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Chicago - A short trip back in time


My grandmother was born in Chicago in Feb. of 1900. Both of her parents died before she was 19 months old, but I never heard her complain about the hand life had dealt her. I was very close to her and decided to drive by the house she had lived in as an infant and toddler on W. Monroe St.

I had always thought that the house had been demolished, I think my grandmother thought it had been too, but my brother Tom, who is waist deep into the family genealogy, found the house several years ago and took photos. Apparently, when he was there, he spoke to some people who were living in the house.

When I drove by, there was a no trespassing sign posted and it looked pretty sad. I would have loved to have gotten out and peeked into the windows, but to be honest, the neighborhood looked very iffy to me and I decided it might not be the wisest thing to do since I was alone. I didn't get any photos of my own, which is fine. It was a dreary day and the pictures Tom took are better than what I could have taken anyway.

It was actually kind of painful to be there, which may sound kind of strange. I always felt sorry that my grandmother had never gotten to know her parents, and it wasn't until a few years before she died that she was gifted with a chair and I believe some other items that had belonged to her parents. That of course meant a lot to her. That chair is sitting in my parents living room now and one day it will sit in mine.

My feelings were a mixed bag. Sorry that she was orphaned at such a young age, but also aware that if they had lived, she probably never would have moved to Canada, where her parents had moved from, probably never met my grandfather, never had my mother, and there would be no me or my brothers and sister as well as our children and my grandsons.

I actually just called my mother to ask her if her mom ever talked about what it was like growing up as an orphan, and she said no, only that in the summers, she would return to Chicago and was treated very well by family members who remained there. Evidently they were friends with the Walgreen's and she even met President Taft at some point. Everything wasn't always great though, and she married my grandfather fairly fast after meeting him to get out of the home she was living in that was reminiscent of a Cinderella situation. She told me that things could have turned out badly, seeing as she didn't really know my grandfather well, but that she was lucky.

I think all in all, she did feel that she was lucky, even though she lost her parents at such a young age and lost an infant son when she herself wasn't yet twenty.

Some people dwell on their misfortune and seem to revel in it. Others decide to look on the bright side and live a happy life anyway. That was my grandmother, and even though she has been gone since 1977, I miss her to this day.

Posted by NancyA 19:37 Archived in USA

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