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Everything Happens for a Reason

Archive for the month “April, 2013”


On summer days my Mom and I would drive down to Aunt Eleanor’s place and my Cousin Wayne from Woodstock  and his Mom, my Aunt Mary, who were all Sisters, would pack up a lunch and take off for Chicago via the Elevated. Aunt Mary and Wayne would take the train in from Woodstock and we’d meet them at the Chicago and Northwestern Station in Chicago. We do some shopping and go to some Museums or take in a show at one of the Air Conditioned Theaters. We’d stop and have our lunches in Grant Park at a bench. My Aunt Eleanor was a Generous Lady, buying Wayne and I all kinds of Gifts or Toys to take home with us. Sometimes on a trip down into Chicago there would only be Wayne  and I  and she would take us two to fancy stores in the Loop and to one of our favorite places to eat. It was the H&H Automate were you take a tray when you entered and would slide it down these amazing racks attached to the display cases That ran for miles in the restaurant  winding from here to there full of all the imaginable food items  that you reach in and place on your tray, then along this wall of clear glass compartment that held some of the most desirable Desserts one could imagine and all you  had to do is open the little door and reaching in, take what you wanted and place it on your tray. Then of course there was the beverage dispensers and cups to fill your favorite drink of choice. Decisions,  Decisions,  Wayne and I spent so much time trying to decide what we wanted in food and beverages. Of course, all under the supervision of Aunt Eleanor. who tried to keep us moving and not holding up the line behind us. Our trays were overflowing with food that we knew could not be eaten in one sitting, but it was fun and I still remember the excitement when Aunt Eleanor would say we’re going to the Automate for Lunch today.


Every Summer I would go up to Woodstock Il. to spend a week with Wayne on their Farm. Mom And Dad would drive me up there and usually Aunt Eleanor and Uncle Ed would bring me back. The Summer of 1949 my Parents said I could take the train up there all by myself. Whoopee  I get to ride the train. Mom and Dad drove me downtown Chicago to the Chicago and Northwestern Station and put me on a Train that was going to Fargo North Dakota and my Dad said to the Conductor to make sure I got off in Woodstock Il, about a two hour run.

When I told Douglas of what I was doing, I could tell he was jealous, but he said he would ride his bike up to the C&NW tracks by  California and Belmont Aves. and wave to me as I went by.  Which he did!

Life on a Farm was way different then I was use to. People got up way too early and the smell was overpowering at first. Being near Cows and Pigs and other assorted farm animals took a lot to get use to. Everywhere you walked one had to be conscious of where one stepped. It took a long time for me to become accustomed to going out to a smelly Outhouse to do one’s business. Taking a bath in a elongated metal tub in the kitchen was different, and having Aunt Mary pouring hot water into it while you bathed didn’t help the embarrassment I suffered as Family members traveled thru the kitchen while I was bathing. I got thru it, I adapted and I survived. Living on and Learning how a Farm works is something I think every Boy and girl should experience in their life time.

But too soon the week was over and I returned back to my comfortable house and my own bed and a bathroom with a lock on the door.  I even felt at home when my Dad walked by the bathroom as he would every time I was in there and banged on the door saying “For Christ sake kid, shit or get off the pot”  I was home again. Ah, Civilization. I have always enjoyed an adventure, some more than others and I’m always ready to try something new.

Speaking of something new, On my trips back and forth to St. Benedict’s  each day I passed a Dinner on Western Ave, four times a day, (I came home for lunch a lot of times which consisted of a sandwich, pickle and some chips. Well at Lunchtime this Dinner had such a wonderful smell as you walked by and it always set me up for a luncheon Meal when I got home, although what my Mom would have for lunch never compared to the smell that came from that Dinner. Being an Adventurer, I asked my Mom if I could stop there for Lunch one day telling her how good it smelled.  She said sure, and one day she gave me 50 Cents and told me what to expect when I went inside. I was game!  Well that day came and all I could think of was having Lunch in that Dinner. Well as I walked in, everyone turned to see this Kid walk up to a stool and set myself down. It smell great in there. I looked at the Menu and tried to match that wonderful smell to an item on the menu board. I did not fit in there, not with all these older men and the talking loud and swearing going on, but I was determined to have me a hot lunch. After studying the menu I figured out the item that smelled so good, It was a Bacon,  Tomato and Lettuce Sandwich with a glass of Milk.  It was good, but I was disappointed that it did not emulate the smell that I was looking for.  When I got home that afternoon, my Mom asked if the lunch was good, and I told her Yes, but I was disappointed. She explained that the smell I smelled was an accumulation of all the smells from all the food they cooked and served and that I could not attribute it one particular meal on the menu. Well I did it and that experience cured me of going into that dinner again, but I still loved walking by that  establishment every day and smelling the smell of food cooking. The meal cost me 40 cents. I had a slice of Apple Pie too.



    In going thru all the posts I have ready to post, I realized I have way too many.So I decided to start relishing them at a faster pace than what I’m doing now. The Weather is getting nicer and I really don’t want to be in the House writing Blogs all Summer, Plus, Kay and I are starting to plan our next trip out west and decided to use Rainy Days to investigate Plane fares and Hotel to stay at and places we want to see. Where planning our trip for mid September to see Utah and Colorado and are looking into Flying in and out of Las Vegas this time. Anyway, I’m going to start releasing my Drafts at a rate of Two to Three a week from now on starting Monday. Once I exhausted all my Drafts I’ll still write in my Blog but of subjects of Kay and I and planning of our trip along with Blogs while were on our trip. I’ll continue with my past exploits once we’ve returned and start settling in for the Winter.




My Parents and Siblings grew up during the Depression and by the time I came along things were starting to improve. In 1940 my parents bought  house at 4024 N. Campbell Ave.  It was in the North center Neighborhood of Chicago and it was a nice house. About a block away to the South and across Irving Park Blvd. was a Park, Paul Revere Park. It had a paved path around it and a big Field House that posed many programs for kids to join and a huge Wading pool with a fountain in the middle. Douglas my friend and I would spend a lot of time there during the Summer. Prior to my parents buying their first house on Campbell Ave. they lived with My Dads parents on Merrimack Ave. a little ways North and several Blocks West. It was the depression and no one could afford a house. My Mom and Dad lived up in the Attic with my brother and Sister, My one Uncle and Aunt lived in the basement with their two kids, Ray and betty, and my other Aunt and Uncle, Milton and Arliss, shared the first floor with my grand-parents. It was common at that time to have multiple Families living together. My Uncle Milton worked for Ball Canning Company and would later in the 60’s be transferred out to California. My Uncle Ray was a Meat Cutter and would later become the head of the Meat Cutters Union in Chicago.  My Dad was an Apprentice in the Steamfitters/Pipefitters Union in Chicago and would become the Superintendent for Bechtel  Construction Co.

From conversations with my Brother everyone got along just fine. The men had fun running a Whisky producing mill in  the  Basement and sold Whiskey to the taverns during Prohibition. My brothers job every morning before going to school was to rotate the barrels in the rack. During my Childhood I remember us all getting together for picnics and birthdays and the Holidays. My favorite Uncle and Aunt was from my Moms side, her Sister Eleanor and Ed. They would always pick me up for a weeks stay at their house and take me along when they would drive out to Woodstock Il. to visit my moms other Sister Mary and her husband Elmer. They had a farm there and a Son Wayne. Uncle Ed would joke with us two and take us Fishing and into the Town of Woodstock for a Chocolate malt. I remember one day he said to Wayne and I, ” Just call me Ed”  no need to call me Uncle.  Well it was several weeks later he and my Aunt Eleanor were over at our house and My Uncle said he’d give me a Quarter if I would play a song on the Piano. (I took Piano lessons)  after playing them a song, he gave me a Quarter and I said, “Thanks Ed”  My father jump up and gave me a slap that I still can feel today and said ” That’s your Uncle Ed, and you will call him Uncle Ed till the day you die” My Dad was strict, Old German ways and respect was paramount. My Uncle Ed explain to my Dad what he told us and Apologized for doing it, But I could see in my Dad he was not happy with my Uncle Ed.

Speaking of Uncle Ed, He and my Aunt lived down on Western Ave. just south of Grand Ave. in Apartment above another one of my Relations Aunt Margaret, my Moms Mothers Sister who also live there with the  The McElroys. On an invite from Aunt Eleanor  my Mom allowed me to take the Streetcar down to their Apartment. As you’ll learn, I  was an adventurer and I had no hesitation in taking this trip. I got to ride the Streetcar all the way down Western Ave. It cost my Mom a Dime to send me there.(1948). Of course  Aunt Eleanor  was there waiting for me and to make sure I got off at the right street. as I think back, my Mom must have known I had a good head on my shoulders and was responsible enough to make the trip at eight years of age.

My Dad was good to me. He built me my first pedal car out of sheet metal he had made for me at work, He’d take me to see Trains, he taught me Baseball and bought me my first Bicycle. He taught me to drive a car, He was generous at Christmas time and even though he was NOT a Religious Man He did applaud me for doing what I did for Church Services. Than one day he snapped! He became an Alcoholic  I don’t know what caused it or why he started to drink, but life in our house changed from that time on. I have all kinds of Memories, good memories of my Dad when I was growing up, but very few of when he started drinking.


I’ve started to build a Cache of stories as my Daughter Alisa and her Husband Tim are going to give me my Christmas gift when they come out next week. A new Computer for me to use, A different type of Computer than what I’ve been using so I’m stockpiling stories as a precaution till I learn how to use it.

I went to Coonley School for only a year as St. Benedict did not offer a Kindergarten class. I don’t really remember much of my first year in school as it probably wasn’t exciting as one might think. Kindergarden never really is, is it. Parochial school was a lot different than conventional school was, First there was the teachers, excuse  me, Nuns, and there was the discipline factor, and then the Religious point of view. I still had to walk to school, about the same distance only a different route. This time I had to cross two busy streets, Irving Park Boulevard and again Western Ave, No Crossing Guards as they weren’t afforded to parochial schools. It was OK as I had already learned that crossing busy streets was a no nonsense thing and also to cross with other people. There was no Candy stores along the route just a Tavern, Dinner and a lots of small businesses. A story about that Dinner in later Blob.  I remember the Nuns and the Priests at school and I remember that the school day started with prayers every Morning. We had desks which was new to me and all my books had to fit inside the desk under the top. Homework was a thing that I didn’t like as it took up too much of my free time back at home, although my Sister helped me with it. I still saw my friend Douglas on weekends and we would play and do things together as much as we could. One thing is we would ride our bikes all over the City to watch Trains  and save some of our allowance for riding the Elevated train system around the Chicago, doing the latter as we were older of course. It was about 3rd. grade that I became an Altar Boy. I must of done this on my own as I don’t remember being coerced into doing it. I do remember that I got out of morning prayers in the Classroom as I served at 8:00 Mass then changed my Garments and headed to Class about 9:00. I did this till we moved to Downers grove in 1955. It was fun and I did it 5 days a week and also on Sundays.

My Sister and I went to Parochial Schools, her at Queen of Angels and I at St. Benedict’s but I don’t remember my Brother going to either one. You know, I never asked him. I guess I’ll have to ask my Sister-in Law. I do remember him going to Lane Tech High School though. And here I thought I had assembled all the information before I started this Blog. If I find the answer, I’ll make an addendum to a future Blog, OK?

Again nothing stands out about going to grade school, I must have been average as I  was capable of having conversations with family and friends and really didn’t make an Ass of myself, well rarely. I could count, read, write, somewhat spell and I knew how to dress myself. It was assumed that by the time one entered Grade School, especially a Parochial School that one’s belief in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny was gone from your vocabulary and the real reason for those Holidays was driven into your mind, and so it was. Those were good times and good memories and the Holidays in our household were Happy Times. Having an older brother and Sister were fun and having them spoil me was just as much fun as one could have. Also having an Aunt and Uncle around gave me pleasure in knowing our Family was a good Family and get togethers were always great.

Next;  Family Fun and new Adventures



December 2, 1940 brought forward a little Boy into this world. The place, Swedish Covenant Hospital corner of Foster Ave, and California Ave. in Chicago, Il. A flurry of  messages traveled back and forth from my Mom in the Hospital to my Brother and Sister and My Father at home as to what name I should carry around with me for the rest of my life. No decision could be reached a stalemate was inevitable. It was at this time my Mother saw an old flame she knew from back in High School days walked by the Maternity Ward. She immediately sent home the name of Glen and it was accepted by my Family, so, I was named after one of my Moms old Boyfriends.

I guess not much happened after that till I started School. As I said in a earlier Blog, one’s Memory is based on other things that happened on or around the specific item that was filed for future recall, (ex)  Smell, Sounds, Relatives, Family and events. I do have Memories of times prior to attending School and I’ve burned out a lot of Brain Cells trying to remember and placing these thoughts in some sort of a chronological order. Like, I remember moving out of my Parents room (Crib I guess) up to my Brothers bedroom after he joined the Armed forces back in 1943 (I would have been 3) and he had a Radio in his room that I would listen to every night before I fell asleep, mostly Big Band Music.  Being a mischievous  little boy and disrupting my Sisters Sleep-Overs by spilling a jar of Pickles on the Bed.(maybe 3 or 4). Remembering my Brother coming home after the War. I have spotty Memories of my Childhood up to this point and a few have been jogged by looking at old Photographs of that time and conversations with my Sister and Sister-In-Law.

I started my Education at John C. Coonley Elementary School on N. Leavitt and Bell Plain Aves. in Chicago. Of course it was Kinder Garden but the thing I remember the most was I had to Walk to and from School. I was alone, I was on a adventure trekking from my house on Campbell Ave. to the School on Bell Plain and Levitt  Aves. a  total of 8 City Blocks, and I had to cross Western Ave. which was very busy, but made safe by a Crossing Guard at Bell Plain and Western. As I became familiar with the route to and from School I began to notice other things that would appear in my life and leave indelible memories . One of these Memories was a Classmate in Kindergarten that walked home with me, at least to Western Ave, where he lived at. Douglas became my best friend and we would stay in touch till I went into the Navy. I wish I knew if he is still alive.  Also there were these Trains that traveled down Western Ave, and later found out that these were Streetcars which ran on tracks buried in the Bricks of the street and were connected to wires above them that would occasionally spark and crack. Fascination I recalled, and I vowed that I would ride on one of those .Another thing that caught my attention was that I Walked by a Candy Store. Wow! All I needed was some money. They had a lot of my favorites there and some that I never have seen before. They had a new thing there that was like a plastic dispenser and it would dispense these little hard candy squares called Pez. I surely have to get my Mom to allow me to buy one of these, which she did. They had Chocolate also, but in very limited quantities especially in the Summer as stores didn’t have Air Conditioning and things like Chocolate would melt on the shelves, even Chocolate Cookies. Eating or even worse, opening a package could be messy. I stuck with my Licorice and hard candies.

School, Friends, Church next;



  I started this blog because I was bored and had nothing to do. So kay said” You always wanted to write about your life” So I began what was to become a bigger job than I thought, not that it was hard, but trying to unearth information about my life that I thought was readily available wasn’t! So I started visiting web sites that had pictures of Chicago from back in the 40’s and 50’s. In seeing these pictures they have jogged my memory and often enough has lead me down other paths which inturn leave me with more questions about my past. But I’m working on it. One of these web-site is “Forgotten Chicago Forum” which allows one to ask questions about places in the City of Chicago from way back in the 40′ and 50’s. Another is “Chicago Past” which is a site full of pictures of Chicago dating back to the Fire in 1871. One thing I’ve leaned while looking at the pictures from the 1940’s (the year I was Born) is I was born in a Black and White time. There were no Color Pictures and from appearances  everyone drove a Black Car, wore dark clothes and the Sun never shone, Geeze, so depressing! I’ve taken notes and have accumulated a lot of interesting things to share with you in upcoming Blogs.

    Kay is down in Portsmouth Ohio this week watching Cole while Troy and Julie Vacation, so Molly and I are House sitting up here. I’m putting a couple of hours a day on the computer in writing this blog, taking a good hours walk with Molly every day and in the process  give this computer a hours rest. I know it’s dying and I need to last at least another year. I’ll be typing along and all of a sudden the typing cursor will jump back several words or sentences and continue to add words I’m typing, so I have to constantly watch what I’m typing and where the words are going, or the screen goes Pink! Which means I have a Driver going bad. A few taps with the Mouse on the side of the Laptop usually corrects this.

      My upcoming Blogs will appear that I’m living in the past, well I’m not! I just find the past so genuinely interesting and wish I had paid more attention to it when I was growing up. Hopefully I can get one up and out to publish next Monday and from then on ,every monday.




Sorry, been busy today. Dr. visit this Morning, everything checks out good. Helping Kay out with the laundry, Finishing up the Grocery Shopping List for tomorrow, getting Molly to the Groomer and in between , doing some research for future Blogs. Great website I found by accident, ” Forgotten Chicago Forum”. It’s been very helpful in jogging my memory about my years in Chicago. Found some good books, but way to expensive to buy. Every time I find something I like to do, it cost money!

Talk to ya later,


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