My parents lived in a 2 room attic in the 6000 block of West Byron Street in Chicago from 1942 until 1950. Typical Chicago bungalow. I was born in 1947 and lived in that attic for my first three years. I remember the place with some clarity. My mother (who is 90) gave me some old photographs taken in this location. Last weekend, I paid a visit — to the old neighborhood. I slowed outside the small brick home. Gazed. Memories. Took a picture. Then drove around back to see the little porch and the stairway (the only entrance) going up. There were two guys working in the garage behind the house. I slowed again. Looked. The two guys looked at me. “I used to live there. In the attic. Up there.” I pointed. “The bathroom’s on the right. Bedroom on the street and the kitchen right there.” They looked at each other. “You want to go in?” One asked. “Sure!” I responded.
I had tears in my eyes as I climbed the back stairs. And went in. The place was neat — and pretty much as I remembered it. Slanted ceiling. There was the lone street window where my mother would hold me and I would wave at a little boy across the street. Bathroom and little kitchen. The two gents who were from Mexico (two brothers one of whom lived in the attic) could not have been nicer. No hurry. What a trip! I sent them copies of pictures of their home — from 65 years ago. Though between us, I still think of it as “my home.”