Chicago Dreams & Leave It To Beaver

Another of my kind of days has arrived…rain and cool temperatures. Ask me if I am concerned that it is May 6th…I am not. I would like a cool summer… My memory strays to the happy days of my youth in Chicago. We lived on a lovely tree-lined street in Sauk Village, which is just outside Chicago, where I was born. My friends were many and included both children my own age and teenagers and several adults. I prided myself that I could engage in a conversation with adults and they would comment how I spoke much older than my years. Dad looked like the Harley Davidson aficionados of that time. He wore a leather jacket and a motorcycle hat and he carried a concealed weapon that he did not have a permit for. He was a tough guy…with a big heart… He was a mechanic for Semi Trucks. When he came home from work he would pick me up and place me on his shoulders…and I felt like the king of the world. Mom looked like June Cleaver from the popular television show of the day, Leave It To Beaver. I watched it each day and soon found parallels to our lives in Sauk Village.

Steve was a master puppeteer. He had a plethora of marionette puppets and a stage to perform puppet shows on. He had Punch and Judy and Bozo The Clown and puppets in the likeness of President Kennedy and his lovely wife, Jackie. Steve and Susie, his sister, lived down the street and they were somewhat older than me. Mom was great friends with their mom, Ivy Anderson, and her husband Bob. Ivy talked incessantly and Bob rarely said anything…just smiled…and lit a new Pall Mall cigarette off of the one that he currently had in his mouth. Most adults in those smoke-filled days had either a two or three or often a four-pack-a-day cigarette habit. Steves’ puppeteer skills often were much better than TV and I could while away the hours imagining that I was a member of the puppet world and that their reality was mine…if just for a moment. Susie hugged me each time that she saw me…and I had a crush on her. She was one of my favorite people. Ivy would come into our house without knocking on the door…and mom did as well at the Anderson home. Ivy and Neva would talk and gossip and play rock and roll on the radio…especially the singer, Chubby Checker, as he sang his hit…The Twist. They loved to Twist…

George and Helen lived next door to us. They were retired and both smoked and drank profusely… but were never drunk. We often enjoyed backyard barbecues with them. Neva and Helen would play Badminton. Neva J. loved to play Badminton. Much later in life, I heard people speak of enjoying Tennis and I thought that it could not be half as good as Badminton. As I reflect on George he reminded me of a good-hearted mobster. If you were his buddy…you were, ‘In like Flynn.’ George referred to me as ‘Doc’ and both he and Helen spoke with pronounced accents.

Beaver said, ‘Why Jay…I did not know that you were here…hold on and I will get Wally.’ ‘Hey, Jay…do you want a hunk of milk before we go, asked Wally? ‘Is Lumpy coming,’ Jay asked? “I don’t think so…his mom said that he had to wash better behind his ears,’ Beaver responded. ‘Now you boys do not get into any trouble,’ said June Cleaver. ‘We won’t…Mrs. Cleaver..and by the way may I say that you look lovely in that dress, smiled Eddie…

‘Wake up cutie,’ said pretty Susie. ‘Oh my…I must have fallen asleep during the Leave It To Beaver Puppet Show that Steve put on,’ replied Jay. Jay then looked to his right and there stood Beaver…and to his left…was Wally…

2 responses

  1. It’s always an enjoyable read when I come here. Thank you! Great photos!

    1. Thank you, my friend.

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