Writing 101, Day Nineteen: Don’t Stop The Rockin

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“Today is a free writing day.  Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop  No self-editing, no trash-talking and no second guessing:  just go.”

Fond Memories:  Chicago’s South Side

Following the July 4th weekend, the news out of Chicago reported over 60 shootings, leaving sixteen dead, including a 60-year-old woman walking up the stairs to enter her home.

Most of this gun violence is coming out of the South Side of Chicago.  I grew up on the South Side in the 1950s.  There were gangs but they fought with their fist, with a rare, rare shooting or knifing targeted at a rival gang member.

Unlike today, where the gun violence in Chicago is rampant, the neighborhood I grew up in was a safe haven for the people who lived there.

Summer Memories

I have fond memories of my childhood on the South Side of Chicago.

In the summer months, days were filled with outdoor games that kept us children involved in some type of activity from morning til night.  Some of my favorites were:

  • Hopscotch
  • Double Dutch Rope
  • Red Light/Green Light
  • Hide and Seek
  • Little Sally Walker
  • Lightning Bug Searches

We slowed down around 8:00 pm and would sit talking on one of our front porches until our parents called us in.

Best Girlfriend

I was three years older than my best girlfriend, Jackie.  For some reason, the difference in our age was never a reason.  We were in and out of each other’s homes daily.  I was an only child. But, Jackie had seven sisters and two brothers.

On Fridays I always managed to end up at Jackie’s house for dinner. Each week, the menu was either Spaghetti and Meatballs, Hamburger and French Fries, or Chili-Mac.

In retrospect, the last thing this large family of eleven needed was another mouth to feed.

Jackie and I remained close until I left the neighborhood to enter a new phase of life as an army wife.

63rd & Halsted

I lived about three blocks from 63rd and Halsted — the major shopping area for the South Side of Chicago.  There were large retail stores like Sears, Goldblatt’s  and Wieboldt’s.  Smaller clothing and shoe stores — both high-end and budget.  The two places, I liked to browse were Kreske’s Five and Dime and Grants where I could always find something to buy with my small weekly allowance.

My Last Visit

Under the Chicago Urban Renewal Program, my old neighborhood was demolished back in the late 1960s.  My last visit was probably around 1975.  Driving through, I felt disconnected because what I remembered was no longer there.

My Wish

I wish the families now living in my old neighborhood are blessed with a new Chicago Urban Renewal Program that will address the issues they face on a daily basis —  poverty, inadequate housing, inferior education, crime, and gun violence.

 

7 thoughts on “Writing 101, Day Nineteen: Don’t Stop The Rockin

  1. So sad to know of the violence that goes on, not only in Chicago but in many cities across the nation.
    Your memories of growing up in your south side neighborhood are precious! I hope one day children can enjoy again that same sense of safety and innocence. Thank you for sharing this!

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  2. I visited Chicago about 6 years ago. My son lived there temporarily for work. My favorite memory was watching the fire flies at dusk. We don’t have them in Southern California. I think it’s such a shame there is so much violence there and other communities. I do believe the majority of us want to live in peace but it is the few (for whatever reason) who insist bringing misery to others. I hope the residents in the Southside get the peace they desire.

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    • Thank you. I have happy childhood memories of growing up in this community and it saddens me to know that people, especially children, have to live in an environment surrounded by violence.

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  3. I read this when you first wrote it but didn’t have time to comment then. I felt so sad when I read of all the violence that weekend. How hard and scary it must be to live there now. I really appreciated reading of your happy times in the same area.

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    • The violence in Chicago, as well as other large cities, is out of control. We need to fight crime, but also address some of the social issues in these communities that lead to criminal activity. Thank you for following my blog.

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