High School & Boys, Boys, Boys

After graduation from 8th grade, I immediately started working babysitting 3 brothers; Walter, Wayne, and Wallace who were 6, 5, and 3 years of age and this included their big Irish Setter named Red. Besides sitting there was always a big stack of dishes waiting for me in their sink and sometimes I would even have to scrub their floors. I made all of 10� an hour. This part-time job lasted about six months, about half of my Freshman year at St. Anthony's High School, and I couldn't wait to quit.

St. Anthony's was an all girls High School (except for the Freshman year I was lucky enough to be in) . South Side Catholic all boys High School was so crowded that year that our school had to make room for the Freshman boys. What a deal for us!!! The nuns tried to keep us apart by making the boys' classes at the opposite ends of the school so that we wouldn't cross paths too closely. We managed to meet them anyway. I met a few of them at the roller rink located in the gym of our school and dated a nice young man named Chuck Mystrick, who was president of his class.

The Second World War ended in the summer of 1945. There were about 10 of us, boys and girls mostly from the neighborhood, who hung out together. None of us had cars but we took a lot of trips on the streetcars and buses to get to Polish Polka Dances around the city. We danced our "dupas" (Polish for you-know-what) off.

The day the war ended we blocked off our street at each end, turned up the jukebox and danced. June DeKock played a mean accordian and in between playing the records she played her squeezebox. That day started the year of the parties.

The first party was a Surprise Party for my 15th birthday and it really was a surprise. It seemed like my friends were avoiding me for some reason that day and I couldn't figure it out; at least, all but one of my friends named Florence Thiele. She spent the day with me and my brother, Len, who took us out to Lemay to some tavern and I had my first glass of Michelob. That brand of beer still tops the list with my taste buds.

When I got home the dinner table was set with my mother's best dishes and tablecloth. I was informed that Father Vince Mogelnicki was arriving soon for dinner and I was to go down to the basement and bring up some chairs. I balked at doing it right away as I had just arrived home but mama with her stern look and voice announced that I would be doing it immediately.

Down the steps I went tromping and found all of my friends waiting and the whole basement decorated in colorful crepepaper. This was the first birthday party I ever had and a most memorable and happy day. My friends really had been avoiding me that day as they are the ones that decorated and helped my parents set up the whole thing. We danced all night long and this is the night I was taught how to dance something besides the polka. It was also the first party of nine that I would have during my Sophmore year of high school.

My high school class had less than 40 girls and we were like a family but of course, there were different groups that didn't always get along with each other. Looking back I see that I was not in any one group, per se. It was more like I fit into a couple of different groups and I enjoyed them all. In my sophmore year I was voted class vice-president, president in my junior year, and secretary of the Sodality in my Senior year. I am sorry and embarrased to say that I was Valadictorian of my graduation class. One of the nuns made up the speech for me (that's the way it was done then) and part way through I couldn't remember the speech. I was really not assertive or an independent thinker back then and I didn't ad-lib. It makes one humble to be in that position and hopefully I won't be remembered for the bumbling speech I ended up making.

Attending St. Anthony's for four years was some of the best and most memorable years of my teen life. There were only 33 girls in my graduating class and I was able to attend the 40th class reunion in 1988. I'm hoping that next year there will be a 50th reunion and I can attend that also. It seems like those old friends and acquaintances are like comfortable old slippers which we never want to let go of; neither in memory nor exsistance. They seem to be more valuable as time goes on.

During that four year period I worked at Kresge's 5 & 10� store and then at Busiek's Grocery Store for the remainder of high school. Busiek's would some day be known as Filla's Fine Foods with my having been the first Filla to work there but obviously not the last.

My friend Joan Hohner and I used to like to hang around the Sherbet Shop, a real old time Malt Shop. We especially liked going there at lunch because some of the guys from South Side Catholic high school hung out there. There was one boy in particular named Chic, an outgoing soccer player from Carondolet Sunday Morning Club. He is the only guy who ever stood me up and my parents were grateful as they thought he was a wild one and hung around in a rowdy crowd. Naturally, I was devastated but possibly it turned out to be my good fortune that it happened.

During the last of my sophmore year while I was still 15 years old, I would attend a basketball game that would change the course of my life forever.

Basketball and ?

December 12, 3003

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