Bill Wundram

Bill Wundram

Bill Wundram, a lifelong Quad-Citizen, as he would call himself, has been on the staff of the Quad-City Times and its predecessors for more than 70 years. He has worked as a reporter and an award-winning features editor and currently writes five columns a week, down slightly from the seven per week he did just a few years ago. He has won countless writing awards and honors, has authored several books, and his work has appeared in national publications. Bill and his wife, Helen, have been married for more than 60 years. They have two adult children, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

January: The best (and worst) of times

1993-01-31T00:00:00Z January: The best (and worst) of times The Quad-City Times
January 31, 1993 12:00 am

Bill Wundram

This is the last day of January, the pivotal month of the year - the month when it all begins. It has been a hardknock month, with all the ice and such stuff, but there are some good things to mention among the awfuls. The good of January . . .

The bad weather kept the riffraff out of town.

There were no ticks, deer flies or yellow jackets. No nettles or poison ivy.

The water was colder coming out of the faucet.

There were no traffic gridlocks for Quad-City bridge repairs and the Government Bridge drawspan wasn't opened and closed.

There was the comfort, on a clammy night, of crawling into bed, preferably with a warm body beside you.

There was a snug, but lonely feeling in January, the peace of coming inside to a warm fire in the hearth. The air was redolent at night with the smell of woodsmoke. January is a time for family, and long talks, without looking out the window and seeing that it's time to cut the grass again.

In January, taking a walk in the woods felt more of an accomplishment when the wind was biting at your face and the snow was crunching under your feet like potato chips. January is the challenge; June is for wimps. John Steinbeck said, "I've lived in good climate and it bores the hell out of me. I like weather rather than climate."

The speed of daylight arrived later in January than any month of the year.

A January record! Elvis stamps! Davenport Post Office began with 50,000, ordered another 12,000, and then another 60,000. More than any other stamp, ever. Rock Island went through 80,000 in a hurry. The King lives!

There was relief in the mundane news reports (plus national TV coverage) about Jasmine, the exotic dancer, and the lawsuit because she jumped into the lap of a portly customer in Davenport and allegedly injured his back.

The Mississippi River was clearer. January was one of the water's crystal months. All the gunk settled to the bottom. Ice fishermen said they could see four feet down into the cold water.

You could drive all the way home without your ice cream cone melting.

The Thunderbirds said they were coming to Davenport this summer, but the best air show in January was free - the eagles, soaring silently like kites over our riverfronts.

No one was complaining about having the flu.

The Davenport Vale Apartments at last came tumbling down. The bad of January . . .

The weather was enough to put us into deep stages of depression. There were nine days in January that had glazes of ice that turned streets into carnival bumper car rides. In the first 27 days of the month, 18 of them were cheerless - cloudy or overcast, with bare glimpses of sunlight in the Quad-Cities. Still, it could have been worse. It wasn't that cold and, probably when they get all the figures together, it may be a tad above normal. Coldest day was onedegree above. We're lucky. On Jan. 2, 1979, it was a record 27 below!

Jitters! Rock Island Arsenal nervously faced more cuts, but there was hope that some military plane installation might come to Quad-City Airport. Always hope. Remember, when we were hoping for the Saturn plant? Down by the riverside, The President's people were saying they might sail out of town unless Iowa ups its limits.

Clinton's county jail ran out of mattresses for prisoners.

And as if we didn't already know, the wise men of traffic said that Kimberly Road is Davenport's best place to get into an accident. The parting shot . . .

And soooo, with today's end of January, we have polished off 31 more days closer to springtime. Only 48 days left , and counting.

Copyright 2015 The Quad-City Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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