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More Memories 

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To the editors:

I really enjoyed Adam Langer's "Edgewater Beach Memories" (November 10). It brought back some things I knew about the hotel and informed me of quite a few I didn't know. Among my own recollections are the Sunday night CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) dances, the great cinnamon toast in the coffee shop, and the 4th of July fireworks displays at the beach itself.

Most of all I remember an incident with Norman Becker, a classmate at St. Thomas of Canterbury. We were in the sixth or seventh grade. On a winter day off from school we were sliding on ice ponds in Lincoln Park when Norman lost his balance and fell on the back of his head. I can still see the sickeningly vivid drops of his blood collecting on the ice. We were scared to death, especially Norman as he begged me not to leave him. I had been jealous of him because he was a little older and nearer puberty, and his family was better off than mine. Also, he was an only child and didn't have to share with siblings. But none of that mattered now. I put a handkerchief over his wound and walked him slowly to the nearby Edgewater Beach. We were shown upstairs to the hotel physician, who treated Norman and either that night or the next day had him taken to a hospital.

One reason I was scared was that I wasn't supposed to wander that far from home--the hotel was about a mile from where we lived--and I thought my parents would find out. They didn't. If my mother were to read this, it would be her first knowledge of something that occurred almost half a century ago. Norman did completely recover, by the way. The incident was never mentioned between us; I think he was ashamed of his helplessness and dependency that day.

I am also taking this opportunity to compliment very belatedly Dan Caine for his excellent "Blue Note Memories" (August 18). I loved in particular his recreation of the way you entered the place (the original one on Madison Street) and his description of the decor. They made me feel I was there again.

The Blue Note was where I heard my first live jazz--the Charlie Ventura group--on a raw Sunday afternoon in the late 40's. My friend Mike Yates took me. I was able to get in and drink beer because of the reduced photostat I'd had made of my altered birth certificate. I was a good eraser and typist, and even with a flashlight it was hard to tell that the date had been changed. These transgressions, too, would be news to my mother.

As many times as I went to the Blue Note, the only remark I remember hearing there was that of a patron at the bar in the back, who said of a guitarist whose name escapes me: "Man, he really blows great geet."

Anyway, congratulations on two fine pieces of Chicago nostalgia.

John Tomme

W. Cornelia

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