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DayCreek Journal

May 31 , 2006

Good-Bye to an Old Friend

A photo taken in 1943 of what was to become my parent's brick bungalow.

Memories. Lots and lots of memories. My parents bought this brick bungalow on the NW side of Chicago on April 7, 1964. I was four years old then and although it's been over forty years, I can still remember what the neighborhood looked like: Our block was lined from end to end with elm trees that arched over the street like a cathedral ceiling. It was quite a sight to see during the summer months when the trees were full of leaves. I'm not sure if it was due to all the trees or lack of weed killers on the lawns, but the neighborhood had a burgeoning population of fireflies that my friends and I use to collect at night. (Maybe we killed them off by collecting them?) Unfortunately, almost all the trees died from dutch elm disease and had to be replaced. Forty years later, the streets are now lined with hard maples. They do a good job of providing shade, but the archway of the elm branches have been long forgotten along with the fireflies that we use to catch as kids.

Times were a lot simpler back then and as a society we were much less wasteful. Milk from Wanzers came in a returnable glass bottles and so did soda. (I remember the time that my brother Jim accidentally smashed a one gallon bottle coming home from the store on his bike. It hit the side of the house and milk went everywhere. That bottle never got returned.) The only thing plastic I can remember getting from the grocery store was a tub of margarine which when empty became a bathtub for our pet parakeets.

And my Mom always bought Wonder Bread because it helped build bodies 12 ways. The peanut butter and jelly sandwiches she made probably helped build our bodies in even more ways. Speaking of building our bodies in many ways, McDonald's had already been making burgers and we would make trips out to Des Plaines, IL on occasion to have one of their cheeseburgers. (Des Plaines was the home to the first McDonald's) Of course, we ate in our Rambler station wagon since there was no indoor seating.

Laundry was done on Mondays and on good weather days Mom would set up the clothes line in the back yard. There was nothing better than sheets that were hung out to dry outside. Then there was shopping day. I can't remember which day was grocery shopping day, but I do remember dragging the shopping cart to the neighborhood store. Mom never learned how to drive, so we walked to the store. Most moms back then did the same thing. The front of the Jewel was full of women's shopping carts.

If we had to go further than walking distance, we would take the bus. Actually it was an electric trolley bus that was powered by overhead electric lines. On a cloudy night, the sky would flash like lightning when a trolley bus would bounce up and down against the wires.

And then of course there was TV. We had a 19-inch Admiral black and white TV and Sunday night was THE night for TV. Mr. Ed, My Favorite Martian, Ed Sullivan and Bonanza were on the tube and occasionally I got to stay up to watch Candid Camera at 9pm. Ed Sullivan was always fun to watch especially when the Beatles were on his show.

It was sure fun growing up as a kid on the NW side of Chicago. I will never forget all the great times we had there, but all things must come to an end. On May 31, 2006 my Dad officially sold the house to a nice young couple who we hope will have just as many good times as we did. It was tough saying good-bye, but the time had come for us to part.


Here's how the house looked on May 31, 2006. The house really hasn't changed much from the outside. (The tree in the foreground is different however. In the immortal words of Bobby Goldsburo, " And see the tree how big it's grown, But friend it hasn't been too long, It wasn't big." )