2/20/2011 5:34:06 AM
Section 24: The Lounge
Subject: Chit Chat Msg# 773320
JHS and middle school are such confusing terms. Around here grades 7 and 8 are middle school. Yep, Grant was on W. Monroe, near Chatham Rd., almost out in the boonies -- there was a pig farm across the street when I went there! I can't imagine why the Board of Ed would have a "7th Grade Center" -- what was the matter with middle school? Just trying to remember when I was at Grant, that had to be the '60-'61 school year if it was 9th grade and I graduated from SHS in '64. For some reason, we never had an 8th grade graduation ceremony, although every class before us did, and we were the last 8th grade class at Hay-Edwards.
Don's Drive-In was south of McDonald's, just a block or two, and across the street. It's entirely possible that it closed in the intervening 9 years. Don's was an old-fashioned drive-in, with carhops who took your order and brought it to your car, placing it on a tray which hung from your car window (Sonic is the closest thing to it today, I think, unless you know of a similar place). They had inside seating, too. My older brother worked there as a fry cook for a while during his high school years. I distinctly remember that because he got a nasty burn from the steam table. My high school job was as a soda jerk, clerk, and delivery boy at Gross Drug Store, corner of Lawrence and MacArthur -- was that still there in your days? Lousy pay, but then gas was only 30 cents a gallon.
My older brother (I have 2 of them, so he's the middle bro) was the motorhead, putting an automatic transmission in an old Plymouth (I think that's what it was) and drag racing with it (legally, at the track). Won a few trophies. I used his tools, of course, but I was just interested in all things mechanical -- had to know how they worked and how to care for them. I actually took that '37 LaFayette to college near Chicago, but after a year or so I gave it up in favor of a '59 Triumph TR-3A that was in great mechanical condition but had a body that was falling apart. It had been used in racing and had a very sturdy roll bar, which drew some comments from other drivers. I never raced it, even in rallyes.
I started out liking the Cardinals, then switched my allegiance to the Milwaukee Braves (Dad was born in Milwaukee, but spent his teen years in Chicago). When I moved to Chicago permanently, I quickly became a Cubs fan, partly because Dad was a lifelong White Sox fan. (Had to have something to talk about.) I lived about a mile and a half from Wrigley in all my Chicago years, walking distance, and spent some time in the left field bleachers. Even though I've been in the St. Louis area for 12+ years now, I'm still a Cubs fan.
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I went to Franklin JHS on Outer Park Dr grades 7-8, we were that limbo age when they moved grade 6 to JHS and called it a middle school for the first time when we were in 7th, then moved the 9th graders back to SHS when we were in 8th, that must have been '68. Let's see, Grant was on W. Monroe I believe? The year after I graduated my folks moved out to W. Lawrence out off W. Monroe where it angles southeast, and I think my two young sisters both went to Grant--although I think the illustrious Board of Ed. had something by then called a Seventh Grade Center for the entire city in one of the abandoned grade schools. I recall my little sister getting beat up by a future resident of the city jail at the time.
In high school the McDonald's on MacArthur was still the hang out. I don't remember a place called Don's Drive-in, and I'm wondering if it was gone in the intervening nine years? Do you recall where it was? We had someting called The Cruise. Kids would drive continually from McDonald's up MacArthur to South GRand Avenue then up South Grand to about Second Street I think, where the Sears & Roebuchs was at the time. Just a big circle to see and be seen. My first car was a '65 Impala I got the summer between my junior and senior year. 283 V-8. Really cherry, I got it from the pastor of our church for $300.
Sounds like you were a bit of a motorhead? My dad and my son are both motorheads. My dad has a list of every car he's ever owned back to his first, a '29 Model A he got in high school during WWII. Ad photos of most of them. It skipped a generation with me--I love cars but I can't keep up with my son and my dad when they get together. Of course the language is different...from Packard and Hudson to Honda and and whatnot.
St. Louis, eh? Pretty close to the old home town. I never lived up north--I always saw Chicago as an interesting place to visit but not a place I wanted to live, even though I'm a lifelong Cubs fan.