WHAT YOU WILL FIND HERE…   16 comments

READERS WILL FIND A VARIETY OF ITEMS HERE PERTAINING TO LIFE IN SOUTH SHORE AND, TO A LESSER EXTENT, IN HYDE PARK DURING THE 1950/60s.

MY INTENTION IS TO CAPTURE SOMETHING OF THE SENSE OF WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO BE A CHILD IN THAT PART OF CHICAGO AT THAT TIME.

THE SITE SERVES ALSO AS A REPOSITORY FOR SOUTH SHORE MEMORABLIA FROM OTHER TIMES.

THERE IS A SELECTION HERE OF THE AUTHOR’S PERSONAL AND FAMILY IMAGES.

THERE IS A VERY LARGE SELECTION OF IMAGES OF APARTMENT BUILDINGS, HOMES, AND STREETS TAKEN FROM A WIDE VARIETY OF SOURCES. NO IMAGES OF THE DECAYED AREAS ARE INCLUDED.

THERE IS A SELECTION OF THE FAMILY AND PERSONAL PHOTOS OF FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES SHOWING ASPECTS OF LIFE IN THE URBAN VILLAGE. THE AUTHOR WELCOMES THE SUBMISSIONS OF OTHERS.

THERE IS ALSO A SELECTION OF SPECIAL PHOTOS, SUCH AS AERIAL PHOTOS, PLUS POSTCARDS AND IMAGES OF OTHER EPHEMERA (MENUS OR TICKETS OR MATCHBOOKS) PERTAINING TO THAT PLACE AND TIME.

SEVERAL OF MY SHORT STORIES SET IN SOUTH SHORE ARE NEAR THE END. THESE WERE PUBLISHED ORIGINALLY IN SMALL LITERARY MAGAZINES.

LAST IS A SMALL SELECTION OF ITEMS ABOUT OTHER PLACES GIVING SOME IDEA OF WHAT THE AUTHOR HAS DONE SINCE LEAVING THE URBAN VILLAGE.

REACH JOHN DIRECTLY AT:  jc60649@yahoo.com

Posted December 9, 2009 by JOHN CHUCKMAN

16 responses to “WHAT YOU WILL FIND HERE…

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  1. Thank you for a wonderful trip thru South Shore. I do remember the Vera Shop, and “Penner” off Bradwells rail (although I think we called it “Pinner” I graduated from Bradwell in 69 and the style of the diploma were still the same. I recognized some of the teachers names too!
    My family lived on East 77th St Between Exchange and Coles. Thanks again!!

    • Hi Audrey,

      Thanks for your comments.

      When you knew Mr Kazmier, I believe he was Vice-Principal. I never saw him in that role.

      As a teacher, he certainly could be stern, but he had a wonderful wry sense of humor. Sorry you didn’t experience it.

      I have no idea of the spelling of penner/pinner. The way we pronounced it, seems to me it would have been with an ‘e’.

      But I’ve seen others spell it the way you suggest.

      I guess by your dates, you saw what were more or less the last days of the South Shore we knew.

      All the best, John Chuckman

      If you or any friend has material which might be suitable for posting, send a j-peg along.

    • I, too, attended Bradwell – only through fifth grade. In 1960 we moved to the outskirts of the world – Roseland!

      “Pinner” or “Penner” I do not know but still remember the basics. Do you remember the scoring or rules?

      I worked at the High-Low at 103rd & Princeton later.

      Thank you.

      Bruce

      Bruce A. Peterson
  2. I came across your Bradwell 5B photo and recognized some of the kids. Bruce Kaufmann, for example, who I recall being very comfortable performing — singing I think. He loved to be up in front of a group. I “skipped” 5B into 5A (or was it the other way around), then moved to Caldwell at 86th and Cregier, where I finished, graduating in June 1958. I remember Mrs. O’Sullivan, too, but I think she was my fourth grade teacher.

  3. Great job, Chuck. You have devoted so much time to preserving the memories of our wonderful South Shore. Thank you for your efforts!

  4. Thank you so much. My family lived at 7538 South Essex Avenue from 1942 to 1950, when my Father died. I can imagine no better environment to be a kid than the general South Shore area of those days. The Shore Theatre right around the corner and then the Ray Theater at 75th and Exchange (3 films on the weekend, plus a serial, plus cartoons!). I was a delivery boy after school for Braunstein’s Pharmacy on 75th Street and attended St. Bride’s Grade School. I ranged on my bike to the Museum of Science and Industry, Jackson Park, up to 80th Street, and from the magnificient Avalon Theatre on 79th and Stoney Island. All in a tranquil and safe environment. It’s secure in my mind’s eye. I’m thankful to all the good people who lived there then. A great childhood.

    • Thanks, Edward, and I just couldn’t agree more.

      I ranged pretty much over the same territory, although I focused on the lake to about Jeffery and 75th to 79th.

      The alleys were part of my world as a kid.

      We used to find scrap material to use in building our crude soapbox racers. “Shore Hill,” actually the curving loading ramp behind the theater, was one place for using these.

      We played games like hide-and-seek, hiding over the big network of back-porches and garage roofs.

      I had three different paper routes over the years which, while a burden, often were fun. Going up and down the alleys and trying to accurately throw rolled papers to a third-floor porch was a genuine adventure, and people sometimes invited me in for treats and gave me nice Christmas gifts.

      The beach was not just a summer place, we used to explore “the icebergs” and sometimes dug a hole by the retaining wall to build a fire and roast potatoes or apples we brought with us. And there was the ice skating in the park under lights at night.

      There was all that wonderful roof-climbing, everything from trying smoking in secret on the roof of the High-Low to watching 75th street from the roof of our apartment building in winter, a charming sight when it was snowing.

      There were the weekly corner yo-yo contests.

      There were the great variety of treats available at little stores at prices we cannot imagine today.

      Indeed, the owners of all those little stores became part of our universe, familiar faces.

      There was looking out at the trees from our third-floor apartment.

      There were the summer evenings when people from many apartments set up folding chairs in front of their buildings, and nodded or said hello as you passed, and the lightening bugs blinking and the cicadas buzzing.

      We also used to find pop bottles which we would exchange for candy or pretzels.

      Halloween was a magical time in the neighborhood.

      Such, such, were the joys.

      John Chuckman

  5. I feel as if I should know you since I grew up two blocks away and my father owned a grocery store on 53rd and Kimbark beginning in 1953. Most of my life has been spent in both Hyde Park and South Shore. I ended up owning the supermarket on 53rd for many years in the 80’s and 90’s and spent 7 years as a high school principal at South Shore High School during the past decade. Thanks for the photos. It is interesting seeing the community as it was. I sure know how it is right now.

  6. Thank you for putting together these great memories of South Shore. If my grandparents and father were alive today, I know they would cherish these images. I am thankful to still be alive so I can fully appreciate them. I lived at 8006 S. Phillips in my grandparents apartment building and, as much as possible, the universe of my life centered around Eckersall Park and Eckersall Stadium about a block and a half away from my apartment. Especially in the summers, my friends and I would be at Eckersall all day and most of the night playing both baseball and basketball. We all played in the South Shore Little League which played all its baseball games in Eckersall Stadium. Even in the winters, no matter how frozen we were, the games never stopped whether it was football or hockey. It was like a sports festival every day, our Sportsalooza. I always tell people one of the most unique experiences that I always will remember was the parade through the streets of South Shore that coupled with the opening day of South Shore Little League every spring.
    Most everyone in the community would be out waving and cheering for the little leaguers and their coaches in the passing cars as the caravan made its way to Eckersall Stadium, the home of South Shore Little League. Nothing like it.

  7. Thank you for your response, John. To follow up on my previous comment, I played in South Shore Little League for the full term of five years from 1959, when I was 8 years old, as the youngest player in the Major Leagues Division, until 1963, when I was 12, the maximum Little League age, as a member of the South Shore Little League All Star team. I was trying to put together a scrapbook of all the newspaper articles during that period from the Southtown Economist that covered the South Shore Little League. I remember growing up in South Shore my mother would clip out the Southtown Economist newspaper articles about my South Shore Little League games. Apparently, all these articles were lost along the way from then until now and I wanted to recreate the scrapbook that she kept of my games. Do you know where I could find all of these Southtown Economist articles? Several years ago, I found out that the Oak Lawn Library was a repository for older archived Southtown Economist newspapers from the 1950’s and 1960’s. I went to that library and I found microfiche copies from the Southtown Economist newspapers during that time period, but for some unknown reason, there were no articles about the South Shore Little League games. I know those articles existed because I read them myself. Do you know where I could find them? Can you recommend any sources that might have access to these articles? They are treasures to me. Any assistance you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Jeffrey,

      There are many sources for old local newspapers.

      In the case of The Economist, there is even an online archive, but I think it is not free to use.

      Just Google it.

      John Chuckman

  8. Hi John,
    Thanks again for these great memories and work you have done. Sometimes a have a look a the old neighborhood on google earth and just roam about and dream of those good old days living in South Shore. Perhaps you do not remember me, but I posted about 4 or 5 years ago. I lived at 7840 Kingston ave. near your old friend Preston Uney.
    I left South Shore and Chicago 1964 after graduating from Myra Bradwell. Since then I have been living in Germany and Spain.

    Our old building is still standing and the street is not that devestated as you might think it should be. Although 79th has changed a lot- very many buildings missing- empty lots take their place. Tried to get in touch with old classmates from that time, but obliously nobody is really interested. Got in touch with Phil Kirschbaum who was my next door neighbor and classmate for a short time. Gave him my phone number but he never called.

    All the best for you and take care.

    Ruediger Muench (Rudy Munch class of 1964 Myra Bradwell)
    Wutachstr. 11
    76199 Karlsruhe
    Germany

    Rudy Munch (Ruediger Muench)
    • Hallo,

      Yes, I recall your e-mail, Rudy.

      It is amazing how attached most people are to the places of their youth.

      I believe you were several years after me. Perhaps you knew my brother, Bill?

      If you have any old appropriate pictures, I would be glad to ad them to the site if you send a jpeg.

      Auf Wiedersehen,

      John

  9. Just checked your page again and noticed the comments about “penner”. I went to Bryn Mawr from ’54 to ’62, and we also called this game “bounce or fly” It was sort of a baseball type game, you drew a line with your foot in the gravel to mark single, double, triple and a homer. You threw a pink bouncy ball against the lower cement cornice of the school building. there were 2 or 3 edge points on this cornice, and this required some skill to hit the edge in just the right way to get some distance on the bounce off the building. Your opponent tried to catch the ball for an out. This game led to many hours of entertainment after school as we had no X-Box to run home to and play. I hope this clears this up.
    I do love the photos you post, one of my earliest memories is the 2-flat apartment that was moved in the early 50’s from 75th & Euclid to 76th & Euclid by rolling on telephone poles. Until I saw the photo you posted, I never really knew if i imagined that, or if it really happened.

    • Hi Arnie,

      The architecture of Bradwell School – with a terra cotta curved trim line running all the way around the brick building at about 3 feet high – made “penner” possible.

      The rules were as you state, and it was indeed the single most popular game for boys (separate play area for girls then) for years.

      All you needed was a hollow pink rubber ball in your pocket. The ones we used at Bradwell, bought at the beloved Vera Shop for (I belive 25 cents, were branded “Sky-High,” and that name was what we called them. I understand from looking at the Internet that there were other brands of such balls – indeed, I’ve not come across the “Sky-High” name.

      I’m sure this game was played at many schools with different names being used.

      Our other favorite game was “fast ball pitching.” In this game you chalked a strike box on a flat brick wall, and you used often the same pink rubber ball, or a tennis ball, to pitch. It required a bat for the batter to use, but it also had lines drawn in the dirt for singles, doubles, etc. Three strikes and the batter and pitcher exchanged places.

      These were great simple games for kids who didn’t have all kinds of fancy equipment.

      John Chuckman

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