Library Life Episode 217

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Welcome to Mount Prospect Public
Library’s “Library Life.” I’m Cathy Cushing. Today we’ll explore fundamental
guidelines for appraising the antiques and collectibles we cherish. We’ll also
discuss the life, leadership, and legacy of British politician Winston Churchill,
and we’ll enjoy a Super Saturday animal quest. But first let’s take a trip back
to 1969 with a concert celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Woodstock. It was dubbed the Age of Aquarius, a
pivotal time in both our nation’s history and the development of popular
music. Perhaps one of the most famous symbols of this era is a music festival
held on a 600 acre New York dairy farm in 1969, known as Woodstock. It was
pivotal to my generation if you were part of the movement. The movement was
basically the hippie movement and Woodstock epitomized what the movement
was all about, which was millions of people getting together in peace, love,
song, you know, and Woodstock epitomized that whole idea. Musician and author Dean
Milano celebrates the 50th anniversary of Woodstock here at the Mount Prospect
Public Library with an entertaining blend of music, anecdotes, and images from
this legendary three-day event. I wanted to just not be playing the
music, I wanted the people to feel like they were in the scene.
I’m gonna show slides, some scenes of the festival, and the performers that were
there, and the crowds and everything else. And then I’m gonna sing songs by the
people who performed at Woodstock. Of course I can’t do all the songs that
were done there, and I can’t do the loud rock’n’roll songs on an acoustic guitar, but
we’re gonna get close and do, and do a bunch of wonderful songs. This
performance sponsored by the Mount Prospect Public Library Foundation
features the works of such iconic artists as Richie Havens, Janis Joplin,
Arlo Guthrie, and Joan Baez. Woodstock was not a rock festival, Woodstock was a
music festival. So what you’re gonna hear today is different kinds of music. Here’s
some folk music, some country, some rock, some ballads, silly stuff, all different
kinds of music. And that really kind of like is what Woodstock and the whole
era was about. A professional musician for decades,
Milano has three CDs to his credit, as well as a published book detailing the
Chicago music scene. I’ve been in the business 53 years. I started in 1966
playing in garage bands, and I’ve played ever since. The book I wrote is the
Chicago Music Scene of the 1960s and 70s, and it highlights folk music, the rock
music, the blues, the country, the jazz, all the music of those two decades in
Chicago, which was a really, an electrifying period in music. This Woodstock
concert is one of more than a half a dozen presentations in Milano’s
repertoire. I do a program on the Civil War, songs in the Civil War.
I do songs of cowboys, old western songs. I do American stories through song, and I
do a program on train songs. I have six different programs I do and 65 libraries,
and they’re always so enjoyable. I get such a great response from the
library audiences. It’s very rewarding. I wanna leave people with some good memories
and some good feelings and, and for the people who couldn’t be at Woodstock,
which is most of us, maybe they’ll kind of feel like they
kind of were there, just for a little brief shining moment they were there. Each autumn the Mount Prospect Public
Library hosts a cultural series focusing on a specific area of the world. This
year our month-long journey takes us to England and Wales for a ticket to ride.
Joining me today on “Library Life” to discuss his library event Winston
Churchill: Life, Leadership, and Legacy is the former executive director of the
Churchill Center in Washington D.C., Daniel Myers. Welcome. Hello. Dan, I’d like
to begin by talking about your lifelong interest in Winston Churchill. How did it
all begin? I started research, we were studying history and political science
when I was in college, and Lord that, that was many many years ago. But in doing so
I developed just a superficial knowledge of who Winston Churchill was, of what he
did. Later on in about 1990, 89-90, my wife gave me a one-volume biography of
Winston Churchill. It’s about that thick. Written by Martin Gilbert. And I was so
taken by the man, everything he had done in his lifetime, people he had seen,
things he had done, it all just sort of multiplied and I started buying more
books and reading more information about Winston Churchill, what he did for the
world, what he did for England and America, etc. And I was so taken by the
man’s accomplishments that I just had to know more, and in doing so I also
developed a story, which I can give to various groups about Winston Churchill’s
lifetime. -Now– It’s a lifelong love. Now, I mentioned that you work for the
Churchill Center in Washington D.C. Tell us a little bit about that organization.
Well it’s, it’s a volunteer organization. They’re
now headquartered at the George, George Washington University. They have their
own shop there. Many people, including myself, have donated copies of their
libraries, so you’ve got books that you can look at and read there, or you can
check them out and take them home and read them. But our organization is
probably about four thousand members, most of whom are in the U.S. Roughly
2000 to 2500, and the rest of them are scattered in England and other countries.
So let’s, let’s get into the life of Winston Churchill, and let’s begin with
his upbringing. Where was he born and what was his childhood like? Churchill
was born in England at Blenheim Palace, which is where the family lives, the Duke
of Marlborough lives at Blenheim Palace. The Duke is a descendant of the original
Winston Churchill going back to 1703. And that really was when the palace was
built, but the 7th Duke was the leader of the family. Winston Churchill’s father was
Lord Randolph Churchill, and Lord Randolph was the second-born son. And
that’s important because as the second- born son he cannot inherit the title the
Duke of Marlborough. So therefore he had to find some way of making himself well
known, and that’s precisely what he did by becoming a member of parliament. The
interesting thing about Churchill is that so much of what he did really was
to further his country. Now, many people would say it’s primarily, primarily to
further him, but secondarily it would further his country. But if you talk
about his time in the military, his time during World War I he’s the only person
who really represented his country in both the beginning of World War I and
World War II. He is a man who sat down with Stalin and Roosevelt to form the
coalition that would fight Hitler and resolve that whole battle. And after the
war he continued in Parliament as the Prime Minister of England. Now, but
when he was a young man he served in the military. Yes. And he was captured. Well, he
was, yes. He wasn’t actually in the military at the time he was captured. Okay. He
was a member of the class of 1895 from Sandhurst, went down to South Africa. He
did several things, including a fight for the Mahdi’s in the Sudan, and he fought
in India where he was a member of a group there. But it was when he was in
South Africa and not a member, he was a member of parliament, he was- wrote for
the Morning Post, but his first trip there, he got on a train, the train was
captured, he was captured, the man he was with was captured. But he escaped within
30 days, made his way back to the coast, and then showed up in Durban as a hero
of the United Kingdom. Very important time in his life. Of course, and he developed
into an author at this time. He did, he actually he had written five books from
the period 1895 to 1900. It’s a phenomenal start of his life, but his
five books were very very prominent and very well known. So let’s go back to
World War I and, and his service at that point. As chief of the Navy it was
his job to make sure the Navy was in good order. And on, literally two days before
war actually broke out, he had sent the Navy fleet back to their scapa flow
quarters and saved the fleet from destruction.
But within about roughly one year he had lost his job, gave up his post, and put
a uniform on and went to the front lines. And he was leading a troop of Royal
Scots Fusiliers in the western zone and learning a lot about what military had to
do, and what the problems were that they were encountering. It was an important
time in his life and allowed him to absorb that knowledge and then come back,
and he’s still a member of Parliament, and still come back and talk
in the House of Commons about what was happening to the soldiers while they
were over there, what could we do to help them, etc. Very important time in his life.
Now during the 30s, he would, he considered that his wilderness years. Yes. Why was
that? Well in 1929 he had been Chancellor of the Exchequer, he was the guy who
approved all the services and prepared an annual budget for the government that
was submitted to Parliament. In 1929, Ramsay MacDonald, the Liberal Member of
Parliament was elected Prime Minister. Well, he fired Churchill, and Churchill
was ready to go anyway, but from that point until 1939 he was out of office. He
was a member of Parliament, but he had no cabinet office, and despite what he said,
and many people still respected his beliefs, he was generally given short
shrift on just about everything, simply because of who he was, what he did and so
forth. So for 1929 till 1939 he was out of
office, so the only thing he could do is the few people in the government who
relied upon him would feed him notes and information and he would turn those into
messages that he would give before Parliament, so all the time that nations
are finding their own peace, or trying to seek peace, or work out a deal with Adolf
Hitler, that was while Churchill was standing up in the House of Commons and
saying you don’t want to do that because of these problems, etc., and the government
was astonished. The members of the government, the Prime Minister and so
forth, they stood up and comments trying to beat Winston Churchill, and they couldn’t
do it because he had all the facts that had
come to him by his minister, ministerial sources. So it was a, an open, eye-opening
time, so that when the war finally did break out, they had a lot of information
simply because of Winston Churchill. So how did he segue from his wilderness
years into becoming basically Prime Minister of Great Britain. Well it was, it
was interesting because in 1939 that’s when
war broke out and immediately Neville Chamberlain contacted Churchill and said
would you become the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Run, run the, the Navy at the
beginning of the war. Well Churchill was was indeed pleased
that this offer was being made because he was thinking that he would be given a
post as Minister of Labour, or a worker fireplace or something, and to become the
head of the Navy once again, just as he had been at the beginning of World War
I, he thought was stupendous. And it’s interesting too, by the way, is to
read the background. He goes up to his office in the Navy Department, opens the
door, goes in, and on one wall it’s just cabinet walls, and he goes over pulls the
doors open, and behind those doors was a map of the world showing the position of
German and UK fleets at the time they were in 1915 when he was last Chancellor of
the Exchequer, when he was last in charge of the Navy. And he just couldn’t believe
that all that stuff was still there after these 26 years that had gone by. Oh
my goodness, and you can’t discount the fact that he was an unbelievable orator.
Oh, yes, yes. If there had been oratorical awards
I’m sure he would have won more than one. And the interesting thing is that he
actually sat down and wrote all those words himself. He didn’t have speech
writers to turn to, he did it all himself. And so when he stood up before
Parliament and said we have only one choice, and that’s victory, victory
over Russia, victory over Hitler, victory in any way that we can
make it, and those were all his words that he sat down and wrote. It’s a,
it’s a great speech, made on May 10th, 1940, and it’s one that
you can read and you can think back on and remember what he had said, and, and
what it meant to go to war at this time. So, you know World War II, I
mean he was pretty much one of the stars -Yes- of World War II. So what would you say
are some of his greatest accomplishments during that time? Oh, goodness. Now you asked me to
try to remember something as spectac- as great as that. It’s hard for me
to do. The important thing is, a lot of people don’t understand this, that when
he took office, which was in May of 1940, England really was the only place left
that was beating Hitler and he wanted to keep it that way because he felt that
they had a good chance of winning. But he wanted America on his side, and America
as a member of the force so the two nations, America and Great Britain, could
go at Hitler by themselves. The problem was that Roosevelt was not empowered to
declare war. It required going to Congress, getting approval. He had a lot of
opposition in Congress. In June of 1941, Hitler had attacked Russia. He bore off
attacking England, but he did attack Russia, and, and that brought Stalin in on
his side. And it was in December of 1941 that Japan attacked America, we became a
partner, and they joined up. Well once they joined that was fine, and the
meetings in 1942 were important to sort of lay the groundwork. The unfortunate
thing is that led up to the Torch Operation, which was an attack by the
American Navy on North Africa, and once that happened then England began to
slide back in its importance, and America became the more important power. And it
sort of evolves that way so that by ’43 and ’44, England this is now sort of
secondary and America is now very much in charge. That was difficult
for Churchill, but he managed through it. Mm-hmm.
Well if we segue into the 50s. Into the 50s. He, he basically becomes Prime
Minister for the second time. Well he was, he was out of office from 1945 until
1951, but a new election was held, and yes he did come back into office. The problem
was, he was now a man who’s gonna turn 80 in 1954 and, and that was very
difficult. His hearing was going, he couldn’t really get around very well, and
so finally by 1955 he had to resign and leave office. But during the 50s he was
knighted by Queen Elizabeth the second and he won the Nobel Prize for
Literature. Looking back at his life, what would you say is Winston Churchill’s
legacy? The legacy of Winston Churchill is simply the fact that but for Winston
Churchill this whole world could be totally different. If Churchill had not
been Prime Minister during World War II, Hitler might well have taken over
England. In fact, all the other members of government were prepared to sit down
with Mussolini as the guy who would negotiate between Hitler and in England.
So I think that he really did give to the world and to the British people the
power and the authority to put his foot down and say we’re not going to do this,
we’re too strong to do that, we’re going to defeat Hitler. Well I know we could
talk about this for probably another three hours, but we are running out of
time, so I want to thank you so much for being with me today,
this has been fascinating. Well, it’s my pleasure, and if anybody has gotten
anything out of it I feel very good for that, because that really is my purpose.
Not to keep it myself, but to share with others. Perfect, thank you so much. Thank
you. For more information regarding Winston Churchill, our October cultural
series, or any upcoming Mount Prospect Public Library event, contact the library
at area code 847-253-5675 or visit
website at Many of us have treasures at home harboring a mysterious history. Let’s peek in on a popular Library event giving patrons a chance to learn a thing or two about their precious antiques and collectibles. Karl Gates has been appraising antiques and
collectibles here at the Mount Prospect Public Library for 18 consecutive years.
People want to know what they have. It’s real simple, and you know, there’s
family stories and I like to debunk them, and they also need to know that
it’s more than just a thing. That has a history. That somebody loved it once
enough or hated you enough to buy it and give it to you.
A former appraiser for the U.S. Department of Treasury, gates utilizes a lifetime of
experiences as well as an endearing sense of humor to relay the history of
the various treasures set before him, each produced by a patron seeking
information. I brought this vase that I have no idea anything about it. My aunt
had it many many years, and so I have no idea what it is or if it’s worth
anything. so we thought we’d bring it. I bring the vinyl record, it’s very old, it’s a
hundred, more like a hundred years old. I try to save this, I don’t know it’s worth
something or not, but for sure is part of the history so that’s why I keep this.
We brought a blue cobalt glass samovar. It was given to my grandmother by the
original owner to thank her for her efforts; she braided high, large
denomination bills into her hair so she could smuggle them into Germany. “This is actually a teapot.” People want to find out, you know, if there’s no one there to buy it what should I do with it? “So this will keep
your garments in good shape.” Gates begins his program with an
interesting item called a midget – a coat hanger from 1913. “Then you open this up, and it’ll open into a full size coat hanger.” Methodically, he works his way through a vast assortment of categories, offering historical tidbits
and an approximate value for each item. “It’s a wonderful cast piece with the parrot on it. This one today would run about $110, $115. Jewelry’s my favorite because it has the
best artists. Jewelers were always the first to try a new style, so I like to
look at what they were looking at at the time, and where their inspiration was. My goal?
To steer people into making choices based on thoughtful good tastes. Why is
this speaking to you? Commanding an impressive crowd with many individuals
reappearing year after year, Gates certainly speaks to this library
audience, educating while providing an entertaining social outlet. It’s like a
family outing, we make it once a year here, for sure. I would like people to
love what they like. I do. Decorate it- with it, you know, use it as a theme. If
you really like it you can find a way to incorporate it, otherwise it’s time to
give it to a younger generation. Let them bury the burden. The shelves here at the
Mount Prospect Public Library hold a little something for everyone, from those
whose interest centers on antiques and collectibles, to those who crave
futuristic science fiction. Now let’s find out what Business Reference
Librarian, Joe Collier, recommends as his best book pick from the Adult Services
Department. The further adventures of the booze guzzling, death-dealing battle
maidens for hire in the business of killing all the gods’ creatures for
profit: Hannah the rockabilly elven mage, Violet the hipster dwarven fighter, Dee
the atheist human cleric, Betty the hippie smidgen thief, and Braga the orc
princess. Rat Queens is a modern spin on an old-school genre – a monster killing
epic with a twisted sense of humor. This ain’t your mama’s D&D; these ladies fight,
fornicate, and freely curse their way through many raucous, ribald adventures
over the course of the so far six collected editions. Gleefully uppending
common fantasy tropes, Rat Queens also manages to present a thoroughly modern
take on female relationships and the ever-expanding
notion of family. Blood, sugar, sex, magic. It’s all in Rat Queens. Hold the chili
peppers. Recommendations from the Adult Services Department this month blend
fiction with fantasy. In Redlands by Jordie Bellaire, the inhabitants of a small
Florida town play victim and villain as they navigate murder, magic, and mayhem
through a storyline inspired by the strange complexities of real world
politics and crime. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan is a sweeping tale of two soldiers from
opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war who fall in love and risk
everything to bring fragile new life into a dangerous old universe. Die by
Kieron Gillen is a pitch black fantasy in which 40-something adults are forced to
deal with the returning unearthly horror they survived as teenage role
players. In The Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel by Margaret Atwood and
Renée Nault, Atwood’s provocative, startling, and prophetic modern classic
is adapted and brought to life with vivid illustrations. And Man-Eaters by
Chelsea Cain is an engaging and provocative story cleverly mimicking
various media formats while presenting a what-if scenario that addresses current
attitudes around gender and feminism. Recommendations from the Youth Services
Department this month address the end of the world as we know it. Apocalypse
Taco by Nathan Hale is a graphic novel exploring the end of the world in a
creepy yet funny manner. In Apocalypse Bow Wow by James Proimos III, two dogs whose owners are missing venture into the world, where
they team up with other canines in an attempt to survive. We’re Not From Here
by Geoff Rodkey is set in a time after the destruction of earth when the human
race’s only chance of survival is to move to a remote planet where inhabitant
hospitality is lacking. In Little Apocalypse by Katherine Sparrow, a sudden
earthquake separates a girl from her parents and forces her to align herself
with either the monsters who may have caused the tremor, or the kids who are
hunting them. And in Sal & Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez, a boy
with newfound magical powers works with his friends to save the cosmos.
Finally, here’s Outreach Librarian Claire Bartlett with her best book pick from
this department. When the apocalypse comes, it sounds like a train. The school
shakes and then the ceiling falls down. Jesse and her new – well, only – friend
Springer are in gym class trying to avoid bullies, fed up teachers, and in
Springer’s case, physical activity. They still don’t know who stole $2,103.15 from the library fund in her
father’s desk, only that he could go to jail for it. Jesse’s dog, a Pomeranian
named Sam-Sam, is at home dreaming about being a champion bomb sniffer like her
mom’s dog in Afghanistan. This is how Me and Sam-Sam Handle the Apocalypse by
Susan Vaught begins. Okay, so the apocalypse is actually a tornado, but in the moment
it sure feels like the end of the world. Being “on the spectrum” or whatever of
autism makes Jesse a target for the bullies she calls Jerk Face and his
cockroaches. No one seems to understand that her meltdowns are how she defends
herself. Can the observant but weird-in-a- good-way duo stay out of trouble and
figure out who the thief is when even the principal is a suspect? Come along
for this exciting and heartfelt mystery as
Springer, Jesse, and her adorable tiny dog become the heroes they were always
meant to be. Most children love animals, a fascination
that often extends to the slimy, scaly variety. Let’s enjoy a mini Safari
through Super Saturday’s Animal Quest. A popular reoccurring performer here at
the Mount Prospect Public Library, wildlife educator Steve Reedy once
again thrills a full house of library patrons with his Super Saturday
presentation, Animal Quest. We’re gonna bring some animals out, bring up some
volunteer kiddos to come up and pat them on the back, do a guessing game. Usually
it’s good to get, get them to be able to touch some of the animals, experience
kind of lasts in their mind, you know? Reedy’s entertaining combination of
humor and information captivates his audience as he takes them through a
myriad of creature features. Usually I like to talk about the way that they
might try to communicate with other creatures, including ourselves.
I like, the skunk is a good one because, you know, skunks are very common and, you
know, a lot of people have the experience of getting sprayed, or like a dog’s been
sprayed. But they have these warning signs that they try to issue to you
before they spray you, and if you keep your cool and you pay attention you can kind
of avoid that, hopefully. Now, you can observe these creatures if you happen to
come about different ones, but not have to worry about getting into a
confrontation. Having founded Animal Quest in 2011, Reedy and his wife
Jessica have grown their menagerie and they’re following exponentially over the
past eight years. We’re a wildlife education company, so we, you know, we go
to places like libraries, birthday parties, block parties, senior centers, Scout
groups, and we just teach people about animals. So hopefully by the end of the
show you’ve got a better appreciation for some of them critters out there. Up close
and personal interactions with young volunteers run the gamut from furry
mammals to slithery reptiles. A lot of the animals that we’ll use for the
volunteer thing are soft and fuzzy, and then you have the scaly ones, then you have
like frogs, toads, and it’s kind of like, slick. And then you have Hedgehog,
which is like bristle-y, or it, if they’re in the right mood, stabby. I
remember when I was in school we learned about, it was handful of studies they did
about wildlife education and they found that if a person is able to actually
touch one of these creatures, that lasts like, for their entire life basically, in
their mind, since the, it’s- see, you have a longer lasting, like, appreciation for a creature. Super Saturday’s Animal Quest is just
one example of the many entertaining, informational, and educational events
featured here at the Mount Prospect Public Library every month. Don’t miss
any library programs you’d like to experience. Here’s a list of events
scheduled in September and October. Reservations are strongly recommended. For more information regarding these
events, call area code 847-253-5676 or visit our website at You’ll also find a listing and description of all upcoming Mount Prospect Public Library events in your Library newsletter, Preview. Earlier in
this program we embarked on a Super Saturday Animal Quest. With this in mind
our Library Life camera today asks the question: What is your favorite wild
animal and why? Here are some responses. My favorite animal is a tiger. I like the
stripes, they’re pretty. Cheetah – it runs so fast, I like. An elephant. They’re so big
and they look clumsy. That wraps up this edition of “Library Life.” For more
information on any of the Mount Prospect Public Library’s services and events
highlighted here, call area code 847-253-5675
or visit our website at

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