Gordon Petry

Profile Updated: April 28, 2010
Updated since your last visit
Residing In:
Pekin, IL USA
Spouse/Partner:
Patricia
Occupation:
Teacher/Musician/Writer
Children:
Michael Petry, born 1967, lives in Chicago, two blocks from Wrigley Field

Kristen Conroy, born 1969, lives in Naperville, 3 kids-Madison, Kyra and Braden (all soccer players and swimmers) Yes, Kris is the consumate soccer mom.

Megan Larson, born 1969, lives in Lake Zurich

Amy Walser, born 1971 lives in Waterloo, Iowa, 2 kids-Rebecca (a dancer) and Sam (a Lego engineer)

All four kids went to Illinois State and graduated in four years. (Thank goodness--do the math--we had three in college for four consecutive years) All four of our children taught in Illinois public schools. Meg is the only one still teaching.

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Gordon Petry posted a message.
3 weeks ago

Don,
Here's hoping you have a great birthday and an even better one next year. It was nice seeing you at the reunion. I hope we can have another-- 55th?
Have a great year,
Gordon

Gordon Petry posted a message.
3 weeks ago

Dear Diane,
Happy Birthday! I hope you have a great day and even better year. It was fun seeing you at the reunion ( and inspiring that you still fit into your Schurz sweater.)
Best wishes,
Gordon

Gordon Petry posted a message.
3 weeks ago

Ed,
Here's hoping you have a great birthday and year.
Another reunion would be fun, too.
Best wishes,
Gordon

Gordon Petry posted a message.
4 weeks ago

Dear Sandra,
Here's hoping you have a great birthday and year. I'm overwhelmed by your having 13 books published. Glad you are still writing and painting. I'm still writing and playing the piano, but no books published yet.
I would think golf would be more frustrating than boating and swimming, but Miami's swimming and boating would be in more comfortable weather, especially the swimming.
Best wishes for continued success,
Gordon

Gordon Petry posted a message.
4 weeks ago

Dear Paul,
I hope this latest birthday finds you happy and healthy. I can't believe it was four years ago that the class reunion was held. Again thank you and your wife for the excellent advice about my hip replacement. I'm thinking about trying to play tennis again, but my double vision adds another challenge. I tried shooting a free throw and missed by about four feet to the left. I guess I was aiming at the wrong basket. I'm doing fine. I freaked out a friend by describing the situation who was a passenger while I was driving. Fun!
I keep pretty busy with teaching at Bradley, giving piano lessons and being the head of the trustees at my church as well as song leader and replacement organist. I also have been taking some writing courses (Creative Writing, mystery writing and comedy writing).
I've had four short stories published and about a hundred rejections, so my batting average is just a little better than that of the Chicago Cubs.
Do you ever hear from Dick Hanus?
I've lost complete track of him.
I really hope that we can get together sometime, even it's at the next reunion.
My very sincerest wishes to you for a fantastic birthday and year,
Gordon

Gordon Petry posted a message.
5 weeks ago

Dear Joyce,
Here's hoping you have a great birthday and an even better year.
My wife and I went to the Panama Canal last year on a cruise and stopped at several islands including Costa Rico, and yes, it is very beautiful.
Best wishes,
Gordon

Gordon Petry posted a message.
6 weeks ago

Tom,
Happy birthday.
The tree planted outside the high school where I taught has an apple tree from Cobden. It was a gift from the basketball team after Cobden and Pekin played for the state basketball championship. I was rooting for Cobden as was almost the whole state except for Pekin residents.
I hope you're well and doing well.
Best wishes for a great year,
Gordon

Gordon Petry posted a message.
6 weeks ago

Dear Rich,
Happy birthday. I often think about those days learning how to play various sports in the alley behind your house. I wrote a short story about a kid skipping school to go the Wrigley Field for the Cubs opener, and tow of his friends were Bud and Rich. I don't know where I came up with those names, but I thought they sounded like a couple of regular guys who would be good friends.
It was great seeing you at the reunion. Have you won any contests for owning the ugliest mug? I still have mine (I think) unless my wife threw it out. Say hi for me the next time you see Bud or Pete.
Here's hoping you have a great day and a great year and many more.
Gord

Gordon Petry posted a message.
12 weeks ago

Carol,
Happy birthday!
I hope you have a great day and year. I think you will. I loved what a positive vibe you project. It's got to be contagious.
At least with your kids spread out, you have lots of excuses for short vacations.
Every once in a while I stop and realize how old I am, but I still think I'm 23, well, maybe 35.
Best wishes for many more happy memories,
Gordon

Gordon Petry posted a message.
12 weeks ago

Bill,
A day late, but thank you for your service in the army.
I hope you have a happy birthday. It's hard to think that we spent almost thirteen years of school together. It's even harder to think how long ago that was. I hope you are happy and healthy and will continue to be so for the rest of the year and many more after that.
I love your story about the woodshop teacher. I wonder if my students have similar funny stories to tell about me.
One question, now that you are living in Minnesota, have you developed a Svedish accent yet, you betcha by golly,eh? Sorry, I just couldn't resist. I had a Swedish uncle who spoke nothing like that, and neither did Rich Ivarson, now that I think about it.
Best wishes for a very happy birthday and many more.
Gordon

Gordon Petry posted a message.
15 weeks ago

Dear Susan,
I hope you have a great day and another great year.
How very nice that you are still an important part of your ex-mother-in-law's life. How difficult that must be to have to bury one child, much less three.
Lots of happiness always,
Gordon

Gordon Petry posted a message.
16 weeks ago

Dear Ruth.
What an uplifting life story! Nice things happen to nice people. I hope you have a great birthday and the rest of the year. Eight grandchildren, all living fairly close by, another blessing.
I wish continuing happiness to you and your family.
A sixtieth reunion? Maybe Dick will be ready to head up another one by then.
Happy birthday,
Gordon

Gordon Petry posted a message on Roberta (Bobbie) Moberg's Profile.
17 weeks ago

Bobbie,
How nice that you live close to your children and grandchildren. I have six, also, but the closest is two and a half hours away. The furthest is a little over four hours away in Iowa, so we miss a lot of their growing up. I hope you are staying well and wish you the best.
If, scratch that, when we get to have another reunion, I hope that you can make it. (Me, too, for that matter).
Happy Easter and Happy Birthday.
Gordon

Gordon Petry posted a message on Christine Rieger's Profile.
18 weeks ago

Christine,
Here's hoping you have a great birthday and the rest of year is great, too.
16 college degrees! Of course, that's probably old news by now, probably 18 to 20.
What a testament to the parents!
Let's hope we can all get together again, maybe even a less formal gathering, a picnic or something. It's so gratifying to hear the successes of our classmates.
Again, happy birthday
Gordon

Gordon Petry posted a message.
19 weeks ago

Dear Bonnie,
Here's hoping you have a very happy birthday, with many, many more to follow. I hope your cancer is gone or in remission. It is so inspiring to read how my old (oops, don't want to use that o word) my former classmates are doing so well.
I'm still working myself, down to two jobs,teaching English at Bradley University ( I should be grading some essays right now) and teaching piano at a local music store. I think I'd get bored just sitting at home although I think my wife, who is retired, is busier than I am.
Best wishes for a wonderful day,
Gordon

Gordon Petry posted a message.
24 weeks ago

Bud,
Who would have thought 50 years ago that we would still be toddling around. We are

now officially old enough to be the parents of the old guys we used to play softball

against at Kenwell. Unless I happen to look at a calendar and see the year, I don't feel

old. I want to go back and shoot hoops in the alley behind Rich's garage or play football

using the telephone poles at your house and Rich's as goal lines or play softball in that

same alley. I still hit to center field.

Apologies again for barfing in the back seat of your car after imbibing too much in Don

Swanson's basement. You guys were great washing my pants in a laundromat while I sat

out in the car. If I tried to put that incident into one of my stories, the editors would say,

"Nuh, uh. Unrealistic."

Speaking of drinking beer, I told one of my students about a comment you made after

you turned 21 about "Going to bars and drinking wasn't any fun any more." That


comment still resonates with me.

We're old, so officially I obligated to say, "I hope you are all healthy and doing well." All

that Norwegian blood, how could you be otherwise?

I hope we can get together some time again soon

Best wishes not only for a happy birthday, but also for another great year.

Gordon aka Gordie

P,S, I double spaced to make it easier to read

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Comments:

After graduating from Schurz, I was going to room with Ed Rice at Northern. He wound up at the U of I, and I went to ISU (or ISNU as it was back then) and roomed with Dick Hanus.

I never thought about being a teacher, but I got a teacher scholarship, which paid for almost everything except room and board. The catch was you had to teach for a year or three, or else you had to repay the money. Hey, I can do anything for a while. Forty-six years later, I'm still teaching. Besides teaching English (grammar,writing and literature) in public schools, 7th grade though 12th grade, I also taught creative writing and etymology and coached tennis for 20 seasons.

I've given tennis lessons, private, YWCA, park district, Illinois Central College. I've taught piano lessons, guitar lessons, a little voice and some musical composition. I'm a choir director/accompanist for one church and song leader/ assistant organist for another.

I've taught tennis in a church parking lot for the Y. I've taught short story, poetry and play writing in the Pekin Federal Prison on a NEA grant. (I probably am one of the few who was sorry to leave.)

My youngest student was four and my oldest was 84?
In addition to 32 years of junior high/ high school teaching, I taught English for Illinois Central College for seven years and at Bradley University for 15 and counting.

I'm beginning to think I like teaching. I hope all that fulfills the scholarship requirements, so I don't have to repay the money.

My wife Pat and I went on a European vacation, a gift from my son Mike. Another year we went to England the same time as Mike and his wife. With some friends we took an Alaska cruise one year and visited Ireland the next. (Some wonderful deals on line--And yes, I kissed the Blarney stone). My wife and I took a tour of Italy last year. Venice was our favorite.

I wrote a tennis column for a newspaper for two years. I've had a few stories published and just this year, two of my plays were produced.

My wife and kids gave me a wonderful birthday present last year. I got to spend some time with the penguins at Brookfield Zoo, not swimming, but feeding and petting. FUN!

Finally, (and not a minute too soon, I can hear you out there) I met my wife at Illinois State in, of all places, an English class. She wouldn't go out with me at first because I had a full (well, scruffy at least) beard grown for my part in Brigadoon. We were married two weeks after graduation (out of one institution and into another).

She also taught in the Illinois Public schools, first, Momence and then Pekin. She just retired from working as manager of a photography studio. I call her my trophy wife because she is three months younger than me. She has put up with me through thick and thin, and yes, I'm talking about my waistline and hairline, respectively.

I'm looking forward to seeing all of you and renewing some old friendships.

School Story:

1st person I met --Bob Bell, That insured that my four years at Schurz would be fun

Amy Stodola--I still know how to diagram a sentence (and still hate it)

Miss Falkenroth--What a gentle soul. She'd ask, "What's the square root of four?" and get a answer like "Seven?"
And no matter how bad your answer was she'd gently say, "I don't think so." If Bob Bell makes it to the reunion, ask him for his "spot on" imitation.

Uncle Charley--I was in his physics class when the snowball fight broke out, and he didn't notice. I did learn about pyrex in that class, after breaking a non-pyrex vase with too much heat.

Miss Wincher--rascals would write at the top of her blackboard "Miss Wincher can't reach this," and she couldn't.

Mr. Mcarthy's history class. On the oral quizzes, true was a step forward and false was a step back. He had to know. It sounded like a parade.

Mr. Mietke changing shirts between classes (and pretending to be afraid of Tod Engel--Angel of Death translated from German.)

The biology teacher who describing the size of some worm, gave the class the finger (for quite a while).

John Schwartz--the most outstanding athletic achievement--On the first day of our naked swimming classes (another story for another time), we jumped in the shallow end and swam to the deep end to prove we could swim. John jumped in and then leapt completely free of the water yelling "I can't swim." I've never seen anything like it.

Speaking of PE, I remember holding on to my pants when running to and from the ball diamond. A lot of "pantsing" went on as we ran past the classroom windows.

Don Swanson and I decided to go out for tennis our freshman year. We were too shy to go out as an individual. Neither of us had ever played. Only six people went out for the team. We made the varsity. Our opponents were astonished at how bad we were. But I did earn a varsity letter, my senior year, which I received two days before graduation.

Bud Eldvedt--first of my friends to own a car, and we packed it to go to school on cold days.

Poster parties-enough said.

Miss Minnis--who fell in love with everything I wrote that last semester and read my papers to all of her classes. Thank you. You deserve all the credit (or blame) for me becoming an English teacher.

Last memory--being a human sardine in the third floor hallway right where it intersected the triangle. Talk about up close and personal! And we only had four minutes to get to the next class.

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