a news release about a new book by Christina Waters, titled\u00a0\"Inside the Flame: The Joy of Treasuring What You Already Have.\"

\"There is such a thing as healthy clutter,\" she says in the release. \"The stuff we keep mirrors our history.\"

The current credo, championed by Marie Kono, professional organizer and author of \"The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up,\" is to purge, minimize and get rid of clutter. The act will make you feel lighter and free, she writes.

Waters disagrees, saying\u00a0that things from the past\u00a0can bring us solace, joy and a sense of identity, while zero clutter is sterile and has no personality.

Somewhere,\u00a0there is a happy medium. You can't keep everything, and there is a sense of freedom in getting rid of some stuff.

But Waters' point of view\u00a0made me feel better about\u00a0my stuff and why I can't part with it. It came from my home, and it was handled by people I don't have anymore. If it left my possession, it could never be replaced.

Furniture,\u00a0dishes, pictures, letters, books\u00a0and scrapbooks.

I'm not done with them.

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\u00a0She had been staring at me over a chocolate soda. It was across a holiday throng at Lagomarcino\u2019s in the Village of East Davenport, and I didn\u2019t notice her. She worked her way through the crowd and came to our booth. Smiling, she quite boldly hugged me.

\u201cDo you remember?\u201d she asked. \u201cIt was 27 years ago this week.\u201d

No, I didn\u2019t remember. I can\u2019t always remember what I wrote a quarter-century ago.

\u201cI\u2019m Cheryl, who couldn\u2019t do three Christmas programs because I was dying.\u201d

Then, it all came back to a sunny-bright cold December morning in 1989,\u00a0when I visited with Cheryl Brogla-Krupke.\u00a0We sat in her Pleasant Valley home, drinking iced tea. I remember a cardinal alighting on a branch outside the bay window and Cheryl saying\u00a0\u2014 hopefully \u2014 that a cardinal is a vision, like a visitor from heaven. That was that, and teary-eyed she\u00a0told of\u00a0a situation that\u00a0sounded quite hopeless for a mother of two small children.

Cheryl was a\u00a0music teacher in the Bettendorf schools. In the week of our visit 27 years ago, she had a trio of Christmas programs ahead at Jefferson and Mark Twain schools. She had been rehearsing the kids for weeks. It was their moment of fame, and she was their mentor. She was not feeling a bit well, but was stubbornly convinced that she was the only one who could pull off those musical programs.\u00a0

\u201cOne terrible thing is very wrong,\u201d she said on that long-ago December morning, and the tears began to flow while we talked. \u201cI have cancer,\" she said. \"I don\u2019t think I\u2019m going to live. I can\u2019t direct those Christmas programs; I can\u2019t let my kids down. I have another doctor\u2019s appointment at 10 tomorrow morning. What am I going to do?\u201d

The doctor\u2019s report was grim. A good but brusque oncologist. \u201cHe told me it was 99 percent certain that I had acute\u00a0myelogenous leukemia. He said to go immediately to University Hospitals in Iowa City,\u201d Cheryl remembered. \u201cIf I didn\u2019t get treatment I would be dead as a doornail. I was shocked and angry. I told him he wasn\u2019t very nice. He hugged me; he said it would be the last hug for a while.\u201d

Cheryl's heartbreak went into\u00a0a columnist\u2019s notebook of scraps about people and places. When she startled me at Lagomarcino\u2019s, I told her that she was a stranger\u00a0I had lost track of. We arranged for a catch-up visit last week in my office. We laughed and exchanged high-fives. I remember Cheryl had flowing, long auburn hair; now it is closely cropped. I asked if she still battled cancer. \u201cNo,\u201d she said. \u201cI\u2019m fine, but was bald and short-haired for so long that I keep it cut this way.\u201d

She told of\u00a0the anger, how she fought the dread and pain for at least 18 months. \u201cI was mad at myself for having all this, losing my usefulness. I needed a bone marrow transplant; no match could ever be found after months of search. Nothing worked, for so long. In Iowa City, I was angry at myself and life. I got some of the anger out by playing the grand piano below the round balcony of patients. They could hear me. Once, a doctor joined me.\u201d

Cheryl\u00a0regularly repeated to herself, \u201cI have so little time.\u201d But therapy and medicine did their job. She says now that\u00a0the cancer has left. \u201cMy long ordeal left me a new person. My anger at being seized by cancer is gone,\u201d she said during our cheerful visit 27 years later.

\"I retired from teaching six years ago; my mission today is happiness. This call cannot be taken from me. I enjoy the smallest of experiences, a smile from an elderly person or the sound of laughter\u00a0\u2014 from me or another person.\u201d

May this be a happy call of\u00a0inspiration to all, ill or well. It is Cheryl\u2019s holiday hope for happiness. It comes from her, from over a\u00a0chocolate soda at Lagomarcino\u2019s, 27 years later.

"}, {"id":"2f558973-0c43-5c0b-92ef-f1d609a5a7bc","type":"article","starttime":"1481004000","starttime_iso8601":"2016-12-06T00:00:00-06:00","lastupdated":"1481021915","sections":[{"bill-wundram":"news/opinion/editorial/columnists/bill-wundram"}],"flags":{"topical":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Wundram: Expect snow for Christmas","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/bill-wundram/article_2f558973-0c43-5c0b-92ef-f1d609a5a7bc.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/bill-wundram/wundram-expect-snow-for-christmas/article_2f558973-0c43-5c0b-92ef-f1d609a5a7bc.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/bill-wundram/wundram-expect-snow-for-christmas/article_2f558973-0c43-5c0b-92ef-f1d609a5a7bc.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Bill Wundram","prologue":"\u00a0Shovel a path for Santa. It\u2019s going to be a white Christmas. The odds will shiver your timbers, says Steve Gottschalk, semi-professional weather prognosticator. Steve, the country boy from Lowden, Iowa, is rarely wrong. He puts the chance of snow on Dec. 24 and 25 at 73 to 87 percent. \u201cChristmas Day occurs during the week of the last quarter moon; that means a 73 percent chance of snow on the ground,\u201d says Steve. \"Christmas comes during a weak La Nina, which still gives us an 87 percent certainty of a white Christmas.\u201d","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["christmas","steve gottschalk","dryer","blue devils","coffee house","white christmas","spoon"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"2816ee16-f112-5fcf-8589-e27449b298ba","description":"A man walks with his dog through the fresh snow on Sunday at the Credit Island Frisbee Golf Course.","byline":"John Schultz","hireswidth":2109,"hiresheight":982,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/81/2816ee16-f112-5fcf-8589-e27449b298ba/5844d92c08205.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"2109","height":"982","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/81/2816ee16-f112-5fcf-8589-e27449b298ba/5844d92c073a0.image.jpg?resize=2109%2C982"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"47","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/81/2816ee16-f112-5fcf-8589-e27449b298ba/5844d92c073a0.image.jpg?resize=100%2C47"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"140","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/81/2816ee16-f112-5fcf-8589-e27449b298ba/5844d92c073a0.image.jpg?resize=300%2C140"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"477","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/81/2816ee16-f112-5fcf-8589-e27449b298ba/5844d92c073a0.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C477"}}}],"revision":6,"commentID":"2f558973-0c43-5c0b-92ef-f1d609a5a7bc","body":"

\u00a0Shovel a path for Santa. It\u2019s going to be a white Christmas. The odds will shiver your timbers, says Steve Gottschalk, semi-professional weather prognosticator. Steve, the country boy from Lowden, Iowa, is rarely wrong. He puts the chance of snow on Dec. 24 and 25 at 73 to 87 percent.

\u201cChristmas Day occurs during the week of the last quarter moon; that means a 73 percent chance of snow on the ground,\u201d says Steve. \"Christmas comes during a weak La Nina, which still gives us an 87 percent certainty of a white Christmas.\u201d

La Nina is a weather pattern that can do bad things. He warns that 2017 arrives during a week of a new moon; that means a 71 percent certainty of snow. All this is an omen to head south.

How not to fall out of bed

My bumpy night when I fell out of bed three times has brought advice from readers:

MARY RUFFCORN of Buffalo is sympathetic. \u201cI hope you get yourself a sturdy bed rail. There are many types available at places like Walgreens and medical equipment suppliers. Take care of yourself, Bill, and take care of your wife.\u201d

A NUMBER have scolded, like a writer who signed her note as \u201cMarvella.\u201d She said, \u201cFor goodness sake, do we need to put a railing of your side of the bed? You are no longer a child. You should be careful when you sleep. I feel sorry for your wife.\u201d

\u201cHI, FRIEND,\u201d writes Kathryn Poyner, a newcomer to Davenport from Waterloo. \u201cDo like we do for kids. Put a pool noodle, a toy for swimming pools, UNDER the edge of the fitted sheet. It serves as a railing and doesn\u2019t have to be sewed in.\u201d

CHRISTOPHER Epting offers advice: \u201cTime for assisted living, my friend. Consider it for your family\u2019s sake, if not your own. Seriously.\u201d

Hot dogs and home runs

After my Sunday plea to save good old Levee Inn on D\u2019port riverfront, Dave Heller, enterprising owner of River Bandits, suggests: \u201cWhat would you think about moving the Levee Inn and relocating it on the back side of Modern Woodmen Park? We would make it part of the ballpark, still sell hot dogs, and give it the love and attention it deserves. What do you think? Would the city go for it?\u2019\u2019

Blue Devils are here to stay

Scott McKissick, the jovial principal of Central High in Davenport, debunks the talk that Blue Devils are on the way out as the symbol of his school. \u201cIt\u2019s curious how that ever got started,\u201d he says. \u201cBlue Devils will always be the school\u2019s identifying logo, our signature for everything.\u201d

Long live the Blue Devils! Now, is everybody happy?

Mystery of the missing spoons

You know how it goes, there\u2019s always one abandoned shoe on the street or\u00a0 sidewalk. Never two shoes; always one. There\u2019s the missing sock in the dryer. The dryer yields only one. Where does the matching sock go? Does every washer or dryer have a sock-eating monster?

\u201cLately, I\u2019ve been thinking about spoons,\u201d says Tom Gilsenan, who runs Uptown Bill\u2019s, an Iowa City coffee house, gathering place, performance venue, used bookstore and other enterprises.

\u201cWhere do the spoons go? I inventoried silverware at the coffee house before our community Thanksgiving dinner and found that we have one-third\u00a0fewer spoons than forks. I know there was exactly the same number of spoons and forks a little over a year ago.

\u201cThinking about this, I realized this happened at home, too\u00a0\u2014 home when I was a child as well as home now. So, what could be happening to those spoons? Is that a universal problem?\u201d

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Reading a history text can be slow going, but reading stories about the\u00a0people who made history is a whole different matter.

We're drawn to stories and faces, and\u00a0that is the appeal of David T. Coopman's new book titled \"Legendary Locals of Moline.\"

The book is from\u00a0Arcadia Publishing, a\u00a0South Carolina company that specializes in books about local\u00a0history. The company's books have a standard format and,\u00a0to be honest,\u00a0I've read at least one that I thought was below par in its research, documentation and organization.

Coopman's book about Moline book is not like that.

It's filled with the stories and pictures of people who contributed to\u00a0making Moline what it is today \u2014 characters that\u00a0people\u00a0who have lived here awhile, or anyone who has\u00a0paid attention to\u00a0history, will recognize, along with a heavy sprinkling of lesser-knowns.

My favorite in the latter category is a woman named Ann Ritchie. She was born into slavery in Georgia, then was sold to a doctor in Kentucky. As was custom, she took the last name of her owner, which is how she got the name Ritchie. She witnessed the beginning and end of the Civil War and encountered the activities of the Ku Klux Klan.

At some point she married a man who also had been a slave of the Ritchie family and they moved to Moline around 1877. She wasn't sure of her age during her\u00a0lifetime,\u00a0but when she died in 1901,\u00a0the obituary guessed at\u00a096.

Coopman credits\u00a0Ritchie's story to\u00a0Kathleen Seusy, also of Moline, who spent considerable time researching the backgrounds of people buried in the city's Riverside Cemetery.

Coopman will\u00a0sell and sign his book from noon to 4 p.m. today during the open house at\u00a0the museum of the Rock Island County Historical Society, 822 11th Ave., Moline. (The home was featured in last Sunday's Home & Garden section.)

The museum also is known as the Atkinson-Peek house for two of its prominent owners, and\u00a0Coopman said that one of the favorite stories he encountered in his research was about the second namesake, Burton Peek. Peek's career was with Deere & Co., including as president and board chairman, but he was obsessed with golf.

He was a longtime member of the Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters, served on its executive board and maintained a home there.

One of Coopman's\u00a0disappointments with the book was not being able to include E.P. Nutting, an \"extremely popular principal and superintendent\" from the mid 1930s. The reason? No good picture.

Readers will recognize many people still living, or just recently deceased. I was happy to see inclusion of\u00a0Rev. Robert E. Lee, longtime pastor of Sacred Heart Church,\u00a0and leader in Catholic education, and Barbara Sandberg, a driving force for historic preservation\u00a0whose efforts helped save buildings such as the Skinner Block.

The Moline book is Coopman's sixth, and he\u00a0now is doing research about the city's Belgian pioneers, work that may turn into his seventh.

Coopman, 68,\u00a0said he acquired\u00a0love of history \"by osmosis.\"

Both of his parents enjoyed local history, and when they sat around the table after dinner, they often would \"talk about people or companies or things that went on in the city,\" he said.

\"I found it fascinating. There are great stores in the whole Quad-City area. Questions of how did this happen and why. There are stories to get out that are going to get lost if somebody doesn't put them down.\"

That last line resonated with me. Whether you hope to publish a book, or simply want to document the lives of your ancestors \u2014 or of yourself \u2014 stories need to be written down.

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In all the babble and debate over what to do with the Davenport riverfront, one lonely pocket of joy has been overlooked. What are those planners going to do about the Levee Inn? It is our beloved landmark. It\u00a0must be saved. We cannot lose the Levee Inn. It is our history on a bun!

The Levee Inn has been our top dog of\u00a0landmarks since it was built in 1929. Architecturally, it rates a\u00a0pretty\u00a0good grade with its blue tile inlays and overhangs. Structurally, it has survived everything Mother Nature has thrown at it.

And then, there's the history: What would we do without the Levee Inn\u2019s high-water markers that have measured\u00a0Mississippi River rampages all these years?\u00a0Floodwaters have\u00a0never been more than a nuisance: When the devastating deluge of 1965 went away, for example, the owners swept out the water and reopened.

It\u2019s no wonder the sturdy Levee Inn snubs floods, hell and high water. The designers were the same ones responsible for the classic bandshell in nearby LeClaire Park and for Modern Woodmen Park, the finest minor league ballpark in all America. Those are reasons enough why Levee Inn must be saved, now that its neighbor gambling boat is forever gone.

The city owns the place since the exodus of the\u00a0floating casino.\u00a0Levee Inn is a sad sight today, but it looks to be sound. Menus on the outside wall, still proclaiming proprietorship\u00a0by the President gambling boat, which hit the water in 1991, offer pastrami sandwiches and a selection of hot\u00a0dogs. Among them, the Wundram Dog for $2.75. What a buy, easily worth $5 today.\u00a0

Levee Inn, in its heyday, was jovial, with the biggest Vienna hot dogs this side of Wrigley Field. Downtown workers\u00a0would walk a half-dozen blocks to get a dog with Levee Inn\u2019s neon green relish.

The place has had more names than anyone can remember. It started\u00a0with the bland monicker of \u201cMunicipal Inn.\u201d For some unknown reason, it was named for me a couple of\u00a0times, Bill\u2019s Hot Doggery or some such nonsense.\u00a0

It was a rite to open the hot dog season with Paula Sands, of TV reknown, and me designing our favorite summer hot dog. Hers was always delicate; mine reeked of chopped onions. The only rule of the place was that\u00a0it never served ketchup on any of the dogs. Ketchup on a hot dog was a mortal sin.

Dick Bittner, the attorney and civic guru, and I always claimed that we would reopen Levee Inn\u00a0\u2014 under our names\u00a0\u2014 once we retired. At a celebration\u00a0of Bittner\u2019s longevity, his son once mocked up a photo of the two of us as proprietors of the Bittner-Wundram Levee Inn hot dog stand. It'll never happen. Our wives complained they would have to cook the hot dogs while we stood outside, gabbing.

The\u00a0beloved riverside inn had assorted proprietors in its life. One of the longest-running\u00a0operators was Archie Weindruch, the father of the \u201cBig Archie\u201d hot dog. Business ebbed in the springtime of 1991 when the President\u00a0casino boat arrived on the inn\u2019s doorstep. Next up was a pork tenderloin joint that survived two summers.

The inn\u00a0\u2014 as best figured \u2014 has been closed since October\u00a02000 when Rhythm City replaced the whale-sized President. Steve Ahrens, who heads the Davenport Levee Improvement Commission, says the dates of opening and closing of Levee Inn are inexact. It was always a private business.

\u201cWhatever, Levee Inn is a fixture of Davenport. We can\u2019t let go of it,\u201d Ahrens says. \u201cFloods can always be a problem for the place, but we could always raise it to save it.\u201d

Long live the\u00a0Levee Inn. And long live its Vienna hot dogs. The place must reopen and survive forever. We should relish a rabble-rousing campaign to save it!

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\u00a0This date is significant on the Quad-City\u00a0calendar. Cary Grant died here, 30 years ago, Nov. 29, 1986, of a stroke. It was headline news and thousands of stories have been since written on the death of the matinee idol in Davenport. Every angle has been touched\u00a0\u2014 all but one\u00a0\u2014 the story of the hospital administrator who was steps away on that night.

Historic photos: Cary Grant

James Stuhler, then administrator of St. Luke\u2019s Hospital, now Genesis East, has kept the moments tightly to himself. This week he said for the first time, \u201cI suppose you could call it my three minutes of fame.\u201d It included a call from actor Van Johnson and a reported attempt by another matinee idol,\u00a0Gregory Peck, to reach him.

A year ago Stuhler and I lunched together at Venice, Florida, I cajoled him: \u201cI will buy your lunch if you give me your version\u00a0\u2014 not until the 30th anniversary\u00a0\u2014 of the night Cary Grant died.\u201d He shook my hand.

Sunday afternoon, he told what he remembered.

\u201cI was at home with my wife, Leeta, when a phone call came for me from the nursing superintendent of my hospital. She thought I should know that Mr. Grant had just been admitted. Mr. Grant? The name of \u2018Mr. Grant\u2019 meant nothing to me. It was a jolt when she added, \u2018You know, Mr. Grant, Cary Grant,\u00a0the movie star.\u2019

\"1986:

In 1986, actor Cary Grant died in Davenport, Iowa, at age 82.

\u201cI was in my grubs, my clothes for hanging out around the house. I quickly changed into suit and tie. I hurried to the hospital and the area where Cary Grant was being cared for. I wasn\u2019t sure of his condition. It was such a secret. The chaos was only beginning. The word was leaking out to the press. Grant\u2019s wife, Barbara, would say nothing.\u00a0Reporters and photographers were coming in from all over, flown from Chicago and Des Moines and then the West Coast. They all demanded to know everything, was he dead or alive? I was in the middle.

\u201cI couldn\u2019t tell the press anything. This was big time, so I called my public relations\u00a0officer, who was in Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving with his parents. He was frantic, said he was going to fly to Davenport immediately. I told him to stay where he was; by the time he got here it would all be over. Mercy Hospital sent over their public relations person who was trying to calm the angry press. He brought in sandwiches and pop; that didn\u2019t help.

\u201cWord that Grant was dead was rumored. His wife had told his lawyer, but she refused to release the news to me at my hospital,\u201d says Stuhler. \"It put me in an awful situation.

\"She wasn\u2019t going to tell of his death to anyone but his daughter. She had to know it first. But no one could find her; she was on a date at a restaurant but no one knew the restaurant.\u201d

Stuhler, always a patient person, said he tried to keep the reporters at bay. Reuters News Agency in London got through to Stuhler, insisting on confirmation of death. Phone calls buzzed their way through hospital lines.

\u201cOne was a call to me from Van Johnson, who apparently was a close friend of Cary Grant,\u201d says Stuhler.

Finally, in the early morning hours, there was confirmation of death.

\u201cI remember how determined his widow was to get her husband out of Davenport,\u201d\u00a0 Stuhler says. A plane was chartered from Peoria and Cary Grant was quickly flown home to Los Angeles.

Stuhler stayed at the hospital until after dawn. \u201cBy 3 a.m., I had answered all the questions and tried to field all the calls.\u201d One\u00a0call that didn't get through\u00a0was said to be from Gregory Peck, who\u00a0had told an operator that he would keep trying.

Stuhler admits to being numbed by the experience. Her slept restlessly that night. At daybreak,\u00a0his home phone\u00a0started ringing, movie stars, agents and\u00a0celebrities wanting to give condolences. There were names Stuhler can no longer remember. He wanted to leave the house that Sunday afternoon to escape the turmoil.

\u201cMy wife insisted, \u2018You better stay around because an important call is to be coming soon.\u2019 \u201d It could have been Gregory Peck,\u00a0or it could have been from a fellow movie star friend who made it to the White House, Ronald Reagan.

The important call never came, so Jim and Leeta Stuhler went on an outing.

They visited Quad-City Arts Festival of Trees. It was the event that was to star Cary Grant the night before

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With just three weekends remaining until Christmas Eve, I\u00a0have finished my Christmas Letter\u00a0and have laid in a cache of\u00a02016 holiday postage stamps.

Called\u00a0\"Holiday Windows,\" they are four scenes\u00a0looking into, or out of, windows.

In my annual critique,\u00a0I would say they are a solid, colorful effort by the Postal Service \u2014 a lighted candle,\u00a0snow-covered wreath,\u00a0luminous\u00a0star ornament and lighted trees/bushes. Also for the season are a Madonna and Child, a silhouetted Nativity scene and \"songbirds in snow.\"

RECYCLING CLOTHING, TOWELS, LINENS:\u00a0I received an email from a reader wondering if there is anyone in the Quad-City area\u00a0who recycles towels and other linens.

\"These aren't good enough to donate to charity, and I am reluctant to put them in the garbage and have them end up in the landfill,\" he wrote. \"Any ideas?\"

I have had the same question. I just hate putting cloth in the trash.

Unfortunately, you can't melt down fabric and make new.

Brandy Welvaert, communications coordinator for the Waste Commission of Scott County, said that sometimes donation centers such as Salvation Army and Goodwill will accept items that are not good enough to be worn/used, to sell by the pound on what's known as the \"rag market.\"

\"I always direct residents to call before they drop off something like this to ask what the organization prefers be done with items that are stained beyond use, torn, etc.,\" she said.

It's probably nice\u00a0if the donator would let the organization\u00a0know at the time of donation that specific items, or bagsful of items, are scrap or rags by marking them as such, she said.

Also, various\u00a0organizations serving animals often\u00a0accept old towels, blankets and sheets for use in their work. \"As long as the items are clean, it doesn\u2019t matter if they have stains or maybe even small holes,\" she said. \"But again, I'd call first.\"

MORE LICENSE PLATES: After a bit of a dry spell, I've had a good couple of weeks ferreting out vanity plates.

\u2022 CUBYBLU. This was affixed to a blue pickup, but the owner need not be \"blue\" anymore.

\u2022 EZMONY. I have never seen any of this myself.

\u2022 BEURSELF. Made me smile.

\u2022 WINWIN. Always a goal.

"}, {"id":"3e78cc79-00eb-5eb3-87ce-5ae8fc94af06","type":"article","starttime":"1479794400","starttime_iso8601":"2016-11-22T00:00:00-06:00","lastupdated":"1479812264","sections":[{"bill-wundram":"news/opinion/editorial/columnists/bill-wundram"}],"flags":{"topical":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Wundram: The night I fell out of bed 3 times","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/bill-wundram/article_3e78cc79-00eb-5eb3-87ce-5ae8fc94af06.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/bill-wundram/wundram-the-night-i-fell-out-of-bed-times/article_3e78cc79-00eb-5eb3-87ce-5ae8fc94af06.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/bill-wundram/wundram-the-night-i-fell-out-of-bed-times/article_3e78cc79-00eb-5eb3-87ce-5ae8fc94af06.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Bill Wundram","prologue":"This is three big ker-plunks. It can only be told in ker-plunks because three is the number of times that I fell out of bed last Saturday night. If you think that is impossible, drop by some time and I\u2019ll show you the black-and-blue marks. It may sound unlikely that an old codger like me\u00a0\u2014 who is a fairly lively old coot\u00a0\u2014 would fall out of bed three times on the same night. I suppose it could be serious, but between groans\u00a0and self-effacing laughs, I\u00a0survived.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["bed","falling out","tim","little dog","aching","condo","floor"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"3681e25d-587a-525c-8232-96afea126fcc","description":"Bill Wundram doing an interview in Maysville, Iowa in this file photo.","byline":"Jeff Cook, QUAD-CITY TIMES","hireswidth":1500,"hiresheight":1145,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/68/3681e25d-587a-525c-8232-96afea126fcc/5755b26c8b3d8.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1500","height":"1145","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/68/3681e25d-587a-525c-8232-96afea126fcc/5755b26c8a2d4.image.jpg?resize=1500%2C1145"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"76","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/68/3681e25d-587a-525c-8232-96afea126fcc/5755b26cd0ee5.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"229","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/68/3681e25d-587a-525c-8232-96afea126fcc/5755b26c8a2d4.image.jpg?resize=300%2C229"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"782","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/68/3681e25d-587a-525c-8232-96afea126fcc/5755b26c8a2d4.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C782"}}}],"revision":5,"commentID":"3e78cc79-00eb-5eb3-87ce-5ae8fc94af06","body":"

This is three big ker-plunks. It can only be told in ker-plunks because three is the number of times that I fell out of bed last Saturday night. If you think that is impossible, drop by some time and I\u2019ll show you the black-and-blue marks.

It may sound unlikely that an old codger like me\u00a0\u2014 who is a fairly lively old coot\u00a0\u2014 would fall out of bed three times on the same night. I suppose it could be serious, but between groans\u00a0and self-effacing laughs, I\u00a0survived.

Picture the circumstances to understand how I survived this silly downfall. I was alone in our condo, which is bigger than a lot of big houses. My good wife, Helen, has been in the hospital for most of the week with pneumonia, and I am not feeling so hot myself. Our little dog, Molly, had been put in the kind hands of her \u201cother mother,\u201d Jinny.

THAT LEFT ME home alone in a big dark condo. I went to bed incredibly early\u00a0\u2014 8 o\u2019clock \u2014 because I felt rotten. I fell instantly asleep. Then, like a bolt of lightning, I felt a hard jolt. Where was I? I had fallen out of bed,\u00a0 bumping my head on the bedside table and knocking the phone out of reach. I was flat on my back. My knees are always out of commission so I was helpless. I yelled, \u201cHelp! Help!\u201d There was no one to hear. Most of our neighbors are off to Florida. I\u00a0scooted on my back until I could reach the phone and call our son, Tim, who lives about four miles away, \u201cHelp. I\u2019m on the floor.\u201d

\u201cDad, what are you doing on the floor?\u201d he asked, quite surprised. \u201cYou say you fell out of bed?\u201d He laughed. \u201cIt\u2019s only 9 o\u2019clock.\u201d He hurried over, found me flat on my back on the floor in my PJs. Between the two of us, we wrestled me off the floor and back under the covers. He left, telling me to sleep tight. We kept laughing.

It seemed to be a full night later when, ker-plunk, I was on the floor again. Second time. I don\u2019t know how I escaped the tangle of sheets and covers, but I fell out of bed, It was not a soft fall but a tough tumble. My body ached. I had no inclination to call 911 because I feared I would end up in the hospital with my wife.\u00a0So I called my son again. \u201cIt\u2019s 3 a.m.,\u201d he said, returning to our condo without a grumble, and hoisting my aching body back into bed.

IT\u2019S 4:30 A.M., and I found myself, thumped and lumped on the floor, body\u00a0 aching. I had fallen out of bed for the third time. I called Tim. He said, \u201c Not again.\u201d He drove back to our condo. I half-climbed and rolled while he hoisted me back into bed. I don\u2019t know how I kept tangling in the covers and falling out of bed.

Tim yawned: \u201cFalling out of bed three times in one night is enough. I\u2019m staying here on the couch for the rest of the night.\u201d

This is true. After my triplicate stunt of falling out of bed, I\u2019m honestly afraid to go to bed at night.

"} ]