The Sky Falls (Literally) on the Old School (November 5, 2009)

Nanni_Poppa House

Jen and I have had an interesting day. About 3:00 this afternoon, I received a FaceBook message from an old grade school pal by the name of Barry Burman (the erstwhile Brad as he wished to be called at Pilgrim Lutheran Grade School). Barry is kind of a dorky name (I kid!). Has anyone read or heard this new story today?

The house above and to the right is the unfortunate home slammed with the errant refuse. Guess what dwelling this is? The abode of the maternal grandparents of your very own Boop and Jen. Excuse me, WTF?! What kind of weird karmic fuckery is this?

Most people are quite familiar with their grandparents homes, no doubt, but it is not an exaggeration to state that Jen and I lived here for 16 years. With two working parents who lived on the Northwest Side, and our grade school a mere block and a half from Nanni and Poppa’s house at 4242 N. Wolcott, we spent far more time in Ravenswood that we ever did in our home neighborhood (which in truth, I am not even sure the name). And what a bumping block the 4200 block of Wolcott was back in the day. Yes, I am about to go all retro on your asses. But it must be said: we Pilgrim kids who lived on that street were a bunch of bad mamma jammas.

Take for example, the time myself, Jen and Becky Jo Lauderdale from across the street (a little white blond pipsqueak of a thing) choreographed our own dance, complete with cartwheels and pelvic thrusts, to the Salt and Pepa classic, “Push It.” Or the 25,000 games of tag we played with Becky Jo, J.B. from next door, and two out of the three Burman boys from down the street. My first “french”kiss occured on that block (with Latin hottie Martin Aramburu – seriously, meow!). Jen got hit by a bike once right in front of the house, on the sidewalk, as my humongous Poppa, all 420 pounds, former ball turret gunner of him, put down his fly swatter and glass of homemade sweet tea (a most unusual turn of events) to cuss out the little “son of a bitch” who hit his granddaughter. Too many good times people.

So I can’t tell you the flashbacks I endured, and I know Jen went through the same, as we looked at the smoldering wreckage of our grandparents’ roof. True it has been 10 years since either of them lived there. They were renters and Poppa, with his morbid obesity, passed away in 1994. There was never, mark my words, a finer man. In fact I owe it to him to write more on that another time. Nanni moved into a retirement home in 1999 and died there. But even after the long passage of time, it was like stepping right back into the mid 80s when I clicked that hyperlink today. Jen and I are sitting side by side on those unmistakably tall steps that led to Nanni and Poppa’s second floor apartment. Then we were running down those same steps as fast as our little legs would carry us to overtake the ice cream truck. We rarely missed.

Thankfully, the current families who live there were unharmed. The roof will be patched up and life will go on. They will likely sue some airline or another. But for two little girls at heart today, a random news oddity literally hit too close to home.


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