Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the April 2010 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

As I walked out to the parkway to pick up the morning paper, I began to think of how much more energy I put into life compared to life as a young family in Hoffman Estates.

Do you recall having the newspaper delivered to your doorstep?  It’s seems so long ago but it’s only been the last few years that the paper is tossed from a moving car rather than tossed up on the porch.  Now it’s the slipper and robe or boots and coat routine before we can go out to search for the newspaper.  Remember those nice young people who put your paper at the door and came each week with their little punch card to collect for the paper.  If the paper was always at the doorstep I’d give them a nice tip.

Garbage day was always a fight with the kids. “I did it last time” was the weekly argument in my family.  We had metal garbage cans and everyone had their address on the can because on real windy days the cans would go flying down the street.  Now, if you think it was a chore to get the kids to take out the garbage, it was a real pain to get them to search for the garbage cans.  The lids were the last thing you found.  Later on,  we didn’t need a can, we could put out the bags without one.  No more flying cans.  Today’s garbage totters, one for garbage, one for recycling,  have to be pulled back to the garage and I guess I should be thankful for the wheels. 

A real easy job back in the 60’s and 70’s was raking the leaves and trimming the bushes.  The trees were still small and the kids thought it was fun to rake them & jump in the piles. Sometimes we’d wait for a windy day and they’d blow away.  Of course, I was silly enough to plant four more trees. Go fast forward to 2010 and I feel like a lumberjack in training.  There are tons of leaves and twigs to clean up but I love my shade.  Years ago the bushes only took a little trimming in the summer to keep them manageable.  It’s a big job now and I have to use the electric trimmers to keep the bushes in line.  If you fall behind,  the house gets lost in the shrubbery.

Many things have changed over the years.  Some for the  better, such as recycling, our beautiful mature trees, and those wheels on my totters.  I just wish I could find my paper at the doorstep again.

 Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian


  1. Bob Dohn Says:

    As a proud new homeowner in Schaumburg in the summer of 1971, I recall sitting in the back yard the first evening and smelling the pungent odor of manure wafting from the Volkening Farm property.

    Fast forward a few years and a couple of homes to 1976, when we moved into our present home less than a mile away. Not only was there a dearth of trees, but I distincly recall there were no squirrels for a very long time. Now we have mature trees with lots of leaves and lots of squirrels.

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