1952 above and in 1956 below
2612 W. Cortez Street
Welcome to Troop Street! This is where West of Goose Island - a Chicago Story begins. Welcome to the old neighborhood where everyone knew almost everything about everybody. We all got along or learned to tolerate each other; you had to living in a three flat, cold water, walk up! My grandmother's house was the first house west of the Island. 1052 N. Throop Street was not much to look at but it was where we lived for almost four years. It was my home.
The years after WWII were hard if you were poor. The late 1940's and early 1950's were a time of recession, poverty and mass migration of people displaced by the war. They had to live somewhere; in Chicago, it was west of Goose Island, where they began learning about America. It was a time when everyone was poor but it didn't matter; the future was bright. We just knew that if we worked hard we could move up.
The stories in West of Goose Island - a Chicago Story bring this period of time to life. I was a displaced kid; born in Chicago, transplanted to Florida, then dumped back into my grandmothers immigrant neighborhood. After that we moved west to Cortez Street.
Along with my friends Kasz and Gene, I grew up in the streets, played in the alleys, used the "Y", loved the movie houses and attended neighborhood schools. There were Lindies, scooters, fireworks and street baseball in the summer. Sledding and snowball fights in unplowed streets were always great when it was below zero. We did lots of goofy stuff. Had no fear and just did stuff. "Just do it" wasn't a slogan in those days. It was a way of life.
It was a great time to be a kid!