May 15, 2008

Letter from a Former Uptown Resident

I get a lot of readers, but I don't always hear a lot of feedback on this little ol' history blog, so e-mails like this just make my day:
I really love the website that you have created, I’m a product of uptown, I lived there from the late 1950’s until 1970 and the moved back for 2 years in 1975. Your website has brought back many memories, I went to school at Stewart, then transferred to Brenamen on Clarendon & Montrose and from there I was sent to Catholic school at St. Thomas of Canterbury on Kenmore and Lawrence. I had my first paper route delivering the American on Winthrop from Lawrence to Argyle in 1962. We use to go to the Lakeside theater on Saturdays and see three movies for a quarter, and the Uptown theater was the coolest, you get lost in that place and it was so fabulous inside, I remember a section that was hard to find that was all enclosed in glass and was located in between the upper balcony and the lower balcony all the seats were blue velour with polished brass it was definitely made for the elite. I spent many days at the Robert R. McCormick Boys Club on Sheridan and Gunnison what a great place for a boy to stay out of trouble. I can’t think of many places in uptown that I didn’t see as me and my brother wandered the streets all summer. Well I could go on forever about the great life I had there, so keep up the good work and if you ever have any questions about uptown I would love to share. -- R.C.

Thanks for reading, R.C.!

And what's your favorite memory of Uptown? Write me at blog(a) and I'll feature it here!


G. Larner said...

R.C. sounds a lot like me and my brother. We grew up in the 50's on Lakeside Pl. right off Sheridan Rd., attended Stewart, and went to the Lakeside theater (it was only 50 yds. away from our bldg and we could see the marquee from our window.) Also went to the Pantheon, the filthy Deluxe, the Riviera, and of course the Uptown.

Our mother was a waitress at the Aragon Ballroom as well as a part-time counter clerk at Gary's drug store on Lawrence & Kenmore. We went to Montrose beach a lot, the Clarendon field house, the Margate field house, and played arcade games at the Uptown Bowl (where they still used real pinboys).

I wonder if R.C. remembers the teachers at Stewart: Ms Zeitler, Mrs. McCracken, Mrs. Flanagan, Miss Schlimmer, our gym teacher Mr. Conway, the prune-faced principal Sigrid C. Nelson, or that horrible Mrs. Fournier. There was that retarded guy named Ritchie who hung around near the school pushing a cart full of junk, spitting at people and babbling incoherently.

Me and my brother Tom swam at the McCormick boys club once in a while, ate at Johnnie's Hot Dogs and the Kresge's on Broadway, played a lot of baseball at Margate Park, and got most of our clothes from Goldblatts. I remember so many days in class staring out the window at a big white building with the name "McJunkin Building" carved in black letters on the front, all the time thinking what a strange name McJunkin was. I guess I could go on indefinitely, but I have to go.

G. Larner

clarendon park said...

Iremember uptown bowl on saturdays little kids could duck bowl there with skinny pins and a small bowling ball, the gutters were blocked so you couldnt throw a gutter ball, it was great. upstairs there was a pool hall, no place for a kid back then..around the corner was the PANTHEON theater it was ornate inside. the DELUXE theater use to show a 100 cartoons on saturday morning, your feet would stick to the floor,man was it seedy in there.

clarendon park said...

We must know each other, I had all the same teachers at stewart,Mr. Conway was a great guy, I heard he became principal.McCormick boys club was a great place for kids. Do you remember uptown boys club at the south end of clarendon park, pre 1959 ?

clarendon park said...

YEAH I remember Ritchie he was severly handicapped, he hung around clarendon park with his mother, who cared for him completly, he would spit and swear at people an scare the heck out of young girls.

Anonymous said...

Re: Clarendon Park's 7/24/09 comments

Yes, it's likely that Clarendon Park knew me and/or my brother Tom, if not by name perhaps by sight. We were Glen Larner & Tom Larner, but all my friends called me "Zeke." I don't remember the Uptown Boys Club, perhaps because the south end of Clarendon Park was not my territory back then. I spent much more time in the alley between Lakeside and Lawrence than I did at the park, but when we did go to the park we stuck to the area to the immediate north or south of Lawrence Ave. I recall those concrete water fountains and how great that cold water tasted on a summer afternoon when we were so hot from riding our bikes or playing baseball.

It's cool you remember Ritchie. There was a rumor that he was actually a millionaire who lived in a mansion on either Gordon Terrace or Junior Terrace, but that seems unlikely in retrospect. I remember his black hightops and pinkish-white skin, which I found very repulsive. He once spit on a donut I was eating while walking on Wilson Avenue, much to my brother's delight, forcing me to fling it away like it had the black plague on it.

Mr. Conway the gym teacher was definitely one of my favorites at Stewart, as well as one of the few male teachers. I'll never forget when a boy named Marvin collapsed and died during gym, with Mr. Conway leaning over him with a look on his face I had never seen before. Me and some friends went to see Marvin laid out at the funeral home east of the school on Sheridan Road -- we just wanted to see what a dead person looked like.

There was a youngish guy teaching my 7th grade class that I liked, but I can't remember his name. Tall, athletic-looking, with a light brown flattop -- easily the coolest looking teacher in the school. Then there was Mrs. Jaffe, Mrs. Foster, "Dr." Punkay, Mrs. Parmacek, the slender Mrs. Stick (great name!), and a Mrs. Holmberg, Holmier, Holstein, or something close to that.

I loved Johnnie's hot dog place on the corner of Wilson and Kenmore (he was previously located somewhere near Montrose and the park, I think). We also liked playing the arcade games at the bowling alley/pool hall you mentioned on Wilson an Sheridan.

Do you remember a game called "pom-pom" we often played at Stewart during recess in the boy's playground? I remember it got kind of violent from time to time. In my early days at Stewart the playground was covered with blackish ash or cinders -- hard on the knees. I attended from 1954 to 1962 (my brother from '52 to '60).

Thinking back on all this stuff makes me want to visit the old neighborhood, but I live far away in Virginia now. Happy memories to you.

Glen ("Zeke") Larner

bill Matteson said...

I enjoy reading all these blogs
I guess as kids we all did the same things, I went to Stewart from 1942 thru 1950, I lived at 4737 Kenmore.
The best Hot dogs came from Goldblatts basement Deli. Richie the retarded kid was always at Clarendon field house with his Dad and a basketball, The kid That died was Marvin and he had a brother
their last name was Latorgia or something like that. The Uptown Chicago Boys Club Started out at Broadway and Clifton. and I worked as a delivery boy for Garys Payless drug store

Anonymous said...

In response to Glen Zeke. I wonder if your brother was in my class picture of 1952 or Marilynne Marcos picture of 1952. Also, thank you for bringing back the memory of Gary's Drug store. I use to go there alot and so did my Grandma. She lived on 841 Lawrence and 4838 Kenmore. My girlfriend lived at 838 Lakeside and her aunt, I believe lived on Lakeside Pl.
Thank you for your great memories.

Cheryl Peck

Anonymous said...

I lived on Leland in the fifties nd then we moved out of state and came back in 61 to Kemore and Lawrence the we moved 830 Lakeside in a red brick court yard, then we moved down to 929 Lakeside and from there to Winnemac and Glenwood.


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