When I was growing up, there were many things to do on Sunday afternoons throughout the year.

There were baseball games and football games on radio and television, and there was always a double feature at the Lake Theatre and, of course, the Main Library beckoned me, but the Sunday drives to visit my grandfather’s work sites were my favorite.

My grandfather was a civil engineer with the city of Chicago, and his job sites were located in various parts of the city.

My mother, grandfather, and I would leave Oak Park around noon and return home about 6 p.m. We would visit a couple of job sites each time we went for a drive, which occurred once or twice a month. We did this from 1950 until 1955, the year my grandfather retired.

I liked it when we visited the North Side, the Gold Coast, and the Northwest Side because if we had time, we would visit either my great aunt and uncle or my aunt and uncle or, occasionally, the Lee family.

Sometimes, my mother would drive us to the homes where she lived as a young lady, and this pleased my grandfather, but he had to check out his job sites first in the area of the city we visited.

When we were on the North Side, we would stop at the apartment on Argyle Avenue where my aunt and uncle lived. They had no children and my uncle was generally watching a sporting event on television, so we didn’t stay more than an hour.

When we were in the Gold Coast area, we would visit Jack and Jane Keenan, my great-uncle and -aunt in their elegantly furnished and decorated apartment on Oak Street. Jane was a talented baker, so she always made certain we each ate a thick slice of pie that she had baked just for us. Jack was the district sales manager for the Hamilton Watch Company, so he always made certain that each time I visited the Keenans, I saw his collection of watches and clocks.

One time when I was 9, Jack gave me the first wristwatch I ever had.

Occasionally, when we were around Foster and Sheridan, we would visit the Lee family, who lived on Sheridan Road in a large apartment. Mrs. Lee was one of my mother’s oldest friends and a great baker like my great-aunt, so whenever we left the Lee’s home we had two pies in our possession. Mr. Lee was a heavy pipe smoker, so their apartment smelled like a poorly ventilated smoking parlor.

I really liked it when my mother drove us by the home where she lived for the first nine years of her life. My mother was born in 1912 on the kitchen table in a large house on Oliphant Avenue in Edison Park, Illinois. The house stood out because of the cupola on top.

Sometimes, too, we stopped by a home on Foster Avenue where my mother had lived from 1921 to 1932. 

When we were in the Logan Square area, we would drive by a three-story house on Bernard Street where my mother lived from 1932 to 1939 when she married my dad and moved to Walton Street in Streeterville.

Whenever we went for a Sunday drive, I enjoyed seeing the people and places that meant so much to me.

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