My dad and my two brothers, ages nineteen and thirteen, started shoveling out our car that had been mired for two days in snow after the city's greatest twenty-four hour snowfall had brought Chicago to a standstill. They were down near thirty-third and Wentworth, close to IIT (Illinois Institute of Technology) where my older brother, Paul attended, but commuted from our home on Keeler near Montrose. As they dug in their shovels around each of the tires, tossing snow over their shoulders, a group of twelve African American men moved toward them with determined strides.
Two Chicago shootings within 16 hours of each other: a man was shot dead in East Garfield Park this past Friday afternoon. Saturday morning, another man was seriously injured: shot in the knee and stomach. The 2nd man isn't dead, but his injuries will surely compromise his quality of life as long as he lives.
Halloween costumes, when I was a kid in the 1950s, were not store-bought, at least not in my in my family. Halloween was an opportunity to be creative; to bring an idea to life. My dad loved to scope out whatever interesting or unusual items he could find at Goodwill, Salvation Army, and thrift stores.
Reading my Mom's 1941 diary entries of dating my dad is like listening in on a BFF conversation. In my upcoming book, Redlined, I had to streamline my parents' romance–so I could get to the meat of the story of my Chicago neighborhood. But Mom's vivid recollection of her evening with "Fred Gartz" is worth lingering over.
I hope you've been watching Burns' and Novick's Vietnam War series, because if you haven't, whether you lived through the era or not, it's eye-opening. The division in America was fierce and unrelenting. Division even more visceral than political divisions today. I have vivid memories of this terrifying era...
We were a city family but with the animals one would expect in a rural home. From rats to rabbits, cats to crows, lambs to Lucifer the boa constrictor, we never were without a pet that set my friends' eyes a-goggle. Here's an "outtake" that didn't make it into my book.
At age 17, my mother became the sole support of her parents The Depression had destroyed 50% of all manufacturing jobs in Chicago. Her father was a tool and die maker, a machinist–and sixty-years-old to boot, so...tough luck for him. He got the boot. When the banker came around to demand their mortgage payments, he said, "Why don't you take your daughter out of school and send her to work to pay the mortgage?"
Oh it was heavenly! He knows all the little innuendoes of kissing and I ain’t so bad m’self, if I do say so We kissed for about an hour and a half. Tonight was like a page from a storybook, and he definitely is the man I want to marry. Dear God, please let it come true!!