By Herb Meeker
News Report Staff
Ken and Connie Heise traveled from Salem Sunday to join in the fun as Effingham County Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 100th year.
Watching the vintage baseball games at the Sacred Heart School baseball diamond brought back memories for Ken. He remembered playing ball as a kid when the rules were fast and loose, but it was still fun.
“It’s like kids playing sandlot baseball. It’s a lot of fun. It’s been a nice day here,” said Heise, who heard about the vintage game, with rules, uniforms, equipment and jargon dating back to the 1800s, through the Effingham Chamber website.
Connie enjoyed the quirky language and traditions of old-time baseball.
“I enjoy it when the players ask ‘May I tally my ace?” You have to ask to count it when you score,” Connie said with a laugh as one of the teams recorded another “dead hand” or out on the diamond.
Baseball fans Jason and Brett Kreke and Cody Hemmen, all of Teutopolis, noticed the differences in the game’s equipment.
“They didn’t have gloves,” said Hemmen, a 9-year-old who knows how to handle a modern mitt.
“And they had a different kind of stitching on the balls, too,” said Jason, an 8-year-old.
Brett, 11, thought it different that a ball could be fielded for an out with one bounce.
When they weren’t watching the ballgame, the boys were looking over the vehicles lined up at the car show. After all, the boys came, along with six-year–olds Carly Hemmen and Lily Kreke, to the centennial celebration as passengers in a classy ‘Cuda.
Four-year-old Sequoia Young took her time to pick out a cupcake from a display at the Chamber of Commerce tent. Sequoia was working hard to hold onto her commemorative blue balloon and hold the dessert. It had been a full afternoon for Sequoia and her family with so many things to do at the Chamber celebration.
“We checked out the car show. We sure liked all the cars,” said Amanda Young, Sequoia’s mother.
There were more than 100 cars, trucks and other impressive modes of transportation at the car show. There were vintage vehicles, like a 1931 Pierce Arrow, and brightly-painted muscle cars on grounds west of the church.
Hope Emmerich, 9, of Morris, was laughing as she took a “magic carpet ride” on the big yellow slide, which was one of the carnival ride attractions. Her dark hair was flying as she rode on a mat to the bottom, winning the race by a wide margin over her mother, Kristin, and younger brother, Michael, who at the age of 2, enjoyed his first carpet ride on the big slide.
“We’re visiting relatives this weekend,” said Kristin. “This is a lot of fun.”
That was the goal of the Chamber of Commerce Centennial Committee. They wanted people to have fun in recognition of the organization’s 100th year.
Sunday was not a day for long speeches or handing out awards. It was a day for Effingham and people from the area to enjoy a day that reminds the community of how the Chamber had helped build a fine quality of life over the last 100 years.
“This has been a fun way to celebrate with the community. This was something we had in the back of our minds for the last five years,” said Effingham Chamber President and CEO Norma Lansing as she took a short break from the heat Sunday afternoon. “We did the planning in earnest over the last year. And we put the volunteers together. When we came here this morning everyone — the committee members and volunteers — knew their jobs. It’s been really nice working with them.”
It did get a little hot in the afternoon, but the Chamber centennial committee had its fingers crossed on what Mother Nature might throw at them on July 2. Fortunately, the heat was not overbearing like it can be days before Fourth of July. The day was bright and sunny and a breeze provided relief through the afternoon.
Jocie DePoister was not taking any chances Sunday. She dug into caramel ice cream, created with the help of a John Deere engine. She also got her face painted with a cluster of flowers, which explained why she was gulping down water under a tent where you could create a “humdinger” or dancing button.
At age five, she was not sure if she can make it for the bicentennial of the Effingham Chamber. But she nodded her head when asked if she might pencil in her calendar the sesquicentennial shindig in 2067.

Chamber Celebration

Sequoia Young (right) has her eye on the cupcake while holding a balloon, as Amanda Young looks on in the Chamber of Commerce tent.