The first riddle I ever heard was ‘why did the idiot throw the butter out the window?’ The answer is, he wanted to see the butter fly. I know it sounds immature, but I was immature when I heard it. I must have been about five years old. Shortly afterward my dad told me the first joke I can remember. During dinner he said, ‘I went to the dentist today, and he told me that my teeth were fine, but my gums have to come out’. He thought it was funny, but I kept trying to figure out how that would work, until I finally got the joke.
I remembered the joke and riddle while I was waiting in my wife’s doctor’s office, looking out the window at Moser Tower which houses the Millennium Carillon. The Carillon is fine but the Tower is falling apart far sooner than ever expected. Deterioration and cracking has a tendency to make things fall apart.
The namesake of the tower is ‘Moser’ named in recognition of Harold and Margaret Moser’s donation/gift of $1 million towards the project. The Moser family is responsible for the development of much of Naperville. The father was Ed Moser (a doctor). He had three sons (Harold, Jim and Ed) and both Harold and Jim were very successful in business. They were visionaries who purchased a lot of land in Naperville when it was relatively inexpensive and later sold it for the development of numerous subdivisions. They made a healthy profit, but the real profit came from selling the land with the incentive for a good price if the purchaser would agree to also purchase the building materials from Moser Lumber Yard in Naperville. Shrewd indeed. Naperville began to boom. The purchasers and sellers were happy with a fair price and quality materials to insure that what was built would be built to last.
Which brings us back to Moser Tower. How ironic that it’s crumbling; built not to last. One can only imagine that Harold Moser would not be a happy guy. The City of Naperville has hired engineering consultants for a cool $148,000 (about $1 from each resident) to determine what went wrong and how to fix it. Based upon the findings, the City will decide if they want to give Moser Tower a temporary fix for big bucks, a “permanent fix” for many more bigger bucks, or just blow it up on the 4th of July and be done with it.
Both Harold and Jim were very philanthropic, and even if Moser Tower becomes cannon fodder, the Moser name will live-on in Naperville. Jim was a co-founder of the Riverwalk, the Children’s Museum which sits on the former site of Moser Lumber Yard, and Safety Town.
Maybe their most cherished legacy is in the form of Jim Moser’s son, Porter Moser, head coach of the Loyola Ramblers. They made it to college basketball’s Final Four. Built to last thru three-quarters of the semi-final game before falling apart in the final quarter. I guess they just don’t make things to last, like the used to.