Tag Archives: childhood memories

Monday Memories: Chicago in the 50’s

12 Feb

How far back can you remember your childhood? Can you remember things and people from when you were three or four years old? I can’t go back quite that far, but my memories are pretty clear after about five years old. There are some vague foggy snapshots in my head from earlier, but not that crisp. Mom didn’t have many photos from those early years. I guess she was too busy working and raising three young daughters to stop and take a photo every five minutes like parents nowadays.

The first house I remember was 2301 S. Ridgeway, in Chicago. I was around five years old, maybe a little younger. My phone number was LA 11344, and that was 1958. I’m not sure why I still remember that, but I imagine it was because it was the first important thing I had to memorize in kindergarten. The house was on a corner and the Burlington Northern trains ran just a stones throw outside our window. I can see it in my minds eye like it was yesterday.

Sometimes it’s interesting to research your past. Today’s technology is amazing and can be instrumental in uncovering buried memories. Google and Google Earth can become addicting when doing research. I found a photo of my old house, grammar school, and neighborhood. And yes, it’s still there. Well, not the school, but the neighborhood. I guess not everything can last forever, even memories. Too bad!

The photo of three little girls was taken in that backyard on Ridgeway. I’m in the middle.

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Monday Memories: Chicago in the ’50’s

5 Feb

Growing up on the south side of Chicago in the 1950’s was a blast. Well, at least I thought it was.To quote my mother, “We were poor, but everyone else was, too, so we didn’t know we were poor.”

Kids weren’t plugged-in and tuned-out back then. Everyone walked to school without earbuds blasting from an iPod or texting their every thought. After school, we played outside until we dropped from exhaustion or the front porch light flashed on and off, signaling time to come in for dinner and a bath.

Did you ever play steal the bacon? We used an old scrub brush as the bacon. Do you even know what a scrub brush is? Just kidding! We had two teams, each assigned a number. If the number one was called, the two kids who were ones, ran to the middle of the sidewalk, and one kid would try to grab the scrub brush and get back to home-base before getting tagged by the other kid. When we had a large group, we played in the middle of the street. Not much traffic back then. After 6pm, most everyone was home.

If you were a little girl, you played hop scotch and jump rope. Then, there was the complicated art of double dutch. I vaguely remember being able to jump between the two ropes, but I wasn’t that great at it. I spent endless hours playing with my Barbie doll. I made clothes for her with scraps of fabric and yarn. They didn’t have Barbie dream houses or pink convertibles back then. No Ken doll either. I think my Barbie was going to join the convent and become a nun. Can you imagine? Sister Mary Barbie?

Yes, life was simpler back then. I’m not sure if today’s technology and modern conveniences have really changed the world for the better. The jury’s still out on that one. Wish I still had my Barbie!

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