I was just thinking about Mother Cabrini Hospital and a few nurses that my mom and dad ‘adopted’.  My cousin “Red” brought his new girlfriend, Carmella, over to meet the family … she was a tiny girl, beautiful dark skin and black hair, with a slight limp … we all fell in love with her immediately.  Mother Cabrini was a teaching hospital, and Carmella was a student nurse, eventually she brought a few of her friends over, Regina, Cappy, etc. and my mom would feed them .. students are always hungry.  I remember late one night we woke up to someone tossing stones at the bedroom window, mom got out of bed and there was Carmella under the window, she told  my mom that a family at the hospital was sitting vigil for a very sick relative and they were hungry … of course, my mom gave Carmella a bunch of food to bring back to the hospital for them.  And so it went on … we became so close that Pat and I were bridesmaids in a couple of their weddings …

Carmella eventually married Jack, a tall, handsome fellow who adored her, and Regina (pictured above with my sister Pat on the right) married Tom, a very blonde jovial guy.   I think the last time I saw any of them was at my mom’s funeral … and years later at my dad’s.    As always … I wonder where they are today.

Once, my dad called my mom and told her there were a few Italian war brides stranded in Union Station overnight, before they went on to meet their soldier husbands around the country.   Papa brought them home,  Mama and Aunt Ang made a fantastic dinner for them … then they spent the nite on chairs and sofas and went on their way the next morning  … a few of them kept in touch with my mom for a while.

Summer in the projects was fantastic … everyone played outside, had dinner, cleaned up and went out to play again, til dark.  When it was hot, the neighborhood guys would turn on the johnny pumps and put a board at the bottom so it would spray to the other side of the street … some people washed their cars that way, some girls got dragged under the spray and ruined their hairdo … one woman lost her tube top, yowza!   On especially hot nights, some people dragged their mattresses from their bedrooms and put them in the field that centered the projects.  The peddlers … all kinds of them, but the watermelon man was my favorite … I could still hear him singing “watamelooo”, and he would always cut you a slice to taste before you bought it.  The Good Humor man, the ‘cheech’ man (nuts, etc.) yum the candy apple man … 5 and 7 cents … and he also had pizzelles and the lemonade man.   The pony man with the cowboy outfit for your photo, I still have mine.  The knife sharpener who would also did scissors, and there were many more.

My mom had a beautiful Victory Garden in the field in front of our place … she noticed that the veggies were disappearing … she got up early one morning  and spotted an old lady all in black, returning from Mass at Pompeii Church and stealing our veggies!

My first boyfriend, Bobby, lived on the second floor above us,…

my first kiss and his arm around my shoulder, I felt so grown up … think I was 12!  Music was the background for all of this …….still a big part of my life.

first entry…

I have nothing but great memories of growing up in ‘the neighborhood’ … born at home at 1223 W. Cabrini St.,  in the Jane Addams Housing Projects, across from Mother Cabrini Hospital.

I'm the baby ... my sister Pat and my brother Corky

My youngest memories are of being in the basement with my mom on Tuesdays, her laundry day, … it was scary fun being down there, and all the kids played with each other.  Mom washed clothes on her Maytag and hung them in her locked laundry space til they dried the next day.   She was a great cook, and amazing baker … we always had fresh cake or cookies in the house, and she generously doled them out to the neighbors.  She had theme parties for our birthdays, and handed out the best Halloween treats in the neighborhood.  She was Polish, first generation and born with a club foot, and had a horrible childhood .. she had 4 brothers and 2 sisters and was treated like Cinderella … had to wash and iron all the brothers shirts, etc. … and they were free to hit her whenever they felt like it.   And that’s why my mother visited every single nun at Holy Family School on the first day of a new grade for the 3 of us, and gave them instructions to send us home with a note if we did anything wrong and she would punish us … “don’t ever touch my child” … and they never did!  She was very strict with us, but had to be, it was a tough neighborhood and lots happened that we didn’t know about … like her going out into the hallways in the morning and sweeping the ‘rubbers’ from the stairwells so we wouldn’t see them.  We resented it growing up, because we weren’t allowed to hang out with the popular kids, only certain kids mom approved of, and I remember having to sit on the bench by our doorway so she could keep an eye on me.  Of course in hindsight, she did the right thing.

Mama (Lil) was a great woman, and very strong .. when my parents bought their first home @4017 W Van Buren St., there was a wall that she wanted removed … my dad and brother kept promising to do it …until one day my dad came home from work and there was a hole in that wall big enough to walk thru.  They took down the wall and made a chute in the floor for all the plaster and dirt and it went into a large trash can in the basement.  When my brother asked my dad where all that trash went, my dad laughed and told him this … every couple of days he would take a bunch of the scraps and wrap them in brown paper, tie it with string, and put it under his arm as he walked to the bus stop.  He would put it on the seat next to him for a while … then move to the back of the bus and wait to see who would sheepishly pick up the ‘package’ as if were theirs, and take it with them!!!  The drivers were in on it with him, and they all had a good laugh.  How funny was he???

When we were all gone from the house, Mama became depressed and didn’t go out much … at that time we just wondered why she had changed … now I see it and am sorry I wasn’t more attentive to her.  She passed away much too young, from a broken heart I’m sure .. her life ended when her kids were gone … even though she had the best husband ever.  I was working at a restaurant in California on xmas eve, and going thru a divorce … my good friend, Ulla, was also in the same circumstance … she spent the night at my place and we boo hoo’d about our lives and I told her it was the first year my mother didn’t send me xmas cookies … it was the worst xmas ever.  The next morning I woke up to a phone call from my brother, saying mom had died … I couldn’t believe it, it was our favorite holiday.   A couple of hours later, the door bell rang, it was Special Delivery, from my mom … xmas cookies!   When we were kids, we would always have Christmas at my Aunt Tessie’s, my mom’s kid sister…

… my Uncle John was Santa … for some reason, the Polish Santa was mean (hilariously so) … when he came into the door my cousin Dennis would hide under the bed … Santa would tell my dad to get down on his knees and pray (which wasn’t easy for Papa, but he did), it was like a minstrel show … he told papa to pray that God would forgive him for being bad, and my dad would pray and shake.    It was scary fun every year … and when we went home to the projects … there were tons of gifts under the tree, that weren’t there when we left!!!  We didn’t find out how they got there til we were in our 30’s … my mom would give the gifts to Mary the widow, our next door neighbor .. she and her 4 kids would hide them for my mom, and put them under the tree when we left.  Of course, my mom bought them gifts too. When you entered Mary’s house … there was an ironing board in front of the door where people put their coats … in the corner was a big tv, with a smaller tv, and an even smaller one on top, that actually worked.   I loved Mary and her kids … Mary Ann, Diane, Peter and Sonny … I often wonder what happened to them.

My parents met when they were 26 and married secretly, because it was sacrilegious for a Polish woman to marry an Italian man … eventually my mom’s family adored my dad … my dad’s family never really accepted her, they called her ‘the pollock’.  Mostly because she was different than the neighborhood women, who screamed at their kids out the window, and promised to take them to the doctor for a shot, if they were bad!  They were loud, and cursed at their kids.  They mostly had Italian Provincial furniture. we had blonde, modern…

… they bought their clothes on Roosevelt and Halsted … my mom took us on a bus out of the neighborhood for our clothes, so we wouldn’t look like everyone else … of course we wanted to look like the other kids, but as I grew older I realized how amazing she was … I still don’t like dressing like everyone else … she was way ahead of her time.   We had a “Jew” … and I mean that in a totally affectionate way … Mr. Sachs came to our home every week, and my mom would give him money for our account with him … whatever she needed, furniture, clothing, appliances, etc. … he would take her to the wholesale house to get it, we even had our health/life insurance thru him … I loved seeing him on Saturdays.

Saturday was also the day we went to The Garden Show on Taylor St. near Racine, oh how I loved that place, Tony and Frenchy owned it.  It only had 1 bathroom for the entire theater, it always smelled, and the floor was always wet, but we didn’t care.  I remember when they painted the floor of the theater red, it never really dried and there were red footprints down the sidewalk going both ways forever.  The concession stand was tiny, and they gave ‘late checks’ to us if we came in late for the movie.  When the lights went on after the movie, Tony would come down the aisle and yell “late checks’ and if you didn’t have one, ‘get out’ … we were all afraid of him.  My favorites were Roy Rogers and Buster Crabbe … usually the kids went home and played out the movie outside in the grass in front of our apartments … I was always Roy.

My dad was Italian, first generation and had 5 siblings, he was the favorite.  He was born perfect, but woke up one day when he was in his 2’s, completely paralyzed on his right side … they called it ‘infantile paralysis’.  He walked with a big limp, and kept his right arm in his pocket so it wouldn’t swing around … he used to love to threaten us with ‘the claw’ if we were bad … he would take his hand out of his pocket and shoot it like an arrow in the air … we never got tired of it, he was a very funny, lovable man.   He had a lot of scars on that arm, from botched surgeries trying to fix it, which was impossible.  The neighborhood kids would ask him what happened … he would tell them grand stories of how he ‘fought off the Japs’ single handedly in the war, everyone loved those stories and thought him a hero.   He delivered blue prints for the Sun Times every morning, then opened his 2 news stands around 2:30-6:30 … one inside an office building and across from that, he stood outside in that Chicago weather on Randolph and Canal and NEVER missed a single day in 50 years…

… he was about 5’4″, wore a size 5 shoe and was paralyzed … he was a god to me.  At Christmas time he would come home nightly with tons of gifts, his customers loved him too.  There’s a story my friend Frank told me years after my dad was gone … Frank went to the paper stand and wanted to buy a Playboy magazine, my dad asked him how old he was, and he naturally lied … so my dad told him to walk around the whole block and he would give it to him when he returned … my goofy friend walked around the block and my dad gave him the Playboy (what a sense of humor).    Papa was always the last dad to come home, by that time most of the kids had already eaten and gone out to play … I could still see him limping down the street towards home, my 2 girlfriends would run with me to greet him … he would grab me under the arm with his left hand and swing me onto his shoulder … then Lorilee, then Judy Lynn (who was chubby, so the 2 of us pushed her butt while Papa hoisted her up).    On Fridays, tucked into that bad arm in his pocket, he would have a box of Fannie Mae mints for my mom, and a pair of hose .. he was a true romantic!

My sister, Pat, was a tomboy … I remember my mom going to look for her because she hadn’t come home with the groceries … she would find her playing baseball with the boys in the field on Taylor/Racine.  Oh, and the grocery store … my mom would give us a list every day, Art would put the amount on our “charge card”, and my dad would pay it off on the weekend.  Pat was fun, popular and had a huge heart, she didn’t care about clothes or girly things, and had a secret shed where she hid stray dogs she would find in the neighborhood and feed them.   She was everyone’s favorite … til the day she passed.  She went to Providence High School (again, my mom wanted us to go to the best schools) she ditched school in her Junior year and was thrown out of school (she took the blame for her girlfriends’ idea) … she wanted to go to nursing school, my mom made her get a job as punishment, she would have made a terrific nurse … she worked in hospitals most of her adult life.  She married at 20, and had 3 children.   She divorced after about 10 years,  and married the love of  her life, who turned out to be an unspeakable degenerate.  When she mustered up enough courage to leave him, she asked one of the nurses in the hospital where she was working, to put a cast on her arm … she told ‘him’ that she broke her arm at work and couldn’t work for a few days.  Every day when he wasn’t home, she would go to the basement and pack items she would need … that weekend when he went fishing, her friends and family went to her house and packed a truck with her things and her son drove her all the way to California to my place!  “He” came home to an empty house … and it took him a week to finally find her with me, in California.  She divorced and we lived together for a few years and had the best times of our lives … more on that later.

My brother Carmen, aka Corky, was ‘the brain’ … he hatched butterflies in our bedroom (the 3 of us shared a bedroom with twin beds til we moved when I was 13) and once made a fire cracker out of a lipstick tube with sulpher in it, it exploded and cut him.  He would lay face down on the bench in front of the building, poking at the ants in the dirt, he knew what all of them did and who was the boss.  My mom wanted him to be a doctor .. he went to St. Ignatius and got a scholarship to U of I at The Pier … he went one year and decided to quit and work for a year and then go back … that never happened, my mom was heartbroken.  I introduced him to his wife, I worked with her, they had 2 daughters and divorced many years later.   After they divorced,  he met a fabulous woman, Indy, at The Hop (they are both fantastic dancers)  and they dated for quite a few years, and eventually married and are living in Florida … seriously the happiest couple I know … that almost never happens, it’s wonderful to be with the two of them.  I was the baby, and my mom’s favorite, even though we’re not supposed to admit that.

Mama & Papa under the bedroom window ... and the 'favorite'

I had rheumatic fever for years and wasn’t able to play like the other kids … also an ulcer in my nose that hemorrhaged at times and I’d wake up covered in blood, including clots in my hair.  Naturally, I was babied and spoiled and Pat and Corky teased me relentlessly.    Holy Family School was fun, until 7th/8th grade when 3 girls decided they hated me and bullied me constantly (yes it happened back then) the ring leader was a fat girl, Joanne, and her partners were Sandra and Stella … I can still remember what they called me, and can’t say the word til this day.  They made my life hell … and on graduation day the 3 of them wrote in my graduation book, how sorry they were for what they did … and how much they liked me.   I still resent them today, and have no idea why they singled me out … except that I was ‘different’.  I took classical piano lessons for years, first with Mrs. Vosella in the projects, and then at The Chicago Conservatory of Music … I was pretty good, but disinterested.  Again, my mom was heartbroken.  I went to St. Pius High School with the ‘bad’ girls from the neighborhood who I adored … it was a tiny 2-year secretarial school and there were only 40 of us in my graduating class.   I loved hanging out with Big Dee Dee, Little Dee Dee, Grace, Lulu and a few others … I was the class Social Secretary (naturally) and Little Dee Dee was the President.   When accounting class started in the morning, I would take everyone’s lunch order and go next door to the grocery store with the order (sloppy joe or ham sandwich) and never once attended that class.  On Fridays we went to school with our hair in pin curls and a scarf tied in the back of our neck … that meant we had a date that night.  The nuns didn’t care …I loved that school and the times I had there.    When we graduated, ‘the girls’ (Marlene, Jackie, Grace, Big Dee Dee, Little Dee and me) went to the Chez Paree and saw Nat King Cole … a night to remember!

To be continued ….there’s lots more …….


  • Frank Garibaldi

    I am enjoying this – how does one subscribe?

  • John Salas

    This is great! I never realized the projects over there were once a nice place! When I lived on Aberdeen I think I( and a few friends) bravely walked through there one day. Keep up the good work!

    • taylorandracine

      Glad you enjoyed it … I love the memories and telling them. So much more coming … just need to find time. The projects were wonderful … some of my best memories are of living there. Stay tuned…………

  • Vicki

    I am staying tuned…It’s great!!!!!!!

  • Launa D. Romoff

    I love reading about your life! You are a WONDERFUL writer, I find reading about your life extremely compelling and then having those
    beautiful pictures to look at completes the stories. My dear friend Judy,
    you have truly found your passion!

    • taylorandracine

      Launa … you have no idea how much your words mean to me … I really love writing about my life … maybe because it’s kinda boring now and I like to look back on those crazy times! You are right, it has become my passion. Did you subscribe, so you’ll be notified every time I write new??
      And … I LOVE LOVE your art work, it’s absolutely gorgeous … Bree loves it too … would love to own a piece some day … I have a few really nice pieces, but nothing like your gorgeous work. And right back atcha … seems you’ve found your passion also. Is this full time for you, or do you have to ‘work’ to support you work??
      If you’re ever in LV, please let me know, it would be so fun to get together again, wouldn’t it? Thanks again … xo J

  • guess

    Judy–since your memory is so good, I am the guy on the left of Omar in your wedding picture–name me and the guy next to me, we both stood up for your wedding–you are writing about memories, I have enough to write a book, I went to school with your first Boy Friend, we called him Gabeat, I grew up with him and my Mom and Dad grew up with his parents–I am still living the memories, I have breakfast with Omar and all the Guys from Taylor Street once a month and we have a nice Christmas Party every year at Pompeii Restaurant

  • Philomena Taylor

    Hey girlfriend bought back good memories ..just talk with you last week, great story it and big fan…thanks babe.Philomena

  • Pat

    I see Big Dee Dee once in a while at Q’s restaurant in Hillside with her husband Vito, my childhood friend, I also eat breakfast once a montn wit little Dee Dee’s husband Baby Al

    • taylorandracine

      Please say hi to Big Dee when you see her, I was a bridesmaid for her wedding to Vito. We went to high school together, along with Little Dee …we had great times. I went to Taylor St. Festival a few weeks ago, sadly didn’t see any old friends … and I just missed Baby Al, he stopped to say hello to my friend Carmy Gallucci when I took a walk … say hi to him for me when you see him, tell him sorry I missed him.

  • Pat

    I am Vitos close friend, I was with Vito when we were just kids the first time he met Dee Dee

    Small Dee Dee (Dolores Torsiello) and I went to grammer schoold together and graduated together

    Omar and I talked that you were in Chicago last month?

  • Janet Negron

    Judy, I really enjoyed reading your blog. I love to hear the stories of the old neighborhood. I had older syblings and cousins that told me stories. My husband also lived in the Jane Adams housing projects. Thank you for sharing your memories. GREAT.

  • Annette Villapiano

    I still live in the Old Neighborhood …. Lived here all my life. Would not have it any other way despite all the changes I have seen!!!!

  • joey curalli sr.

    judy my name is joey curalli , my mom used to work in deleo bakery, rita the little blonde…im married to marylou mazzone do you remember any of us?? i think i remember corky? i enjoy reading your blog!!

    • taylorandracine

      Hi Joey … thanks for the note … how did you find my blog? Even tho I remember a lot about those days … I’m still pretty bad at names … I know the name Mazzone for sure, is there a Marie Mazzone … when did your mom work at DeLeo … loved that place. Are you around my age? So glad you enjoyed the blog … did you read all of it, or only The Old Neighborhood? There’s a lot of fun stuff in The Rush Street Days and the LA Days … did you sign up, so you’ll be notified when there’s new stories? Thanks again for reading and commenting.

      • joey curalli sr.

        im 58 i remember the rush street days very well ,the happy medium the back room, jays, bbc, faces those were my original haunts…my mom worked in the bakery in the 60s..she has passed as has my fatheri signed up im sure we know lots of the same people i grew up on taylor and may streets..i was a lifeguard at sheridan park along with luke capuano…i had older cousins , marcella , joey and luke.also 3 cousins that were sisters ,donna,mary carol and janice,also anthony and rosalee zappa…we lived on aberdeen for awhile
        but like most people moved only a block or so when we did move nice talking to you looking forward to more reading !! thanks!

  • Pat Cal

    Joey–is Marylou related to Al Mazzone, he had a brother John and brother Alphonse?–Pat Cal

  • joey curalli sr.

    marie mazzone is my father in laws cousin ,but we all called her auntie marie

  • taylorandracine

    Small world, isn’t it? Thanks again for reading and commenting …

  • Pat Cal

    Yes–small world

  • joey curalli sr.

    i remember the big stone animals in the projects my aunt marcella lived there too!!

  • Mario Resendiz

    hello everyone, I am Mario Resendiz, 58 and am really please with your blog, really a fantastic way to share some wonderful personal history and to reach back to a time that many of us can relate to. I grew up on Taylor and Leavitt when the old juvenile home was still there and later moved to Taylor and Oakley 2 houses from Mr. Vito Marzullo, our alderman. went to Our Lady of Pompeii school in 1966-1967 after St. Charles on Roosevelt Rd. closed. After the 6th grade there where I developed and still maintain some of my most cherished friendships, I finished school at Holy Family and afterward St. Ignatius. our favorite spots to eat of course the Patio, Al’s, donuts at DeLeo’s bakery and so many other wonderful times. One of my sister in laws, Donna Fraghia still lives off of Taylor and Loomis with my nieces Jennifer and Jessica. I am living in Brasil, South America now and am planning a trip back this year and will make my first stops on Taylor St. for a nice walk and some great food, and hope to run in to some old friends!!! signing up right Now!! thank you for the great memories everyone!

    • taylorandracine

      Mario … thanks so much for you great note … especially because you live so far away … wow, Taylor St. to Brasil … very interesting. if you can, please tell me how or what made you move so far. You’re younger than I am … but we share a lot of the same places … I also went to Holy Family School and my brother went to St. Ignatius. I try to visit Chicago every year … I was there last summer for the Taylor Street Festival, it was wonderful … altho the neighborhood has changed so much. Thanks again for you note … Judy

    • joey curalli

      mario i know your family….

  • Mario Resendiz

    Hello Judy, Hey there Joey,

    It really is a nice thing to walk down memory lane and find others immediately that share so much history, walked down the same streets and love talking about the “the neighborhood”!

    The move to Brasil is obviously a long story but it really reminds me of how many of us that grew up where we did and had a love for adventure, excitement, and great relationships even when they did not work out as we had wished they would makes us who we are today.

    I remember when I was at St. Ignatius from 1969-1973 and I worked at the State and Lake Theater as an usher, then got a second job at Al’s BBQ stand across from Mario’s lemonade for a bit, then moved on to Papa Charlie’s (remember Spike the mgr? and Bill the owner) and My Place for Clothes where Dennis Pivonka was the owner.

    There are so many people that I hope to have some knowledge of where they are now and what they are doing, or even to just know that if they have passed on, that they still live inside us in some special way.

    Remember Mr. P. Granata? on the corner of May and Taylor..across from DeLeo’s…my dad got a job working for the state in the 60’s until he passed on in 1985 just before his retirement…worked with a great crew on the highway out of the north side …Jimmy Saviano was one of his good friends and co-worker that I really liked and do not know where he is today.

    Janet Grippo is on facebook and we get each others notifications daily and it was a pleasure to get back in touch with her with this technology that really has changed the way we live today in comparison with 40 years ago that seems like yesterday when I read these post!

    Wonder if any of you remember Blackie’s tavern off of Oakley and Taylor street? The clouds of time start to clear as I read and write about these remarkable landmarks and hope as I read more that some other names come to mind…like the bakery that was on western and tayor….correct me if I get the name wrong but, i think it was “Albano’s”????!! or is that the one that is between oakley and Seeley street….time …an interesting factor in our lives…

    some of my brothers here,,,John (Jackie), James (jimmy or Jimbo) as they called him in the neighborhood married Donna Fraghia off of Loomis and Taylor, he passed away approximately 2 years ago would be 62, going on 63….Frank (Franco) would be 61, Paul,,,,Peachie ( he told me everyone mispelled his nickname …so I asked him over a few beers how should it be,,well it surprised even me…Pichi ..just like this….as he wrote it on a beer napkin…I said to him…no-one will ever believe me if I tell them they are wrong…he said…let’s have another beer, does it really matter….they will still remember the peach! I am certain today that his mark will remain in the hearts of many Taylor Street people…..then there is my bother Joe(y) just a year older than me and then my borhter Pat(rick) who also went to Ignatius, then there was Gerard!! my brother Gerard that loved the neighborhood but really enjoyed the nightlife of the North side…My sister Dolores that my dad held under protective custody being the only living daughter and then my youngest brother Cruz, a fine carpenter that lives in Indiana outside of Chicago….

    I had to be different…a lot of travelling, interesting people, good and bad relationships, 3 children, Joshua Paul, Danielle Rene and James Anthony…but, that is another 2 stories….

    hey Joey, I think I saw you on FB……will add you …anyone else wants to get in touch ..feel free….just bring the hotdogs,,,, i am realy missing my Viennas with mustard and relish,, some fries will be nice and a big RC ….

    until the next date…tchau

  • joey curalli sr.

    mario i rememeber you , i went to school with joey at holy family, im sorry to hear of your brothers passing so young..what a shame…but im glad your in good health!! keep in touch and keep posting pictures!!!

  • dolores leone

    Hi are you Judy Consolvo from Holy Family grade school
    Remember back 100 years ago. Dolores. Jeanine. Anna lou Marion above de Leo bakery…..we were 1954 graduates St Mary’s Jeanine Betty I am in touch with all these years. My folks lived at. 1005 s. Racine for 40. Years I miss my neighbors and currently reside on a cul de sac no one even says hello. Or good morning,
    Contact is ok. Absolutely. Love this site

    • taylorandracine

      Hi Dee … thanks so much for reading my blog, how did you find it? Yes, I’m that Judy from Holy Family … I don’t know the girls you’re referring to, think you’re a little older than me, I graduated from Holy Family in 1955. My Aunt Ang and Uncle Rocco lived on Racine, they had 3 sons Joe, Dan and Rocco, did you know them? I miss having good neighbors too … I also live in a cul de sac where No One speaks … Las Vegas is a very unfriendly town, not crazy about it at all … just live here because my daughter and grand daughter are here. Thanks for reading and commenting … again, sorry it took me so long to respond. Judy

  • dolores leone

    Judy, sorry getting older now, Pat your sister and I were friends on Racine. Your parents lived opposite my nephew
    Ernie Rizzo a private eye in Chicago and Ralph Casale my
    Cousin from Chicago police dept lived near the now restored concrete animals from the projects playground.
    I remember your dad walking pass our house at. 1005 Racine. Pat knows all of us from grade school. Also
    Keep this blog going. We plan on telling all our friends to
    Read. And at routes. 67. And. 50. Donna Montana whom
    We never knew years ago. Owned a chid, s petting zoo and was a neighbor for years. Never knew her from the
    Bars and restaurants. Our family love the horses and wonderful shows during the summer.

    Sorry Montana petting zoo. In Lake Geneva wisc.
    Dolores Leone.

    • taylorandracine

      Hi again … my parents lived at 1223 W. Cabrini … and later at 1407 W. Taylor St. … so sad that the projects are gone, except for that one building. I loved living in that neighborhood, I try to visit Chicago yearly and always go to the neighborhood … wish Tufano’s was still as good as it used to be. I haven’t written for a while, it takes time to gather all the pics, etc. … but I’ll get to it again Don’t know Donna Montana … but Roxy and Rocky Montana lived above us in the projects … I was friends with their daughter Lorilee.
      Not sure if you knew that my sister, Pat, passed away quite a while ago, she was only 58…. damn cigarettes! We were very close .. if you read all of my blog there are great stories about us in the LA DAYS section … I miss her every single day.
      Hope you signed up for my blog, so you will be notified where there are new stories. Thanks again … take care, Judy

  • Pete Sipari

    This reads like a very interesting blog. I grew up,at least until 13yo, while living at 832 S Claremont. The large 2 story is still there, but back then it was all famiglia. 2 story balcony, black wrought iron fence, and bird baths. I went to St. Callistus until 63. Even today i recall many of the people from school, or that i hung out with. I remember spending what seemed like days at Frank and Tony’s on Western and Polk. Albano’s bakery and the butcher on Claremont and Taylor. My father was the linco man. He would mix washing bleach and sold/delivered it. He had a good business then. His competitor was R. Caliendo, lived across from us. I remember the names of many of the “older” guys who played 16 in softball, at 12 i was told i could play with them. I was pretty good for the age. Minelli’s on Western, now in Niles, has long been a shopping store for me. Of course, even though they were a year or two older i remember some of the girls off Claremont. Sandy, Sherry, Teresa, Nadine, Marie……… There was a small basement store on Claremont,off Polk, Graces. Dambrosio was the name. Mr.Marzullo was a good friend to the family, in fact Marco D., his go-to guy is my Dads first cousin.

    • taylorandracine

      Pete … thanks for reading my blog and commenting … how did you find it?
      Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with Claremont St., even tho it was fairly close to where we lived. I also loved the hot dog stand on Polk/Western … and Albano’s …
      Actually, my brother had a Linco business for a while also … POO POO BLEACH!
      Not familiar with the stores you commented on … or I’ve just forgotten.
      Again, thanks for reading … if you signed up for my blog, you will be notified when I write again … I’m long overdue, it takes a while to gather all the info/photos.
      Take care, Judy

  • Pete Sipari

    Be waiting to read what you write.

    Ciao, Pete

  • Anna DeLegge

    Enjoyed your blog, it brought back many memories. I remember Frenchy, he always questioned my age when I went to the show. He knew the family and knew how old I was, just wanted to see me cry lol. I was born in the projects, but then live on Taylor and Ada. We did have good times. I graduated from Pompeii in 56 and went on to St. Marys. These are great memories. Thank you.

    • taylorandracine

      Anna … how did you find my blog? And thanks for reading … and commenting, that means so much to me. I’ve been bad about writing lately, but I will get back to it …
      Where did you live in the projects … and where do you live now? Did you read the entire blog … or just the Chicago pieces?

  • Anna DeLegge

    Read the entire blog, loved it. I was born in the projects on Ada. But we lived right on Taylor and Ada. My father had a beef stand in front of our house. Left there when I was 15 and moved to Franklin Park. Now living in Itasca.

    • taylorandracine

      Thanks again … yikes, Itasca is far, isn’t it? So glad you read the entire blog … most people only read the Chicago, or Rush St. sections … the LA section has a lot of fun stories. I need to sit down and get busy writing again …

  • Nick Galloro

    Enjoyed reading your blog! I was born in 1947, my parents were from Italy – Calabria and Campania – and we lived in a two-bedroom apartment at 2349 W. Grenshaw St (my parents owned the building) along with my brother and two sisters. The places I remember best were Albano’s, the neighborhood bakery on the corner of Taylor and Western, the bread bakery on Western just up the street from Albano’s (now the Italian Superior Bakery), and Simpson’s tavern on the corner of Grenshaw and Western. We would our birthday cakes and holiday pastries – cannolies and sponadella included – from Albano’s and my mother would send me often to buy bread from the bread bakery.

    I went to grammar school at Cerrar which burned down in the mid-fifties and then to Washington Irving which has been demolished and relocated a bit further west from it’s old location and went to Cathecism classes at St. Callistus. I attended a Catholic high school, St. Philip’s which was further west near Jackson and Kedzie that closed down some time ago although the Basilica, Our Lady of Sorrows, is still there.

    I now live in California in the San Francisco Bay Area where I have lived since 1976, got married and have two sons. As I get older (now 67), I seem to return more to my roots and have realized how those roots have shaped me. I would love to here from other people who grew up in the “old neighborhood”

    Thank you,

    Nick (Nicola) Galloro

    I would love to h

    • taylorandracine

      Thanks, Nick, for your lovely note … I really appreciate readers sending me their thoughts … not enough do it.
      I’m not familiar with most of the places you mentioned … but I always loved Albano’s … I lived further east from you, and in those days, it was a world away.
      Did you read my entire blog, or only The Old Neighborhood? If you read further, you know I also moved to Calif … in l969 … mostly in the San Fernando Valley … my last home in Toluca Lake was my dream place … it was difficult to leave and I still miss it. I moved to Las Vegas to be with my daughter after I retired … we both miss CA and would move back in a heartbeat … but her job is here and I adore my grand daughter.
      You are right … the older I get, the more I think about my past and the wonderful, crazy life I led … nice to hear from you and thanks again for the nice comments.

    • Frank Gennaro

      Hi Nick! You may know me. I also attended St. Philip and graduated in 1964. I lived on Taylor and Loomis. I’m a retired Software Development Manager with 4 children and 8 grandchildren. My parents owned a restaurant on Taylor and Loomis. My name is Frank Gennaro.

  • Taylor made

    Do you remember the carioscia’s Phyllis Mickey Franklin and Anthony they lived in the projects on Lyle st. Than moved on Racine.

  • Marge Janiak

    Hi there. My mom was born in Cabrini Hospital and lived on Cabrini St. as a young child. She has great memories of playing in a park that had stone animals. Delores Leone says that they were restored in a reply here. Can you tell me where they are? I would like to be able to tell my mom. Thanks so much.

    • taylorandracine

      Wow … I lived on Cabrini St. also, across the street from the hospital. The animals were a block away, forgot the street … I had no idea they were restored because the projects were all torn down, except for one building, which is dedicated to the projects. I think you could see the animals from Taylor St. .. if they are still there … so that means they would be 2 or 3 blocks from Racine going west. Sorry I can’t be more help.

  • Laura Gentile

    So glad I found this! I grew up on Taylor Street in the late 60s – 1970s. Nothing compares!

    • taylorandracine

      Laura – Thanks for reading … appreciate your comments, etc. Yes, those are my fondest memories … altho I lived there in the 40’s and 50’s …you are correct, nothing ever has compared.
      Unfortunately, I’ve had writers block for a while … but hope to get back to my stories … I have lots more to tell.

  • steve pellegrino

    Boy, some of the things I remember and more! Do you remember when doctors made house calls?
    I remember that and the milk, ice, fruit and vegetables, watermelons, rags and old iron (otherwise known as the junk man) were delivered by horse and wagon, especially in my old Chicago neighborhood of Little Italy, many still into the fifties. People would haggle with the vendors over fruits and vegetable prices and there was a scale hanging from the back of the wagon and later on a truck. You knew they were fresh because nobody would buy the bad ones and they made sure they told the vendor.
    And the games; Not It, Ringeliveo, Kick the Can, Bocce ball, horseshoes in the local play ground, line ball, similar to stick ball, baseball until dark. My grandparents house was built in 1880 or 1890 and had 3 bedrooms, a living room, a parlor, a dining room, a kitchen, but one bathroom, but it did have a full basement (full of coal dust because they used it for a coal bin) and ten foot high tin covered ceilings the toilet had the water tank above the toilet with a chain for flushing. My bedroom faced the next house’s bedroom with an air space hole in between the buildings which was only about five feet across or less.
    The second floor back porch had a flat roof with a trap door leading up which I used to boost myself up and walk along the other roofs as far as I could go in each direction. I wonder what people thought when they heard footsteps coming from above?
    The alleys were full of rats before the city cracked down on garbage to be put in rat proof cans. We had one phone, no answering machines, no dishwasher, washer or dryer, air conditioner, we lived only two miles from the lake (Michigan) and most of the time we didn’t need one. We did have a TV, my grandparents loved TV, two radios no computers.
    I was well into adulthood before I realized that I was an American. Of course I had been born in America and had lived in Chicago most of my life, somehow it never occurred to me that just being a citizen of the United States meant I was an American. It was thought in my neighborhood that Americans were people who ate peanut butter and jelly on mushy white bread that came out of plastic packages. I ate pepper and egg sandwiches or eggplant sandwiches on Italian bread. I was Italian. For me, as I am sure for most second generation Italian-American children who grew up in the 40’s and 50’s, there was a definite distinction drawn between “us and them.” We were Italian. Everybody else — the Irish, German, Polish, Jewish, they were the “Med-e-gons.” I don’t remember animosity involved in that distinction, no prejudice, no hard feelings, just, well, we were sure ours was the better way.
    For instance, we had a bread man, a milkman, a coal and ice man, a fishman, a fruit and vegetable man, a watermelon man, an egg and cheese man, and we even had a man who sharpened our knives and scissors and came to our homes, or at least our neighborhoods. We would wait for their call, their yell, their individual sound. We knew them all, and they knew us.
    Americans went to the store for most of their food. They never knew the pleasure of waking up every morning to find a hot crisp loaf of Italian bread waiting behind the screen door. And instead of being able to climb up on the back of the peddlers truck a couple of times a week just to hitch a ride, most of my “Med-e-gon” friends had to be satisfied with going to the A&P.
    When it came to food, it always amazed me that my American friends or classmates only ate turkey on Thanksgiving or Christmas. Or, rather that they only ate turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. Now, we Italians – we also had turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, but only after we had finished the antipasto, soup, lasagna, meatballs, salad, and whatever else Mama thought might be appropriate for that particular holiday. The turkey was usually accompanied by a roast of some kind (just in case somebody walked in who didn’t like turkey), and was followed by an assortment of fruits, nuts, pastries, cakes and, of course, homemade cookies. No holiday was complete without some home baking, none of that store-bought stuff for us! This is where you learned to eat a seven-course meal between noon and seven PM, how to handle hot chestnuts(Castanias), and put tangerine wedges or peach wedges in red wine. I truly believe Italians live a romance with food. Speaking of food, Sunday was the big day of the week! That was the day you’d wake up to the smell of garlic and onions frying in olive oil. As you lay in bed, you could hear the hiss as tomatoes were dropped into a pan. Sunday we always had macaroni and gravy, the “Med-e-gons” called it”pasta and sauce” Sunday would not be Sunday without going to Mass. Of course, you couldn’t eat before mass because you had to fast before receiving communion. But the good part was we knew when we got home, we’d find hot meatballs frying, and nothing tastes better than newly fried meatballs and crisp bread dipped into a pot of gravy. We ate the spagetthi on Sunday and leftovers on Wednesday. There was another difference between “us and them”. We had gardens. Not just flower gardens, but huge gardens where we grew tomatoes, tomatoes, and more tomatoes. We ate them, cooked them, and jarred them. Of course, we also grew peppers, basil, lettuce and squash. Everybody had a grapevine and a fig tree, and in the fall, everybody made homemade wine, and homemade tomato sauce, and lots of it. Of course, those gardens thrived so because we also had something else it seemed our American friends didn’t seem to have. We had a grandfather! Its not that they didn’t have grandfathers, its just that they didn’t live in the same house or on the same block. They visited their grandfathers. We lived with ours. I remember my grandfather telling me about how he came to America as a young man on a boat. How the family lived in rented apartments and how he decided that he didn’t want his children to grow up in that environment. All of this, of course, in his own version of Italian-English, which I soon learned to understand quite well. So, when he saved enough and I could never figure out how, he bought a house. That house served as the family headquarters for the next 48 years. Of course, he had to add his own touch of himself to that house by building a porch on, and then deciding to add another on to that, and another on to that one until he had added about four porches on to the original. He and my grandmother had to paint the kitchen and use enamel, high gloss paint. They painted everything in sight including all the fixtures, screws and all. If anything needed to be taken apart, it was next to impossible to unscrew it because of all the paint, and forget about trying to open the windows! I remember how he hated to leave that house, and would rather sit on the back porch and watch his garden grow, or on the bench in front of the house and when he did leave for some special occasion, he had to return as quickly as possible. After all, “nobody’s watching the house.” I also remember the holidays when all the relatives would gather at my grandparent’s house and there would be tables full of food and homemade wine and music. Women in the kitchen and men in the living room, and kids, kids everywhere. I must have half a million cousins, first and second, and some who aren’t even related, but what did it matter. And my grandfather, with his gallon jug of wine beside his chair, sitting there smoking his cigar in the middle of it all, grinning his mischievous smile, his eyes twinkling, surveying his domain, proud of his family. He had achieved his goal in coming to America and to Chicago and now his children and their children were achieving the same goals that were available to them in this great country, because they were Americans. When my grandfather died years ago, things began to change. Slowly at first, but then uncles! and aunts eventually began to cut down on their visits. Family gatherings were fewer and something seemed to be missing, although when we did get together, usually at my mother’s house now, I always had the feeling that they were there. It was understandable, of course. Everyone had their own families now, and their own grandchildren.Today they visit once or twice a year. Today we meet at weddings and wakes. Lots of other things have changed too. The old house my grandfather and grandmother bought was torn down. The last of the homemade wine has long since been drunk and nobody covers the fig tree in the fall anymore. For a while we would make the rounds on the holidays visiting family. Now, we occasionally visit the cemetery. A lot of them are there, grandparents, aunts and uncles, a few cousins and even my own mother and father. The holidays have changed too. The quantity of food we once consumed without any ill effect is not good for us anymore. Too much starch, too many calories, too much cholesterol and nobody bothers to bake anymore…too busy…and it is easier to buy now. Too much is no good for you. The differences between “us and them” aren’t so easily defined anymore, and I guess that’s good. My grandparents were Italian-Italians, my parents were Italian-Americans, and I am American-Italian, and my children are American-Americans.
    Oh, and I’m an American all right, and proud of it, just as my grandfather would want me to be. We are all Americans now, Irish, Poles, Germans, and Jews. United States citizens all-but somehow I still feel Italian. Call it culture, call it tradition, call it roots. I’m not sure what it is; all I do know is that my children have been cheated out of a wonderful piece of heritage. They never knew my grandparents.

    • taylorandracine

      Steve … thanks for reading … and for you LONG nice reply … much appreciated.
      Maybe you didn’t read all of THE OLD NEIGHBORHOOD … because I did include most of what you talked about … i.e. many peddlers that came thru the neighborhood, etc…
      Hopefully, I will get back into writing … love doing it and remembering those days … just that my life is so busy now … thanks again.

    • Frank Genbaro

      Steve, thank you so much for a beautifully written post that brought back so many memories.

  • steve pellegrino

    Sorry for the length and repetitiveness.I will try to include other relative points.I was born in that area also. I read some of those posts and seem to me generally older. Thanks

  • Frank Gennaro

    It’s “Frank Gennaro”, not “Frank Genbaro”…sorry about the typo on my previous message. My family owned Gennaro’s Restaurant on Taylor St.

  • steve pellegrino

    Hello Frank, we have never met but I lived on Marshfield and many of my friends lived on Garibaldi. Our hangout was Eddies Tavern on Polk and Garibaldi.I now live in California and have been back a few times but it is not the same but I enjoy remembering the good old days. We loved to come to your family’s restaurant on Taylor. We would say hi Johnny. I heard your dad’s or your mother’s mother was doing the cooking in the back room at that time.I really enjoyed the food and sorry for your loss of family.
    Steve Pellegrino

  • Frank Gennaro

    Thanks for the reply. My daughter-in-law is a Pellegrino, owners of the Kingston Mines on Halsted St.

  • Nick Lonero

    Hi Judy, I am just reading all your blogs. I am the son of Vito (dumbo)Lonero from 1318 Fillmore street and Big Dee Dee (Viola) 848 loomis street. I saw the picture of the girls at the Che pree my mom loves that pic.. And she said you stood up to her wedding 7/25/1959.. All is well with them this yr they will be married 57 yrs…. We have so many pic from the neighborhood…… Thanks for sharing…. Nick Lonero

    • taylorandracine

      Hi Nick … I am thrilled to receive your note about your parents … yes, I was a bridesmaid for their wedding, it was fun! So happy they are still married after all these years, fantastic! Thanks so much for reading … and writing … I have been bad about adding to my blog, still have many stories to tell.

  • LK

    Curious. Did you know of anyone in that neighborhood with the last name of Callo?

  • Lk

    Thanks for responding. My dad and his family lived there until about 1950s.

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