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'Nuge' honors 'Ma'

August 9, 2007

Area residents came to Durty Nellie's last week to get a glimpse of rock 'n' roll history.

Although he did not play or sing a single note, Ted Nugent came to Palatine to dedicate a memorial to his late mother, Marion "Ma" Nugent.

"Boys and girls, look closely," Ted Nugent said. "I am 59, and I am having the time of my life. That is all because my mother and father made me be the best I could be."

Nugent's Aug. 1 presentation was brief, due to his late arrival and a concert in Waukegan later that night. His words were to the point although they deviated slightly from the main reason why he came to Palatine.

"Waging war against evil is the answer," said the politically conservative Nugent, in reference to the United States' war on terror. "My mom would want me to say that."

Nugent also made reference to some of the memories he had of the Palatine area, which includes graduating from St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights.

Finally, in typical "Nuge" fashion, he talked about his American dream, and how his mother helped him achieve that.

"It is competence based on effort and dreams of excellence," he said. "It is something the Nugent family continues to celebrate."

The appearance had been in the works for a long time, with Palatine musician Eric Kinkel spearheading the project.

"We are here to dedicate this four-ton monument, a metaphor for rock and roll," he said. "We are giving credit where credit is due."

Kinkel said he was taken under the wing of Ma Nugent while she worked as a columnist for the Illinois Entertainer.

Ma Nugent wrote "Ma Nugent's Mail," a section where she responded to questions about all things rock 'n' roll.

While the Nuge was only in Palatine for a short time, people who came out were satisfied just to be able to see him.

"I grew up listening to his music," said Andy Levin, a Palatine resident.

Others loved him for more than just his songs.

"Ted is more than just music. It is also what he stands for," said Jimmy Mandas, a Crystal Lake resident.

"Yeah, it was cool just to see him," said James Gheradini, a Palatine resident. "My kids are hunters, just like Ted."

Mayor Rita Mullins presented a certificate to Nugent welcoming him to the village, adding she hopes he comes back more often.

Ma Nugent lived in Palatine for 28 years, before she died in 1989. The rock in front of the marquee at Durty Nellie's has a plaque with information about her legacy.

"In the wind, she is still alive," Ted Nugent said.