138 rue de bonheur

Everything Happens for a Reason


After Graduating from Volta School the Spring of 1955 our house in Downers Grove was almost ready but not quite.  For the Summer of that year I moved in with my Sister and Stan First to get acclimated to life in the Country, as that was what Downers Grove felt like and for all reasoning it was. I had my Bicycle and I toured Downers every day, mostly down by the Railroad Station, and to where our house was being built. It was about a mile from where my Sister lived to a small community of Fairview. Downtown Downers was another mile West. I was getting accustomed to rural life and I like it. There were trains and plenty to do around My Sisters house, They had a huge garden and Margie and I would till soil, plant and cultivate the Garden every day in the Morning. The smell of freshly tilled soil was new to me and I like it. One of the things I had to learn was to ride my bicycle in gravel. The road into Fairview was gravel for about a half a mile till you got to 55TH. St. there on into Fairview it was paved. In fact once you left the City Limits of Downers Grove, the streets were gravel or Tared gravel. All too soon my childhood days were coming to an end.  I was a Teenager now and in a few weeks I will be going to High School. Riding a School Bus was a new thing as was going to a Huge building with three floors in it. Going from class to class was adventure as they only gave you 5 Min  to travel between classes. Having a Locker to store your books and jackets in required me to have to remember my combination on the lock and to be able to call it up in my memory almost at will. I adapted. The one thing I had trouble adapting to was going to class I never had before. GYM. I really thought this was fun till I was told that I would have to undress in a room full of other Boys and take a shower after class(Gym). Now you got to understand, I’m a Catholic Boy who has been sheltered from this kind of embarrassment, brought up to understand that the cleansing of ones body was a private matter, done in the privacy of ones own bathroom. My God, what have I gotten myself into. This growing up into adulthood, is this something I should be leery of in the coming future?

I also met a lot of friends both thru riding the School Bus and in classes and Locker neighbors, although I still miss being with Douglas, and we did keep in touch thru letters and an occasional telephone call. Being in High School proved to be more of a Social thing than I had been use to. I mean there were conversations between me and Teachers, smiling at Girls, Going to dances with Girls, Girls talking to me, My having conversations with girls that only a few years earlier would have me trying to explain my reasonings to a Nun on why I was even talking to a Girl. Listen, the Music they’re playing now on the Radio, My parents thought it was terrible and with ungodly lyrics. I thought it was cool. Everyone was singing the songs, Kids were dancing to the Music, I had to sneak views of American bandstand when Mom wasn’t looking just so I could learn how to dance. Things were happening at a terribly fast pace. Multiple color cars, fast cars, clothing styles, music, Movies, and the World in general was going to Hell as my Dad said. And I was growing up in it. Also in my Freshman Year, I got a job, well my Sister got it for me. it was being a Soda jerk in a Candy store on main St. in Downers Grove.  I learned how to make Ice Cream Sundays, Soda’s, Malts and a whole variety of rich and delicious treats. The owner also made Candy in the back and sold there in the store.  It was fun and fattening.

It was the start of my Sophomore year that the friendship between several of us guys,( I’ll use the term Guys now as none of us were boys anymore) began to grow stronger and nothing ever was done without the others being involved. We all went out for Football together and even though our team won the conference title, neither of us played much. We were goof offs and warmed the bench most of the time but we did have fun! It was during this time that I met my future wife, Well, in about 12 years into the future. Carol was I think about 12 or 13 and the Sister of one of our new friends. Bill, was recently transferred here from Canada and was starting out as a Freshman and soon fell into hanging out with the three of us. Us being Bob Grenendal, Don Klipera and my self.



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  1. It still amazes me that you lived in Downers Grove after living in the City. What a change that must have been. I also didn’t know that you guys had that house built in DG. Crazy!

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