Ann Heidkamp, Bernie Heidkamp, and Richard Heidkamp

Recorded April 25, 2015 Archived April 25, 2015 40:19 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: chi001180


Richard Heidkamp (83) and Ann Heidkamp (84) talk to their son, Bernie Heidkamp (43), about how they met and fell in love, their memories of their travels, and how they have dealt with the aftermath of a car accident that happened a few years ago.

Subject Log / Time Code

Richard remembers the first time he met Ann; at the time, she was a nun and he was a priest.
Richard talks about his and Ann's wedding.
Richard and Ann talk about the serious car accident they were in five years ago.
Ann talks about the memory loss she has suffered as a result of that accident.
Ann says that the biggest joy in her marriage is their two children.


  • Ann Heidkamp
  • Bernie Heidkamp
  • Richard Heidkamp

Recording Location

Chicago Cultural Center

Venue / Recording Kit


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00:03 Hi, my name is Dick heidkamp. I'm almost 84 in May. I'll be May 9th. I'll be 84.

00:12 Today is April 25th, 2015 and I'm here at the Chicago Cultural Center. And I'm going to be talking with my wife and and my son is also sitting in my son Bernie.

00:29 My name is Ann high-camp and my age is 84.

00:36 Today's date is what Virginia is April 25th. 2015. My location is the Chicago Cultural Center in need my partner because I'm married to my name is burning house. Cam years old. Today's date is April 25th, 2015. I'm at the Chicago Cultural Center with my parents and into kite kit.

01:09 Hi.

01:12 But I want to start off with there's a what I figure is a pretty unique kind of romantic. Love story. It's about

01:25 And and me how we met when we met and what were the consequences thereof. So

01:37 And what what did what were you doing before you met me? What was your occupation as I say a nun or religious sister and also more importantly I tawt I just loved everything teacher because of the time I met you I was a priest at the same Parish you were teaching a and I always tell people we met him 7th grade because you are the seventh grade teaching none at the school. And and I was that's where I met you. And so

02:16 The story of our being together is kind of unusual in that I was attracted to you originally because you were so involved with the kids you were leading the choir. So you're not the greatest singer, but more importantly you led your girls volleyball team does the city Championship back unit must have been watched nine 1963 or something like that. I couldn't have gotten there if it weren't for dick because I didn't drive and dick was able to drive at that point. He was a parish priest. So that was part of the girls. The girls were here was in the Englewood Chicago Englewood neighborhood and all the students are in the girls on the team were African American.

03:16 We had some interesting encounters as we started our volleyball time together because we would play very good white teams. We learn from them and some of them work. I know how hostile I always remember remember the priest who was badgering her kids all children seem to respond to our kids. You know, when is her and our kids are special to me like that. I don't know whether it was so but it was steamed to get that respect from white people or something, but they really learn to appreciate it that a lot of the day of Muhammad Ali and my manttra to them was you remember what my man trailer was. I'm trying to think you are the greatest, you know, and they had to believe in themselves now, that's a sidebar, but and you remember when you first met

04:16 What you thought about me or?

04:19 I don't remember the actual meeting of you. You know, I'm I think you get being in the community you get situations where you know, we meet each other you knowing and seeing that I wish, you know, a teacher plus into sports in a sport person but I mean into promoting the sports for the girls. I think that was very helpful because you gave me assurance and confidence and what I was doing and I was doing it well and plus you were a good cab driver xxxtentation some of the things I remember about our first meeting. The first time I saw you was really before I was sent to the same Parish sharada was probably a year before and I took the girls from St. Catherine of Genoa to a volleyball game and here was this

05:16 Pretty little Nan kind of tiny, but all I could see of her was her eyes and her chin cuz she was in a hooded footed Vale kind of thing. But he loves you sooo, pretty cute. Look then later later. I happened to be assigned to that parish and we got to know each other just by I would watch the volleyball practice said I would get involved in stuff with the school and so on but it was a kind of a different situation and

05:52 We will be having a African American children. You don't listen to new experience for me is not that I've been teaching that long but I had only talked why but white Caucasian children and the teaching African-American was a good experience for me because I didn't have that much experience with African Americans spend and I think it was unique and I found a great respect for them and how we were both the summer camp program for a couple hundred kids every summer at the parish on the playground there. I also was involved in running the Herb Kent who jumped from wvon Dances every week at our place where we get anywhere from 800 to 1000 teenagers. We made more from that on a Sunday evening.

06:52 But I like to get back to us. When did you start having some real feelings about me? Other than a cheerleader?

07:05 I had think I was attracted by you being attracted to me. You know, I bet your dad gave me a sense of confidence in my feelings. You know, I think that's kind of reality hit me that and plus you were very convenient. No, no just you were very accommodating and put it that way and I was certain respected that more of a professional experience for me with you. But but that was it and then to Detroit for two or three years ago the two years older than you when you came back you were a high-school teacher at Loretto Angela Marano Woodlawn where I happen to be a counselor to that to the girls. There was no girl school.

08:01 And that's really when we started spending a lot of time together. I would look for excuses to drive you and say one of the students somewhere and you know, we used the girls students that shows for many a meeting. We had you know, and spent a lot of time before hand and after hand talking and then later you remember our phone calls in the night together that I was living Woodlawn. He had a like a public phone. It wasn't so you were in a booth it was easier for to cut for me to call us the freedom to call you used to have to ask permission them anytime. You want to make a phone call and also that that's the situation was much more liberated then other accountants. I was in for a rude little lotto to our phone calls of an evening and talking back and forth and then when I

09:01 Record, we were try to get time together. I would pick her up and we take a ride maybe to remember Miller Beach, Indiana. We'd go through and so on and had a lot of conversations and then I remember saying that and I don't know what it means, but I think I'm in love with you and I think that scared the heck out here or not. Well because it's just I didn't handle it. Continue to turn to spend more time together, you know, we are pretty open fact that we did spend a lot of time together and I got lectured by one of your superiors to stay away from you, you know, cuz she was worried that about

10:01 About losing so but then you decided to leave but I think I needed to push. You know what I think my comfortability Factor because my mom and dad I didn't know what they would think because I've been gone for so long and I know my mother would be probably happier than my dad. Didn't know what the heck to do with me once I loved it and felt so I got another person to you know for support you no way. He didn't like the idea of my answering but once the security of knowing that I could do get educated and all dead occurred there. He was in there, you know, he was kind of glad it made kind of settled in his mind all she's okay. She's going to be taking care of and we'll go

11:01 Maybe I don't know how many years was that? I don't remember. I think probably the confidence in love I had for you. We certainly became prevalent in my choice. I always remember that you got out quite easily. You went downtown to the Chancery office and met with the priest jean-marc Lori and kind of snip snip and you were out of your vows and free and then I was scared because you seem to be kind of free then and you would say you left because you didn't like the lack of community that used to be in the car. Started and I thought that spendlove meows, you know, but but then I left a little later. I had a exit interview with Cardinal Cody and I said, I want to leave cuz I'm in love with a hit with Aunt with you and then I also explained to him that my reason for leaving was that

12:01 I came from a big family has seven kids and them at that time. I had like twenty eight nieces and nephews her brother with 12 kids and two other brothers were four and a sister a sister who was a nun and but the other sister had for adopted kids, so I wanted to get into the Rhythm of Life and really have kids. So so we I got permission she had permission and we remain very active Catholics to this day and

12:42 It was until the following August that we had permission to get married in the marriage ceremony was kind of interesting to me. It wasn't it. Didn't you miss the fact that people couldn't come to it and we had to do it alone or mother. My mother was at the 12:00 Mass at St. Mary's Riverside where we did get married by Bishop bike eating but we kicked her out of church. She couldn't be there for the ceremony. The only person at the ceremony besides the priest in the end and me was some guy dangling is Rosie in the front Pew as I recall.

13:33 Play why no one else was there it was and that's a great question that the I had else. I have an identical twin brother. Who was the priest we got her staying together for Chicago Archdiocese of 1957 and I sent a letter to Cody and I said no Bishop. Will you let my brother perform? The ceremony will observe all the other restrictions. It was early on priest leaving. This was like 1968 and so they were pretty rigid about keeping things secret in are you had a sign off that you wouldn't tell people you were formerly a priest that you wouldn't hang out in the neighborhood where you had served and stuff like that. But the Cardinal said no sincerely in Christ. He said no, but your brother can't do it. And so it was a special the special form that it didn't you did.

14:33 I need Witnesses like the usual marriage ceremony needs but we had a reception afterwards and a lot of people that it was kind of uncomfortable, but then we went on our great honeymoon.

14:49 Tell us about the honeymoon in number where we went. I was working then my first job was with the Girl Scouts of the USA. And you were teaching again in some suburban school. And on our honeymoon. We drove to White Plains New York to Camp Edith Macy are girl scout National camp where you and I spent our honeymoon because I was my first job was working as a fundraiser for the Girl Scouts and we got there and through special permission you and I were allowed in the men's unit Red Oaks. I remember the name and I would guard you when you were taking a shower in the morning and

15:41 Wedding our wedding bed was a platform tent with two iron pots that do not have Bridal Bower make and so on but we survived we survived that and what's been good about our marriage and

15:58 Are these are big as we are two wonderful boys.

16:03 Which I'm very pleased. I know you are to dick it please the Loveland very much I think and I don't know if I both of them but one of those Sons when they asked why did you choose teaching? They said because when Mom came home she was happy for when Dad came home. He wasn't born to retire at that time. I was in fundraising at a number of places you know that but I worked at the College of chest position the American fun for dental health Statue of Liberty Foundation. That was a fun job at Loyola Medical Center. And then finally, I ended my career and fundraising which was about 25 years at Loyola Academy. And so it was good to me and

17:03 And it helped us put our kids through good colleges at Mike the Elder went to Williams and Bernie went to a birdie especially if it fits in with his current teaching English at Oak Park River Forest High School. Is that in the school of Foreign Service Bernie won the English metal in his class. That's all right. Have you worked as a side job sometimes with a poetry Laureate at Georgetown helping him run some dinners and so on are the great poetry Professor fether Flint.

17:47 What's our marriage been like for you?

17:50 You want me to be a wonderful wonderful experience and lifestyle and love having my two boys. I mean the fact that they are the product and I don't even want to say that that doesn't sound right, you know, I just want to use your hours, you know, and I love them very much and you know, I love you for your being so accepting of me cuz I have a lot of different add additive. Well what we've said happily survived and your love for me and for the kids and now for the grandkids is no it's kind of Full Circle. That's what I why I left the priesthood you and I I wasn't a bad for you star is very active as a priest as a priest. And remember I went to Selma and I was very active.

18:50 We got arrested in 1963 and one of the first demonstrations in Grant Park and every time I remember we go by Balbo and Columbus where I got arrested with Dick Gregory on iHeart the horn and remind you remind me always and where else do you remember where else? I honk the horn when we go by

19:12 No, I don't remember where we sold newspapers. I know there was this really quick though that you said that you know, we were a great part of your marriage. But but you never stopped teaching talk about how long you taught, I never stopped teaching or well just let me know you did. There when you were bringing us up at then you got back into it. How many years did you like What's the total years of teaching you did while I would say there was about sixty advance or was in the high 50s cuz you taught us a non SI menu you tried her at a public school or suburban school after we got married to Todd St. Juliana for men.

20:12 How many years retired only briefly and they hired you back to work with special-needs kids? I think I would be teaching today had I not had that accident to you. Another part of our history. Is that 5 years ago this coming May 21st. I think it was we had a terrible accident at Belmont and Cumberland coming home. Actually if I'm a doctor's appointment. We got creamed by a Cadillac Escalade how big freaking tank light car and I got nothing but Whiplash but and caught the brunt of it even though she was on the men's side of the impact of force on that way and she broke a couple vertebrae high in her spine and

21:10 We both got carted to Loyola hospital and and was in a bad way. I wasn't that bad. But she had to get an operation to stop the bleeding in her spleen and shortly after she got her neck operated on and remember you remember any of that man, like the lawn. I don't remember that it hardly any of it. You know, when he has to actually tell me is it is some of that, you know, once I got it, you know, the I think or else I block it out of my mind. I did never realize how many instances of going into the operating room or any of that. I don't remember to remember when she knows the run of the operating room the first time touching moment for everybody. They are they roll my Gurnee next to yours so I can talk to you face to face and I said, you know, I put

22:09 In God's hand cuz I didn't know what the heck was going to happen and

22:15 Couple years later when we went to the same emergency room at Loyola for something else the nurses remember all the nurses crying in our family, hiding in a very small red bud you overcame that and then you made a miraculous recovery V high point, you know, because it's where I can't decide to come back in and I couldn't walk but the one of the boys any real bit Rehabilitation Center that one of the men they are boys and I had taught him in school and she was wonderful in your hospital history is spent at true 3 weeks at Loyola intensive care, and then you went to Holy Family in Des Plaines are cute.

23:15 Care Facility you had a very tough time the the day after they tried to sew up your spleen. They went in and took it out because it was still bleeding and this car from those two operations took an awful long time to heal and then after they at stay for a couple several weeks a couple months actually in DesPlaines, then you were able to graduate to the Rehab Institute of Chicago and you are there August September October before you came home, and they did a great job on your gun in your hand. You did a lot of follow up some for about a year. So but you're able to walk and you never lost your gift of talking few words in edgewise competition, New York.

24:15 You are a good listener and a good listener. So with our family things I remember doing with her family. We took a lot of trips, you know, and did you remember some of the places during I don't know. Let me hear one of the things after the operation you got your ability to walk back until October you started or even Christmas you started walking again and then the but now I've lost my three like what what have you helped you been the effect of non episode of be all things out of things changed for you since the accident and when

25:15 By the time I got better, you know, at least they didn't they wouldn't they didn't hire me go to the accident was I think as originally they called it a had to sit in there. What do they call it? They call that a headache shaking head syndrome. So that's why I have an excuse of why I forget everything right is actually a pot and what life your car says that it doesn't continue to get in your house a little dementia. I can see who wrote and you moved out beautifully with fun. I really am afraid of Alzheimer's, you know, not that it would separate us by David.

26:15 I really admire how well you've taken care of the great inconvenience of not being able to number one drive and not remembering everything very comfortable with it because you remember everything. I don't know if it's true or not, but I'm presuming it's true, but it's wonderful to have you around besides being who he is, but it to be able to rely on you to give me the info that I need, you know, like you're sometimes I if I don't have a calendar near me, I don't know what day of the week it is, or I have to sit and have a rest I would I do here and there and then figure it out, but it's good news, very positively and are you always been positive about me and my progress? I never feel that you're when you're baking bread what you love to do, especially.

27:15 The grand kids helping you got to be very careful and can't get distracted on. Otherwise, you'll miss putting in the baking soda to the Salt but it you've done very well there and I can't tell you how much I admire how you're coping and you know it with the because you have the I have you been my support. I have two wonderful boys who have been my support and I can't but say I'm just grateful for the bottom of my heart and love them very much. Right? Well, they've been super supportive the not to take it away from you for me. But what about how and I think it's been really special is the grandkids Alex Mateo my grandkids, but your other son Mike's grandkids.

28:15 How to make I do have difficulty had time to go to the teacher comes out in me and I forget the parent part and I want things to be kind of handling in certain forms and they aren't always in agreement with me and I have more collisions with Mateo than I have any in over there close to the family. That's how we lived with us for a while while they were shifting residences and our daughter-in-laws from Peru. And that's one of our great trips and you and your wife were with us weren't that we went down to talk no Peru for their wedding and came back and had two more wedding receptions here in Chicago and I'm going on their honeymoon to Machu Picchu. We went together on the honeymoon to Machu Picchu.

29:15 They wouldn't leave us in the overnight like we wanted at Machu Picchu because there were too many drinkers who stay over and so right now I know what are some of the inventions you guys have taken both upper pleasure in for activism. And well, who are you supporting me and my activism very much. I've been active with a group for America's board member of Chicago religious leadership Network on Latin America is what Chicago Interfaith group that works on issues human rights issues throughout the Americas and Anna and I think it's 10 years ago. Now we went together to El Salvador for the 25th anniversary of cardinal Romeros assassination.

30:11 Add another time and I went to Guatemala with Marcy Martha Pierce and a couple others from Chicago religious leadership Network. And one of the things I was happy to be able to do was to headline a fundraiser they had for the their 25th anniversary Capital campaign where we raised a surprising amount of $210,000 of the didn't think we thought originally 150 would be a reach but it turned out very well and tonight we're going to an event to support immigration issues. We're going to El Campo Bello or something and Wellington church or Chris and Sarah and her group voices. It is performing in another group is performing and we're going to go there tonight to support them, but it has always been very supportive of my activism and she's participated very much and I

31:11 Family, we did a lot of trips. I don't know what trips you might remember Bernie. You do a list. I remember particular images like do you like my thighs off the plastic Plymouth Volare seats as a overheated as we drove out West Yellowstone, you know, I remember the Plymouth Library came down in Yellowstone and the very nice mechanic you happen to just come up and help us out. And so I know we did a trip out straight West Yellowstone. We also flew to the Four Corners into the Grand Canyon and Southern Utah and all those things as well. And you're at Washington when you were young and then we went to when I was working for the Statue of Liberty. We all went to New York and there were there for the big festivities and 88 or 89. So I'm like that but those are

32:11 Happy memories. I still haven't sorted out all the pictures. We have them and the ping pong table in the face with a late love in our life and a real factor is that we've adopted from pause free cats that and is very much in love with you to talk about your relationship and I like them but I do get offended at the spending so much time when you're sleeping in the bed and one of them gets across your neck and sleeps there and the other ones at your side and I know where the third one is. That is that you talk more to the cats now, then you talk to me and so that's a that's a tough note to follow about that. They love you and you're always giving him treats.

33:11 Who did they go to it went to get up in the morning tomorrow get ready to go because he's the feeder thank God for the love of animals that we've taken but what you for a while we had dogs like pretty much we did have a dog and scroll drummer Drummer. His mother's name was attached and his name was drummer. I go over it did to the nuns house after Mass or something and I did have me over and they have a tennis ball and they would bounce it off before towards me because the dog was Jason have his ball and they knew I was scared stiff and couldn't stay up that stuff. I was abused by nuns at home.

34:11 It's it's been a great life and still living it one of these days. I never thought I'd live to be almost as old as my wife. You know, I'm 5 years younger than I am 5 years 5 months. I didn't protest at 2. So far is Decatur didn't talk to him. He was 8 years old, you know that one for all these years. She said he said up to now things have been okay.

35:11 Ask me why are the children? Why are both of your kids teachers are they were Astor Michael maybe cuz I was fundraising and unhappy and you were a teacher and happy when you came home and so but let me get it on the record here. I'm kind of sick and tired of you. I think it's more more than just education you both taught us a life of service and our life is so, you know to make the world better for other people. That's the meaningful life and I think you know that something that you know is probably the greatest thing, you know, you've given us and that ain't so. That's how we approach to education. I think that's my ring education. So I think you got to pay his daddy retired well,

36:10 Diarrhea, but since we retired we've gone over to Germany and Austria Vienna we and we weren't there a second time on vacations and we've done the Canadian Rockies are a couple times and this summer where the alleged or not any we're taking the train to Denver and riding through the mountains of Colorado and I don't like to travel on airplanes. That's number one. Then you're driving. I don't know but we have to go to some place to fly to this. Don't we know when I can apply it off?

37:10 Stop, you know when my sister died recently in are you aware? We had to spend money trips out to her and her Convent and the home she was in and has she retired and was sickly you were released a strong supporter of me. We made about a half a dozen trips there before she and you know, I really did and she was always weird when we have it over the house. She was so enjoyable. They have here. I was always pleased when she felt comfortable enough to stay there. She had a lot of stories of a working Indian Venezuela and the Southwest states. So the biggest prize and I have had dinner mirror just having the boys we have, you know, I love them very much.

38:10 Where is your hand. Where you came out at? You know, we got married with literally not a pot to put a penny in it and we're okay. We're able thanks to some help we got from your aunt and from my aunt and my mom and your dad we were able to Cobble that together and get a beautiful home in Park Ridge that were probably going to die there and I told the guy the other day at the health club that we were hatched matched and likely dispatched from Chicago and Chicago.

39:01 I think I've run out of stuff. I can't believe it. I think I've said a lot for me very grateful for the opportunity to say this and have it published how much I am. So most fortunate person to have my husband and my two boys, you know, I feel terrible and I have to go back to the dog and our lives with crooked lines. You can say, you know, we really did made a great second effort. You have left our original locations and work and greener pastures and fascia worked out well.

40:01 Copy this thing to retrace. How about you know you guys like to talk but this is really special for you guys to have even though you didn't have to pay for.

40:14 Amen, Alleluia