by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL
On a bluebird Friday afternoon, the first day of Rockford’s Annual Harvest Fest, the Bishop Hills Elder Care Community hosted its annual fall Petting Zoo. Present was guest of honor, Bishop Hills resident Clarence Blakeslee (Mr. Rockford). Clarence would never miss such a photo opportunity and he came, as always, equipped with a camera.
Also present for the afternoon, in no particular order, were the critters from Rockford’s “Farm Animals on the Go”, the pre-schoolers and kindergarteners from Our Lady of Consolation School accompanied by classroom teachers, aides, and parents, and last but not least Jack Bolt, representing the Rockford Historical Society.
Bolt was on hand to present Clarence with a copy of Images of America – Rockford, a pictorial book of Rockford’s history by author Roberta (Bobbi) Schirado. The author had personally inscribed the book and wrote on the title page, “To Clarence Blakeslee, a Dedicated Historian”.
Clarence thanked Bolt and the Society for the book. He expressed great pleasure because the book was a pictorial history of Rockford. In a quote that couldn’t be more fitting Clarence said, “Pictures are the story of my life.” Indeed, for Clarence, they are. He was never seen about town without a camera, or two, or more hanging around his neck. Clarence spent decades of his life recording, in picture, the lives and times of his beloved Rockford. The presentation of the book was all the more appropriate because it was very likely that some of the pictures contained therein were taken by Clarence himself and donated at a later date to the Rockford Historical Society.
Clarence Blakeslee will celebrate his 95th birthday on October 30 (the day before Halloween). He would love to hear from you. Birthday cards can be sent to Clarence, care of: Bishop Hills Elder Care Community, 4951 ll-Mile Road, Rockford, MI 49341.