Friday, July 29, 2016

Hot Flash Friday: Forgotten Chicago

At this blog (Memoirous--about memories) I’ve mentioned in the past certain blogs or websites that can help to spark flashes. Right now I’m onto Forgotten Chicago and Abandoned Spaces. I signed up for notifications so whenever there is a new post it shows up in my feed. Which is all Facebook gobbely-gook. What I mean to say is I love the pictures and they motivate me to flash and write about memories.

Abandoned Spaces viscerally calls up nostalgic curiosity. I am always intrigued by the various spaces, once inhabited but now abandoned and the various relics left behind. 
The abandoned Helmsley Castle, Yorkshire, England
Sometimes it is a shoe store still warehousing and displaying styles from the 60s, sometimes it is a schoolroom from Chernobyl with decaying textbooks fertilizing a tree growing up between broken desks. Who isn’t fascinated by ruins? They call to us, remind us that we are all mortal, that nothing stays the same, but will eventually breakdown, go back to nature. Even notions of religion—how many hollowed out churches and abbeys are there? In Turkey we toured grottos and underground Christian churches that are now archaic, in Rome we visited huge basilicas built upon the foundation of pagan temples, what was in suddenly becomes passé. Or, in the true style of history, wait long enough and the pendulum swings back; it is cyclical.

Nevertheless, we are drawn to these spaces. Here in the US Detroit is now a major tourist stop for people who are curious about modern-day ruins. Friends of mine travel to Gary, IN to break into abandoned buildings, business sites to explore and take pictures.

Looking at these pictures stirs something up inside of me, causes me to think long and hard about what was, what might be, and who we could become.

Forgotten Chicago is truly a Facebook community. There is nothing like throwing up an old pic of Chicago to arouse comments and an outpouring of memories. Just the other day a pic of the old Morrie Mages sports store was posted even I waxed nostalgic, it was like 8 floors of sporting goods! (One whole floor was dedicated to golfing equipment.) Morrie sold out to Sportmart and then it became Sports Authority—a subpar store compared to Morrie Mages.

From the amazing Internet:
``I`m not tired. I`m not that old. I`m aggressive and alive, and I love this business,`` said the 71-year-old Mages. ``But in order to get bigger, you got to have more money behind you, and I ain`t got it.``
The colorful Mages, dubbed ``Chicago`s Mr. Sporting Goods,`` says, ``I`ve been thinking about selling for the last six months--somebody must`ve read my mind,`` said Mages, who still handles all buying and merchandising for the stores. Mages said he recently turned down offers from Peoria-based Brown`s Sporting Goods and from Sportmart.
Mages is one of few surviving Chicago merchants who started his career on Maxwell Street, the city`s Old World-style bazaar on the Near South Side, hawking bargains from a pushcart in front of his Russian immigrant father`s sporting goods store. He became a partner in the business with his father and brother in 1938.

There is also Calumet 412, and Uptown Chicago History offering photos to riff on.

Miller’s Silver Palm Burlesk Revue, 1117 W Wilson Ave, 1951, Chicago. PHOTO by: ?
Here is a sample post under comments:
Well it was about 1948 on a Saturday afternoon, I was 12 years old,
me and my buddy Jimmy Thomas were going to the DeLuxe Theatre at the corner of Wilson Ave and Clifton which is just west of the El tracks,

Jimmy and I stopped in Front of the Silver Palm to see if we could peek
in and see something that would be worthwhile for a 12 old boy to see.

Three Big black Sedans pulled up, men jumped out of the cars carrying sledge hammers and axes . they smashed through the locked front door,
Jimmy and I, being Boys followed right in after them.
we stood on the side and watch them smash tables, bottles, the bar and even the walls

and there on the walls were pictures of Nude Women, we were in our
glory. The smasher guys told us to stay out of the way and we could
have anything we wanted.
We stole an old wagon from the outside
back of the bar, took all the pictures and behind the bar were some
small cartons containing little plastic telescopes on a key chain,
inside the scopes were women nude from the waist up.
other boxes contained "8 pagers"

the outcome was me and jimmy took the wagon back to the "Pretzel
Benders Inn" on Leland Ave. just west of Kenmore and sold everything
we had to a few of the "boys"
we made about $10 each
We didn't really want to see Abbot and Costello meet Captain Kidd any way
an 8 pager was exactly that, page 1 was the cover then 7 other pages of hand drawn sex acts.
the Deluxe Theater was razed and is now part of the Truman Campus
$10 was a huge amount of money for a 12 year old. 12 cents got me into the movie
Riverview had 2 cent day can you imagine 50 rides for a buck?
Who were those guys in the Black Sedans? I never found out, it never made the newspaper
the speculation in the neighborhood was the"mob" or the IRS or "Big 10" from Townhall police station
Big 10 was an unmarked squad car with three detectives and nobody ever messed with Big ten

Write right now: pull out a box of old photos, write a caption, begin a memory, call up your sister, brother, friend, write about the day they took that picture, or what you recall of that place and what went on there.

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