Condolence & Memory Journal

I was moved to write this story about Al because he so cared to fix my inexpensive watch which has so much sentimental value for me. And he did fix it--over and over as here explained. I sent the story to the local paper for publication because I felt a business that provided such committed, caring service ought to be recognized and the world should know about him and Al BlackmanJewelers. Unfortunately, they did not publish it. So here it is—for the “world” of Al Blackman.
Kadi Meyer--Satisfied Customer

Human Being Watch
Katharine Finlayson Meyer
November 18, 2016
We no longer change watch batteries here. We can't be responsible, said the jewelry department clerk at the big box store. Detesting all they stood for, I'd still sold out buying their cheap watch batteriespartly because they also changed the battery. I don't like any mechanical task.
Sowhat then? I like to keep my watches working so I can coordinate color and style. I've had five watches for a long time. Things grow on me when they last. First, I have the watch my ex gave me with changeable bands which I wear the least. I have a silver-banded delicate watch Mother bought me in Williamsburg. I have the silver and gold nautical-looking mainstay. When it broke I shopped but could not find another I liked as well. So, I paid to repair it. Plus that watch matched the casual wedding bands my husband and I wear the most. We both have several wedding ringsfor fun and variety. Why not? As a painter he protects his best ring from the chemicals. The fun cheap duplicates we found work great. Then there's the black- banded, large-faced watch. Who doesn't need black?
But by far I favor the watch with the orange-red leather band. Its blank face mimics the shape of an artist painting palette. I bought two of them, somebody's castoffs, at a fund-raiser at a retirement home where I once worked.
At the time, I was taken with my new boyfriendnow my husband and a painter. I had to buy watches with painter-palette shaped faces! Then the watches sat in my gift drawer for years. When I found them one day, I showed my husband. He said he would never wear that watch. OKwho doesn't roll with half of what goes on in marriage?
So It struck me to change the bands to an orange-red leather. After shopping everywhere. I found them. I would send one to my beloved artist aunt in California, and keep one myself. That was Betty's color: orange-red.

Posted by Kadi Meyer - Tinley Park, IL - Acquaintance   April 02, 2018

#2 A born artist, she took classes at Chicago's Art Institute soon after the family immigrated from Scotland. For over nine decades she created in every possible medium.
As a child I knew of this phantom California aunt who at long last, finally visited Chicago. Her art and her person transfixed all of her adoring family members. As an adult, I said yes to her many invitations to visit. I wanted to know her! She welcomed me with open arms. She wanted to know everything about me.
Open about her life, she was easy to get to know and cherish. I would visit as often as I couldby myself and with my husbands. She and her third husband Joethe only one I ever knewgushed over my husband and I loved them more.
I thrilled to call her often, to feel like part of her inner circle, and to find another home on earth in her heart. I'd lost my father at eight. She'd been his closest sibling and an early confidant. Besides herself, she offered me a connection to him. I gave her myself and an avenue to her brother. We talked of how we treasured our bond.
Betty made people feel like the most important person on earthand phenomena! Her loving attention felt so good! And, I imagined that our both wearing the same art-palette, orange-red watches would cut the miles between us.
So when the big box stores quit changing batteries, I checked three local jewelers for prices. Al Blackman Jewelers on 159th offered the best deal$5. I liked the castle-motif strip mall as I approached. I rang the doorbell and they buzzed me in like 1950. Two display counters ran the length both sides of the small and stately mirror-walled establishment. Nappy pink, plush chairs offered comfortable seating for serious shoppers. A candy dish on the counter near the register offered Hersey's.
First time, I gave the woman my nautical watch for a battery and installation. Taking my phone number she gave me a small hand-written receipt saying they'd call when it was ready for pickup.

Posted by Kadi Meyer - Tinley Park, IL - Acquaintance   April 02, 2018

Our deepest condolences. A dear friend of my parents, who bought nearly every piece of jewelry from him. I also spent time talking to him and getting an anniversary band from him. A kind man, my dad will definitely miss him. Praying for him and your family. The Qazi family.

Posted by Lubna Qazi - Oak lawn - friend   September 14, 2017

One of the finest men I knew. I was a sales rep and Beverly resident. I knew Al For 40 years. Great loss. Take care of him Kathy.

Posted by Brian Callahan - Palos Heights, IL - Friend   September 06, 2017

My sympathy. Al was the nicest person. He took care of the Fox Family for years.
He also gave me the encouragement to buy my first Harley. Ill never forget this man, or his brothers. What a loving,caring group.

Posted by MaryAnn Fox - Oak Lawn, IL - Friend   August 29, 2017

Sheryl sorry for the error in your name on the previous message. Message remains the same.

Posted by Pat and bill Schaafsma - Orland park, IL - Friend   August 28, 2017

Our sympathy to all of you. Cathy sorry we were out of town for the wake we loved to stop by and seeyour dad. He was fun to talk to. Peace to you and your relatives. No more pain or medicines

Posted by Pat and bill Schaafsma - Orland park, IL - Friend   August 27, 2017

Al designed my grandparents wedding rings, my parents wedding rings (among other jewelry) and I knew when I got married I wanted him to design my rings. My husband actually bought a beautiful promise ring from Al when we were still in high school. He and my father also designed the necklace I wore on my wedding day to mimic the one they designed for my mother for their 25th anniversary. Anytime I walked into the store, he always made me feel special and took the time to listen to my ideas. But I think my favorite memory is this past Christmas. My father wanted to surprise my mother and I with rings to commemorate my son's birth. We walked into the store one afternoon and I have a picture of my father and Al designing the new rings while he's holding my son and my mother is in the background silently crying. Al always made you feel like part of the family and I love that I will have special pieces to pass down to my children made by a loving man. My condolences to the family and we will miss you very much Al.

Posted by Tiffany Olbrot Werner - Clifton, IL - Friend   August 24, 2017

Sharyl , Micheal Scott, Micheal Joe, George, Our deepest condolences upon the passing of Al, he was an exceptional father to each of you and a wonderful grandfather to each of the grand kids. He will be deeply missed by all; but his memories will last forever.

You are all in our prayers

Paul and Bea

Posted by Paul Rieger - CO   August 23, 2017

Dear family,

Condolences on the loss of Alan, my cousin. It's such sad news.

We're thinking of you.

Geraldine (Gerry) Arbach
and family

Ottawa, Canada
Oxford, England

Posted by Geraldine Arbach - Ottawa, Canada - Family   August 22, 2017

My condolences to Sharyl, George, Michael and the extended family. Many moons ago my boyfriend bought me jewelry from Mr. blackman and I knew many of you in our younger years. I wish you all peace. God bless you. Lisa

Posted by Lisa Cobb Harding - Knoxville, TN - Family Friend   August 22, 2017

Alan and I met over 50 years ago at the store on 95th street. We always keep in touch over the years. He was a great guy and a fantastic jeweler!

I used to stop in at the store in Tinley Park on 159th street and bring him video's of current movies and talk about the old days.

I will really miss him greeting me at the door with his friendly voice.

He was a special guy and I will miss him!!!

Posted by Jerry Karns - Orland Park, IL   August 22, 2017

We are so sorry to hear the sad news.AL was a wonderful man and we felt like family when we came to his place of business. All of our girls were excited when they saw a gift with the gray and purple wrapping. Nothing was more exciting. We will truly miss him.

Posted by Mary/ Tom Jansen - Tinley Park, IL - Acquaintance   August 21, 2017

Sharyl, I'm so very sorry to see this, I remember you speaking so lovingly of your Dad. May God give you strength and guidance at this difficult time!

Posted by Renee Randol    August 20, 2017

Michael joe
since you called me ,I started to think of your dad and what a special person he was, all the years that I knew your dad he always made me welcome in his home and his life.i think you all know how special your mom and dad were to to me. and I know how special he was to all of you. I am rambling so I will stop. love sally

Posted by sally kahn - olympia fields, IL - Family Friend   August 20, 2017

So sorry to hear about your daddy! Be assured that we will be thinking of you all during these most difficult times.

Posted by Jenny and Danny Hollabaugh - Blue Speings, MO - Friend   August 19, 2017

He always made each person feel so special even when doing the smallest of things.

He designed my engagement and wedding bands. Wouldn't let my Aunt Or my Mom See them . He want4ed the first people to see was Now hubby and me. Made me feel like a princess.

Love you Uncle

Posted by Karen Kebschull - Family   August 19, 2017

Sharyl
So sorry about your dad I know how close you were to him and how much you loved him
We are thinking about you and your family. Joe sends his condolences.

Posted by Deb Williams - Westmont, IL - Friend   August 19, 2017