My Taylor Street: John De Bartolo


DeBartolo’s 1950s Taylor Street There are many great stories I can remember about growing up “On Taylor Street”. I remember the neighbors all sitting out during the summer months the men tasting each other’s homemade wine and the women sipping lemonade and watching the kids play in the streets. The guys played football (Go deep to the black Buick and wait), we played Ring-a-leave-e-o and baseball (the sewer was home plate) and pinners. The girls played hopscotch or practiced their dance moves. The watermelon man with his horse and wagon, the peanut man with his pushcart. Rumors were that he sold enough peanuts and lubeans to buy three apartment buildings in Melrose Park. Turning on the fire hydrant and making the water spray into the air and running under it.  Sheridan Park, where my uncle Jimmy DiVito was the park supervisor. Playing basketball in the gym. Swimming in the pool during the summer and Ice-skating on the frozen baseball field during the winter.  And then of course if you lived “On Taylor Street” who could not remember the CYO. What fond memories of the summer daycare. Ping-pong, baseball in the street, outings to places like Riverview, Pottawattamie Park and Brookfield Zoo. My uncle Benny Fiorentino lived next door to the CYO and had a trucking company, BF Trucking. I remember all the kids in the neighborhood at the CYO piling into the back of one of the trucks on the weekend and going to the forest preserves for a picnic.  The Shingle-Inn for the world’s best hot dogs, across the street from Pompeii bakery, and next to Peanut Park. French fries slapped right on top of the hot dog with just mustard, relish and onions and wrapped in paper. Pompeii Bakery at 800 S. Loomis Street across from “Peanut Park” or “Vernon Park”, now Arrigo Park. 15 cents for a slice of cheese pizza. I remember half days on Wednesday at Pompeii school because the public school kids would come for catechism classes. The women would sell pizza from Pompeii Bakery in the school basement after school on Wednesdays. The kids would just hang out and eat pizza. During lent they would show the holy movies in the school basement. The 10 Commandments, and other biblical movies. Or who could forget “The Shack” on Aberdeen and Polk Streets, across the street from Briatta’s barbershop and Sheridan Park. Another place for great hot dogs and milk shakes. I remember the shack being the place where I heard and saw my first Juke Box. It was playing Sherry by the Four Seasons.  Who living on Taylor Street in the 50’s and early 60’s could forget Al’s at Harrison and Laflin Streets where the sausage would be cooking on an open charcoal pit outside. Nothing like the original Al’s beef, sausage with peppers or the Combo beef and sausage.  All these fond memories of growing up in a neighborhood that will never be again. Living on Taylor Street was then and is now a great place to live but growing up there in the 50’s and 60’s will be the fondest of my life.

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