Doris Lessing on schooling

According to an article at Lit Hub, Nobel Laureate Doris Lessing quit formal schooling at age 14 and wrote, in The Golden Notebook, an assessment I think worth considering (though I’m not quite sure yet if I agree with it or not):

“Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this: ‘You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself—educating your own judgements. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.”

‘My dad is not nice like an animal’: Exquisite Corpse poems, Fall 2018

Here are this semester’s Creative Writing classes’ poems written in the Exquisite Corpse method.  What I love about these lines is how they were created almost randomly but have a kinda of weird logic. I like how some of these seem almost brilliant, in an obtuse way. See here for previous semesters’ poems.

Badly rotten cheese is so good like a turtle with no man.

Window sills are very creaky shoes.

Some things just don’t change my desk.

Biscuits and gravy are nastier than a big pile of food on the dog.

The cow goes moo, moo, moo, and the chicken goes either way depending on top of the horse.

I hate the day because people are very good-looking and masculine.

Masculine squirrels are very intimidating.

I feel like I’m a sexy dude, but I stopped at Panera.

Bed time is the best of both worlds.

Mom is an adult with several responsibilities and just wants to have a little fun while a dead cat is a bit off and continued to eat more enchiladas and more frijoles.

When I fail something, it is so annoying but yet so amazing, and I went there today.

The big sky is blue like you never loved your mother.

Your mother is very loving, but I need some porridge.

This chair is loud and it has something to do with aliens.

Seven sandwiches are better with chips and corn bread.

The cow went over to the bull and grabbed its horns, then threw it across the big, bad wolf.

Have a piece of the food I ate.

I felt the cold wind on the old man’s belly.

Good time[s] with my friends come and go like a cat with two frogs.

Two frogs jumped away since I started to swim in the lake everyday.

Dirty people are my fave people to make out under the stairs of the creepy house.

A ghost jumped out at the old cemetery, but I continued to eat bleached sneakers on Monday mornings.

My dad is not nice like an animal.

Sons are everywhere compared to daughters who don’t know what the heck is.

His house smelt like pumpkin patches.

People are my fave corn on the cob.

Water is good to drink all night and party.

Table tops are useful tonight.

I lost my socks. I use[d] them tonight to clean up a large, brown, sticky thing in my head.

People are very interesting creatures in the famous mud swamp.

Like cake is to frosting is just like icing on the chocolate cake.

Boy ran away like a scared little boy.

Weirdo people scare me yet we are still doing a song.

Teens are funny as bunnies.

In the school she hates to eat pizza like Kim Kardashian.

Parties are so lit when the sun comes up and out.

Bananas are what Donkey Kong did not see.

I’ve never tried those, but the cat napped because I loved that lonely dogs love to cry during class while everybody had a great day — except for the crazy lady.

Buy a kangaroo smoothie.

Do you even lift up the back of the eyes from inside?

The frickin’ sun is out and about with my mom.

The mouse hid under the very blue sky.

In my nightmares, I went to the store.

Bump back and forth between the moments.

I dislike many things including my dead wife’s cousin that has three eyes on the prize.

During the big storm, you should have a hand in a large stack of waffles up high in the mountains.

We sit on a chair and are.

I ate a lot of cheese curds because she forgot a camera.

Photograph is the best memory.

You eat donuts at my cat.

Dad left me at the sound of rain.

My pet gold fish ate the dancing lobster; after crying, I ate a new item.

As I sleep, you like to eat my arm.

Dogs only wag for the love of God.

I love making money because I have to go to hell, bro.

Me, myself, and I take the trip and go eat a skunk.

Time is a valuable thing that is only readable handwriting.

My mom said no one likes you. Everyone is so funny nowadays.

I live in the moment for my only begotten son; listen, I am adopted.

Work hard, play hard. Work sucks so I skipped school.

Sadness fills my heart but my stomach growls hourly.

Is everything a pig of the nacho variety?

Cars speed to get to be.

A very loud truck sounds like an old man who looks at the doctor’s office.

Of course you would say mean word to the large man.

We fight me with your fists.

Superheroes wear capes when they all wished unicorns existed.

Hurricane Harvey left a destructive green monster who screams loudly at the TV.

With my sexy self, I look like a bear climbed the trees.

With his hand, he drew — we had to draw something, please — my dog is cute.

Sometimes I see dead people need more tortilla chips.

The mine worker sang about all the fish in the world.

My mom hates school and she hates her stupid loud rabbit.

The ocean is peaceful bananas.

I love seeing my dogs eat a lot of the game of basketball.

New cats have fat toes.

Cake is really good, so he ran her over the hill.

Tall women never use those lemons.

Those lemons make good milk.

We only had one time I fell in a house together.

He laughed while she left her brother at 10 p.m.

Things are not always what you do.

Sadness causes people to be scared of pencils.

Did the alligator bark?

The wind moved softly; the cat purred, for he did not want a chocolate chip cookie for breakfast.

The lonely cat meows for me to be fun.

Best friends don’t lie to no one ever.

A bunny went for a good strong gorilla.

Drake is the best rapper who never uses a rabbit.

Creston sucks at making more than one person.

Will I make chicken, or we die as hero?

Here is a place you are.

When I was little, I took fish from Petco and killed people.

A big fat cat ran before I could crawl in the depths of my story in the river by the cat.

His sword is sharp as the sands of time.

The sidewalk is the beaten path.

Toes, we have ten, and I want cheese curds from Culver’s in Rochelle.

To eat a good meal with her family was the only option, for once I fell in Neverland far away in the manger.

Today I woke up and she did not want a pile of beans.

Very loudly, the man sang a sweet tune that squid is about to make me lose my life.

Stupid police protect our bread.

Butter is so good but I can’t tell you.

I will not go to the store with the town falling asleep.

The stupid bear fell off the cliff (Clif) bars.

Good dogs are better when they only had one bullet.

Free coffee, and since the crazy aliens are real, no one can even deny.

Karly is not how you see an ostrich run.

Wear dogs as hats because they knew that.

Today we have to go into the meadow crying.

Smart is the man who wants lasagna, said mom.

Mom gave birth to 173 Skittles.

I knew I messed up when she is really pretty.

Stupid dog barked at nothing else even matters anymore.

A fat ol’ chicken sat with you on a dinosaur.

Snakes are not real, but what if we were?

The good days were limited to a small cat.

Cats have a nice-enough way of saying, “I’m so pretty,” and he makes me want to ask for her eyes.

Caramel and pistachio deodorant is good for the end of her time.

The inevitable will eventually catch me outside.

The truth can sometimes be lies.

Fun is not something everyone has a secret about.

Shape-shifting is fun when you wish upon a rat.

My life is boring me to death today.

A fish was ugly and looked up at the skylights.

Does anyone make you smile for your health?

I wish I was a lot of mayonaise.

Control your child; he is the biggest I[‘ve] seen.

You a thousand times are very strange to think.

Very strange to think you are not the person I can’t remember.

Emily Post in Rochelle, 1915

On a tour of historic buildings in Rochelle 14 Sept., guide Terry Dickow pointed to the former location of the Collier Inn at the northeast corner of Cherry Avenue and Main Street. The hotel was torn down in 1989, he said, but it had once hosted writer Emily Post on her cross-country car tour in 1915. She wrote about this tour in her book By Motor to the Golden Gate  (the link here happens to contain the chapter on Rochelle) and on page 77, she described the muddy roads between DeKalb and Rochelle. On page 82 of the book is an account of days — May 6 and 7, 1915 — spent in Rochelle, seeing movies at the Majestic Theater (which Dickow said was located just north of the Hub Theater) and staying at the Collier, which stay cost $8 for 3 rooms.

See mural about her visit info here.

Deed for buying land for Lane, 1853

This is a transcript of a deed (document number 8869) recorded in Book K of Deeds, page 653, held at the Ogle County Recorder’s Office, Oregon, Illinois. This deed conveyed the southwest 40 of the 75 acres of land platted in the Town of Lane. Some punctuation and capitalization has modernized. See images of deed here, here, here, and here.

Note: Charlotte A. Powell was the remarried name of Charlotte Bartholomew, whose husband Sheldon Bartholomew had purchased this land from the federal government, and Charlotte and daughter Maria seem to have inherited this land from Sheldon after his death in 1846. In 1845, Sheldon paid $1.25 per acre for this land; the price given below computes to $15 per acre, an increase of 1,200% in 8 years.

Note the particular handwriting of the “ss” of Ross, and also the language in the certification statement pertaining to the separate examination of the wife’s understanding of this legal document.

8869

Filed Aug. 18th 1853

at 10 o’clock AM

Recorded Aug. 22 1853

Ross & Powell

to

Robert P. Lane

This indenture, made this Eighteenth day of July in the year of our Lord One thousand Eight hundred and Fifty-Three between Isaac Ross and Maria his wife and Charlotte A. Powell of the County of Ogle State of Illinois of the first part, and Robert P. Lane of the County of Winnebago and State of Illinois of the second part, witnesseth that the said party of the first part for and in consideration of the sum of six hundred dollars, in hand paid by the said party of the second part the receipt [of which] is hereby acknowledged, and the said party of the second part forever released and discharged therefrom, has granted, bargained, sold, remised, released, aliened and confirmed and by these presents do grant, bargain, sell, remise, release, alien and confirm unto the said party of the second part and to his heirs and assigns forever, all the following described lot-piece or parcel of land  situate in the County of Ogle and in the State of Illinois to wit, the South East quarter of the South West quarter of Section No. Twenty Four (24) Town Forty (40) North in Range One (1) East of the third (3) Principal Meridian containing forty (40) acres together with all and singular the hereditaments and appurtenances therewith belonging, or in any wise appertaining; and the reversion and reversions, remainder and remainders, rents, issues, and profits thereof, and all the Estate Right, Title Interest, Claim and Demand whatsoever, of the said party of the first part, either in law or equity of, in and to the above bargained premises, with the hereditaments and appurtenances, to have and to hold the said premises above bargained and described, with the appurtenances unto the said party of the second part, his heirs and assigns forever. And the said Isaac Ross and Maria Ross, wife of the said Isaac, and Charlotte A. Powell party of the first part for them and their heirs, executors and administrators, do Covenant, Grant, Bargain, and Agree to and with the said party of the second part, his heirs, and assigns that at the time of the ensealing and delivery of these presents were well seized of the premises above conveyed as of a good, sure, perfect, absolute, and indefeasible estate of inheritance of the law in fee simple and hath good rightful power and lawful authority to grant, bargain, sell, and convey the same in manner and form aforesaid, and that the same are free and clear from all former and other grants, bargains, sales, liens, taxes, assessments, and incumbrances of what kind or nature soever, and the above bargained premises in the quiet and peaceable possession of the said party of the second part his heirs and assigns against all and every person or persons lawfully claiming or to claim the whole or any part thereof, the said party of the first part shall and will warrant and forever defend. In witness thereof, the said part[y] of the first part herewith set their hand and seal the day and year first above written.

Signed, sealed, and delivered in presence of James P. Randall

Isaac Ross  [seal]

Maria Ross [seal]

Charlotte A. Powell [seal]

“This certifies, that on the Eighteenth day of July, Eighteen hundred and Fifty-Three, Before me, a justice of the peace of the county of Ogle in the State of Illinois, appeared Isaac Ross and Maria Ross and Charlotte A. Powell, personally known to be the real persons whose names is [sic] subscribed to the foregoing Deed, as having executed the same, and then acknowledged the execution there of as their free act and deed, And the said Maria Ross, wife of the said Isaac Ross, (who is personally known to me to be the same person who subscribed the said instrument of writing) having had the contents of the said instrument made known and explained to [her] and been by me examined separate and apart from her said husband, did acknowledge said instrument to be her free act and deed, and that she has executed the same and relinquished her dower in the lands and tenements therein mentioned voluntarily and freely and without the compulsion of her said husband, and that she does not wish to retract the same. Given under my hand and seal this Eighteenth day of July A.D. 1853

James P. Randall  [seal]

Notes and observations:

• This deed refers to a complete 40 acres and does not mention that any part of the land has been sold to the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad — which railroad was drawn in the plat of the town of Lane, which was filed 12 days after this deed’s date. This suggests that R.P. Lane purchased this land with the knowledge that he would soon be selling part of the land to the railroad, and perhaps resale monies factored into his willingness to pay a premium price for this land. I have not yet located documents to show when or at what price Lane sold to the railroad.

1876 Rochelle map

From an 1876 “Atlas of the State of Illinois,” Union Atlas Co., Warner & Beers, Propietors, Chicago, part of page 21 is a map of Rochelle. This atlas was located in recent weeks at the Ogle County Recorder’s Office.

Click on image to zoom in.

Map of Rochelle, 1876.

Note the voting districts, as well as the additional streets added to east, west, southwest, and southeast parts of Rochelle as compared to this 1872 map. Note also that cemetery (southwest corner of Bartholomew and Clark streets) was marked on this map and labeled with a cross, though the cemetery closed to new burials in 1874. (Link forthcoming).

Title page of the 1876 atlas source of this map above.

1872 Rochelle map

The following photos of Rochelle are from an 1872 Atlas of Ogle County, seemingly published by Everts, Baskin and Stewart. The Rochelle map is identified as “Drawn & Compiled by Frank Krause, C.E. Anamosa, Ia.” These photos were taken in recent months from two copies of this atlas, both held at Ogle County Recorder’s Office.

Click on each photo to zoom in. In next screen, note the “full size” option.

Note the locations of school (current block of Central School), old cemetery, quarry (Spring Lake), C&I (currently BNSF) railroad, etc.

I like that this map shows the names of the early additions to the original plat of the town (later city) of Lane (by 1865, “Rochelle”), and it shows the early (pre-1907) names of the streets. That section of Main Street south of Jefferson Street that angles to the southeast seems to be the same path as the Rockford-Ottawa road marked on the 1840-41 survey. The Powell responsible for “Powell’s Addition” is Charlotte Powell, who was the original purchaser of that land from the federal government, and who also deeded the cemetery above to the “Trustees of the Burying Grounds of Hickory Grove” in 1856 (link forthcoming). This cemetery would be closed to burials by 1875.

Closer view of the north end of Rochelle.

Closer view of the south end of Rochelle. Note the Southworth addition, much of which is a golf course today.

Closer-in view of Cherry Street and railroads in downtown Rochelle. Note “Rochelle House” and “Simpson House,” two early hotels.

From same atlas, a view of Flagg Township (Township 40 North and Range 1 East of the 3rd Principal Meridian) and property owners therein.

From the same atlas, a “Sectional Map of Illinois”:

Plat of Lane/Rochelle, Illinois, 1853

Here are the first documents defining the town of Lane (later, Rochelle), Illinois. This plat, a sheet of paper roughly the size of an end-table, is held at the Ogle County Recorder’s office, and it was filed with Ogle County government on 30 July 1853 (and re-recorded in 1915). According to the process of town formation described in the source detailed here, it seems that all a landowner — in this case, Rockford businessman Robert P. Lane — had to do to create a town was to hire a surveyor to make a plat, and then to record that plat — it seems there was no requirement to gain permission of a county board or higher authority, as there often is now for new land developments. The filing of the plat was the official act that allowed the landowner/proprietor to start selling lots. As Lane did not incorporate as a governmental entity of its own until February 1861, law enforcement and other government functions were, I presume, provided by the county.

Click on each photo to see it zoomed in.

This plat covers 75 acres . The streets kept the names above until the city renamed them in 1907. For reference, the west side of plat would later be Bartholomew St. (modern-day 7th St.), the north side is Chapin St. (6th Ave.), the east side is 2nd Street, and the south boundary became Jefferson St. (now 1st Ave.).

The streets named on the map above and their modern names:

East-West streets: Holland Street is 5th Avenue, Brice Street is 4th Ave., Palmer Street is Lincoln Ave., and Walnut Street is 2nd Avenue.

North-South streets: Lafayette Street is 6th Street, Washington is now Lincoln Highway (except south of Lincoln Ave., where it’s still Washington), Main remains Main, and Flagg St. is 3rd Street.

Detail of the plat showing Cherry Avenue (unnamed, bisecting blocks 13 & 18) and, above that, Brice Street (now 4th Ave.), running E-W. For N-S streets, there’s Washington (now Lincoln Hwy) on the left, Main in the center, and Flagg (now 3rd St.) to the east. 2nd street would be the east boundary of this plat.

Note the graphic blandishment of the town name, made in an era well before computer graphics were available.

 

“No. 9921 191500009921 [document number in the recorder’s office]
Filed July 30th A.D. 1853. Re-Recorded June 30th 1915.”

This lower-right corner of the plat shows the only landmark reference to locating the plat on the ground: “Stone 14-8-5-inches in demension’s [sic] bearing from the S.E. corner of the S.E. 1/4 of the S.W 1/4, Sec 24 T40-R1E of 3 P.M. n. 46 [degrees] 50′ E 66 3/4 links distant.” [Some of my interpretation of this handwriting may be different from what others might read here.]

Notes and observations:

•  These blocks and lots are still used as legal descriptions of properties today. For example, according to Ogle County GIS, the Rochelle Municipal Utilities building at the southeast corner of Lincoln Highway and 4th Avenue is sited on lots 6, 5, and part of lot 4, block 13. Rochelle City Hall is on lots 1, 2, and 3 of block 6.

• Outside dimensions of the plat are 1,980 feet (north-south) by 1,650 feet (east-west), for a total area of 3,267,000 square feet, which, at 43,560 square feet per acre, would be 75 acres. Most roads are 66 feet wide. Most lots are 66 feet wide by 123.75 feet deep (lot size 8,167.5 sq feet or 0.1875 acre), followed by an alley of 16.5 feet. There’s at least 50 feet between railroad tracks and the nearest plots.

• The Walters article describes some towns being designed with smaller “in-lots” and larger “out-lots,” the in-lots being more valuable as they were closer to the town center, presumably the future business district. The article also states that “by the 1850s the railroad station replaced the square as town center,” and this seems to describe Lane/Rochelle. This could explain why the lots on Cherry Avenue are smaller — they were meant to be the locations of businesses.

•  While most of the streets marked on this plat remain today, 3rd and 6th streets not crossing the railroad tracks, and Dewey Avenue is an east-west alley splitting the lots in the 18th block. Certain other changes to the plat have been marked by later handwriting.

•  The “G & C.U R.R.” marked on this plat is the Galena and Chicago Union Rail Road, also sometimes called The Dixon Air-Line or the Chicago, Fulton & Iowa line, was under construction during 1853, according to Yesterday and Today: A History of the Chicago and North Western Railway System (page 22). The 1878 History of Ogle County states that the “final survey” of the railroad was made in the spring of 1853, and that “several different routes were projected with the evident purpose of inducing competition among the landowners in order to cheapen the right of way” (page 513). I would like to do further research to find out the precise chronology of when Lane proprietor Robert P. Lane first heard of the railroad’s route and when he bought land and ordered the plat survey. Lane filed his plat and, it seems, started selling lots when the railroad was under construction but before it was operational.

•  This rail line first opened from Turner Junction (West Chicago) to Lane on 10 January 1854, connecting Chicago with Ogle County (pages 22 and 27; the 1878 source gives the date of completion as 14 January (page 513).  The Galena & Chicago Union railroad later became the Chicago & North Western RR and exists today as the Union Pacific line. Note also that the second line to come through Rochelle, today’s BNSF line, is present on the 1872 Krause map (link forthcoming) and it cut through blocks 26 through 30 on the plat above.

•  The railroad arriving in southeast Ogle County changed the business conditions for the local farmers, according to the 1878 Ogle County History: “Chicago was the principal grain market for this section until about 1852 when a load was occasionally drawn to Rockford, Peru and St Charles. The greater part was taken to Chicago, however, until the railroads came and gave them a market here at Hickory Grove. There were few horses used until about 1843 or 1844 and it usually consumed six days to get a load of wheat to market.” And while the railroad was being built, “there was a great influx of people, all anxious to reap the advantages and embrace the opportunities for money-making that were sure to be developed here by the new railroad.  The old Lane Hotel … was built that Summer by Horace Coon … and when the railroad was completed arrangements were made for a grand banquet in the hall over the hotel.”

• It’s not clear that Lane proprietor Robert P. Lane ever lived in Rochelle before or after buying the land and constructing the plat survey of this town. The 1878 Ogle County History names several settlers, including Willard Flagg, Sheldon Bartholomew, Horace Coon, Harmon Minkler, and Mills Stewart, who seemed to have been living in this area, as they had applied for land patents, well before 1853. I wonder how these land owners felt about a town being platted near their farms by someone from outside of town. Perhaps they didn’t mind — Sheldon’s widow, Charlotte Bartholomew Powell, did sell land to R.P. Lane that made up part of the town plat (link forthcoming).