I always enjoyed Saturdays around my house back when I was 7, living on the North Side of Chicago on Campbell Ave. Life back then was peaceful. The War was over, People had jobs, it seamed everyone was starting out anew in their lives. Service men had returned, They were getting Married, as did my Brother and Sister, buying new homes ,starting new families, Car makers were back making new cars and people were buying them. Fancy ones. Painted in bright colors and offering new and invented accessories like Radio’s, Clocks, and fancy upholstering.
Up early on Saturday Mornings. Dad took me to Church at 7:30 in our brand new 1947 Chevrolet as I had to serve Mass at 8:00. I was in 2nd. grade at St. Benedict’s School on Irving Park Road and Levette St. and I was an Alter Boy there. After Church if the Weather was good, I walked home, about 8 city blocks, If not Mom or Dad were there to pick me up. Back home I changed clothes and had Breakfast which was a new cereal that had come out in the stores, It was called Rice Krispies. Saturdays meant Shopping day at the Sears Store at Milwaukee Ave. and Cicero Ave. They had a Hillmans Grocery Store in the lower level. Mom and I spent most of the Morning Shopping with a final stop at Lutz’s Bakery on Montrose Ave. for after Dinner Cake or Pies for Sunday Dinner.
My Mom didn’t Bake, She cooked some damn good meals but Baking Sweets was not her thing. That was left to Grandma Girard My Dads Mom,or my Aunt Eleanor my Moms Sister. Sometimes my Sister came along with us but mostly it was my Aunt Eleanor who did her shopping along with us. Back home for Lunch which was a Cold Cut lunch meat Sandwich on a Kaiser Roll, A Pickle, and maybe a cookie for dessert. In the afternoon it was a walk down to the North Center Theater on Irving Park, Lincoln and Damen Aveues for an Afternoon Matinee to see the continuing saga of Tom Mix or Hopalong Cassidy or Superman or Buck Rogers Serials along with 25 Cartoons and a News trailer all for 5 Cents. I always bought a Holloway Bar for 2 Cents. After that show was over I would walk down about a block to the Bugg Theater on Damen Ave. for another Movie and another 25 Cartoons. Usually the feature film was Abbot and Costello. That cost me another 5 Cents and I still had my Holloway Bar. On the walk back home I still had enough to buy a Archie Comic Book for a Dime and I had some change left over to put in my Piggy Bank. The house always smelled good when I got home as Mom would have the Saturday evening meal cooking and I was hungry by now.
Shopping was different then , There were no Malls to go to. Stores were not grouped together I mean each neighborhood had a building on the corner that was either a small Mom and Pop grocery Store or a maybe a Bakery along side it. Maybe one neighborhood had a Meat market that everyone from several blocks around would go to for cuts of Meat but for Clothes it was a travel to a Sears store or stop at the Montgomery Ward store and order what you needed from their Catalog. My Dad being in Construction throughout-out Chicago found stores that specialized in certain things and we travel on a Saturday to them. Like for shoes, There was this shoe store on Roosevelt road around Halsted St. near downtown Chicago that had as my Mom would say” They have prices that we people can afford.
It was a Thom McAn Shoe Store that I always got my shoes from as did my Dad and Brother. There were other shoe stores in and around Chicago but the largest selection was always Downtown. There were Florsheim Shoes, Father and Son Shoes along with those sold thru the Mayfair Stores or the Fair. Mom and my Sister use to go to Wiebolds on Belmont and Ashland Avenues for their shoes or go Downtown Chicago to Goldblatt’s on State Street for their clothing and Shoes. One boring part of a Saturday morning was going with my mom and Sister to Woolworth’s Dime Store and sit and wait while they went thru the Simplicity or Butterick pattern drawers looking for dresses to sew. That always took so long and After I walked thru the Dime Store and looked at everything, they were still there going thru patterns, but I was always rewarded for my patients with a stop at the Candy Store for a treat.
Saturday Evenings were always fun. My Dad had purchased a thing called a Television Set and they had it set up in the Living room and after a good meal prepared by Mom, My Brother and his wife Elvira and my Sister and her new Husband Stan would take some of the Dinning room chairs into the Living Room and we’d settle in to watch what programs were being broadcast that Saturday Evening. I don’t remember what shows were on but It was new and we all sat together and watched. Mom would make Popcorn later and we would have a Pepsi along with the Popcorn. Mom had gone out a few weeks ago and bought about 6 of a new thing called TV Trays. I enjoyed Saturdays when I was young. The big thing was we all were together as a Family. I miss that now and then more than anything.