Sound the trumpets — and the trombone

November 5, 2014 • Posted in blindness, careers/jobs for people who are blind, public speaking, Uncategorized, visiting schools, Whitney by

Tomorrow’s the big day. Every year York Community High School in Elmhurst, Illinois honors a number of distinguished alumni, and six other York alumni will be honored along with me at a ceremony in York High School’s Commons tomorrow night. York is the “home of the Dukes,” so honorees are officially called Dukes of Distinction.

And so, tomorrow night, I get my crown.

Okay, it’s just a plaque. But a girl can dream, can’t she?

The reception begins at 7 p.m., and the program follows at 7:30 p.m. Mike has ordered a Zipcar to get my Seeing Eye dog and me there in time to practice walking on the red carpet. I know, I know. Sounds like a punchline, right? But it’s true! My sister Cheryl lives in Elmhurst and has made multiple trips to the school district office with photos and memorabilia from my York days, two other sisters are coming in from out-of-state, and my eight-year-old great niece Floey will be joining them at the head table along with Mike, Whitney and me. From the District 205 web site:

That evening, seven alumni will be recognized at a celebratory reception followed by a recognition program during which they will speak. The event is free and open to the public (no ticket necessary). The following day, November 7, honorees will present to and interact with York students in large and small group settings.

And wait! There’s more! My brother Doug is coming in from Louisville tomorrow night, too! I’ve written about Doug here before. He’s a professional jazz trombonist, and tomorrow night he’s performing at Fitzgerald’s in nearby Berwyn, Ill. with Petra’s Recession Seven, a Chicago-style early swing/trad jazz band:

Thursday, November 6 Petra’s Recession Seven –
Petra with trumpeter Bob Ojeda, clarinetist Kim Cusack, guitarist Andy Brown, bassist Joe Policastro, drummer Bob Rummage,
and special guest trombonist Doug Finke
7:30-10:30 pm
6615 Roosevelt Rd. Berwyn, IL 708-788-2118
$10 cover

That’s Doug: Has trombone, will travel.

Flo took my sisters and me along to hear Doug perform with the Original Salty Dogs Jazz Band when we were little, and we all grew up listening to the jazz records he left behind when he embarked on his music career. Louis Armstrong, Hot Five and Hot Seven. King Oliver. Lil Hardin.

Flo went to York High School, and all of my sisters and brothers graduated from York, too. What better way to celebrate my new dukedom than to dance to Doug’s music with Mike and my sisters. Not sure how awake I’ll be when “presenting and interacting” with high school students at York the next morning, though!

Doug On November 5, 2014 at 7:15 am

Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow night at Fitzgerald’s. It’s too bad the times conflict. I’d love to see you be crowned. And evidently, Marilee is flying in, is that correct? What a nice thing.

bethfinke On November 5, 2014 at 7:20 am

Yes! Marilee is flying in tomorrow, and she’ll be with us at Fitzgerald’s, too. Looking forward to it all –safe travels, Doug.


Hank On November 5, 2014 at 7:45 am

Congratulations, Beth. Can’t wait to hear more. Enjoy!

Maureen naset On November 5, 2014 at 8:11 am

Congratulations Beth!! What a special honor. Be sure to post pictures!!

Laura On November 5, 2014 at 8:29 am

I’ll be thinking of you! Wish I could have been there. Hope you got my email. Love at all of you!

Janet On November 5, 2014 at 8:40 am

Foey gets to sit with you?? What if “something suddenly comes up”…am I next in line?!! Just kidding, of course! We are all very excited to be there for you! See you tomorrow.

bethfinke On November 5, 2014 at 8:46 am

Yes, it’s official. Your place as favorite has been deligated to your youngest daughter. You’re seated at Table Two with the other chauffeurs.


Barbara Gaither On November 5, 2014 at 8:57 am

Such a wonderful honor and a wonderful time of being with family and celebrating that legacy of your precious mom! Have so much fun!

bethfinke On November 5, 2014 at 10:05 am

Oh, you are so right, Barbara. Flo would have loved being at this program tomorrow night , it is right up her alley. She will certainly be there in spirit, though!


Monna Ray On November 5, 2014 at 9:46 am


This sounds like a wonderful celebration! And family members will celebrate with you and Whitney and Mike! Congratulations! It was good to read your message after the paper informing me that Bruce Rauner will be our new governor. I was totally surprised.

Have a great day!


bethfinke On November 5, 2014 at 9:56 am

Yeah, I was surprised to hear some of the results this morning, too. Glad I voted, though.


Mary Rayis On November 5, 2014 at 10:00 am

So sorry to have to miss it, Beth. It is well deserved. Go Dukes!

bethfinke On November 5, 2014 at 10:05 am

Ha! Go Dukes, indeed.


Sheila A. Donovan On November 5, 2014 at 10:39 am

An eventful week! Congratulations on your Alumni award.

Sue Doyle On November 5, 2014 at 11:23 am

Do we call you Duke”ess” now? Kudos on the award, Beth!! Sounds like a wonderfully fun time with your family…Enjoy!!

Sue Doyle

bethfinke On November 5, 2014 at 3:32 pm

I’ll go for “Duke Ellington,” as in “Sir Duke.”


Leone Anderson On November 5, 2014 at 2:08 pm

Oh Beth, wish I could be there! I’ll pass the word on to my three York High graduates (my Scott, Jim and Paul) – but they live a bit too far to attend. I’m sure they join me in saying congratulations to a fellow Yorkite and a Duke of distinction! Lee

bethfinke On November 5, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Lee, if I remember correctly, one (or all three?) of your sons had something to do with the York Drama department, right? You can make them jealous by telling them that Les Zunkel, retired drama director, is going to be the stage manager tomorrow night. I think that means he’ll be the one with the shepherd’s crook, yanking us off the stage when our speeches go on too long!


Brad On November 5, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Congratulations, Beth. Sounds like you’re going to have a great turnout for your crowning with Mike at your side. I’m really happy for you though you’ll always be a duchess to me. A big hug and kiss on your cheek.

Robert Ringwald On November 5, 2014 at 10:25 pm


-Bob Ringwald

P.S. Say hi to Doug from me.

I’ll be playing on the Caribbean cruise with Doug, Jan 18-25.

Hey why don’t you and Mike come on the cruise also. I’d love to meet you.

bethfinke On November 9, 2014 at 11:18 pm

Now, there’s an idea! Let me check my schedule between Jan. 18 and 25 –I’ve never been on a cruise before, but doing one of these with you and Doug would be fun


Linda Miller On November 6, 2014 at 9:26 am

Enjoy your well-deserved accolades! We may have to get that champagne next time.

Colleen On November 6, 2014 at 11:15 am

Congratulations Beth! Looking forward to the ceremony this evening.

bethfinke On November 6, 2014 at 1:28 pm

It is so nice you’re coming, Coll. looking forward to being there with you.


Nancy B On November 6, 2014 at 8:17 pm

How exciting and fun!

bethfinke On November 8, 2014 at 11:13 am

It was! I’m home now on Saturday, so tired (and pleased) from it all I’m not sure I’ll have the energy to put together a recap as a blog post. Will try, though —


Nancy On November 7, 2014 at 7:48 am

I’m proud of you, Beth!

bethfinke On November 8, 2014 at 11:20 am

Oh, Nancy Faust, the event Thursday night was right up your alley –lovely, thoughtful, and lots of cakes and cookies and chocolate-covered strawberries. The night went on long at Fitzgerald’s, and then I visited class after class after class at York the next day. VERY fun and interesting and I was treated more like a Queen than a duchess, but now you’re right: I’m exhausted. Hope to run into you before April, but if not, we’ll come hear you at a Cougars game.


Judy Spock On November 7, 2014 at 11:19 pm

WAY TO GO! BETH! and MIKE, TOO!! It certainly should be a crownŠ.! Or two!! I love a School that celebrates its¹ heros and heroines! What an inspiration to the students and their parents, and to all of us who know you, each, or bothŠ! I am so grateful for my membership in good old ‘Memoirs One¹. It is one of the best things that¹s ever happened to me, (and a lot of good things have!) It has been absolutely the right thing, at the right time, for me and for so many othersŠtruly a blessing. KEEP ON HAPPENING! xoxoxoxoxojudyspock

From: Safe & Sound blog Reply-To: Safe & Sound blog Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2014 11:49:15 +0000 To: Judith Spock Subject: [New post] Sound the trumpets ‹ and the trombone bethfinke posted: “Tomorrow’s the big day. Every year York Community High School in Elmhurst, Illinois honors a number of distinguished alumni, and six other York alumni will be honored along with me at a ceremony in York High School’s Commons tomorrow night. York is the “h”

bethfinke On November 9, 2014 at 12:42 am

Wow, that is a high compliment. I know from the essays you bring to our memoir group each week that indeed, a *lot* of good things have happened to you — you write about them! I feel the same way, too –a lot of fabulous things have come my way as well. Including, of course, that Thursday memoir class.


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