July 18, 2011


Bill Matteson
Uptown Chicago History Correspondent

As kids we made our own entertainment . there were a few us us that hung around together, usually with nothing to do, so we improvised

On Friday nights we would meet, usually me and Jimmy Thomas, and sometimes Norm Sobiesk and Roy Henry.
We would check out the "Pretzel Benders Tavern" on Leland Ave and around 8: PM there was always a fight that would end up on the Street. two drinking buddies would end up pounding the daylights out of each other. the fight was always broken up before the 122 squad arrived. On a good evening we could see two or three fist fights. When I got home my Mom wanted to know who was fighting and why, my Dad just wanted to know who won.. later on about 11 PM the Ladies of the evening would occasionally get in a fight, over territory , even the ladies had turf wars, Now we liked to watch them fight because most of them didn't wear any panties and we were in our glory, when they would roll around on the ground and we could see all those parts we weren't supposed to know anything about. A "home run" right there in front of us.
I would tell mom and Dad about ladies fighting Mom would asked who and why . Dad wanted to know who won.
But I couldn't tell them any thing else about what was going on.
We liked watching the ladies fight, it was more interesting and way more fun.

Sometimes we would climb upon the garage roofs behind Ma Bakers Brothel on Leland Ave and watch the goings on there , or at least until we got caught and chased away
I might add that the garages behind the Apartment buildings ran from end to end the whole length of the street , there would be about 3' Gangway that opened into the backyards so for the most part we could travel through the alleys on the roof tops.

In the afternoon and early evening we would pitch pennies on the Sidewalk by Liebermans Drug Store, Usually with 4 0r 5 guys, the one closest to the line
got to keep all the pennies. I was pretty good at it.
Years Later. at a Daughters wedding, In order to kill some time, A couple of guys started lagging quarters to the back wall in the Reception Hall.
I wiped them all out, I ended up with $30.00 in Quarters.

I guess, once learned, Uptown Skills are hard to lose.

Bill "last of the two-bit hustlers" Matteson

1 comment:

Dave said...

You brought back all the highlights of our youth -- pinners, lagging coins, and drinking Wild Irish Rose.
Thanks again for the fantastic stories.


Related Posts with Thumbnails


Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin