West Side Stories | Essay | Chicago Reader

West Side Stories 

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One afternoon we sat on the front porch with the lady next door. The doctor went into our house with his little black bag, and this woman told us that the doctor was bringing a new baby to my mother. Of course we thought he brought her in the little black bag. That was my sister Rosemarie. She was born June 20, 1919.

So anyway, Mrs. Graham, who was our landlady, used to send her granddaughter down to our apartment for breakfast because she wouldn't eat her oatmeal upstairs. So she'd come down and have oatmeal with us.

One day I didn't want to eat my oatmeal. So my mother put me in the bedroom, and she said, "Now you stay in there till you make up your mind you're gonna eat your oatmeal." She was particularly mad because this Mary Jane Graham was down there to have her oatmeal with us.

So I was crying and crying and crying. And the old lady that lived next door, the same one who sat on the porch with us when Rosemarie was born, she came to the window and said, "If you don't stop that crying right now I'm going to call the police."

Well, I shut up immediately and opened the door and told my mother that I was ready to eat the oatmeal. Now, my mother thought I ate the oatmeal because she put me in the bedroom, but that had nothing to do with it. I never told her about the lady next door.

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