Thursday, April 28, 2016

Two May Day Events—You Should Take One In

It is May Day on Sunday.  For some it is a gay Spring fertility festival with ancient roots most famous for being celebrated with May Pole Dances and in some place little May Baskets left anonymously on the stoops and porches of friends and neighbors.  The Catholics, as they are wont to do, appropriated the pagan tradition and made it about the crowning of the Queen of the May, a flower filled celebration in which some lucky girl from a parish or school is selected to rule of the Marian month—the old Goddess transformed into the Virgin Mary.  And, of course, May Day is the real International Working People’s Day—about which you will be hearing more on this blog.
Folks in the Northwestern Boonies of Chicago or the entire Chicago area have two special events that Day.
First up!  On Sunday, May 1, the Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 5603 Bull Valley Road in McHenry will present the Church of Rock at its regular 10:45 am worship services featuring Everyday Anarchy.

Everyday Anarchy is a young, working Chicago area rock band featuring Adam, Mike, John, and Bob who like to go by their first names.  “May Day is the perfect day to explore the values of rock and roll—hard driving high energy, rebelliousness, creativity, and an impatience for a better world,” according to Tree of Life Religious Education Director Sam Jones who found the group of the service.
There will be readings and commentary by the Rev. Sean Parker Dennison to complement the band’s musical performance.
This is the fourth and in an innovative worship service series that highlighted various genres of music as spiritual experiences.  The Church of Jazz featuring the work of Duke Ellington, the Church of Folk with veteran singer/song writer Joe Jenks, and the Church of Vivaldi with the string quartet Greenleaf Strings were the earlier popular installments in the series.
The public is welcome to the service and child care is available for infants and toddlers.  There is no charge, but a free will collection will be taken.
 Call 815 322-2464 for more information, e-mail, or visit .
Ordinarily I would be at this service with bells on, dancing shoes, and an attitude.  But I will have to miss it because I will be heading to the western suburbs to be a presenter at our second featured event.

A May Day Meander through Forest Home Cemetery will be held from 1:30 to 3:30 at Forest Home Cemetery, 863 Des Plaines Avenue in Forest Park. 
Forest Home was one of Chicago’s first park-like cemeteries and opened outside the city limits on land once occupied by a Native American Village and then operated as farm and a picnic grove.  Eventually three adjacent cemeteries were built on the land.  Two of them, Forest Home and the German Waldheim cemetery were merged into one large property.  Many of Chicago’s wealthiest and most colorful families were buried there, some in or under elaborate mausoleums, others under simple but moving markers.  Paula Brazill Wallrich, one of Chicago’s leading cemetery mavens will lead the group on a walking tour of the historic grounds providing interesting glimpses into the city’s rich history and interesting personalities.
Waldheim Cemetery became the final resting place of the four labor leaders and anarchists hung and the one who committed suicide in his cell after the 1886 Haymarket Riot.  Eventually all but one of the seven men originally charged in the affair were laid to rest there.  In 1893 friend and admirers of the martyrs erected a handsome monument with bronze sculpture in their memories.  Soon all sorts of unionists, anarchists, socialists, communists, and independent radical selected nearby plots for the final resting place for their ashes or bodies.  An unexpected village sprang up, sometimes called Radical Row.  It has become a sort of outdoor Hall of Fame for the American Left.
Former Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) General Secretary Treasurer, editor, organizer, amateur labor historian, and proprietor of this blog, Patrick Murfin will relate the story of the Haymarket, the origins of International Labor Day, and introduce the inhabitants of this quiet village.  

Guides Paula Brazill Wallrich and Patrick Murfin at the Haymarket Monument.

The weather now looks like it will cooperate with rain expected to move out of the area in the morning before the tour.  Temperatures, however, will still be cool and possibly blustery Participants are encouraged to dress appropriately and wear comfortable walking shoes.
The tour will meet kiddy-corner from the cemetery office beginning at 1:15.  The meeting point is marked with a 1 and the office is marked with a star in the accompanying map.  It will be directly on your left as you enter and there is parking behind the office.  There may be traditional May Day observances at the Monument or an informal gathering which you might want to come early to observe.   Please be advised there are no public restroom facilities at the cemetery.

Tour assembly point.

The Meander is free, but participants are encouraged to donate $5 or so to defray expenses.
The tour is being held in conjunction with associated Facebook Groups, NECRography, The 1834 Book Bunch, CHICography, ILLINography, and Chicago Bughouse (Washington) Square and hosted by Chuck Edmonson.

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