It would seem to be wise to try to recall the events that would most likely disappear from my mind and get them down on paper before that happens. the only problem with that approach is that I have no idea where to start. One would think that the earliest would be the first to go but that is obviously not the case. Sometimes scenes from early childhood pop up in the mind’s eye without even trying and something important from a few years ago or a few decades ago seems to be lost forever. It may be possible to go over some old pictures to try to stimulate the mind.
I have a few memories from 1944 and earlier with no clear chronologic order: if we hadn’t moved from Harvey IL in 1944 because my father was going away to war I probably wouldn’t remember these things either.
1. I can remember walking to what was probably the equivalent of a fast food place. I remember the delicious taste of the hamburgers, especially the pickle relish they put on them. this was a special treat for what reason not sure. It was within walking distance from our home on 145th Place or Street?? probably the former as it seemed to be a dead-end street with an elevated railroad at the end of the street.
2. I have a memory of being in a train station, very crowded, must have been in Chicago and we were going to Wisconsin. The trains were very large and loud. Frightening. Finally we found a seat. I started looking out the window and my mother quickly snatched me back thinking that I would either fall out or perhaps be struck by a passing train. Were they that close together?
3. I remember some people across the way from our house, a Catholic large family. In fact, according to things I remember my mother saying a teenage girl used to baby sit for Gerry and me. She later became a nun, Sr Mary Ripplinger. Still living, I got a Xmas card from her last Xmas 06. The young boy got an electric train for Xmas one year. His older brother kept teasing him by removing the engine as it went around the track.
4. I remember the people who lived in the little house in our back yard. The father and mother drank excessively and had large cans in which potato chips and maybe popcorn were kept. They had a son who went away to war. I wonder if he came back?
I don’t seem to have any other memories of the first four years. I only have a picture of my mother in my head but not my father. Some vague recollections of other train trips, perhaps just to downtown Chicago. I think I have a yellowing newspaper showing me riding on a tricycle somewhere. No memories of grandparents but I do have pictures showing at least the Rohrschneiders. Wait a minute, I seem to have a memory of going to visit some military base in the Chicago area where my uncle Wally was doing something. That would have had to be in the early 40s as he joined up fairly early and went to North Africa I think. amazing how if you just let your mind wander things come back into it.