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Singing wheels

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1 Singing wheels on 7/12/2018, 3:53 pm

My fourth grade reading series was a reading book called singing wheels. It was about the frontier life in the 1840s midwest. This reading book helped my love for the wilderness and nature.

We found it on ebay and have ordered the same. I will be reading it to see if some of the stories I remember are still in the book. It was an exciting time, and it was also the year that my father passed away from a stroke. Many a night I would have dreams about stage coaches, Indians, and living near a river. It is strange how these simple things shape our lives. When I get the book, I will post a story which as a child I became very familiar, as I visited the real world cave which told a story about an Indian who scared settlers. I should have it later this week. I thought about that cave we would crawl in as kids after the story of the soccer team being trapped in Thailand, and decided to find the reading text book. My oldest granddaughter is going into fourth grade and we will be reading it together, and I will take her to the cave. They have sealed off the back rooms of the cave, but she should still enjoy the visit because there are bike trails along the river which make it easier to get to the cave than it was as a child. The cave is near the islands in the river we named and played on as children with our row boats and kayaks. I have a friend from Boise Idaho who was in my fourth grade class who is going to visit me at the end of July if I am still alive, and he lived on the other side of the river, and we had these cheap Japanese walkie talkies which we would use to call each other to meet at the river. He has raised his family, and I am looking forward to his visit and getting the book. Life is exciting and precious.

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2 Re: Singing wheels on 7/12/2018, 3:58 pm

2seaoat wrote:My fourth grade reading series was a reading book called singing wheels.  It was about the frontier life in the 1840s midwest.   This reading book helped my love for the wilderness and nature.

We found it on ebay and have ordered the same.  I will be reading it to see if some of the stories I remember are still in the book.  It was an exciting time, and it was also the year that my father passed away from a stroke.  Many a night I would have dreams about stage coaches, Indians, and living near a river.  It is strange how these simple things shape our lives. When I get the book, I will post a story which as a child I became very familiar, as I visited the real world cave which told a story about an Indian who scared settlers.  I should have it later this week.  I thought about that cave we would crawl in as kids after the story of the soccer team being trapped in Thailand, and decided to find the reading text book.  My oldest granddaughter is going into fourth grade and we will be reading it together, and I will take her to the cave.  They have sealed off the back rooms of the cave, but she should still enjoy the visit because there are bike trails along the river which make it easier to get to the cave than it was as a child.  The cave is near the islands in the river we named and played on as children with our row boats and kayaks.  I have a friend from Boise Idaho who was in my fourth grade class who is going to visit me at the end of July if I am still alive, and he lived on the other side of the river, and we had these cheap Japanese walkie talkies which we would use to call each other to meet at the river.  He has raised his family, and I am looking forward to his visit and getting the book.  Life is exciting and precious.

Thanks for the heads up on good reads for kids. My granddaughter will be in 5th grade this year. I try to find books she'll like and others she can read to her brother, who is will be 5 in October.

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3 Re: Singing wheels on 7/12/2018, 4:05 pm

These old reading series really did a good job getting kids to be lifetime readers.  A child's imagination is amazing and grandparents should light the fire for children to be lifetime readers.  My brother who is incredibly intelligent was a hyper active kid who simply disconnected from school after my father died and he did not get the reading tools which represented a handicap he has fought his whole life, so when his eight year old grandson was struggling with school, he and his wife paid for a special tutor school, and they take him there twice a week and then take him out to dinner.   He is simply taking off and reading with joy.  Sometimes parents just do not have the time.  You cannot go wrong reading with children, and it helps to have really good textbooks which stimulate a child's imagination.

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4 Re: Singing wheels on 7/12/2018, 8:43 pm

My favorite books growing up were a set of orange bound books that were about the lives of early Americans... I loved them. From Adams to Lincoln.

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5 Re: Singing wheels on 7/14/2018, 11:39 am

I received my fourth grade reading book. It is an incredible journey as I have read the first fifty pages and I completely understand that my love of nature and adventure was not by accident. This book shaped my life in a way that I could not understand until I read it again. It is not by accident we now own islands in a river which is thickly wooded and a former stage line for the very period this book was written. First, I am amazed at the vocabulary and simple graphics which described things in the 1840s. What an exciting weekend ahead reading this wonderful book. It is a good adult read, and I will talk about some of the content later, but here is the book.

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6 Re: Singing wheels on 7/14/2018, 8:59 pm

"A good adult read" - really??

Glad you're enjoying it in any event.   Interesting what shapes us early on.   Two weeks with my parents at Virginia Beach every summer of my early youth is what kindled my love of the sea and the beach, and is unquestionably responsible for where I am now -- and for where my husband is, a Buffalo boy who'd never even set foot in salt water until he met me.

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7 Re: Singing wheels on 7/15/2018, 1:57 pm

It is an incredible adult read. It is simple, but the graphics and period sketches still strike the imagination. I will wait to I get to the chapter on Waubonsee and will explain some of my interaction in the real world with this incredible book. I had in the first, second, and third grade experienced the Dick and Jane reading series. It is amazing the leap in reading skills of a child from first to fourth grade. I became a lifetime learner because of this reading series. It made the connection between the real world and pure imagination. I feel blessed to have grown up in the best schools and having experienced this book and playing as a child in the same wilderness of the period.

I too became hooked on the beach taking family vacations. Since the 1930s my Birmingham family would vacation in the panhandle at least once a year, and I too got some two week beach vacations. I hope I can live just to this fall to sit in my chair on the East end of Navarre Beach and take in the smells and beauty of the beach.

My granddaughters should be here shortly and I will enjoy taking a golf cart ride out to seashell island where they will look for mother of pearl, and will think about the simple lives of native americans as they used this river as an interstate, and whose village is just north of our property. Where I grew up as a kid was within the geographic area of the singing wheels stories from the 1830s and 40s on another river system.

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8 Re: Singing wheels on 7/15/2018, 2:55 pm

All very cool, Sea, and you do make me want to read the book.

Was especially excited by your vision of sitting on the sands of Navarre Beach again this fall. What a great goal!!! Dearly hope you can make it back.

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9 Re: Singing wheels on 7/15/2018, 11:33 pm

I read to the girls today, and for the first time......they had somewhere else they wanted to be. My daughter was helping us with something, and I told the girls as soon as mom is done they can go to their pool party. I guess they had invited some friends over and the detour to our house was not their first priority......we knew that day was coming, but they are excited about going to the signature room later this month when I get my labs. We will hit one of the museums and then lunch. My labs are at 8 and the signature room does not open until 11, so the museum of modern art is between the hospital and the hanncock building. They are something because they both knew that day was the day of a carnival in their home town, and they wanted to know if they would be back by five pm when it opens.....oh yea.......these girls are growing up.

We are going to be looking for a wheelchair, but my wife says there is a place in the town adjacent to us which allows people to use a wheelchair for the day, so that is what we will probably be doing. I have only used a wheelchair once since the downturn, and I really did not like it......but this is beyond the time where I make the choices.

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10 Re: Singing wheels on 7/16/2018, 1:03 am

You may've known the day was coming, but it still has to hurt just a little - a wistful sadness of sorts, even as you celebrate their growing up...yes?  That would only be human.

But knowing you, you'll mostly just be glad for the time you've had with them -- as well you should be.  There are those of us who, for varying reasons, will never know the joy of grandchildren -- talk about your wistful sadness -- and I'm one of them.

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11 Re: Singing wheels on 7/16/2018, 8:12 am

They were just pure joy as little ones and now the youngest has a first grade boyfriend, and the oldest has her girl scout friends, and a visit to Papa and Mimi has become less important. They did like the graphics and they wanted to know how pioneers dyed their wool, and had questions about spinning wheels.

I completely understand that desire for grandchildren as now I wish I had some more little ones to share time, but the truth is that like a bird being pushed from the nest, each of us probably wanted to spend more time with our children and grandchildren, but they are off to the very busy life where maybe they simply do not have the time, just like me.......

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12 Re: Singing wheels on 7/16/2018, 1:08 pm

You have to change and grow with them. Sometimes my contact may just be taking one to practice...still a time to bond.

What I enjoy the most, from 20- 2 , they are never embarrassed to show their affection. I love my ballgame kisses, hugs and lap sitters.

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13 Re: Singing wheels on 7/19/2018, 8:03 pm

I will now tell you about the legend of Devil's cave as told by singing wheels and other local history. In the 1830s the settlers were working to ship all the native americans out of the state of Illinois. All the Indians were rounded up around 1838 at chief Shabbana's village near Paw Paw Illinois, but before that time Chief Blackhawk and many of the native Americans were resisting their land being taken.

One troublemaker for the settlers was an indian who would cover himself in natural decaying material which give a phosphorous glow. You can see this material when walking at night in the woods. Well this Indian began covering himself with this night time glowing material and would terrorize their homesteads stealing and scaring settlers. Settlers talked about ghosts and devil's and some settlers followed this indian to a cave on the Fox River in North Aurora Illinois. I will tell you how the story ends but let me first introduce you to the islands and woods where my fourth grade friends and I hung out....river rats from dawn to dusk....until we heard the dinner bell.

here is the cave which the mouth has been filled and some of the back chambers of the cave we climbed in as kids have been closed by the park district who runs a nature/bike trail between the river and the cave.

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14 Re: Singing wheels on 7/19/2018, 8:25 pm

The indian who had been banished by his tribe for stealing from Indians and white settlers had put the phosphorous from decaying trees on his skin to create this evil ghost. Well, the indians followed him to the cave and pile up trees and branches a started a huge fire at the mouth of Devil's cave and waited. Eventually, the devil which had terrorized everybody came bounding out and jumped into the river. His body was found downstream the next day.

here is the photo of devil's cave in my fourth grade text where the characters from the book meet with Chief waubonsee who tells the children the story of Devil's cave which this photo does not show the cave clearly but they had gathered at the mouth of the cave by the river:

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15 Re: Singing wheels on 7/19/2018, 8:31 pm

These stories as a child inspired me and they did not involve violence, profanity, sexual innuendo, but dealt with the joy of nature and the spirit of the American settler who tamed the fox valley and America. I look at the crap which is being peddled as children reading books and it is simply awful. The author of this reading series was a retired teacher who knew how to spark children's imagination, and as I look over my deck today into the islands, I think of the thousand of years where humans lived in harmony with nature. Rediscovering this book has been fun, but I have a much better understanding of how I got to be the adult I am now.

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16 Re: Singing wheels on 7/20/2018, 11:01 am

Wow

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17 Re: Singing wheels on 7/20/2018, 12:14 pm

Glad it's as good as you remembered it.  Sometimes childhood stuff stands up to the test of time.  Other times you revisit it and think, "Wow, what did I see in this?"

I recently ordered a copy of a book I remembered from first or second grade, just because I found a nice copy cheap and it had become kind of mythologized in my memory.  It was a weird kid's sci-fi book called Bone People that I'd checked out of the school library.



The cover and the pictures are still pretty cool, but the actual story is incredibly-badly-written nonsense. I'm surprised it got published, especially for kids. So, that was pretty disappointing, but, what the hell, it was worth the seven bucks or so I paid for it, just for the sake of curiosity.

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18 Re: Singing wheels on 7/20/2018, 1:36 pm

It is fun to explore the books you read as a kid. I love the cover of the book and can imagine all the fantasy I would have about that book as a kid.

In third grade, the character in my reading series was Danny Dunn and his everyday life experiences which as third graders we would read with excitement because the stories were so imaginative. The one that stands out is Danny Dunn and his homework machine. I will look for this book on ebay, but the funny story I am about to tell is very real.

At college I had a friend who lived across the hall on my dorm floor. He would have friends from high school visit and over a couple of years of partying with those friends I got to know them very well. One of the friends was a guy about my size who was named "Danny Dunn". I made a comment about Danny Dunn and his homework machine, and Danny said that was ME.

Apparently his dad worked for a North shore publishing company, and his dad wrote the reading series watching the adventures of his son. So of course I had to ask.......did you really have a homework machine>

The funny thing is that 20 years after college I was invited to a poker fund raiser in Morris Illinois on the Illinois river with a bunch of my golf buddies. We golfed and then played in the poker tournament. I am still in it and my friends are out, and they informed me that we had to leave to go to PTs near Joliet. I had no idea what PTs was, and I certainly wanted to finish the tournament, but understood that the other three guys were going to leave my asz in Morris. So I go along.

We go to this run down industrial park and in the middle of this industrial Park is this steel building with the parking lot filled up with a big sign....PTs. So as I go in I have to pay a cover of five bucks to these very large and intimidating bouncers at the door. I walk into the bar area and look beyond and there are six tables with about 16 chairs around the table, and the tables had a pole in the middle and six completely nude young girls. We go to a table and my friends all start taking their glasses off and I sit down with my glasses on. Needless to say I learned that you need to take your glasses off at PTs. It was a mob ran anything goes club, and as the lap dances went on all around the room, people were going into the back room.

Well in this mob ran business pretty soon everybody in the place was coming up to me and going "HI SEAOAT", Apparently, two golf groups of about eight each had gone to PTs and one group was the Danny Dunn group, and another was a golf league I had once belonged but we were fifty miles away from that golf course. Needless to say my group wanted to know after my bitching about taking me out of the poker tournament how I knew everybody in the fricking place. The worst part is this six foot beautiful blonde had fun knowing I was a newbie and was uncomfortable because I was a married man with young kids. However, with so many people giving me chit, she would not leave me alone, and needless to say she took my glasses off, and I will maybe tell the rest of that story at another time, but when we got back into the car to go home one of our group says after doing multiple lap dances.....I feel like I cheated on my wife. I replied I did not and I will tell her every detail of what happened. The number one rule among guys is to STFU, but I was piszed and my rather pronounced nose had been violated repeatedly. They knew I shared everything with my wife and they were in a panic that their wives would find out......I said she keeps what I tell her to herself. She did, but years later the couples all know the details of PTs and simply laugh at the position they put me in, but that was the last time I saw Danny Dunn. I could see the third grade reader today.........Danny Dunn visits Pts.........

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19 Re: Singing wheels on 7/20/2018, 2:14 pm

Thanks for writing these things out. I enjoy the stories.

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20 Re: Singing wheels on 7/20/2018, 3:00 pm

I made a mistake. His dad was an executive of the publishing company and the writer based his stories on Danny. It has been many years and this book corrected me as to the author.



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