Chicago 2015

I went back to the neighborhood where I grew up today. Here are some photos from that visit.


This is the church I attended as a child. To the left is the rectory, the priests’ house. Behind that was the school where I attended kindergarten for a couple of days. After being rapped on the knuckles for some reason, I decided not to return. The next day, instead of going to school (I heard the school bell and knew I would be late, I went next door to the florist shop and nursery owned by friends of my father’s who knew me. I helped “Hug” Krause in the nursery until I heard the school bell ring at noon. I then left and walked home. I did not go back to school and, fortunately for me, we moved in November to our new house.


This was the house we lived in until my father bought a new house on Paxton Avenue about a mile away. It is on Clyde Avenue between 75th and 76th streets.


This is another view showing the house next door. That one was owned by an older couple who retired to Michigan where they bought a peach farm.


St Philip Neri was the new parish and the church is still beautiful although the neighborhood shows serious trouble. The interior is worthy of a cathedral.


At Christmas time the altar had life sized figures in a cresh on the altar to the side.


St Philip Neri school where I attended from 4th grade until graduation from 8th grade. The elementary school building, which housed kindergarten to 3rd grade, has been razed to build a supermarket. Also gone is Aquinas high school where my sister attended. The school is larger now although the number of students is much reduced. The school building is dated 1913 and was originally the church, as well.


This is the house I lived in from November 1944 until I left for college in August 1956. The house looks in good shape although the neighborhood has deteriorated.


The basement had a party room built by my father after the purchase of the house for $12,000 in 1944. It was built in 1912 and had gas fixtures in the living room and the bathroom on the second floor. They were never used but installed as a precaution, I guess. The photo of the party room was taken about 1946 or so. Everybody was home from the war.

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The house next door was owned by an elderly man, Mr Hausler, with whom I spent many hours watching him build a new fence and restore his bluebird house every spring. He had a lovely yard which he kept meticulously. He even had the first sprinkler system I had ever seen.


Directly across the street was the house owned by a patent attorney named Nearman who enjoyed working on electronics and who volunteered to repair any TV in the neighborhood that needed work.


Next to Nearman’s was the house owned by a dentist named Cox. His daughter played with my sister.


Across the street next to Nearman’s was the McGuire house, now in sad shape. Jack and Bobby and Ginny were kids we played with. Tom, the oldest was a music major and later moved to San Francisco where he was a church organist. The youngest, Billy, was born after I had left for college and he became an artist. He painted a very nice picture of our house. The house is now abandoned. It was a very nice home when I lived across the street.

Next to the McGuire house is one that was owned by an attorney named Monaghan. My sister Pat used to babysit for them. He had a beautiful wife named Lois and they had several servants. Lois Monaghan was serene except on the servants’ day off when she looked like different person. They were lovely people.

Michelle Obama grew up in a home on the next block long after we had left.

The neighborhood shows the effects of years of crime and the lack of commercial business although most of the houses show care by the owners.


5 Responses to “Chicago 2015”

  1. Brett King says:

    You have such great stories and you can make the seemingly mundane interesting. Not that your life was mundane at all. It must have been interesting to return and have the memories flood back. I’m sure you don’t miss those Chicago winters.

  2. Mike K says:

    What is kind of amusing is that, if you click on the photo of our old house to enlarge it, you will see the concrete retaining wall that holds back the lawn from the sidewalk. My father put that in but he hired a concrete worker that he met in a tavern. The fellow built the forms and poured the concrete but he paused for lunch and the cap layer never bonded with the rest of the retaining wall concrete. The cap layer tended to break away and the top of the wall was irregular and rough in places where the cap had flaked off. It is still the same after all these years. That little retaining wall was built about 1950.

  3. Brett King says:

    Ha ha. As I said Mike, you make the mundane interesting. It’s amazing the detailed memories you have. I wish I could think of as much to tell my kids abut my childhood. It’s great your kids and grandkids will have this to remember. My parents died at ages 51 & 53 in a care accident when I was 17 and I didn’t know much or care to ask a lot about their childhoods. Lost opportunities.

  4. Mike K says:

    Maybe you will be interested in my book. It is almost ready, after 10 years fiddling with it, and will be on Kindle. It is called “War Stories.” It’s a memoir of 50 years a physician and 40 a surgeon.

  5. Brett King says:

    Thank you Mike. I prefer hardbacks but maybe I need to modernize a bit. Your book could be the catalyst. I’m sure it’ll be interesting.