Publisher's Note

The Golden Days of Growing Up

My first recollection of writing was on a summer vacation, when our family would take long road trips, usually headed west. My dad had constructed a wooden pallet to level out the hump in the backseat of the family sedan, which allowed me to nap, play with my paper dolls and write. (Of course, this was prior to the age of mandatory seat belts.) I wrote my first “book” on one trip…little did I realize that publishing would one day be in my future.

Likewise, the consensus among local authors of children’s books is that their love affairs with the written word began at an early age. Most often, you write about what you know, and many of them incorporate their experiences growing up in central Illinois into their stories. The Klise sisters, for example, put their memories of growing up on Moss Avenue to good use, sometimes as a direct setting and nearly always as inspiration. Pick up one of our local authors’ books at I Know You Like a Book or elsewhere, and encourage a lifelong love of reading in your youngsters.

When I turned 16 and started working, my father insisted I buy a car and picked out a ‘57 Chevy for me. But I couldn’t get a handle on the manual transmission, so he let me drive his car, and he drove that beauty until I could afford a newer model. My dad could name the make and model of anything on the road. There is nothing like those classic machines, something the members of the Central Illinois Cruisers Car Club know well. Progress is great, but so is a reverence for the past—such as the golden evenings Cruisers founder Chuck McCarty spent cruising Peoria’s Main Street in the late ‘60s.

Speaking of road trips, there are seven fun summer drives waiting for you should you choose to crisscross the state and visit each of the Seven Wonders of Illinois. So far this year, I’ve been to one, when I took in the Cubs/Cards rivalry at the venerable Wrigley Field. There truly is nothing like fun at the ol’ ballpark! For more on Wrigley and the other six Wonders of Illinois, click here.

Lawrence Fogelberg was my music teacher at Pekin High School, and I always loved “Leader of the Band,” his famous son’s tribute to his dad. I attended the Dan Fogelberg tribute concert in 2008, which was simply amazing, despite being plagued by a series of weather-related disasters. This year’s concert at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, in conjunction with a memorial dedication on the Peoria riverfront, features many of the same musicians and promises to cap off an amazing weekend of events in honor of one of the city’s favorite sons. Click here for more details.

Please note that distribution changes are coming with the next issue of this magazine. Due to rising postage and paper increases, coupled with growing demand for art & society, we will begin mailing the magazine only to paid subscribers, but will offer complimentary copies available for pick-up at many more locations. If you would like to maintain guaranteed home delivery, visit and subscribe today—don’t miss the September/October issue! a&s