Clipped From Herald and Review

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 - P fe. " : i (SMS"'? -f rff By SHARON K. WOLFE...
P fe. " : i (SMS"'? -f rff By SHARON K. WOLFE 14 It 1 1 I Lee News Service Writer 1 was For more than 100 years, indigent children of Illinois veterans grew up here Children play together at ISSCS 'We were provided with gymnastics, a pool, bikes and had arts and crafts, plus camp in the summer and movies on Friday nights and an education. Not many kids on the outside got as much as we did Irma Hilligoss Matthews, (ISSCS, 1950 to 1959) 1 ular heavy white bobby socks to - " during the 1930s. NORMAL In the early 1940s, the girls desperately wanted socks, but not just any socks. "When Frankie Sinatra burst upon the scene and screen, we begged our guardians for the popular heavy white bobby socks to wear with our brown-and-white oxfords," recalled Eileen Smith Voile, who lived at the Illinois Soldier's and Sailor's Children's School from 1931 to 1943. "The American Legion came to the rescue, buying us each a pair. You cannot imagine what those socks meant to us. For a little while, we looked like the 'outside' kids. Those socks lasted two years with loving care. When they got holes, we mended them by putting a light bulb in the toe to hold the shape when we darned." Her memories are part of what was collected over eight years of gathering material, writing and publishing a 146-page book recalling life at the school. "A Place We Call Home" is subtitled "A History of Illinois Soldier's Orphans' Home 1864-1931" and "Illinois Soldier's and Sailor's Children's School 1931-1979." Dedicated in 1869, the orphanage was home to needy children of wounded or deceased Civil War veterans. "Every Northern state had something similar, at least one," said local archivist Jo Ann Rayfield, one of three people who worked on the book. In 1899, the home opened to indigent children of any military family; eventually, it was open to any such youngster in the state. "On these grounds for 114 years, scores of caregivers and educators provided thousands of children with a homelike environ- fwMnnninimTnrirtriilPif' r--: Herald & ReviewCarlos T. Miranda Jill Vernon, left, Yvonne Borklund, center, and Jo Rayfield, right, were instrumental in producing a history book titled 'A Place We Called Home, A History of Illinois Soldiers Orphans' Home and Illinois Soldiers' and Sailors' Children's School.' ment," reads a marker on the school grounds. The school closed in 1979. Many of the former buildings off North Beech Street have been restored and are used for businesses and private residences. Yvonne Borklund, Jill Vernon and Rayfield accumulated boxes and boxes of material for Ruth Cobb, a Call Jill Vernon, (309)829-1800 Cost: $20, $23 with shipping and handling ----- local author and former librarian, to sort through to write the book. Material not used in the book is in Illinois State University's archives. Vernon spent a lot of time at the facility because her mother was good friends with Clara Kepn-er, a teacher who lived there as a 0RPHANSE2

Clipped from
  1. Herald and Review,
  2. 21 Oct 2007, Sun,
  3. Page 33

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