The Old Neighborhood: Memories of a Chicago Childhood--1942 to 1952

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9781411650640: The Old Neighborhood: Memories of a Chicago Childhood--1942 to 1952

1942 to 1952-a time of rapid change as seen by a young boy in Chicago The unconditional love of grandparents The mother he loved and feared The competitive, one-of-a-kind father The neighborhood goes to war A Jewish family in an Italian Catholic neighborhood The confessions of a good (most of the time) boy The missing girl and the thing in the swamp The ubiquity of radio and the coming of TV Weekends in those palatial movie theaters The secrets kept by adults-death, divorce, money, and sex Games, gangs, and simple pleasures UFOs and a man from Mars

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The past is never dead. It is not even truly past. Childhood memories haunt our adult imaginations. They fill us with nostalgia and longing, delight and tears, pride as well as embarrassment. From the time I was three in 1942 until I was twelve in 1951, my family of five lived in a one-bedroom apartment in a nameless Chicago neighborhood. We were a Jewish family in a sea of Italian Catholics. We were Jewish but I had no idea of what that meant. The fundamental realities in my life were my difficult parents, my loving grandparents, the fortress of an elementary school I attended, and my playmates on the block. Our loved ones fought overseas in World War II while we supported them with paper drives and by selling fat drippings to our butcher. We were blessedall of our uncles and older brothers came home safe and sound. My greatest pleasures were attending movies at the palatial theaters not far from our home and reenacting daily radio adventures with my friends. When television came along, it altered everything. During those years, best friends came and went like skaters at a roller rink. One best friend was also my worst enemyat the same time! I was continually confused about the realities that adults hid from us kids-money, divorce, and sex. God was the greatest mystery of all. Here are my recollections of a Chicago childhood from 1942 to 1952 including my one year in a new neighborhood and school. This was also my year of being Jewish. As an adult, I tried without success to return to the old neighborhood. The problem of separating what really happened in the past from what my memory has made up came to a head in a chance meeting with a 1940s radio star.

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The Old Neighborhood A Chicago Childhood—1942 to 1952 Lowell D.

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