Home | Columns | Photos | Books | Biography | Links

Barry Schrader
Columnist

 

I currently write a column every other Tuesday for the DeKalb Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website and be added to the archives.

The Articles started December 2007.

 

If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates to catch up.

Archive Page

Scotty and Sally Reston remembered in Sycamore

By Barry Schrader Senior Columnist...................Wednesday March 4, 2015

Note to readers: Barry Schrader’s “DeKalb County Life” column will appear every other Tuesday.

Longtime Sycamore residents will remember Judge William Fulton and his wife, Laura, who spent their lives here, and their daughter, Sally, who married the famous New York Times reporter and editor James “"Scotty"” Reston.

As a child, Sally Stevens lived just a few houses away on Alma Street and relates how one day she received a phone call from Judge Fulton. Sally, only 10 at the time, was asked to babysit two of the Reston boys for a few mornings so the family could have a relaxing breakfast during their time with the Fultons.

The Restons were visiting from New York, and their sons Richard and Thomas were not yet of school age. Their third son, James, Jr., had not been born yet.

James “Scotty” Reston and his wife are shown with their first two sons Richard, at left, and Thomas during a visit to the Sycamore home of the Fultons in the mid-1940s. (Photo courtesy of Thomas Reston)

Sally Fulton had met her future husband Scotty at the University of Illinois where they both attended. He graduated in 1932 and she got her degree in 1934. After a stint at the Chicago Daily News, he moved to New York to work for The Associated Press and Sally followed, much to her mother’'s consternation. Sally soon found a job as an editor of the Junior League magazine there. Soon, Scotty proposed and they were married.

Getting back to the Fultons, the judge had begun his law practice in Sycamore, had been named a state court judge, then was elevated to the Illinois Supreme Court, finally becoming Chief Justice of the Illinois court.

In researching this column, I was fortunate to reach two of the Reston sons, Richard in Florida and Thomas in Washington, District of Columbia, and talk about their recollections of Sycamore. Being the oldest, Richard had the most to say about his grandparents and the town. He recalls visiting several times, sometimes spending part of the summer with the Fultons while his parents remained busy in New York and later Washington.

Richard said he was allowed to go across the road to the Crosby farm, where he got to play in the barnyard, even going through a cornfield to the railroad tracks behind the farm, where he and playmates placed nickels and pennies on the rails.

He also mentioned going to the “old” Sycamore High School baseball field, where his grandfather showed him how to throw and catch. A trip to the ice cream parlor next to the State Theater was also one of his recollections.

His father Scotty moved up the journalistic ladder quickly, with major assignments in New York and then in London just before World War II. Richard was born there, but his father feared for their safety once war broke out and bombing around London became more frequent.

So he and his mother took a ship back to the U.S. and headed for Sycamore, when he was only 3 years old. Scotty stayed behind to cover the war.

Sally had also been writing dispatches, once Scotty had moved to the London bureau of the New York Times. Sally reported on women'’s roles during the war and described the hardships English women endured while working in factories. Some of her stories were picked up from the Times and re-run in the Sycamore True Republican. The Joiner History Room has them on file and shared several with me.
Scotty, who won two Pulitzer prizes for his writing over the years, came back on occasion to visit the Fultons and at least twice was invited to speak here, once before the Chamber of Commerce in August 1941, and later in September 1956, sponsored by the Sycamore Woman’s Club.

His son Richard talked about how fond the Restons were of Sycamore. “The town came up in conversation at home frequently, about the character of the Midwest, the virtues of small-town life versus the urban scene.”

He said his mother maintained those values her whole life. He also told about her brilliant mind, being Phi Beta Kappa at Illinois. “My father was fond of saying ‘the real intelligence in this family belongs to Sally’ and he counted on her to read over his columns and other writings, including his autobiography Deadline which was published in 199.” He dedicated that book to Sally.

Scotty died Dec. 6, 1995, at age 86 in Washington, the same city where Sally died six years later on Sept. 22, 2001, at age 89. Thomas said they chose to be buried in the Old Leeds Church cemetery, high in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where they had owned a small cabin for many years.

Home | Columns | Photos | Books | Biography | Links

The columnist can be reached via email at :

barry815sbcglobal.net

or by snailmail at:

Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115