Jim Masters never got to finish high school in St. Charles because his family moved to Ohio two years before he would have graduated with the Class of 1972. But it's possible he's leaving his childhood home something it can have forever: An official song.
Masters fondly remembers watching his older sister Barbara perform in high school musicals put together by instructor Jim Getty at what is now Thompson Middle School.
Contact information ( * required )
"It had a profound effect on my life," Masters said.
Indeed it did, considering he went on to play trombone professionally in jazz clubs and on Broadway before taking a teaching position at Ohio State University.
But St. Charles has represented a "yearning in my heart that is always there," he said.
That yearning resulted in a song titled "In St. Charles," a lovely tune he first wrote in 1984. He finally had the opportunity to sing it for St. Charles last month during the 50th reunion of the St. Charles High School Class of 1963, an event that featured a tribute to the 81-year-old Getty.
"I knew I had that weekend free and was thrilled to come and be part of it, because we love Mr. Getty so much," said Masters, who joined many other former music students at the reunion who were not part of the Class of 1963.
However, being able to sing "In St. Charles" came as somewhat of a surprise, even to him.
Just before the tribute concert for Getty was to begin, his sister Barbara asked him if he wanted to sing the song, while she played the piano.
"At first, I was just distributing it as sheet music, like a gift for those attending to take home from the reunion, and then all of the sudden we were playing it," Masters said. "It was originally just a vocal, but a friend of mine wrote a beautiful piano score for it."
The song, one you could envision a crooner like Mel Torme singing, was a big hit at the reunion. Fifth Ward Alderman Maureen Lewis and resident Bill Russell are working to get the song copyrights from Masters and propose it as the city's official song.
"That was kind of my original intention, for it to be a song for the city, so I am all for that," Masters said.
For now, it's just a matter of seeing who will get behind such an effort, and how the city could ultimately market and present the song to its residents.
For treasure hunters: When a person tells me they are going "treasure hunting," it usually means they like garage sales, flea markets or antique shops.
We found one tucked away near the Fox River when recently stopping in at America's Treasures in Geneva.
It even has the word "Treasure" in its name. The shop is at 34 N. Bennett St., near Mill Race Cyclery and along the bike trail.
Generally, I don't spend a lot of time in places like this. But on those occasions when my wife wants to poke around an antique shop, I do find most of the items interesting and some even fascinating.
The shop got my wife's stamp of approval. As we were leaving, she said, "I'll be back." Maybe not quite as convincing as Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I suspect she will indeed be back.
Rev. back to work: It was good to see Father Michael Chernetzki back preaching at a 7 a.m. Sunday mass at St. Peter's in Geneva a few weeks ago.
He gave parishioners an update on his fight against brain cancer, mentioning that well-wishes and prayers coming his way have been overwhelming.
There's no telling how often he'll be able to join the St. Peter flock on Sundays, but it was great to see him back.
Finding Green River: Here's a generation gap moment for you. I told my son I stopped in at the Early Light Café in Geneva near Mill Race Cyclery for a sandwich and a soda, and was especially excited that the cafe offered bottles of Green River.
"A soda that has been around since 1919, but it can be hard to find," I told him. "And maybe the best ever made."
Warmer water welcome: My wife is sort of jealous of the people who use the Quarry Pool in Batavia these days. She taught water aerobics in the pool for the Batavia Park District a few years ago -- and all I ever heard about was the freezing cold water in the pool. In short, she dreaded the thought of going to that class.
But now, the park district has put a new liner on the pool designed to keep the water warmer. It must be working, as you don't hear near as many complaints about ice-cold water in the pool.
It helps when summer heat beats down on the pool, but the new liner apparently makes sure the water stays warmer.
But don't take my word on it. I've never set foot in the Quarry Pool water. Those who have are welcome to let me know if the water really is warmer these days.
Interesting feedback: I'm getting some interesting responses to my question last week of what you would do if you could snap your fingers and fix something in the Tri-Cities the recession damaged or broke.
If you haven't done so already, send your choice for a miraculous fix to my email address below.
I'll be sharing answers next week.