HISTORY OF GEORGE H. AND HAZEL L. FULKS
Dedicated to "The All-seeing Eye"
(Those tiny villages in Central Illinois are forever worlds. Those towns are places where people dream, and some came true.)
American Novelist John Steinbeck
A successful American twentieth century novelist, John Steinbeck, came forth in
support of the lifestyles, values, and virtues of living a simple and carefree existence; not overstressing ones importance. It is supposed that those are some of
the reasons the Fulks family was placed within the village of Harvel.
John Steinbeck's novels were on a required list from the college literature classes. Finding time to injest their content and to interpret was comparable to packing another sardine into a filled can. This composer recalls reading: (1)East Of Eden; (2)Cannery Row; (3)Travels With Charlie; (4)The Grapes Of Wrath;(5)Wayward Bus. Dubious pieces of comprehension and open ends made for a lifetime of questions never to be answered with certainty.
That's one thing that was great about Steinbeck's novels. For a head start in college and two years progress in reading ability, students should read and interpret all of these books. One chapter each day will get one there.
Novelist John Steinbeck made no effort to disguise his conviction that the
most satisfying lifestyle was that chosen by those who lived and deceased under simple circumstances. Steinbeck did not achieve satisfaction from encountering people, and he
deplored anyone who embraced tradition. Those attitudes, with little doubt, may be
from childhood environment and personal experiences.
(Many political appointments are bought with cash and other personal favors. Was Steinbeck's Pulitzer
Prize purchased in some way? If so, it's satisfactory to this writer.)
The Move To Harvel, Illinois
When Hazel Louise Hunter Fulks and I made the move from Waggoner to Harvel, Illinois, the year was approximately 1969. Having more than one reason for choosing Harvel for a residence, two considerations were- it was situated within thirty minutes of all of the attendance centers in Panhandle School District, Unit #2, and the students at Harvel Grade School were extremely friendly and supportive. For the most part, a visit to the grade school there was a self-confidence and ego-booster. That I needed. My two years as a highschool teacher had been filled with extra duties but with no compensation. Another consideration was that, as a whole, the old-time people there were apparently cordial and supportive.
Purchasing a new mobile home during that first year in Harvel, we were able to rent a lot near Rueben Smith and wife, Buddy Hackett and wife, Mrs. Anna Fraley, and the Neunabers. We were in a peaceful neignborhood, and we were able to maintain privacy to a high degree.
Having the distinction of being Harvel's oldest resident, Anna Fraley was a wonderful lady who lived in a tiny, two-story house very near our trailer. Anna's son, Kelly Fraley, was just across the street. Neither were hard-boiled or stero-types sometimes portrayed as small-town Midwesterners. Those were kind, humble, and gentle folks. Sharing stories with me of old earlier times in that village, some of
those accounts I still recall.( I feel that Anna Fraley was the most wonderful lady I ever met.)
A man named Charlie Prange inhabited a modern home behind Hazel and me. Charlie
was not in good health, but he did not cause us problems. Very seldom was he seen
outside. We did not become closely acquainted, but he seemed to have been a good man.
Living within that mobile home at that location for two or more years, we experienced two unnerving weather phenomonon. Spotting a twister approaching us from the Southwest, it did not touch the ground; very skillfully passing less than one-hundred feet over the area. A sustained wind of 70-80 miles per hour frightened Hazel and me. That wind continued into three days and nights. Becoming wary of living in the mobile home, we began searching for a house in which to live.
Edward Bloome was owner of a house and lot on Main Street. A man and his family took over payments on our trailer and moved it to Thayer, Illinois. Hazel and I rented the Bloome's house for just a little more than our mobile home payment had been. Ed Bloome was an excellent landlord. For a time we were good friends and associates, but my personal appearance was offensive to some of our neighbors.
Other school teachers resided in Harvel; some employed within neighboring school districts. There was Edward Bloome who commuted to Springfield, District 186. Hazel Thacker worked with the Hillsboro School District. Working along side me, a traveling reading teacher, were Helen "Dolly" Kellenberger, Dorthy Smith, Pauline Brune, and Wilma Lebeck. Those are the ones with whom I was acquainted. As is usual with public school teachers, we were so busy performing our duties that we had little time for controversy. Of course, there will be some gossip among people. That's a human kind of thing.(A documentary filmed in Poland and another from Germany showed neighbors and people on city streets exchanging verbal insults.)
The House Next Door
Living in the house next door to the one Hazel and I were renting from Edward Bloome was an elderly
man by the name of Wally Stewart. Wally did not enjoy being in that neighborhood, and he offered to sell his remodeled place to us for a very reasonable price. Through a loan requiring no down payment from Farmers Home Administration, we closed on the loan and moved
in less than thirty days. That was about 1973.
Fortunately, no moving-van was required. On a snowy and icy day, I laid out twelve sheets of plywood. That plywood reached from the backdoor of Edward Bloome's home to the rear of the one we had bought. Maudie Hunter, Hazel's mother, was visiting from Western Kentucky. She, Hazel, and I transferred all of our furnishings from one house to the other. How convenient and fortunate we were!
Our oldest daughter Kristal Vanessa Fulks Durbin Poggi had been born December 12, 1972. Less than one year old when we moved into Wally's remodeled house, we were comfortable there until our divorce during 1989.
Neither the streets or neighborhoods there in Harvel were restricted. The entire village is surrounded by soy bean fields, land on which corn is grown, and there are livestock on many of those farms. The towns and farms are inhabited by those
people acknowledged by President Abraham Lincoln. "God surely must have loved plain
people. He made so many of them".
Acknowledgment of Lincoln's contributions to "World and American History" should not be interpreted as meaning that George Harold Fulks is involved in any religious group or that I prescribe to a "one being" philosophy. I do not know what is responsible for creation. That I shall never know.
A Piece Of Original Harvel
In 1996, a son-in-law and I placed vinyl siding on our 1870's home in Harvel, Illinois. That was an excellent physical conditioner. Central air-
conditioning was installed.
John And Mary Tenbusch
Two German immigrants and American citizens, John and Mary Tenbusch, were our close neighbors and friends. Always cordial and conversationalists, John Tenbusch was a man of many talents and skills. John deceased during the 1980's. John developed a brain tumor.
Jennifer Gail Fulks, a daughter, is being pursued from inside the
house, but she's physically and mentally fit.
Finding A House
Proud to occupy a peice of "original Harvel," the Fulks family chose a German-style house constructed during the 1870's. Wally Stewart had purchased the home at auction. Remodeling the house, it was done well; mostly with materials he had scavaged. Equipped with a modern natural gas heating system, an electric waterheater, and airconditioning, its heating and cooling costs were economical.I was proud of our remodeled home in that Central Illinois village, and the cost of purchasing it was under $100 monthly. We had found a place we could afford on teacher's pay.(An interesting sideline were the ghosts that lived-in and visited us there. Never before had I placed any credibility as to the reality of such things.)
A 2009 shot of the livingroom and bay window at our Harvel, Illinois residence; now abandoned. I enjoy spooky surroundings.
Here's Tracy Denise Fulks when a student at Lincolnwood Highschool. Aa unexplainable phenomena shattered a mirror in my daughter's bedroom; perhaps an angry spirit.
The Grocery And Meat Market Burn
Affecting the quality of life for those residing within the village of Harvel was the loss of Warnsing's Grocery during the year 1989. Dick Vickery, a close neighbor
of mine after I had moved to Raymond following a divorce, brought to my attention that the Raymond and Harvel Fire Departments had been called to Harvel for assistance in extinguishing a fire at Max Warnsing's Grocery and Meat Processing Plant.
Dawn Hughes, Dewey Weller Junior, and I drove to Harvel and watched that grocery burn down. It was a fire that had begun with a short circuit in wiring leading to the store's refrigeration system. Despite being a brick structure that building was destroyed within thirty minutes. We, observing from a safe distance, were saddened to watch an important part of Harvel village being reduced to rubble. After that fire, the village was not the same. Three miles away was a grocery in Raymond, and five miles north was another in Morrisonville. Harvel's grocery has not been reconstructed.
Taken from Harvel were its school, its grocery, and its gas station- conveniences that are important for a city. Perhaps those will return in the future.
My Part In WWII
Here were George Harold and Hazel Louise Voltz.(Fulks)Flying
fighter cover in North Africa for Tiger Tanks, our infantry were thrown back by
overwhelming American and British forces. I was shot-down but parachuted to safety.
Taken prisoner, I spent over two years in a POW camp within the British Isles. Making war was not a thing I would have chosen to do, but I was called into the service as an aviator. I could not refuse.
Following Jessie's Advice
A Son-in-law recently commented that he felt that I should visit an abandoned home located in Harvel, Illinois. Into April, 2010, the decision was made to heed his suggestion.
Upon arrival there, I found that what was our family home has a new roof, some work was done to windows, and a section of vinyl siding has been added. There's a new entrance door, but a storm door for the back of our home is missing. A decorative but genuine old-time wagon wheel sits unpainted and ruined against a front exterior
wall. Also interesting to find was that most of the sticks, branches, and fallen leaves have accumulated on the 100'X 100' lot on which the home stands. Needless to state, the results of that trip would have caused a stress lump to form in the thorax of most normal people. This writer drove away fifteen minutes later unscarred. Ever hear the expression "parr for the course"?
What Living In Harvel Was Like
In summarizing the years we lived in Harvel, it was a good place to reside. It's difficult to enter far into the negative spheres. Providing a safe haven for our family of five, our three girls were born and raised either there or in the vicinity, and they made several lifetime friends and acquaintenances there in the Panhandle School District. While they occasionally misbehaved st school, the methods used in their control were not oppressive. As a teacher, I could work and return to that home without police escort and protection. We could walk most streets without
threat or intimidation. We could sleep at night with little fear of having our home
invaded. A list of advantages of living in a small village could continue, but those were among the most significant to me.
Some credibility lies in the concept that many finiky, particular, and habitually
difficult in their personal relationships often exit Harvel to find residence in other places. The villages' cemetary is located approximately one-quarter mile East;
just off a farmroad. Most of those who remain Harvel dwellers most often choose that cemetary as their final resting place. Several lay there who were friendly, cordial, and helpful towards my families' survival in the village for thirty or more years. I'm choosing creamation.
Tom Chesser Visits Each Day
Find my thoughts returning to Mr. Thomas Chesser's (owner of Chesser's Island on Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge near Folkston, Georgia) quotations from scripture that: "The book of life is completed from its beginning to its end. We cannot change it." It is felt by this writer that even the decisions people make leading to a certain ending are predestined. Having no knowledge of how my part was written,
Harvel, Illinois is on the pages of that book. In a sense, I'm pleased with the outcome.