Saturday, February 7, 2009

Road Trip - Ronald Reagan's Birthday Party

Each year on February 6th, the tiny town of Tampico, Illinois hosts a party celebrating the birth of former President Ronald Reagan. It was here that Reagan was born in 1911, the second son of Jack and Nellie Reagan.

My mom joined me and we headed west on I-88, exiting at Rock Falls/Sterling and heading south and west.

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We arrived at Tampico about 10:30 a.m.

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The Historical Museum, town library and the birthplace are in the same block.

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No trouble finding parking in this town!

My mom stopped inside the Museum to sign the guest book and make a donation.

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It appears to be a labor of the entire community. They've joined together to gather together lots of information and displays, celebrating the history of the area. It was apparent to me that this day was going to be about the strength of community spirit in small town America. This museum was assembled and is maintained by local residents.

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More displays.

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It is operated by volunteers who are a wealth of information. There was a big crockpot of sloppy joes cooking towards the back of the museum. There was also some delicious punch being served.

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Of course there was birthday cake, baked by Mrs. Pat Tabor.

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Shirley Lester (on the left) and Bertha Driessens were two of the volunteers on hand.

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Bertha is 93 years old and for years served as the housekeeper at St. Mary's Rectory. Here she is cutting into the cake after the school kids arrived.

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We met Father Louis Tosto who told us stories while he enjoyed his lunch of sloppy joes and chips.

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On the tables were bowls of red, white and blue Jelly Bellies.

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There's lots more to see. Come back tomorrow and I'll show you a fund raising quilt and the library.

13 comments:

Heidi said...

I wish I could have joined you!! That sounds like an interesting time for sure. I always liked Mr. Reagan, even when others didnt/dont. :) I think he had our countrys best interest at heart.... but thats just my opinion...

Anonymous said...

I love your trips Suzanne, and many thanks for sharing them.
For an Australian, it is a wonderful way to see some of your great country...places that aren't the 'normal' tourist attractions that we hear about...country life of America..just wonderful!
luv Ann.xx

Lucy said...

This reminds me....what is Illinois going to to for Lincoln's 200th next week. I've only just passed through Illinois with a tunnel-vision (husband) driver years ago. I like backroads and seeing/meeting people....he wouldn't get off the freeways. Geez. So I'd like to visit IL more in depth. I've got some history there myself back a few generations.

Patricia said...

I enjoy your road trips also...so interesting to see the photos.

Also, good for you taking your mom - spend as much time with her as you can...you are so blessed to have her. I just lost my mom at the age of 88. Although we spent a lot of time together, I still regret the times I was 'too busy' to do the kind of thing you're doing with her...

Vee said...

Looks as if they are rightfully proud of their native son. I'll be back tomorrow for Part 2.

Jenni said...

LOL! That looks a lot like the historical museum in our own small town, inside and out.

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

great post, I'll be back tomorrow or Part 2.

Significant Snail said...

What a wonderful trip and a great feeling to meet such terrific folks! The news is always so full of awfulness that it's nice to see a slice of what life is really about - people working and caring together.

Suzanne said...

Heidi - I can't imagine anyone wanting the job. It's four years of hell with people from all sides picking you apart (and your family). And, yes, he did.

Ann - That's the intention of my blog and my travels. Everyone at the museum was open and friendly and on board with my project! I told them that people from all over the world read my stories. They were fascinated and wanted everyone to know the joys of living in their small town.

Lucy - If you click on the photo of Lincoln on the left column it will take you to the official Lincoln Bi-centennial website. They will be laying a wreath at Lincoln's tomb early in the morning and hosting other events at the Presidential Library and Museum through the day. Let's just say that the Lincoln Museum is a bit more sophisticated that the one in Tampico, but no less interesting to me.

Patricia - My mom is the perfect road trip warrior. She's up for anything and so interested in people.

Vee - One of the elderly tour guides summed it up Your values are forged in your home and your community when you are a child. Abraham Lincoln said of Illinois - "To this place I owe everything."

Jenni - OK don't be telling me that. I'll be on the road to search out that little museum. I think this is my calling!!!

Joanna - You better come back. You're one of the reasons I keep writing!! HA.

Jody Blue said...

Thanks for the field trip!

PatQ said...

What a fun field trip. Where do you come up with these things? I can't wait for tomorrow.

Suzanne said...

Significant Snail - I agree. I went on a news fast about 10 years ago, refusing to listen to the nightly Chicago news. I dawned on me that it was basically the same news for the last 30 years so I simply quit. I prefer to focus on the good stuff in life. There's plenty of other people to focus on the other.

Jody - You're welcome. Thanks for coming along.

Pat - I troll all kinds of websites that list local happenings. I jot things down on pieces of paper and watch those shows on TV that feature cool places to eat and visit.

Thanks for visiting with me today!

Swamp Dog said...

I'm glad you enjoyed your trip to our little community. Too bad it wasn't this year's 99th birthday when his son, Michael also visited. We have a website if you are interested in the community of Tampico, IL. www.tampicohistoricalsociety.com
Thanks for stopping by!