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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Spent Thursday wading in the state park. Started early downstream of the Wagner bridge. Waded upstream and fished around the old bridge abutments. Caught 3 dink smallies on a white double-tailed jig. Biggest one wasn't more than 8" but was a really pretty, dark-colored river fish.

After a few hours I drove up to the Rock Creek area. First I went to the northern end of the Rock Creek Trail and waded downstream looking for pools deep enough for fish. Lots of really small ones darting in the shallows but nothing big. And no pools. I'd considered going back to the car for my UL gear but after eyeballing the creek I decided it wasn't worth it. Beautiful creek though.

At the river I waded upstream to a place where the north channel sweeps past an island causing a deep seam. Caught 3 more dink smallies. The biggest was again, no more than 8".

I walked up onto the island for a break. While I rested a hatch of small flies exploded. There were thousands in the air and thousands more on the water. I wished I'd brought along my fly gear but in reality the wind was blowing so hard out of the west that if I'd casted into it my line would have fouled in front of me and if I casted with it my line would have fouled behind me.

Funny the thoughts that come to you sitting alone on an island in the middle of a river. The first real job I had after leaving teaching was selling books for the company that published Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries. One of my big accounts was a distributor called Baker & Taylor. They had a distribution center in Momence and I used to visit them & take them to lunch at a country club along the Kankakee. I got to know them pretty well.

In spring 1979 my company told me I had to attend the American Bookseller Assn conference in L.A. They sent me airline tickets. A couple weeks they told me they wanted to cut expenses so I wouldn't be going.

One afternoon I was on the way home from some sales calls and a news reports came on the radio about a crash at O'Hare. It was American flight 191 - the flight I was supposed to be on. The head buyer for Baker & Taylor was on the plane as were a number of other "book" people. I went to several funerals over the next 2 weeks. One could have been mine except for some bean counters in NYC. Sometimes you get lucky.

Fished until just before sundown but didn't catch any more. Tried other jigs, a Whopper Plopper and a buzzbait. The hatch had spoiled the smallie's appetite for my lures. Just as well. I was beat.
 
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Flight 191 I remember it well. That was back in my trailer trash days. We were in between decent places to live and ended up in one of the mobile home parks on Touhy. On that fateful day I was working at an apartment before the resident moved in. She was there that day to let me in and stayed while I was working. She had a small tv that I could hear while I was working. I stopped what I was doing and went over to see what she was watching. For about a minute it didn’t register to me that the plane crash was right where I lived. When my brain kicked in and I finally processed the info I was seeing I immediately left to try to phone home. I couldn’t get through so I went back to the apartment got my tools and headed home. I made it to Elmhurst Rd. and Touhy and that was as far as the police were allowing traffic to go. I tried to explain to the officer that I lived there but he wouldn’t let me pass. At around 5:30 I finally got in and went home. My wife and son were fine but she was really shaken. She was on the phone with her sister and watched the plane go down and heard and felt the explosion. It was a few hundred yards from our place. She grabbed my son and headed over there but immediately left after seeing all the carnage. Touhy Ave was completely closed for a month and only open to residents. We had to show identification to drive on it.

Man that was bad. Glad you weren’t on it Rambler.

~JOE~
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You & me both Joe.
 

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I tried to explain to the officer that I lived there but he wouldn’t let me pass. At around 5:30 I finally got in and went home. My wife and son were fine but she was really shaken. She was on the phone with her sister and watched the plane go down and heard and felt the explosion. It was a few hundred yards from our place. She grabbed my son and headed over there but immediately left after seeing all the carnage. Touhy Ave was completely closed for a month and only open to residents. We had to show identification to drive on it.

Man that was bad. Glad you weren’t on it Rambler.
My aunt lived there at the time and her neighbors had body parts and a dead baby in their yards. I was a cheesehead at the time but was down visiting about a week or two later. I remember seeing on the news how the crash site was going to be investigated for a long time, but everything was gone already when I was there. Nothing but ash and burnt seat fabric was left. Me and my cousins were chased off by authorities from the scorched crash site.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Forgot to mention I wasn't the only "lucky" one. There was a woman - Sydney Johnson - who owned a bookstore in Barrington who was supposed to be on that plane.

After it went down my boss called from LA & told me to find out if she was on it. I made a bunch of calls & found out that just as she was leaving for O'Hare her daughter called to say she was really sick & could Sydney come to her house to help out? So Sydney didn't catch the flight.

As I said, sometimes you get lucky.
 
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