Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Roseland and the Hoods I Have Lived In continued

Times were hard and we did not know it.
I was making about $5.00 an hour and I worked a lot of overtime to pay the bills.
I worked in at Midland Chemical Company on 107th street. I worked there from 1967 to 1974.
Our rent was $85.00 a month,we lived in a very old farmhouse located in Roseland on Chicago's south side.
We lived on the second floor with one bedroom at 114th street an Harvard Ave.
The house we lived it was probably from the early 1900's it was quite a museum.
The bathroom had all the pipes exposed and if you wanted you could open the shade and look out over the neighborhood.
We decided that we needed a dog so we bought a Siberian Husky and named her Natasha.She was a good dog but ran away when ever she got the chance.
These were good times,we laughed a lot at life then.
We brought our first baby home to this apartment and were clueless.Thank God for moms.
Although I still had many friends hanging out with us,it wasn't the same anymore.We had jobs,a kid and responsibilities.
Linda quit her job at Riverdale Bank to stay home with Kevin,our first born.
We had cool cars then,a 1968 Impala,a 1967 Thunderbird and the a 1970 Nova.
You could buy a car for nothing then,car payments were about $65.00.We didn't care about paying off a car loan then.
Electric and gas bills were about $12.00,groceries cost little.
We were not rich by any means but we got by ok.
We bought a tv which was used black and white,I think there were 5 channels.
My tv now has over 200 channels and there is still not much worth watching.
When we were 20 we bought our first house in South Holland for $17,500.Payments were $127.00 a month.
The house we bought was very old,located on South Park Ave,it had been part of a chicken coop at one time and the house had been moved once.There had been many additions to the old house but we were quite happy there.
We had another baby and we named him Mark.
This was a 2 bedroom house so again we found ourselves a bit pressed for space.
more to come....

So I Got Older

Somedays I feel like I am old.
I am just 59 now so I guess that's not old,at least that's what people tell me.
We bought a fancy treadmill but it makes my hip hurt.
Sitting here tonight I am thinking about taking an extra pain pill.So maybe that is why I am feeling old tonight.
Working brings out the best in me,it is my work that seems to make me forget about neuropathy for a bit.
I meet a lot of older people in my business,I seem to relate better now then when I did when I was young. I started my business when I was 24 and now suddenly I am 59.
35 years doing what I do.That's a long time.

Now,back a week in time:
Last week I was with some of my family for a weeks vacation in the Smoky Mountains.
Linda and I enjoyed every minute of our trip and enjoyed the walks and even some light hiking.
Spending time with younger folks makes me feel pretty darn good.
They stretched me.
My legs hurt after hiking,my hip was going crazy but I was happy.

Moral of the story: Stay busy.It makes me happier.

Friday, March 13, 2009

My Old Home In Roseland-Chicago

This past week I had some business in my old neighborhood.
Linda and I were just a few short blocks away from the home I grew up in.
I didn't really want to spend much time in that neighborhood because it is really not safe at all.
We decided it was ok because it was morning,about 10 AM.
We drove down 103rd street where my grandfather worked at the Great Southern Laundry.This is now some kind of chuch and I was glad to see that.
I saw the park where I spent so much time playing baseball.
There is a 300 foot tower there now,in the middle of left field.

She drove us down 104th street where my old school once stood.It is gone now,it looks like a newer public school is being built.
It was strange seeing the place where I spent so much time there,now there is no more Roseland Christian School.

We took the bend around the old pumping station and came up to 104th place.
I was stunned to see so many house boarded up,it was just surreal.
We drove to my house at 304,and it too is boarded up.Abandoned.
Grass is overgrown,boards on all the windows and doors,gates falling down.
I felt kind of sad seeing this,looking up at my old bedroom window,my parents bedroom window,kitchen windows,every window now shows no more sunshine.
I always wanted to see the inside one more time.I don't think it will ever happen.

About half of the houses on my street have no windows now.Most have ugly plywood blocking entry and preventing more broken glass.
Glass was everywhere,on the sidewalks,on the streets and in the yards.
Some homes were just gone,leaving a plot of land filled with weeds.
The little green store on the corner looks like it has been abandoned for years.No more candy from there.No newspapers,no pop.
Do I miss those old days? Yes.Would I go back if I could? No.
Those days are gone and I remember them very well.
I was just thinking there would be no more memories from some other boy who could have lived there.
My bedroom now is an empty shell.The kitchen has no more moms to come home to.
The living room has no family now,just darkness.
The dining room where uncles and aunts once came is dark too.
The basement that was a place of wonder for me is dark.
The grass I hated cutting won't be cut anymore.
How small that yard looks now.
Looking down the sidewalk where Mr. Reilly taught me how to ride a bike when I was 5.The sidewalk is there.How well I remember that day.
Who said you can't go home again?
He was right.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

To My Grandsons

Today I found out my next grandkid will be a boy.
That will make 7 of you.I am very happy about this.
My prayers are with you all,all the time.
Joel,Andrew,Aaron,Joshua,Alistair,Caleb and one to come.Maybe more?
How I wonder what your future holds.
How I pray even now for Christian wives,like your moms and like gramma Lanting.
Walk the narrow path my sons,walk with Jesus.
Don't believe in any watered down gospel.It has always been the same gospel and it does not change,ever.
Pray always.
Study his word,study hard in school.
Be compassionate.
Be patient in life.
Whatever you do for a living,do it well and do it with everything you have.
Work is not just work.It should be your passion too.
Honor your mom and dad always as my kids have done for me.
Do small favors for your mom.Then do big favors.
Laugh a lot,enjoy your friends.
Have heroes in life,if they let you down,and some will,so be it.
Climb trees,climb high.
Fish,hunt,play ball,be outdoors as much as you can.
Read books,get lost in books.Keep a library of your own,you can always return to friends in books.
Date a lot when you are old enough.
Girls are an everloving mystery.They will break your heart,but then you will know you have lived.
State your opinions strongly and with conviction.Sometimes you will be wrong but it's ok to be wrong.This is how we learn.
Don't smoke.Don't drink.Drinking brings stupidity.
Be friends with your brothers and sisters throughout your whole life.Never neglect them.
Your gramps was 59 years old when he wrote this.I know that sounds so old you now.
But life goes very fast.Enjoy being alive and if you reach old age,thank God.
One more thing,remember how much I have loved each of you.
Your papa loves you all very,very much.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Thank You Lin

This past weekend I was down with a really bad cold.
I was pretty miserable and didn't even have to stretch the truth to get sympathy!
We had plans we had to cancel,and I am sure it was a pretty boring weekend for her.

Thinking back of all the times Linda was there for me when I was down,I am grateful for such an understanding wife.
She has been as loyal to me when I was at my worst when I broke my back.
She keeps our businesses going.
She makes all the calls.
She works hard on educating customers and getting customers to keep coming back.
She does all the driving because of all the medications I am on.
She knows how much money I have to spend on meds and does not complain.
She makes it easy for me.
Now it is almost 40 years we have been together and we are closer then ever.
A million acts of kindnesses later.
A million laughs.
Not to many tears.
We have seen a lot,raised 4 kids and now have 11 grandkids and 1 on the way.
I am amazed at our lives Linda,and you are my life.
I love you.More.