Wednesday, August 26, 2009

You Can't Go Back To The Past

I received telephone calls from concerned friends on both Saturday and Sunday.

The Saturday call was from my old Chicago friend Slow Eddie. After the traditional Howya doin’ conversation:
He sez “Howya doin’?”
I sez “Ok, howya doin’?”
He sez “Ok”.
We both lied!
He said that he called because I haven’t written a Blog in over three weeks and that he was concerned. Basically he was just checking to see if I was still among the living.

We then talked about Baseball. He a White Sox fan and I am a Cubs fan. He was boasting that he has watched more than 100 Sox games this year and even some Cubs games. He retired last spring so, like me, he has a lot of time to watch Baseball.

I boasted back saying that I have seen more than 250 games this year (predominately the Tampa Bay Rays). Plus I have seen every MLB Team play this year.

He also asked me why I was a Cub and not a White Sox fan, after all I did grow up on the south side. I told him that I had told him the story nearly 50 years ago and maybe I would blog about it in the near future.

After about 15 minutes of talking Baseball, he switched the topic to our High School days and the old neighborhood. A week ago Slow decided to show his grandchildren our old neighborhood and what once was Harrison High School. A big mistake says Slow, since he hadn’t been there for about 25 years. Slow has lived in Berwyn of more than 30 years.

His grandchildren live in a northwestern suburb named Schaumburg and except for going to the Lake or the Downtown/Grant Park area they have never seen the real city up close. Both of his sons will come to visit him in Berwyn and bring their children to see Grandpa. He told me the route that he took and I cringed. It was very similar to the route that my cousin, the Admiral, took to show my daughters our old neighborhood in 1996 (I remember him saying to “make sure the doors are locked and the windows are closed”).

Slow Eddie was surprised to see all the changes on 26th Street (South). He said there was a sign in one store window that said English Spoken Here. He said that it must had been a joke because he didn’t a single white person on the streets that he traveled (Eddie considers Spanish speaking people to be non-white – it has something to do with the Moors invading the Iberian Peninsula).

The kids couldn’t wait until the tour was over and neither could Eddie. He took 31st Street back home and stopped at the “Home Run Inn” to get a pizza for lunch. He decided to take it home because “except for some of the staff there wasn’t a white person in the place”.

After the story about the trip to the old neighborhood, he decided that he is considering moving from Berwyn to Schaumburg, He would sell his house and buy a condo outright. I asked him if it was to be closer to his children and grandchildren. He said that and the fact that some Salvadorians had moved in across the street from him and that they do not speak English. Besides he was tired of mowing the lawn and shoveling the snow.

So I sez “how do you know that they are Salvadorians?” He sez “the Mexicans that live three doors down told me.”

Slow Eddie closes the conversation with “I’ll really miss the neighborhood Bars, all that they have in Schaumburg is high class yuppie places.”

The Beach Bum

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Blogger hilldavi said...

I just finished reading your blog, got in my car and Eddie Money was singing "I Wanna Go Back" on the radio...

I wanna go back
And do it all over again
But I can't go back I know
I wanna go back
Cause I'm feeling so much older
But I can't go back I know

Can't go back

I can't go back

I know now that things will never be the same

Sat Aug 29, 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger alfredo_tomato said...

I can go back, but only to drive over my old neighborhood. The Watterson Expressway has taken away the old neighborhood. There was good farmland, especially our land. Before we built there, it was a pig farm. Rooting pigs make great soil. There was plenty scratch for the laying hens, and greens for the rabbits. The peach, pear, and apple trees grew like weeds.

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