Vignettes

Since I wrote this book, I have received more emails than I can count, from people I haven’t seen in over 60 years.  Here are some of them.

Sheldon Sugar (Chicago native):  Thank you so much for writing this book. My sister gave it to me for my 70th birthday. It brought back so many warm memories from the first time my father took me fishing in Humboldt Park to shopping with my mother on Division Street. By the way, I lived next door to Charley Mandels candy store. Also,went to Von Humboldt til the 4th grade, then moved to Albany Park. Again,thank you for putting it in a book.

David Meyer (Israel):  I saw the photos of the Grade 2 class at Von Humboldt and the memories came flooding back.  The picture is small, but if I’m not mistaken, I’m the skinny kid with glasses and suspenders, third row up, fourth from the left.  (I still wear glasses. No longer skinny.  My wife won’t let me wear suspenders.)  My most vivid memory from that class — remember, we’re talking 65 years ago — was the day Mrs. Ballou stepped out of the room for a few minutes and the class erupted into pandemonium.  When she came back, she asked who participated in the bedlam.  Silence.  She asked again.  One kid raised his hand — you.  I’ll never forget how she praised you and how embarrassed I was that I didn’t have the integrity to raise my hand.  I lost track of you since then, but am happy for your success.

Bob Fine (Chicago): Ken, read your book and loved it.  My father was the bookie on Division Street. I recently retired as a Lieutenant of the Chicago Police Department.  The last time I saw you, we were 10 years old.  You probably don’t remember me.  When you come to Chicago, I’m taking you to Manny’s Deli for a corned beef, and then we walk down Division Street.

  • Bob, not only do I remember you, but I remember your father’s name was Meyer, and your mother’s name was Lucille.  I’m in for Manny’s, but I ain’t walking down Division Street without my gun.  Not licensed in Chicago.

Richard Relaz (Chicago): Ken, read your book.  Do you remember me, I’m Relaz, the Pole, who went to grammar school with you.  When you come to Chicago, let’s have lunch.  You bring the Jews, and I’ll bring the Poles.

  • We met in a Polish neighborhood in the suburbs, I brought 5 Jews, and he brought 6 Poles.  A lot of crying.

J.J. (Chicago): Ken, you are my cousin.  You probably won’t remember me. I read your book.  The last time I saw you, we were 8 years old.

  • J.J., I remember you like yesterday.  Your mother’s name was Sybil, your father’s name was Sam. Great memories.

Richie Annenberg (Chicago): Ken, just read your book.  The last time I saw you was 1952.  I am 2 years older than you.  You probably don’t remember me.

  • Richie, I remember you like yesterday.  Your mother owned a hot dog stand on Western Avenue.

Eric Bloom (Los Angeles) My father grew up on Divison. We were coming from Lincoln Park Zoo in 1950, stopped by Weber’s pool hall and that’s where I found out I had polio. I used to get my hair cut at Nate the barber. Izzie Mandel proposed to my late aunt Yetta, and the film maker Jerry Blumenthal was my cousin. And I remember the wooden tables and yellow mustard jars at Pierce’s – Jerry’s grandmother lived above it and went to the shul behind – my mom’s father went to the Galitzianer shul across from the park.

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