...And That's My Opinion©

By Sandy Goldman

The Rogers Park Community Curmudgeon

 

 A HOLIDAY LONG AGO

 

It was 1954 and he was a student at Lake Forest College and also a live-in counselor at Arden Shore School for Boys located in Lake Bluff, IL, about one mile north of the collage campus.  It was a boarding school for boys who could not live at home, for various reasons.

 

Two elderly women directed and ran the school. The chef was a retired mess sergeant from Ft. Sheridan and the athletic director was retired from nearby Great Lakes Naval Station. It was just after Christmas and everyone was gone from the school, except for two boys who had no one to go to. So he took them home to his family’s apartment in Chicago.

 

Even though Christmas was not her holiday his mother had cooked a holiday dinner. It was Friday and she always cooked a holiday Shabbat dinner on Friday for the many people who would often drop in, family and friends. The two boys ate food they had never seen before and in some cases could not pronounce.

 

The next day the student took them to a clothing store on Devon Avenue operated by the Lind brothers.  The brothers were also popular singers and free-lance cantors at synagogues across Chicagoland as well as clothiers.  They were known for their charitable nature and deeds. There, the two boys were fitted with new clothes and shoes. There was no charge for the new outfits - none at all.

 

Next the threesome took a ride on the EL which neither had ever seen nor ridden before.  They went to the Museum of Science and Industry - another first-time experience.

 

On the way back to the north side apartment, they exited at Washington and State Streets and walked around downtown. The two young men had never been there. They explored Marshall Fields, Carson Pirie Scott and all of State Street, both north and south. Then they all had chocolate sodas at Walgreen’s. The two had never had a chocolate soda.

 

They returned to the counselor’s home for the night.  In the morning there was a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs, lox and bagels; then warm goodbyes and the ride back to Arden Shore.

 

The two boys, empowered by the experience and now aware of the world outside of Lake Bluff, became leaders at Arden Shore.

 

I know what became of the counselor. I wonder what became of the two boys………..

 

IT WAS A HOLIDAY LONG AGO….

...And that's my opinion.

And I'm Sandy Goldman

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