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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Pass the plate again, please


A special poem is tucked inside a carrying case that also includes a recipe book and instructions for “Pass the Plate.”

The “Pass the Friendship Plate” journey began on June 29, 2014, to commemorate the 130th birthday year of the Martin-Mitchell Mansion, a splendorous Victorian home located at Naper Settlement, Chicagoland’s outdoor history museum in Naperville.

As interpreted at Naper Settlement, during the summer of 1884, George Martin, a successful Naperville businessman, and his wife, Sibelia, moved into their new two-story, 12-room brick residence, along with three of their adult children. In 1895, daughter Caroline Martin married Edward Grant Mitchell, and, as the only child to marry, the home known as “Pine Craig” took on the name, Martin-Mitchell Mansion.

“Today, the Mansion continues to be the crown jewel of Naper Settlement and looks better than ever,” said Nancy Smith, Director of Learning Experiences. “We invited the community to share in the celebration of this grand Victorian home’s birthday party.”

To celebrate for a year, the travels of the Friendship Plate—a large platter with a design by Cheri Tompkins that depicts the special occasion —are being tracked and documented with photos and recipes on the Naper Settlement website at www.napersettlement.org.

And the friendly folks at Naper Settlement remain optimistic that the recipient will fill the plate with a different tasty treat every time it’s passed around Naperville.


After Frank E. Fling was given the Friendship Plate during a DuPage Hounds baseball game on July 13, the mascot’s charge was to select another recipient within 15 days.

Catchin’ up with Frank E. Fling

As the week began to close in on the deadline to pass the plate by July 28, PN photographers tried to catch up with Frank E. Fling, eager to capture his presentation to the next recipient. The Jaycees mascot was under fire for running his buns off while making personal appearances and posting photos on social media.  One day he was doing in-studio interviews at 95.9 The River. Then it was off to the cardboard boat races at Centennial Beach, all to help promote the Last Fling family festival, Aug. 29 through Sept. 1.

It’s amazing that Frank E. Fling could muster up enough time to bake for the plate.

As the story goes, on Sun., July 27, Last Fling Chairman Chad Pedigo arranged for Frank E. Fling to present a foot-long loaf of homemade zucchini bread to the Kendall Cooks—Wayne Fischer, Charles Vladika, Terry Jelinek, Lee Lindberg, Ken Garhan and Mike Rechenmacher—outside the Judd Kendall VFW Post.  Throughout the year, the world-renown group of veterans from the Judd Kendall VFW Post 3873 and the American Legion Post 43 prepares and serves sumptuous banquets during social events at the post.  When contacted about the Friendship Plate, they relished the idea to receive it and agreed to a photo opportunity with Frank.

pass the plate

Wayne Fischer, Charles Vladika, Terry Jelinek, Chad Pedigo, Lee Lindberg, Frank E. Fling, Ken Garhan and Mike Rechenmacher

To celebrate the Jaycees connection, Pedigo told the Kendall Cooks that the Jaycees have selected Mayor George Pradel to be the Grand Marshall of the 2014 Labor Day Parade. In that role, Pradel, who served in the Marines, also wanted to extend the honor to recognize all residents who have served in the military, past and present. The theme of the parade is “A Celebration of Military Service.”

“We have saved plenty of space for you and all veterans and active military personnel in the Labor Day Parade,” explained Pedigo, with Frank E. Fling by his side.

Almost in unison, the Kendall Cooks said that the 1947 Jeep parked behind them in the parking lot already had been entered in the parade.

The rules of the Martin-Mitchell Mansion 130th Birthday “Pass the Friendship Plate” Celebration, carefully packed in a carrying case, were given to the Kendall Cooks.  Heads turned toward Lindberg—sandwiched between Pedigo and Frank and known for his delicious dessert bars, brownies and cookies—as the veteran among them who would come up with a treat to fill the platter.


The Friendship Plate commemorates 130 years of the Martin-Mitchell Mansion at Naper Settlement.

With generous giving spirit, Frank E. Fling shared the yummy zucchini bread, silently expressing gratitude to Pedigo, Tom Manno, Mark Coleman and Lauren Adas for their assistance on a boiling hot Sunday afternoon. Within minutes, the plate was empty.

The Friendship Plate now is in the hands of the Kendall Cooks. And the question is, “Where will the Martin-Mitchell Mansion Friendship Plate go next on its journey?”

Stay tuned.  Sue Jelinek, Terry’s wife, had a great idea.

The band plays on…and the plate is passed

UPDATE / July 31: A recent tip suggests the Naperville Municipal Band might be in for a treat during their concert Thursday in Central Park.


Lee Lindberg’s recipe for Sour Cream Cherry Bars is featured in the August 2014 issue of Positively Naperville.

And so it was! Lee Lindberg, a member of the Kendall Cooks, prepared his tasty Sour Cream Cherry Bars in order to pass the Friendship Plate to the Naperville Municipal Band at the Thursday evening concert.



Lee Lindberg passed the Friendship Plate during the Municipal Band Concert in Central Park

Thanks to announcer Ann Lord for introducing the Commander of the American Legion Post 43 after the first march. Lindberg, in turn, took the stage with some historical facts, read the “Friendship” poem, and presented the commemorative Martin Mitchell Mansion plate to Vicki Keller, a member of the band, and Ron Keller, its conductor for 49 years. The musical couple were instructed to share a few bars with the entire band after the concert.

Ron Keller & Vicki Keller pass the friendship plate for NMB

UPDATE / Aug. 8: After last week’s passing of the plate during the weekly Naperville Municipal Band Concert in Central Park, band members put their heads together to select the next recipient, Community Access Naperville (C.A.N.). With a slogan “Integrating Differently-Abled Adults into Our Community,” C.A.N. meets at First Congregational United Church of Christ.

As it turned out, this week is C.A.N. Camp week, so Naperville Municipal Band Member Vicki Keller stirred up her zucchini chocolate cake recipe topped with chocolate chips that’s been in her recipe box since 1983 and seized the timely opportunity to pass the plate eight days after the band had received it, well within the 15-day limit.


Ron Keller prepares to pass the Friendship Plate during C.A.N. Camp.

On behalf of the Naperville Municipal Band, arrangements were made to pass the Martin-Mitchell Mansion commemorative plate at 10AM Fri., Aug. 8, in celebration of the final day of the five-day C.A.N. Camp.

The sun shined brightly at the corner of Benton and Center streets while campers, ages 16-25, welcomed Director of the Naperville Municipal Band Ron Keller to share the delicious home-baked treats in good friendship. Vicki noted the zucchini came from Ron’s garden.


The Kellers passed yummy zucchini chocolate cake, its recipe and the Friendship poem.

Community Access Naperville President Sherry Healey accepted the Friendship Plate, saying her community-spirited group now will decide where it will go next on its journey throughout the community.

Participants in C.A.N. also provide volunteer services for a variety of other local nonprofit organizations, including Naperville Area Humane Society, DuPage PADSLoaves and FishesSharing Connections, West Suburban Community Pantry, the Morton ArboretumNaperville Park District, and the Kroehler Family YMCA. 

For updates about the Friendship Plate, follow it as it is passed with copies of the recipes that fill it at www.napersettlement.org. Cheers to chocolate!

RELATED POST:  Pass the Plate #6, Aug. 16, 2014

Thanks for reading PN!

Readers who are out of the Positively Naperville delivery area will find the pages of this month’s print edition soon to be posted (currently experiencing some technical difficulties) under “Latest Issue” on the black navigation bar.  Flip away! The August issue is chock full of info about Pass the Plate activities in July as the Naperville Jaycees and their mascot, Frank E. Fling, prepare for Last Fling and the Family Fun Area at Naper Settlement over Labor Day Weekend.

Copies of PN also are available at Casey’s Foods, Oswald’s Pharmacy, First Community Financial Bank in Naperville Plaza; Naperville Bank & Trust (three locations); Anderson’s Bookshop, Quigley’s Irish Pub, Naperville Municipal Building, Naperville Park District Adminstration Building, Rubin Riverwalk Community Center and Naper Settlement in downtown Naperville; Dog Patch Pet & Feed and then some.  Thanks for reading.



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PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.

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