Chicago, Los Angeles and Upstate NY
I was born and raised in Chicago on the Southwest side near the end of the L (or elevated train) line at Marquette Park, just a block or so from Harper High School.
It was a quiet neighborhood filled with two and three story wood frame houses each sporting a full size basement and exterior tar based siding embedded with colorful rocks that made the houses look like they were made of bricks, even though they weren’t. There were rarely fences found between homes. Most people hung their clothes outside on clotheslines. Everyone had a big back yard. Every block had an alley. We’d go to the twice a year carnivals held at the local Catholic Church and School (St. Mary’s I believe) just down the street or to the once a year open house festival at the Lutheran Church and School just up the street. We knew all our neighbors and would often visit them.
The summers were warm (around 90) and it rained now and then. The winters were cold (-4) and we, at that time (and no longer) had snow from Thanksgiving day in late November until early spring when March rolled around.
Public transportation was great, by bus or L. We’d take the bus to the 76th street beach on lake Michigan, we’d take the bus into downtown and catch another bus to visit friends out in the Indiana sand dunes, passing the oil refineries of East Chicago along the way with their thick stench burning oil and tar smells. We’d also take the L to downtown to go to Lincoln Park Zoo, Adler Planetarium or the magnificent Museum of Science and Industry – probably the best museum of this type in the world.
If one is to do anything in Chicago it is to plan out one whole day to see this Museum which includes a walk through of a German U-boat, a walk through of a functioning coal mine replica and miles of other technological exhibits, plus many aircraft hanging from the ceilings. All one need do is walk down any corridor, push buttons, pull levers, read things and wait and you’ll get an entire course in physics, chemistry, electronics, math and engineering with working examples.
The two Zoos were great, also! Lincoln Park and further out was Brookfield, both were involved with the late, great Marlon Perkins. I remember going row boating in Lincoln Park after a day at the zoo. Those were nice times and in that area you found out why they called it the Windy City as that lake breeze was strong!
Another thing that goes on in Chicago is that all the store keepers in downtown put up animated displays at the winter holiday (Christmas) season. When I was dealing with Bonnie Kruger, the publisher of Complete Women Magazine about articles I was writing for them I asked her, since her operation was based out of Chicago, if these were still about and she said that they most definitely were!
For a while we lived on the North Side in a large Brownstone apartment complex where you had radiator heat (in my grandmother’s home it was forced air) and walked up many flights of stairs to get to your apartment.
When we moved we sold my grandmother’s two story, income property for about $10,000. Today it would probalby be worth $200,000.
We moved from Chicago to California mostly for the climate and because life in the city was getting rougher every day while our relatives in California told us how nice things were out there.