The Lansing Historical Society is now filled with exhibits again after the huge task of setting up trees for the annual Festival of Lights exhibit and then taking them all down. And after the two-month break of general meetings, the society is kicking off 2014 with a program on writing a memoir and interviewing older friends and relatives to record their memories.
Janette Quinn is based out of Wheaton, Ill., and offers memoir writing services and workshops. You can find more about her and read her blog at www.livingstories.us. The February meeting of the Lansing Historical Society is 6 p.m. Monday in the community room of the Lansing Public Library, 2750 Indiana Ave. Quinn will offer tips on writing your autobiography so the stories of your life can be shared with generations to come. She’ll also cover helping others to tell their stories so they can be shared and saved.
Last year as the society had a yearlong theme on World War II, we emphasized the need to preserve the stories of those who had fought in the war and those who supported them back home. As a society, we are constantly reminding visitors and members of the importance of putting your stories and memories on paper. The history learned by the next generation will depend on what we leave for them. As vice president, I’m responsible for setting up programs and this is one I am really excited about.
One of our historical society members, Mary Alice Sylvester, shared a book with me a couple of years ago. It was the story of her brother’s time spent in Iwo Jima during World War II. It was not written by him, but compiled by a family member he had shared stories with and he didn’t want the stories printed until after his death. The book, "Leo F. Carroll: World War II Experiences," is a short hard-bound book with some accompanying photos that Sylvester was kind enough to donate to the Lansing library. It is a quick and very interesting read and I’d encourage anyone with an interest in local history or World War II to take a look. I hope after our meeting on Monday, more people will consider sharing their life stories this way.
Lansing Roundball Classic celebrates community
This past week, I stopped over at Memorial Junior High to take a few pictures at the Lansing Roundball Classic Championship game. Well, it wasn’t a simple in and out for a few pictures. I got there just before halftime, but when I saw how close the game was and how intensely these kids were playing, I stuck around for the rest of the game, which was really exciting. The game was very close throughout the second half and just before the buzzer went off, the game tied at 14-14 and went into overtime. It ended with Oak Glen winning 22-15. The final contestants of the fifth-grade girls hot shot contest competed at halftime with St. Ann’s Paige Drewno taking the trophy.
This was the fifth year for this tournament, which highlighted the fifth-grade boys basketball teams at five public and private schools in Lansing. I’m always very impressed and touched to see so many people in the community working together to make it happen. So many family and friends and school staff come out to watch, community groups help out selling refreshments, basketball players from T.F. South and South Suburban College come out in support, the police cadets were there to help and the schools collect nonperishable food for the Lansing Food Pantry. All the proceeds also go to help a Lansing charity. It has been highly successful and a much needed event that helps to unite the community. Although so many work together to make it a success, I want to send a huge thank you to Rick Seymour and Sally Reynolds, who were the founders of the tournament and who organize and run it each year. We wouldn’t have this event without them.