6/9/08: “Man plans; God laughs.”

Handout prepared for PRBF ‘08 


From Left: Lucy Knight, Mary McNulty & Sandy Bass pre-storm.  Photo Credit: Art BrauerJan tries laughing away the rain.  Photo Credit: Suzanne HanneyIWPA Tent Mid-Storm.  Photo Credit: Art BrauerKim Benziger (in red) surveys damage.  Photo Credit: Art Brauer

     How many times have we all seen those tornado reports: one house completely demolished while all the others on the same block are fine?

     Well, I live to tell because that’s EXACTLY what happened to us @ yesterday’s Printers Row Book Fair.  This was my 7th year staffing IWPA’s PRBF display & I thought I’d experienced every weather condition possible, but, how wrong was that?!?  This year we were in location “BB” on Dearborn, 4 tents in from the Polk Street corner: a seemingly perfect location.  But as the winds from the southwest grew increasing active, a furious blast whipped around the historic Franklin Building & toppled our poles!!!

     Me?  I was yakking away @ the edge of the rain, treating it all as a joke.  But suddenly Art Brauer (this year’s IWPA Coodinator) had a certain “look” in his eye.  With his mask of command firmly affixed, he shouted: “Everyone out of the tent!”  I obeyed immediately, grabbing my box of WITASWAN materials & dashing into the Cafe Mediterra just in the nick of time.  Pretty exciting stuff!

     I huddled with rest of the refugees for about 30 minutes.  Then the rain subsided & most folks went about their business.  But not us: the IWPA tent was totally trashed 🙁


     Huge thanks to my team: Pat Graunke (who came @ 9 to help set-up), Sandy Bass (who staffed with Pat from 10 to 12); Mary Lou Edwards & Bernadette Jones (who staffed from 12 to 2, helped gather everything up when the rain started, & schmoozed with me in the Mediteraneo); Pamela Sanner (who called from Dearborn when she arrived ~ 2:30 to find… no one); & Amanda Robertson (who was scheduled for the last shift from 4 to 6 & tried to warn me on Saturday that weather conditions were worrisome).  Thanks also to Kim Benziger & Mary McNulty (companions from AAUW-Illinois staffing the Jane Addams Day display to our right), & to all my IWPA buddies, most expecially Art & Susan Brauer.


     Last but not least, my biggest thanks of all to my husband Richard, who not only helped carry everything to the PRBF in the AM, but found me, rescued me, & got everything home safely after the storm.  As Rabbi Stampfer (my Yiddish teacher @ Spertus Institute) likes to say: “Man plans; God laughs.”  He’s got a great sense of humor!

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