Rich Dzingel

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Turn on your speakers and you will hear "Glory Days" by Bruce

Sorry, the music will not play on a Mac.

I was watching my son Dan play hockey in a men's league last summer and one of his team mates was 18 year old Ryan Dzingel. I asked Ryan what he knew about his grandpa Rich.  Then it dawned on me that Rich died long before Ryan was born.  I started telling him what a great guy that his grandpa was.  I have a web page that I have been using to record some of my memories, so that my kids and grand kids will know why I'm so crazy.  I decided to put a page together for Rich's kids and grand kids.

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I met Rich in 1954 when I started high school.  He was a south side Sox fan and I was a north side Cub fan, yet we soon became lifelong friends.  Unfortunately his life ended way too soon when lung cancer claimed him when he was in his late 40s.  We first met when we tried out for football at Holy Trinity High School.  He was a small skinny kid and I didn't think he had a chance to make the team until I saw him run.  He was blessed with great speed and running instincts. 

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This is our team when we were seniors in 1958.  On offense, Rich was the right halfback and I was the left end. On Defense, he played safety and I played defensive end. 

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This is our Senior Prom picture of the class officers. Rich is second from the left, standing behind his high school sweet heart, Jackie, who later became his wife.  I am the second from the right standing behind Carole, who became my wife 3 years later.

   

Here is Rich  in 1954 and 1958

High School Football

I have 2 high school football memories that I would like to share here:

In the summer of 1957, we had  2 a day work outs in August, where they didn't give us water during practice, because they thought it was bad for us.  They did give us salt pills to replace the salt we lost while sweating.  We used to report to school at 8:00, get dressed then Brother Vincent would drive us west down Division Street to Humboldt Park for practice.  We did get lemonade at lunch time between practices. One day, instead of going to Humboldt Park for practice, we headed south down Western Avenue to a brand new school.  Mendel Catholic had just opened their doors and our coach thought that they would be an easy team for a scrimmage.  Little did he know that they recruited all over the south side, raiding jocks from power house schools like Leo, St. Rita and Mount Carmel. We were puzzled once we realized that we were not going to our practice field.  Brother Vince told us that we were going to Mendel for a easy practice game.  We were amazed at how good these guys were, they blocked and tackled better than anyone we ever played.  We had very few plays that gained yards, until our quarterback called a hook and lateral play.  I ran 7 yards from my left end position, stopped and did a 180 turn (Hook) the pass hit me right in the numbers, just as the Mendel safety blasted me in the back and flattened me.  Rich was trailing me for the lateral and somehow I managed to flip it to him before I was face down in the dirt with several Mendel players piled on top of me.  Rich took the ball, stepped around the pile and ran all the way for our only touchdown of the game.  We felt pretty bad after the beating that we took from a team that we never heard of.  We felt better in November when Mendel won the Catholic League in their first year. That was unheard of.  When Gordon Tech first opened in 1954, took 4 years before they were competitive.

My next memory came when we played St. Rita, midway through the season.  Rita was undefeated and they had one of the best teams in their rich history.  Our team was hit by a virus the week before so we were down to 20 players. Our coach called St Rita and talked about canceling the game, but they told him that they had a lot of guys that were sick and this would be a good chance for the second stringers to get some playing time.  I was sick all week and told my Mom that I was just going to watch.  I was standing in the locker room, when the Coach said, "Get Dressed, we have to go!" We were doing jumping jacks to warm up and we were counting our jumps as the St. Rita players ran out on to the field.  They had 55 guys!  The flu bug really hurt them. We didn't have a quarterback, so Rich told the coach that he could do the job, so he did.  He threw me a 20 yard pass on a down and out and I ran for a 55 yard touchdown.  That was my one and only touchdown.  Thanks Rich!  I had a few where I got hit and slid into the end zone, but the referees always placed the ball on the 1 yard like where the quarterback could fall over for a touchdown. 

Cars

Rich's dad had a Buick Roadmaster and when we were seniors, Rich talked his dad into letting him take the car to school, because we had a dance coming up and the Principal wanted us to take posters to all of the Catholic girl schools.  Rich and I were Class officers and he had the car, so we got out of school for the day.  We went to one school after another.  We would go in, see the arrow pointing to the office and we would go in the other direction.  We would roam the school peeking into classrooms then running away when one of the girls screamed out, because Rich was so good looking.  At one school,  we looked into the gym and saw the girls in their ugly gym suits, they all screamed and when we got busted,  we would look as innocent as we could and tell them that we were sent by Brother Joseph Walter to see Mother Superior.  We would be escorted to the office where we would ask them to put our poster up, and we assured them that our school would do the same for them when they had an event.  We went to St. Stans, where Rich's girl friend, Jackie, was a senior. When we went to Josephinum, where my future wife was a senior, we went there when they were out on the grounds during a lunch break.  The area was surrounded by a wall like a prison.  Rich boosted me up so that I could look over the fence and one of Carole's friends saw me and ran to get Carole.  She was happy to see me, but terrified of what the Sisters of Christian Charity would do to her if they caught her talking to a boy, so Rich and I went into the School and made our speech to Mother Superior.  I remember after school, we had 5 or 6 guys in the car when the battery went dead.  That was no problem since it had a stick shift.  We pushed that tank down Division Street and got it rolling fast enough for Rich to pop the clutch and that big V 8 roared back to life and we all jumped in and headed to the malt shop.  

    

Downers Grove

After we graduated, Rich went into the Army and spent some time in Korea after the Korean War was over and I went to Chicago Teacher's College and became a Chicago Public School Teacher, so we didn't see each other until Carole and I went to Downers Grove to look at model homes.  Carole and I had a boy and 2 girls and Rich and Jackie had 2 boys.  We saw them signing a contract to have the first house built on Valley View Drive.  We liked the area and decided to have a house built on Valley View, right across the street from our high school friends.  Rich had a beautiful 1965 Chevrolet SS Impala convertible like the one pictured above, only it was lavender. Our son Ken, tells me that that car would be worth $30,000 today.  We became close friends, as our son Ken was a year younger than their oldest son, Rick.  Jackie's Mom, who wanted a granddaughter, loved our girls and fussed over them.  Our son Dan was born in 1970 and he couldn't wait to be like Rick, Tim and Ken.   

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Here is what Valley View looked like in 1967.  That is Rick taking Ken to the bus stop.  Ken was in Kindergarten and Rick was a big first grader.  The picture window of the Dzingel house is in the far right.

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Here is a picture from 1969 when the Cubs were the talk of the town.  

(Left to Right) Brian, Ken, Tim, Dave, Mark and Rick.  Tim became a Cub fan with the influence of his Grandma and us.  I don't know if Rich would buy him a Cub uniform, but I suspect his Grandma had a hand in that.

  

 

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Tim scores, as Ken looks on!

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Rick drives one out of the yard

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Ken put the tag on Rick

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Rick waits for the throw

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Rick and Tim learned to skate in my back yard. That is my Dad's first time on skates.

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Looks like a hockey fight broke out as the puck is removed from the net.

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Everybody learned to play hockey. Debbie and Ken above and Kathie below with a friend. 

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Kathie gets help from her Mom.

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Dan started out with his snow mobile skates at the age of 2.  He sent me an e-mail asking how his Mom could dress him in these jackass pants.

 

Touch Football

About this time, Rich and I started playing touch football on Sunday mornings.  Rich would call me early to make sure I was up (I was not) and then he would pick me up and stop at White Hen for some gum. Sometimes we went to breakfast.  We had choose up games, where we were usually on opposite teams, because we were the best players.  (As Dizzy Dean used to say, "It ain't braggin if you can do it") Rich always set up the field to be as wide as he could, because he was so fast and shifty.  Guys that knew him and were going to be on the other team, tried to narrow the field down to contain him.

Rich soon started getting us travel games where we would go to Addison, Elmhurst and Oak Park to play some guys that thought they were good, but they couldn't catch Rich.  I could dump a short pass to him and he would be gone. If he did a fly pattern, I would get the snap and throw it as far as I could and he would be under it in full stride. I always wore my Dad's old mail man pants and jacket, because they were tough and free.  There was one guy who was a teacher up north and when we played them, he used to call me Mailman in a very derogatory way, like he was impressed with his BS degree.  I never let on that I had a Masters Degree in Administration and Supervision, so his jaw dropped one day when I showed up at his school in a suit and tie for a conference with his Principal.  I just laughed and reminded him of the time he tried to push me out of bounds, but I did a baseball slide just as he lunged at me and he went flying over me and crashed into a snow fence.  I popped up and walked into the end zone. His Principal loved that story and had a good laugh.  (He must have been a jerk at school too.) 

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Rich went out and bought 7 or 8 football jerseys for us, because he wanted us to look sharp. I suspect he felt bad for guys making fun of my mailman outfit.  I still have that shirt and think of Rich and our "Glory Days"

In 1983, we went to our 25th high school reunion and we were shocked to see that everyone got old except us.  We went home and laughed at those old guys.  Some guys wanted to go golfing the next day, but Rich challenged their manhood and got about 18 of our old team mates to come out for a touch football game.  I video taped that event and I'll burn a DVD for you as soon as I find it.  It is a treasure that captures Rich and his competitive nature.  As most of the guys wanted to shoot the bull and drink beer, Rich was setting up the field and getting the guys to play the game.  (I hate to brag, but we were the the best guys and this time I made sure I was on his team)

One of our old football team mates came out to visit us at Rich's house.  I'll call him Don.  He was an un-athletic tackle on our team and he was the most accident prone guy, he spent half of every practice getting taped up.  (Rich and I never got taped) This guy was carried off of the field almost every game.  Rich and I were shocked when he told us that he went on to play football at Ball State.  When Don came to visit us, he was full of stories filled with names of semi famous people.  When our night came to an end, we left Rich's house through the garage and my wife, who is a good bowler with a strong right arm,  grabbed the garage door and flipped it up.  (We didn't have powered garage door openers)  Our garage door had a catch that held the door when you flipped it up, but Rich's door was spring loaded without a catch, so when Carole flipped it up, Don walked under it and the door came flying back down and it hit Don right on the head and drove him to his knees.  We were a little concerned as when guided him to his car. (Concussions were not invented back then, if you had a head ache, you just thought it was a hang over.)  Once Don drove off, Rich and I sat down and laughed uncontrollably for a long time.  You had to know Don for that to be funny. I have to say that Carole and Jackie were a little concerned. 

Rich's son Rick made the Duffer News with this Photoshoped  picture. 

Rich and I loved to laugh and on October 9, 1972,  I was home watching a Monday Night football game from Houston along with 25-30 million other people.  Howard Cosell was pontificating on what a dull game this was. The ABC director, Chet Forte, was looking to be creative and found somebody sleeping in the stands in the corner of the end zone. Just as he zoomed in for an extreme close up and just as Howard was describing how dull this game really was, this little Houston Oiler fan woke up, saw the lens of the camera from across the field with the little red light and he immediately gave the finger to the camera. Don Meredith told Howard, “How about that Howard, they still think they’re No. 1.” That was very memorable.  I called Rich to see if he was still watching that dull game, and he was.  We were laughing so hard, as we were connected on the phone.

I started making ice rinks in my back yard, so Rich bought his son Rick some Franklin Ice Skates, so that he could play hockey with us.  He also got Timmy a mask, since he had developed some goalie tendencies.  I started coaching Ken's pee wee team and I needed a defensemen, so I called Rich and asked him to let Rick play.  Rick was a good athlete and he learned the game fast.  20 years later Rick was playing Duffers Hockey with my sons and me.  I loved having Rick play with us, because when he laughed, I felt his Dad was there with us.  Rick laughs exactly like his Dad did.  I am tearing up as I type this, because I miss that guy, but I know he lives on through his kids and now grandkids.  Please, Kids, don't smoke!  Ryan played Junior Hockey in Nebraska in his senior year of High School.  He was awarded a scholarship to Ohio State University.  Rich would be so proud and I know he and I would be driving to see him play every chance he got. In October 2011, I went with my son Dan and his son Luke to South Bend to see Ryan and the Buckeyes upset the #2 ranked Notre Dame Irish. March 2012, the Duffers Made a road trip to Columbus to see Ryan and his Ohio State team in the playoffs.  In January 2014, four of us went to Madison to see them beat the Wisconsin badgers.  Ryan is leading the Big Ten in scoring in his Junior year.  The Ottawa Senators drafted him and want him to start his professional career instead of playing his senior year. 

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Baseball

Rich loved baseball and his sons gave him plenty to be proud of.  Here is a picture of the Lombard American Legion team that they played for.  This is Dan's team.  Rick and Tim were influential in getting their coach, Mr. Rench, to draft Dan.  Just before Rich died, he got a group of guys to go over to Montini's baseball field.  Rich went out and bought new spike shoes and made sure we had enough old guys and teens for a game.  Remember there was no e-mail or texting, He used to call everyone.  I enjoyed watching Rick and Tim play for Mr. Rench and Rich enjoyed watching Dan play when his boys moved on and up. 

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My son Dan really looked up to Rick and Tim they are still best friends.

Lawn and other Chores

Rich enjoyed working on his lawn it was his pride and joy. I helped him lay sod for his yard and he helped me do the same at my house the next week end.  We used to yell, "Remember green side up." He was also good at staining and varnishing wood work that we installed in our family rooms.  We did everything ourselves.  My wife would look at the wood work that I stained and say, "Why don't you get Rich to do that for you?" I hated staining, so my manhood was not hurt.  I dialed his number that I knew by heart (no speed dial then) and he was over with his favorite brush in minutes.  I just opened a couple of beers and watched the Rembrandt work.  We would tell semi true stories and laugh till he went home.  That is one of the few times I could make my wife happy while having a few beers.  After Rich's widow Jackie read this, she called and said, "Rich never stained woodwork, I did that in our house." I had a good laugh after she told me that.

One day, I looked out my window and Rich had his washing machine out on the drive way.  There were parts all over the place.  I walked over and laughed while he was cussing and busting his knuckles with his wrench.  I asked, "What are you doing?" He said I'm trying to change the belt on this blankty blank Kenmore washing machine.  Carole and I had a 20 year old Maytag and I changed the belt on it in 10 minutes.  You just tipped it back and the belt was right under the machine with easy access.  So being an expert belt changer, I grabbed a wrench and started taking more and more parts off.  Soon there was nothing left to remove but the transmission, I said, "I think my wife is calling", he said, "you can't leave me now!"  I asked him if he bought a service contract, he just laughed and cussed.  We never did change that belt and Rich bought a new machine.  A few months later I talked to a repair man and asked him about changing a belt on a Kenmore washing machine and he said, "You are better off buying a new one, because the labor cost for removing the transmission is more than a new one."  Somehow we knew that.  

Maxwell Street

Maxwell Street, painting by John Carroll Doyle

Maxwell Street is an east-west street in Chicago, Illinois that intersects with Halsted Street just south of Roosevelt Road. It runs at 1330 South in the numbering system running from 500 West to 1126 West.[1] The Maxwell Street neighborhood is considered part of the Near West Side and is one of the city's oldest residential districts. It is notable as the location of the celebrated Maxwell Street Market and the birthplace of Chicago Blues and the "Maxwell Street Polish (sausage sandwich)." A large portion of the area is now the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), as well as a new private housing development sponsored by the university.  You could buy almost any thing from street peddlers.  Rich lost a hub cap on his car, so he went to Maxwell Steet and found the one he needed.  He asked for a price and then chewed the guy down to half of the asking price.  That is how you shopped on Maxwell Street.  Rich paid the guy and was happy with his new purchase until he got to his car and all of his hub caps were gone!  He was really mad, so he ran back to the Hub Cap guy and grabbed him by the shirt and threatened to beat him to a pulp, because he knew that one of his supply guys had stolen 3 of his hub caps.  The guy told him that he didn't know anything about the theft, but he believed that the customer is always right, so he went in the back of his shack and brought out 3 more hub caps and said, "No charge for you, have a nice day." 

That is it for now, my memories of Rich Dzingel are now on line for his children and grandchildren.  If you have a memory that you would like to share, please send it on and I'll post it with credit to you unless you want to remain anonymous.  My e-mail is posted below. 

 

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Dear Greg,

This was beautiful, thank you so much.  Yes, the saddest thing is that Rich did not even see one of his beautiful grandchildren.  Because so much is missing, maybe I will start one myself, trying to let my sons know that they were the most important people in his life. 

I was shocked about the staining????? to be honest Rich never stained anything in our house, I did it all. 

One thing I remember vividly is when you found out about Rich's cancer and you came over and sat with him on our deck for hours.  I can almost see you two, not hearing what was said, but knowing you were enjoying memories together.  God Bless you for taking the time for a friend.........

Jackie

   

Some of my memories

Morton Arboretum Seasons

Toys in the Attic

Memories of Adeline 

Michael is featured on the Earth Science Picture of The Day

My Planet Page

Mom's Cook Book

Scanned Slides from the 1970s

My Memories of Rich Dzingel

 

To E-mail Web master, just click here! g.lopatka@comcast.net

 

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