OF BONDAGE - Chapter 4
By Wayne Hamburger
VOCATIONAL PURSUIT, ADVANCED EDUCATION AND MARITAL ADJUSTMENTS
Wayne was 23 years of age when he returned from Korea in 1954. He and Mandel had been able to save some money during the time that he was overseas, but they both knew that this would not last long with both unemployed. When his plans to return to F. W. Woolworth did not materialize, he immediately began looking for employment in the local market. The young couple made their home with Mandel's mother during the time he was job hunting. He was interviewed for an insurance company representative and a bakery goods salesman without success. He put in applications at several small businesses and there were just no openings.
As described, the main industry in this area of Illinois was coal mining. Wayne had decided that he would not follow his grandfathers and other relatives into the mining industry. He had witnessed the coughing, wheezing and agonizingly painful breathing of older coal miners who had spent their lives underground. Mining was the most lucrative of all the occupations available; however, the overall price that one paid to work in the mines was not worth it to Wayne. One of his uncles had been killed in the coal mines and Mandel's father had his life cut short from working in the mines. Practically every miner suffered with a condition called "black lung." As the young couple's finances dwindled, options were reduced to the point that Wayne was willing to take about anything that would pay a regular salary.
Three months of searching finally paid off. Word was spread that temporary state government jobs were available, providing applicants were of the right political party. Since the Republicans were in control of the statehouse in Springfield, Illinois, it was necessary to be a Republican to get one of those jobs. Wayne immediately decided to be a Republican even though his father had been a life-long Democrat. Practicality, at that point, was more important than ideology. A visit was made to the local Republican precinct committeeman for support. The old gentleman who served as the precinct committeeman was disturbed about appointing the son of a Democrat, but after sincere promises made by Wayne that he would register immediately as a Republican, the old man consented. With his backing, Wayne was soon hired and was able to start employment as a claims examiner in the Illinois Employment Office at Murphysboro, Illinois.
The job was in the unemployment division and Wayne's job was to interview persons laid off from work to determine their eligibility for unemployment compensation. It's ironic that Wayne never considered the option of unemployment compensation for himself after his military service. At any rate, the job paid the grand sum of $176.00 per month. This was about one-half the amount he had earned as a staff sergeant.
Mandel and Wayne rented a four-room house in the community of Old DuQuoin, which is located a few miles southeast of DuQuoin. Wayne purchased a 1946 Chevrolet from one of Mandel's nephews so that he could commute the 23 miles to Murphysboro for his employment. His driving skills were less than adequate. He had learned to drive a jeep while serving in Korea. That experience was enough to qualify him for an Illinois driver's license, but not enough to make him a skilled driver.
There were some close calls as he learned the intricacies of driving. He once got as far as Dowell, Illinois (five miles from his home) when the Chevy froze up in below zero weather. Another time he started backing out of his brother-in-law's driveway with Mandel and her mother as front seat passengers. Wayne did not notice that his mother-in-law had not completely entered the car before he put the car in reverse. The result of that oversight was that the open door jammed into a tree trunk which was near the driveway. Fortunately, nothing was hurt other than Wayne's pride.
After obtaining employment, Wayne and Mandel decided that they could take enough money from their savings to buy some new furniture for their rented house. Instead of purchasing furniture locally, they decided to travel 75 miles to Cape Girardeau, Missouri. There was no explanation for that other than it was a larger community than DuQuoin and offered more than one furniture dealer. The new furniture arrived while Wayne was at work and Mandel could hardly contain herself while she waited for him to see their newly furnished home. The dilapidated coal stove looked rather out of place in the midst of all the new furniture, yet the happy couple didn't mind.
The temporary job with the State of Illinois lasted until July 1955. Luckily for the Hamburgers, a new job turned up with the DuQuoin Packing Company. The job consisted of selling food products such as cheese, canned biscuits, margarine, jellies and miscellaneous foods from a refrigerated truck. The negative aspect of the new job was that it required the expense of relocating from Old DuQuoin to Centralia, Illinois. Wayne was ill-suited for sales and hated the job from the start. His cheese products were manufactured by the Borden Company and provided small competition for the more well-known Kraft Foods Company in the area. The most distasteful part of the job was the pressure that businesses put on the salesman to cut the price of products that were established by the DuQuoin Packing Company. Wayne's predecessor had relinquished part of his own sales commission to bribe buyers. These same businesses expected as much from Wayne and he hated being caught in the middle. He never liked sharing his own salary with his customers.
If this was not discouraging enough, it was made worse by the poor relationship he had with his boss. Wayne had been hired by one of the owners of the company, yet his immediate boss was someone that he had experienced an unpleasant run-in with during his high school days. The boss had a disagreeable disposition to begin with and it added to the tension between them. This was heightened even more when Wayne's paternal grandmother passed away and the boss refused to give him time off to attend the funeral. Wayne had to go to the company president to get permission to leave his work assignment and attend the funeral. The boss was furious with Wayne for going over his head to the president, but it was the only way he knew to get the matter resolved. All was settled from an unexpected source in the spring of 1956. The union employees of the packing company went on strike, causing a complete shutdown of operations.
Wayne was called to work once again by the Illinois State Government two weeks after the packing company strike started. He had taken a civil service exam a few weeks previously, not knowing whether or not he would ever be hired again by the State of Illinois. An old friend from church had talked him into taking the examination. When he received a passing grade on the test and was advised that an opening existed, he was elated. He once again had to clear all the political hurdles by getting approval from precinct committeemen, county chairmen, etc. The open position was in Murphysboro just as before; however, this time the opening was in the Illinois Public Aid Department. The Republican County Judge was also the chairman of the Welfare Advisory Board which controlled the hiring in the Illinois Public Aid Department. The judge paved the way for the hiring which started a 30-year career for Wayne in the Welfare Department.
Although hired for an opening in Jackson County, Illinois, it was decided that Wayne's training would be conducted in Randolph County at Chester, Illinois. Wayne and Mandel moved into a home on Keough Drive in Murphysboro and he commuted to Chester each day for his assignment there. The regional super visory staff had decided that the Randolph County Administrator was better equipped to handle Wayne's training.
The long-range plan was to have Wayne supervise a unit of caseworkers in Jackson County and it was not considered a good idea to have him trained in the same office where he was to become a supervisor. The entry level position was as a Visitor I. Normally, an individual had to work several years to advance to a supervisory position. Of course, Wayne was unaware of the behind-the-scene maneuvering. These elaborate plans were all made because some serious personnel problems had developed in Jackson County and the head of the department was convinced that an outsider would be better able to handle the difficult problems.
When Wayne reported to Chester for his new assignment, he found that his boss was a lady a few years older than himself. She was a warm, friendly, unmarried woman whose work was her paramount interest. She proved to be an excellent teacher. Wayne adapted to the work quickly, enjoying the rapid pace that was set for his training. The work force was a small unit of three elderly lady caseworkers, two young clerical girls, and the administrator. They were all a bit amused by having a male worker in the office and rather charmed by the fact that they had the assignment of training him in his new job. This was not very amusing to Mandel. She was more than a little jealous, knowing that her husband was spending his days with six women. Although Wayne was a bit uncomfortable in that setting, he knew that he had a limited time in which to learn the complex manuals, interview techniques, and supervisory skills.
The administrator instructed Wayne to read through hundreds of pages of manuals, directives, rules, and State and Federal regulations and laws. She quizzed him each day after several hours of study. She posed hypothetical problems and directed Wayne to find the answers in order to solve them. He made lists of problems for which he could not find answers and then his supervisor helped him work his way through them. She stressed the importance of treating clients with dignity and respect while trying to establish their eligibility for assistance. She often stressed the point that it was much more important to know where one could find the answer rather than trying to have an immediate answer to every problem.
When she was convinced that Wayne was ready to meet clients, she assigned him to accompany one of the elderly caseworkers. The work consisted of visiting in public aid recipients’ homes to verify their need for assistance. The caseloads were made up of clients receiving aid to the aged, blind, disabled and homes with needy children. Although Wayne had grown up in a poor home, he was not prepared for what he encountered during the home visits. Wayne's parents were poor but clean. This was not always the situation in public aid homes. Many of the clients lived in filth with animals and insects scurrying about. It was common to see roaches crawling on the wall, refrigerator, stove and on the floor. Bedbugs infested the beds and upholstered furniture. The hair of children's heads was full of crawling lice. When Wayne was invited to sit down in a home, he always chose a wooden or metal chair that he could examine closely. Often, he chose to stand while he conducted his interview and made notes. The worst conditions ever encountered were at a small shack inhabited by an elderly gentleman on Kaskaskia Island. His home was a one-room wooden structure with a dirt floor. Cats, dogs, chickens, and pigs moved freely in and out of the open door and were using the floor as the bathroom. The stench was almost unbearable.
Wayne experienced several unusual situations during his caseworker days and some of the best remembered cases involve visits to the Menard State Prison. The prison was located near Chester, Illinois within a couple of miles of the public aid office. Since Wayne was the only male staff member, he was assigned to interview potential clients at the prison. When disabled prisoners neared the end of their sentence, they applied for disability assistance so they would have support outside prison. Some "dependent children" families were dependent because the father had been sent to prison. In such cases, it was necessary to interview the inmates about contact with their families. Some worked in prison industries and sent small amounts of money to their families. Regardless of the amount, contributions had to be verified by a public aid caseworker.
On one trip to the prison, Wayne had to interview a man who had been convicted of rape. He was housed in a special area of the prison isolated from the general population. The usual procedure was to bring the prisoner to the visitor's room for interviews, but with rapists the warden did not follow that plan. Wayne had to be taken to the man's cell and locked in the cell with the inmate while the interview took place. It was of little comfort that an armed guard sat outside the cell watching every move. Even though this event happened 40 years ago, Wayne has never forgotten the eerie feeling of being locked in a cell. It is even more chilling to think of the horrible riot that took place in that prison a few years later. A close friend of Wayne's who served as a lieutenant at Menard was killed by an inmate. A number of other guards were also killed in that insurrection.
The most repulsive public aid cases were the ones where there had been incest between fathers and their daughters. Some families had several children that were the result of incest. Many of the offspring from these encounters were mentally retarded or physically disabled. The proliferation of such lawlessness produced one generation after another of dependent humans. A few cases were prosecuted, but in many other cases the law enforcement personnel were helpless in solving the situation. Seemingly, when one perpetrator was imprisoned, another took his place.
Wayne also found that being a caseworker to nursing home clients was depressing. Part of his caseload was in the Randolph County Nursing Home. Even though that facility was one of the best in the state, it was still saddening to see human beings living out their final days with nothing to look forward to except their own demise. Most of the patients who were coherent welcomed Wayne's visits. Many had no other visitor except the caseworker. All wanted to be back in their own homes, and once they realized this was not possible, life had no meaning.
State employees were instructed to treat all clients with dignity and courtesy and under no circumstances accept gifts from those receiving aid. Some clients were so appreciative of the help they received that they wanted to reciprocate in some small way. Wayne was really alarmed one day when he arrived home to find that one of his clients had secretly placed a dozen ears of corn in his car while he was distracted. He had no way of knowing which of his clients had given the gift to him, and he was terribly worried that his employer may find out and discharge him for disobeying the rules.
Wayne was especially apprehensive about visiting in the homes of young mothers. Some of these clients had numerous children fathered by various men. Often, the mother had been with so many men that she didn't even know who had fathered her children. This type of client was frightening to him because a male caseworker could easily be put in a compromising position solely on the word of a desperate mother. In order to receive assistance for a child, a mother had to name someone as the father. Very often, innocent men were named just to meet the requirements of the law. Wayne was cautious enough to insist that he was never without other witnesses present for each of these home visits.
The vast majority of clients were honest and thankful for the help they received. These individuals helped to make the job rewarding and meaningful. Caseworkers always had to be aware of fraudulent claims in spite of the honesty of most clients. Often, dishonesty was easy to detect, while at other times it was impossible to do so. Even in fraudulent cases, there were innocent children involved, and this made it difficult for the caseworker to enforce the law in its entirety. The eight months that Wayne spent at Chester seemed to fly by. During that year, he was able to purchase their first new car, a 1956 two-tone blue Ford Fairlane Tudor. It was their first large purchase and first experience with car financing. Those payments seemed to go on a lifetime.
1 Another experience recalled from 1956 was involved with baseball. Wayne frequently ate his lunch at a restaurant across the street from the public aid office. The establishment had a television set tuned to the World Series on that particular October day. A World Series historical event occurred on that date because Don Larsen pitched a perfect game for the New York Yankees. Wayne was privileged to watch part of that game at Eggemeyer's bar and grill in Chester, Illinois. As a baseball fan, Wayne can never forget being a part of the television audience for that historical event.
Wayne had barely worked more than a few weeks in the Chester area when the regional supervisor made an unusual request. He asked Wayne to take a temporary assignment in Tazewell County, which was located in the middle of the state. This was especially perplexing to Wayne because his training had just started and he had no funds to tide him over while away from home. He was asked to check into a motel in Pekin, Illinois and report to the Tazewell County Administrator for a work assignment. He learned that the county had experienced a severe shortage of workers due to a number of resignations. Wayne was asked to step in and fill the role of an experienced caseworker. Although he was ill equipped to investigate cases, he still was able to uncover a number of cases of ineligibility. After two weeks, another supervisor came to Wayne's rescue when he realized that Wayne would have to borrow money to remain in Tazewell County. Wayne and Mandel were both relieved when he was directed to return to Chester.
A little later, Wayne was sent to Springfield to complete his training and Mandel accompanied him. Money was still very scarce and they dined on bologna sandwiches in the motel room. They eventually learned to cope with the government's late payrolls and slow reimbursement for expenses. Motel expenses had to be paid by the employee to the vendor and then the employee had to wait a month for the state to pay him back. Very often, reimbursements were not received for more than six weeks after the bills were sent to Springfield. It became rather routine for the young couple to ask creditors to be patient with them while they were waiting for money to pay their bills. Experienced government employees learned to build up a nest egg for the times the legislature failed to fund the state departments so that employees could be reimbursed.
According to the previous arrangements, Wayne was transferred to the Jackson County Public Aid Office on January 2, 1957. He was promoted to the payroll position of Visitor II. He assumed the responsibility of supervising six persons with the title of Visitor I. His immediate supervisor was William Wanstreet, who held the position of Public Aid County Superintendent. Bill Wanstreet was an affable, patient, understanding and compassionate man. He proved to be a fabulous boss. He had served in the infantry in the South Pacific during the war and had lost his left arm to Japanese machine gun bullets during an invasion of an enemy stronghold.
Bill was embarrassed about his appearance because his arm had been severed at the shoulder and he never knew quite what to do with his empty shirt sleeve. He was shy around the opposite sex and never dated. He made his home with an old maid aunt (who showered him with affection and kindness). Bill was especially attentive to the needs of children, disabled persons, and all veterans. Wayne was taught during his training period to follow the rules regardless of the circumstances. Bill believed that rules could be stretched or compromised if there was the possibility of helping someone. While Wayne was taught to look for ways to make applicants ineligible, Bill practiced a more humane approach which found a way to help people. Gradually, Wayne learned from Bill that there are always gray areas not covered by the rules. In fact, he learned that very few situations are distinctively black or white. Wayne will forever be grateful to Bill for teaching him to be responsive to the needs of human beings.
Wayne and Bill spent many long hours conferring about work activities and many unrelated subjects. Working hours were unimportant to Bill and he kept Wayne long after the five o'clock closing time. Bill was a very devoted Catholic who practiced his religion in his daily activities. Wayne learned tolerance for religious groups not affiliated with the Pentecostal movement. His association with Bill Wanstreet revealed to him that many of the religious teachings of his youth were false. It was during this period that Wayne learned first-hand that there are devoted Christians in every denomination, and good, decent people who are non-Christian.
In the fall of 1957 the public assistance office was moved from an upstairs location to a more accessible place in the downtown area on Walnut Street. The staff had just become acclimated to its new surroundings when a major emergency arose. On an unusually warm December day, a tornado came roaring through southwestern Illinois with Murphysboro in its path. Wayne had never seen a tornado before, but the details of the havoc of such a storm can never be erased from one’s memory once it occurs.
Mandel called Wayne at his office at 4:55 P. M. to tell him that a storm warning was on television. The warning indicated that a tornado had swept through Gorham, Illinois and was headed toward Murphysboro. She was extremely frightened and wanted Wayne to come home immediately. He assured her that he would be there soon and would be delayed just a few minutes longer, just long enough to sign some mail. At 5:00 P. M., an employee opened the back door which led to the parking lot. Everyone just stood and gaped through the open door as the tornado roared overhead about three blocks south of the office. Bill yelled for everyone to go to the basement, but it was too late for that. Wayne stood in awe as he witnessed the huge swirling funnel carrying trees, houses, cars, appliances and thousands of other items in its grasp. The sight of it remains indelible in his mind.
Wayne hurriedly jumped in his car and started to traverse his usual route to his home. He could tell that the path of the tornado had followed along the Big Muddy River and was away from the business section of the town but very close to his home. Traveling down 17th Street, he encountered trees, houses and power lines in his path. He turned around and went over to 21st Street, which would lead him to Commercial Street where his home was located. As he got nearer to his home, he could see the vast devastation of the storm. Wayne's rented house was painted a bright yellow and when he crested a hill on 21st Street and saw his house still standing, he prayed a prayer of thanksgiving. All the homes on the street just south of Commercial Street were gone. Some remains were burning as a result of ruptured gas lines.
As Wayne pulled into his driveway and saw Mandel standing in the doorway, it was one of the happiest moments of his life. Next to the driveway a long board had been driven into the ground by the force of the wind. It could not be pulled free and had to be sawed off. Wayne and Mandel held each other and continued to give thanks for their safety. Many of their neighbors were not so fortunate. The storm had killed eight people and injured dozens of others. Several groped around in a daze, not knowing what to do. Wayne and Mandel were in such shock that they were not thinking clearly enough to render assistance to those who needed it. They hurriedly jumped in the car and drove to DuQuoin to seek the comfort of Mandel's mother's home. As they drove down Walnut Street through the business district, there was debris everywhere. They would not learn until later just how damaging the storm had been. In his haste to get away from the destruction, Wayne had forgotten that the primary responsibility of his job was to help others. The public aid agency was the only facility in town that was available to co-ordinate emergency services from the state capitol in Springfield to those in need. The American Red Cross requested that the public aid staff assist it in arranging for temporary shelter, food and clothing for those that were left homeless. Bill Wanstreet was well prepared to direct the operations due to his experience as a military officer. The St. Andrews Catholic School was designated as the disaster relief headquarters and shelter. When Wayne returned to his office the next morning and found that all the staff except for himself and Bill were at the disaster relief headquarters, he felt ashamed that he had not stayed in the community and helped render assistance. Bill had tried to reach him, but didn't know where he was. Wayne was assigned the task of coordinating the local needs with the supplies and materials that were to be forwarded from Springfield. He spent hours on the telephone each day in that effort. Although Bill did not criticize Wayne for his actions early in the emergency, Wayne did receive an object lesson that would remain with him the rest of his life. His youth and lack of experience were greatly responsible for his actions, but never again would he fail to grasp the significance of being prepared for an emergency. Crises bring out both the best and worst in humans, and most don't know which direction they will go until tested. In an emergency, it is heartwarming to see the generosity of some, and disgusting to see those who loot and make false claims.
Wayne developed a genuine appreciation for the American Red Cross. During his military service he had formed biased opinions about this organization (based on false rumors). When he saw first hand how the American Red Cross came to the aid of the population in Murphysboro, he changed his thinking. The Salvation Army also performed in an outstanding manner, not only in the aftermath of the tornado, but also in many other emergencies throughout the years. Government agencies are supplemented time and again by these two organizations. For many years, the residents who lived near the Big Muddy River were flooded out of their homes, and each time these two organizations met the people's needs.
Wayne and Mandel considered themselves extremely fortunate to have escaped injury and the loss of their home during the tornado. Lives were lost and much of their neighborhood was destroyed. The vivid image of the National Guard soldiers patrolling the neighborhood to prevent looting remains. These memories, along with the smell of ruptured gas lines, burning debris, and the faces of the homeless cannot be easily forgotten. Only those who had a deep, abiding faith in God were able to wear the scars of the tragedy without it consuming them.
Wayne and Mandel had not only left their church in 1955, but they had also turned away from God almost entirely. In the ensuing period following their departure from church, they had little contact with any church members other than their immediate family. Occasionally, they would attend service after much begging by Wayne's parents. It felt awkward, strange and unfamiliar. They no longer had anything in common with the church of their youth. They hadn't denounced Christianity. It was just an indifference to all religion. They continued to enjoy gospel quartet music and attended concerts whenever possible. Wayne refused to stay and listen to any preaching. Several times the preacher or master of ceremonies would comment about people leaving before the end of the service, but Wayne paid no attention to their comments.
Seldom did Wayne even pray, except in dire circumstances such as the tornado. His early teaching in the church convinced him that God wouldn't hear him anyway since he had left church. He considered it rather pointless to pray if God wasn't listening. All his early church instructions were geared toward the fact that a denunciation of the church meant denouncing God. It is hard to explain this deep-seated misconception about God, but it was instilled in childhood and carried over to adulthood.
When Wayne and Mandel attended the funeral of a close family friend at their old church in DuQuoin, they were confronted by a church member. Beryl Clark had preached the funeral and as usual had directed his comments at members of the audience who were not members of his church. A church member felt that she had been given a special assignment to talk some sense into Wayne and Mandel. As they watched the corpse being loaded into the hearse following the funeral service, the lady approached them. She commented that they should give the death of this family friend much consideration, because it was a sign that God was using it to get them back in church. She said that they also could die while estranged from church and they would be lost forever. She also said that they should come back to church now and ask forgiveness or they would otherwise be lost forever. This untimely remark just made Wayne and Mandel more convinced than ever that staying away from that church was a good thing.
The year of 1958 was filled with tests and trials and new experiences. Mandel's mother, Bertha Dennis, suffered a severe heart attack in February and remained practically bedfast until her death on April 14, 1958. This was a great loss for both Mandel and Wayne. He loved his mother-in-law very much and her passing left quite a void. She had not been as judgmental about them leaving church as his parents were. She had treated Wayne as her own son and he appreciated and returned her love.
Wayne’s wife Mandel had been afflicted with pain in her abdominal area since puberty. Her menstrual cycle was inconsistent and painfully long. She and Wayne had just about given up on the idea of having children after six years of marriage. She had continued going to her family physician in DuQuoin, but he had not been able to relieve her pain or offer her any expectation of children. Subsequently, she went to a doctor in Murphysboro and he immediately diagnosed her problem as a cyst on her ovary. He recommended surgery as soon as possible. She returned to her doctor in DuQuoin for the surgery. He removed a large chocolate cyst which had formed on an ovary. Following the surgery, the doctor advised the couple that Mandel's other ovary was also diseased and their chances for conceiving were almost nil.
Although hospital and doctor's fees were not excessive, the couple still did not have enough money to pay the bills. Thankfully, both medical providers made arrangements for the bills to be paid in monthly installments. At that time, the state employer made no provision for medical insurance and employees rarely carried medical insurance themselves.
During the summer of 1958, Wayne had been sent to Loyola University in Chicago for training in casework supervision. The social work school at that university contracted with the State of Illinois to provide state employees specialized instruction. These classes only whetted Wayne's appetite for more education. He had come to realize that the only way that he could expect to advance beyond his current assignment was to seek a college degree. The State of Illinois had begun requiring the minimum of a bachelor's degree for all new casework staff. Wayne was to supervise college level personnel and he concluded that he could not be less educated than those he supervised. (Little did he know that it would be 19 long years before he would finally walk down the aisle to pick up his degree.)
With this in mind, he enrolled at Southern Illinois University in August 1958. With the help of the G.I. Bill covering the tuition expense, Wayne managed to enroll for at least one course every semester, including the summer months. His first two courses were in Introductory Sociology and English Composition. The classes met from 6:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. three nights a week. In school, Wayne had to stay on his toes to compete with the young college freshmen. In some instances, though, he had the advantage of experience. Wayne continued his full work schedule at the public assistance office, hurriedly ate supper and then drove the seven miles to the Carbondale campus. During some semesters he even squeezed in a Saturday morning course to supplement the night courses. Progress was slow and there were many discouraging moments along the way. In addition to the work involved, it put a strain on the marriage. Wayne had little time except for work, study, and school and he failed to recognize that he was neglecting his wife.
Wayne came to this shocking realization concerning his priorities when a family friend made a pass at Mandel. It was at this juncture that Wayne made up his mind that the marriage had priority over career and schooling and never again would he neglect the one person in the world who was most important to him. Their minds were then made up that they could and would cope with any and all pitfalls thrown in their way.
In August of 1960, Wayne and Mandel purchased a puppy which served to brighten their lives for many years. Little Simone was a chocolate brown poodle, a member of the litter owned by Mandel's niece. Simone was shortened to Moni. She cost $50.00 and once again arrangements had to be made to pay for her in installments. The $50.00 proved to be a small price to pay for the years of joy and happiness that she brought to the childless couple. In some ways, Moni filled the void of childlessness for the couple. She accompanied them practically everywhere, including grocery stores, restaurants, dress shops, and shopping centers. Eventually, laws were established to keep non-seeing eye dogs out of business establishments; but, until that occurred, Moni went everywhere with Wayne and Mandel.
In the fall of 1962, Wayne and Mandel were able to finally purchase a home. Until that time, they had rented apartments and houses. Once again, with the help of the G.I. Bill, a small down payment was scraped together for the purchase. The tiny four-room house cost 10,000 dollars and seemed like a fortune to the Hamburgers. The house sat at the top of a hill on the east edge of Murphysboro on Route 127 and Route 13. Due to a sudden turn of events, they would have to abandon their long awaited first home after only six months of occupancy. In 1961, Wayne had been told that he could be promoted to the county administrator position in Pulaski County. This offer fell through at the last moment when the governor placed a hiring and promotional freeze on all state personnel. Wayne and Mandel had visited that county in the towns of Mounds and Mounds City to determine the housing situation. They both gave a little sigh of relief when the promotion fell through. Wayne's fervor for advancement had not waned in the interim, so when an opportunity presented itself in Perry County, he was very willing to relocate.
Arrangements were made for him to transfer to DuQuoin in the same work classification with a promise of promotion later in the year. On May 1, 1963, the move was made. The couple was back in their hometown with a promising future ahead of them. As promised, in the fall of that year the county admini strator received a promotion to the regional staff in Carbondale, clearing the way for Wayne's promotion to the new vacancy. As before, the Republican County Chairman and the county judge were responsible for clearing the way for the promotion. He supervised the county office with a total staff of eleven. Dedrich Hamburger was still performing janitorial duties at his church, so Wayne suggested that he apply for the janitor's job at the public aid office. He was hired at the grand sum of $25.00 per month, yet even with that, Wayne was criticized for getting his father hired in the same office that he supervised. After a few months, Wayne was instrumental in helping his father get a job at a local nursing home. His father continued to work there for 10 more years before retiring. He repeatedly told Wayne that those years were the most rewarding years of his life because he was able to prove to himself and his neighbors that he was no longer disabled.
Thelma and Dedrich talked to their son and daughter-in-law about church fairly often, but they were reluctant to pressure them into returning to the church that they had left in 1955. Rumors kept spreading that the leader of the church body, Thomas Miles Jolly, had been involved in some sort of controversy. Letters circulated among the various churches about his indiscretions, yet Wayne and Mandel never heard the specific details. They did learn that the church in DuQuoin had split apart, with a large segment of the congregation leaving. Dedrich and Thelma were contacted several times and encouraged to leave, but they wouldn't abandon Beryl Clark. Clark stayed loyal to Jolly, although there was some indication that he had his own doubts about Jolly. Church members reported that Clark had spent several days in a motel room alone praying and fasting over the dilemma, but in the end Jolly's hold on Clark was too great. Jolly won a portion of the people over by confessing openly that he had committed a grievous sin; however, he told them that God had forgiven him and the people had no choice but to do likewise. Wayne and Mandel were happy that they were no longer a part of the church and not involved in the hassle.
Wayne was in no mood to fight over church problems because he was more concerned about the fighting in Vietnam. During coffee breaks at the office, personnel debated that issue every day. Wayne vehemently opposed involvement in the conflict and everyone else in the office disagreed with him. His experience in Korea had convinced him that the United States had no business in southeast Asia. His opposition to the Vietnam War placed him in the minority in the 1960's.
Wayne's original choice for the Presidential office was not Kennedy. Until that election, Wayne had voted almost straight Republican, but something happened that changed all that. His parents had told him that their church group had been told that they should not vote for Kennedy because he was a Catholic. T. M. Jolly and Beryl Clark had warned the followers that voting for Kennedy would mean that the Pope would run the country. When Wayne's parents relayed that bit of information, he became angry and told his parents that no preacher should tell them how to vote. He decided then and there to vote for Kennedy.
Wayne had gone home for lunch and was relaxing a bit before returning to the office when the television announcement was made that President Kennedy had been shot. The news made the whole country feel horrible and betrayed except for a few malcontents. One of these was right in the public aid office. Wayne had a scheduled meeting at the county courthouse located in Pinckneyville, 13 miles to the west. One of his staff accompanied him to the meeting. The car radio was turned on to hear the latest news about the President. When the announcement was made that the President was dead, the lady in the car with Wayne started laughing and clapping her hands with glee. She said that she was glad the "so and so" died. Never had Wayne seen such disrespect and at that moment he felt complete revulsion toward that staff member.
The fall of 1963 had brought its share of trauma to the area in another fashion. Wayne had a close friend who was an officer at the Menard prison. Returning from school one night, he heard the radio announcer state that a big prison riot was underway at the prison. Within a few minutes, they gave the names of the guards at the prison who had been killed and the friend was among them. As soon as Wayne arrived home, he and Mandel decided to drive to Chester to try to comfort the man's widow. The friend had been stabbed in the kidney and had died within a few minutes.
Prior to that time, Wayne had always opposed the death penalty as punishment for crime. His friend had given him a tour of the prison a few months before the riot. They had viewed the electric chair up close and this convinced Wayne that it should never be used. After Bud, his friend, was killed by the convict, Wayne was ready to see the perpetrator go to his death. The convict was serving time for murder and a prison guard's death meant little to him. Wayne was later informed by an aunt that the convict who killed his friend was the nephew of their church leader, T. M. Jolly. Wayne and his aunt had a big argument about whether the man should be electrocuted.
In 1966, Wayne was offered another opportunity for advancement and he seized the chance. An opening for a regional representative had occurred in the Champaign, Illinois region. Wayne and Mandel drove the 180 miles from DuQuoin to Champaign on October 1, 1966. They drove through snow flurries to get to the interview. The regional supervisor, C. H. Colwell, was impressed with Wayne's qualifications and he recommended the hiring. Preparations for the move included the sale of their home in DuQuoin and the purchase of one in Champaign. Moving day fell on December 13, 1966. The move was made in spite of objections from family members who did not want them to leave Southern Illinois. Dedrich reminded Wayne that his parents were getting old and needed to have their children close by. Wayne was not swayed.
They purchased a home on Holiday Drive in Champaign, which was near the new Centennial High School. By the time the move was complete, Christmas was less than two weeks away. Even though Mandel developed a severe sinus infection and spent the first several days in bed, both she and Wayne were very happy with their decision to move. The first visit to the grocery store was exciting because it was much larger than anything to which they had been accustomed. Besides that, the piped-in music included Notre Dame's fight song, which was also the tune to the DuQuoin high school song. The familiar music was reassuring.
The move to Champaign opened up a whole new world of opportunity for both Mandel and Wayne. She found employment at W. Lewis department store on Neil Street in Champaign and Wayne's office was nearby on Hill Street. Besides vocational opportunity, there was the University of Illinois with its educational facilities. The U of I also offered entertainment events with music and plays as well as Big Ten basketball in the Assembly Hall and football at Memorial Stadium. In spite of the slush fund scandal that rocked the University of Illinois in the fall of 1966, its students, alumni and fans remained loyal throughout. Wayne and Mandel thoroughly enjoyed their newly discovered world.
During the first week of January 1967, one of the harshest ice storms hit the Champaign area. To the north in Kankakee and Chicago, they received record amounts of snow, while Champaign was enveloped in ice. The ice storm cut off electricity to most of the Champaign-Urbana and surrounding area, effectively shutting down everything. Wayne decided that they would try to drive south to get away from the ice, but after sliding off the road several times, he returned home. It had taken him three hours to drive 25 miles, so both he and Mandel decided they would be safer in their unheated house. They improvised by taking a mattress off the bed and placing it in the floor in front of the fireplace. Fortunately, the previous owner of the household left a supply of firewood which heated at least one room of their home.
Wayne thoroughly enjoyed his new work assignment. He was given the responsibility of overseeing the activities of public assistance offices in the counties of Champaign, DeWitt, Douglas, Livingston, Macon and Piatt. He relished the challenges of the job and the traveling to towns such as Pontiac, Decatur, Clinton, Bloomington, and Paxton. C. H. Colwell was an excellent boss and teacher. He was also a very thrifty man from whom Wayne learned a lot about finances and money management.
In the fall of 1967, Wayne had his college transcript forwarded from Southern Illinois University to the University of Illinois. He had completed his junior year at SIU and registered at the U of I for his senior year. He completed his college work on the Urbana campus just as he did at Carbondale by taking evening and Saturday courses. It proved to be a rather troubling time on the campus at the U of I. Numbers of students were rebelling against the war in Vietnam and showed their displeasure by rioting and pillaging property on and near the campus.
On one particular occasion, Wayne attended a course at 8:00 P.M. in Lincoln Hall. The instructor could barely be heard above the shouting and breaking glass that was occurring throughout the campus area. When class was dismissed and Wayne returned to his car, he found that his was the only one along that street that had not had the headlights and windshield smashed in. When he turned on the 10:00 P.M. news and saw the amount of destruction, he could not believe it. Then the announcer stated that a student had been spreading fuel from a gasoline can onto the first floor of Lincoln Hall and had been apprehended. Wayne knew that he had been very lucky to escape the turmoil.
Although Wayne was in sympathy with the students' political views regarding the Vietnam War, he could not condone the manner in which they chose to show their displeasure. In some situations, he had no choice but to go along. Such was the case when famed attorney William Kunstler came to the campus for a speech. Wayne's social work professor had assigned the class to attend Mr. Kunstler's presentation in the Assembly Hall. When Mr. Kunstler made harsh statements about the government, all the students would jump to their feet and cheer. At first, Wayne just sat in his seat during these demonstrations. After a little while, he noticed that the students around him were upset and disturbed about his lack of participation in the demonstrations. Wayne decided it was better to be safe than sorry, so he joined in the cheering.
Wayne tried to stay out of the limelight, but this was not always possible. During the summer of 1968, there was an armed robbery of the food stamp sales center in the Champaign county office on South State Street. News media descended on the office in force and the county administrator called for Wayne to come to the county office to speak with them. When he entered the front door, a T.V. news reporter stuck a mic rophone in his face and started firing questions about the robbery before Wayne even had a chance to discuss it with the food stamp sales clerk and police officials. The evening news carried a picture of Wayne moving his hand toward the camera to shield his eyes from the glaring lights. He found out first hand that there is no respect of privacy when the news media finds a story to tell. They were more interested in finding out how many food stamps had been stolen than they were about the poor clerk who had been hit over the head by the gunman.
In 1968, Wayne and Mandel decided that they could afford a new home, so they put their house up for sale. The contractor who was hired to build the new house agreed to buy the old one. Construction started in September and progress seemed to move slowly and painfully. Part of the inside work, such as painting and wallpapering, was done by Wayne and Mandel. Finally, moving day arrived on December 18, 1968. This house was located on Frank Drive, just two blocks east of Centennial High School.
They had not been able to afford the extra cost of a fireplace when they had the home built, but they continued to want one. Wayne got the crazy notion that he could build one himself. So, in 1970, he visited every construction site he could during his spare time. He watched intently as the brick layers built walls and chimneys. He also purchased some books describing how to build a fireplace. By July, he had decided that he could build one and construction began. In addition to the fireplace, he expanded the existing family room. Although Mandel was highly skeptical of his brick laying skills, he plunged ahead with the project. At first, things went badly. He tore out row after row of bricks when they tended to be uneven and off- center. In time, he got the hang of it and laid 1500 bricks, with the result being a beautiful new fireplace to show for his labor.
In February 1971, the doctor advised Mandel that she was once again in need of surgery. She had continued to have problems after her previous surgery in 1958. A condition called endometriosis had invaded her abdominal area and caused her great pain. Her doctor advised that it would be necessary to perform a complete hysterectomy to clear up her problems. She underwent successful surgery at Burnham City Hospital in Urbana.
At about the time of Mandel's surgery, C. H. Colwell (Wayne's boss) became ill and took sick leave. Temporary leave extended into several months. During the summer, Wayne was appointed as acting regional administrator in the absence of Colwell. Wayne had to cover his own job as well as fill in for the boss. While at a joint meeting of several state agencies, Wayne observed three county public aid administrators sneaking off to the bar instead of attending the assigned meetings. He sent each of the guilty parties a warning notice and had the notices placed in their personnel files. This disciplinary action proved to be much more harmful to Wayne than it did to the guilty employees. One had strong political backing from one party and the other two had strong backing from the opposite party. Wayne was caught in the middle. His supervisor in Springfield withdrew the disciplinary letters from the files and informed Wayne that he had no other choice.
When C. H. Colwell retired at the end of his sick leave, the logical choice to replace him was the one who had done his job for the preceding year. It was not to be. Wayne had offended politicians on both sides of the aisle, so they were not about to stand by and see him promoted to fill the opening. This proved to be a profound disappointment, especially since the state director of the public aid department had promised the job to Wayne. Although it was a bitter pill to swallow, he never could compromise his sense of fair play. This included compliments and rewards for those who did a good job and disciplinary action when employees failed to meet their responsibilities. He would not be able to live with himself otherwise.
Early in 1972, Wayne was tabbed to participate in a special assignment in Springfield. The task force to which he was assigned was charged with establishing new procedures for casework, clerical work, and supervision in the county offices. He drove the 95 miles to and from Springfield each day during the year, except for a three-week period spent in the St. Clair County public aid office in East St. Louis. He and three other members of his task force observed tasks first hand, interviewed employees, and gathered data for the assigned project. When the task force had completed its job, a proposal was submitted to the state director for final approval. The culmination of the proposal was a state-wide change in local office procedures for each employee. Job titles were changed and policies were streamlined to expedite services to clients. Wayne was very proud of his role on the task force and gained much personal satisfaction in seeing the fruits of his labor instituted and utilized.
When the special assignment was finished, Wayne explored the possibility of a permanent position in the central office in Springfield. After his performance on the task force, the administrative staff in Springfield had taken notice and a job opened up. Once again, it was time for a move. Wayne and Mandel had enjoyed their seven-year stay in Champaign, but the chance for advancement in state government was much greater in Springfield. Mandel had worked at the Lewis Department Store in downtown Champaign and loved her job. It was not an easy matter for her to give up her job and her home; however, she knew that Wayne wanted to advance in his work. She willingly agreed to the move in spite of the fact that she had been very happy in their new home in Champaign. As fate would have it, this move, just like the two previous ones, was to be made in December, one week before Christmas.