Friday, July 17, 2015
Oak Lawn Memories
I woke up this morning thinking of my detour years in Oak Lawn. Before I lived there, I thought of it as the place where south siders moved when real estate hucksters knocked on their doors crying: "the blacks are coming . . . the blacks are coming" and the homeowners scurried away.
By the time I arrived things were built up: ranch homes, Catholic churches, great park facilities. It was the good union middle class life we yearn for today. I loved it. Probably because I was in love with Gerry -- the man who had brought me there. And probably because his friends were so welcoming of this exotic north sider.
On Sundays we would go to one of the many golf courses. He played, I struggled. I say now: "I loved everything about golf except the golf: the early morning quiet, the grass and trees, the sunshine and the big breakfast after.
There were comedy clubs, dance clubs, diners and steak houses, many on and around 95th Street. The joke was: "on the north side it's "sauce." On the south side it's "gravy." Oak Lawners loved to jitterbug and drink.
Gerry and I (and Oak Lawn) lasted for about 5 years. Then the impossibility of it all caught up with us. That impossibility was definitely personal, not geographic. I'll always have Oak Lawn.