Welcome to our "2005 Round the country" drive. The map below shows our approximate route and major and minor stops. We saw Marv's home towns in Illinois, his brother in St. Louis, Yellowstone, Seattle, Portland, the Oregon coast, the San Francisco Bay, Long Beach, Phoenix and Tucson, Kerrville and Austin, Texas, Jackson, Miss., Greenville, SC, and the return to Washington. The route says 7,800 miles, but our Mercedes odometer added 8,800 miles with all our side trips along the way. Yep, we took some pictures, and we'll be posting them and highlighting the above mentioned stops as we do it.                   Marv and  Elaine Wunderlich  
    If you want to jump into the trip at any page along the way, go to our Table of Contents.

Illinois -- Marv's home for his first 15 years -- 1937 - 1953. This portion of the travelogue is a trip down memory lane. I (Marv) was born in Decatur, Illinois in 1937, and moved to Staunton, Illinois in 1947. I remember that I lived on Walnut Street near Jasper, and found that intersection on our GPS mapping system. I knew exactly where to drive to find the house of my first 10 years. I also knew that my grandfather and Aunt Gerda and Uncle Bob lived near our house on Division Street.
The minute I turned off of Jasper street onto Walnut, and saw this house four houses into the street, I knew this was the place. The garage was new; my father rarely had a car. But that addition in the back was built when I lived there.

Elaine took these two pictures. My sister Helen was actually

That was Roberta Burkhardt's house across the street. She was kinda like my girl friend. (I was 10 years old.)
Just a block away on Division street was Aunt Gerda's house. My aged grandfather lived in that upper room behind the dormer. Daughter Ruth actually met him when she was a baby.
We then drove up Lober Street. My dad and I walked the 6 blocks up Lobar street every morning, back and forth every lunch, and back every afternoon from home to school. I think the decaying building was a Piggly Wiggly store.
When I got to Orchard Street, I thought I would see the school I had attended. My dad was principal for 20 years. It's now a very new church; sign says, "North Side Missionary Baptist Church.
This was the site of my old church - St. Johns Lutheran Church.
We went to the middle of town, Main and Main, because when I used to take the bus to my piano lesson, all busses exchanged riders at the "Round House" at Main and Main.

And here it is. Really very small. But 60 years ago it was the

I saw two gentlemen talking on the porch two houses away from 1229 and I asked if they thought the owner would mind if we took some pictures. One of them was the owner. He was pleased that we wanted to photograph his house.
born  in this house, but she doesn't remember that. I do!
The current owner of the house took a picture of me with my current girl friend.
I saw this women walking down the driveway, and suggested that her house was once owned by my aunt. She said, "No, we bought it from the Hills."  When I explained that my aunt and uncle were Bob and Gerda Hill, she was happy to talk to me.
This was Durfie Elementary School. Dad and I would walk fast by this building because it was populated mostly by black children and they always looked scary to me. How things have changed.
I asked a person standing in front of that red truck if Durfie school was still in operation.  He said no. I think this house was the home of Mr. Klebe, my former fourth grade teacher.
And this was the location of our old house on Orchard Street.
Clearly, it wasn't here any more. I asked around, and was told that they moved it to a park because it was no longer adequate for a bus terminal.
communications heart of the city. The busses used to be small!
Above is a portion of the Illinois map. When I was 10, my father took a call to Staunton, Illinois about 80 miles to the South West. I remember overhearing my dad talk to my mom about the call, and heard him describe the run down house they were supposed to live in. He said his heart sank when he saw it but it did not deter him.
I remember that garage well. I tore the car door off backing out with it open. We had a garden where there is now only lawn.
The building with the "Zion Lutheran" sign is a new gymnasium.
And the building left of the church is a new pastor's study.
While I was trying to set my camera for a time exposure shot, Elaine took these with her flash. This congregation certainly appears to be thriving.
And here is that house -- almost in the same shape it looked 52 years ago when we moved from Staunton to Chicago. 
The only change I could tell is the red dumpster. I told Elaine we had better take a picture of it before they haul it away.
The church above and below and the school to the left has undergone intensive remodeling.
And there, inside the school building, was the confirmation classes of all the years going way back to my 1951 class. I'm third from the right in the second row. No beard yet!
The only other thing I really wanted to see is my high school. I wasn't sure I'd find it since it was really small. To my surprise, what I saw was the old high school way to the right of the above picture behind the yellow busses connected to a combined middle and elementary school comprising of the rest of the picture. This dying mining community has really come to life. A teacher told me that Staunton is now a high class bedroom community on the Metro line from St. Louis.

Join us for our Drive to Yellowstone and other friends, relatives and places on the way.
Table of Contents :            Comments are always welcome.