I wrote recently to a friend I’d lost track of and the email had a lot of things in it as I recalled them from Gary, Indiana in the 60s:
I was recalling the corner of Ridge (Rt 6) and Grant Street in 60s Gary, IN a minute ago, and the old Duncanburger drive in Restaurant came to mind as did Riss Sales, & Tittles new big store they built on the SW corner after they moved out of the Village, built either where the Dr office building was or close to it. Used to be just a meat counter close to Wards by Playland and Marshalls in the Village. I moved from Hammond where I was born ( dad worked at Inland) age 2 to 3585 Grant Street and watched at age 3 in 1955 from the front door right across the street the building of the Village Shopping Center. The drug store first, later added onto the outside edge the Book Nook. The soda fountain was great. The candy at the checkout was even better. Leath Furniture (was surprised when grown and married and moved to Port Huron Michigan in 76 that there was a Leath here) the Village Bakery, the hosiery shop, Troxels Jewelers, the shoe shine chair up on the stand, Fredericks beauty shop, the 2 pay phones the Villlage Restaurant where my HS sweetheart and I spent hours drinking coffee like a BOSS. Of course Kresge’s, Penny’s, 3 Sisters where I worked 1 summer age 15, Kroger (step on the wug and the door open I said when first entered age 3 or 4) had on top of the grocery shelves towards the ceiling dolls! in carton boxes Patty Playpal, Chatty Cathy, you know….but i got my first hoola hoop at playland. Marshalls’ high end children wear store with the large wooden door handles was at that end too, and as I said the meat counter take-a-ticket original Tittles’. Wards was a later addition, which had an incinerator they fired up at night, firey flame smoke out of a pipe at the top of the building….age as young as I was I had a nightmare about a huge fireball rolling down the roof across Grant street to engulf my home. Spent many many days there. Forgot a lot of the stores I’m sure. Being right across the street my mom took me there every other Friday night, daddys’ payday from Inland steel. He got 2 cartons of L&M cigarettes I recall. Age 4 I saw my very first black lady walking towards us round about in front of JCPenny and I asked my mom too loud I’m sure cuz I got slapped why she had dark skin. It was winter, I still can see that lovely woman in her winter coat like royalty amongst us. Not dressy, just the pride in her carriage. When I was 11 we moved to Fillmore. Had at at least half dozen friends I went to Webster with there, we were fittin to be going to Bailly in a couple years then integration would hit us and the age of innocence would start breaking up with slights and smirks and remarks that stung, and the odor of strange hair grease and all sorts of foreign things that kept us in separate groups. Anyway that was Bailly. Webster – the principal started the year we started kindergarten, Mrs Deverick who took over from Mrs Planter. Skinny thing. And coach Schmidt who doled out the paddling to the naughty boys. Lunchtime 10 cent bags of Jays’ potato chips and 5 cents for homemade fudge if we were lucky. 35 cents for lunch. 10 cents for the bus. Webster was on Pierce street. Good weather mom walked me and met me after school. Selling girl scout cookies! Got invited by Denise Roskowski’s mom to join Brownies age 7. Cookies sold 35 cents a box. I remember pounding the pavement. And then pounding it again Halloween with out spray painted gauzy costumes with the plastic masks. Plastic came out we were about 4 in 56. Same year Salk vaccine damn that man came out so we got polio shots. I almost didn’t go to nursing school cuz of all that mess. Downtown Azars’ (Elias Brothers here in Port Huron) BIg Boy ands the theater we waited around the block in the winter cold to see a Hard Days Night and screamed so much no one heard the movie. I have it today of DVD and have watched it many times. I’m 61. Kids, 2 boys and 2 girls, happy, brilliant, healthy, 9 grandkids. Their dad died in 85. I didn’t marry the HS sweetheart, prob should have. Nursing school, grad 88, ICU, ran a post open heart unit 10 years, retired r/t arthritis back in 03, learned composite graphics self taught, now do photoshop, read and watch movies for fun. Remarried for 20 years at age 40, just got divorced, he is a go go go and I’m pretty much sleep sleep sleep, keeps me from getting flair ups of the rheumatoid. He works in SC, NC, GA, moves around so no point really, neither of us interested in others, just no point anymore. Amicable, friends. I stay home with my nose in the computer or a book. I have a caretaker who does cook, shop and make messes for the maids to clean up. Daughter and hubby are docs so they hire for me. I have some parrots and a dog. Got a decent camera recently so i can take more pics. 70 Lew Wallace grad here, Kathy Faye Jones. Was soprano for HMS Pinafore, soloist for just about everything, Mikado lead too. LOVED Lew Wallace. Was IN love in Lew Wallace so that time was my magic years. Cheers, Kathy
Pictures of Gary, Indiana and Chicagoland
sorry some not cropped. oh well. busy.
Kathy Boulier, Composite Art Designs
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Located in Fort Gratiot, Michigan, North of the Blue Water Bridges