Clyde and the X Country Team - The Man is Dead Center Front Row Tossing the Leo Lion "L"
I pick up ten guys every morning along a route that comprises Englewood, Grand Crossing and Bronzevill neighborhoods. My first passenger is a freshman named Clyde B@@#$^% who lives in the concrete pocket that intersects the Metra line, the Skyway and Vincennes/Wentworth along the Dan Ryan.
Leo freshman Clyde is a perfect gentleman, mature beyond his years, thoughtful, tough and suffers from no self-esteem issues, whatsoever. Clyde is unarguably the shortest man at Leo High School, but stands much taller than some of classmates. He ran cross-country and is a member of the freshman basketball team now playing .500 ball with a victory over Calumet (Perspectives) and a tough loss to the Fighting Irish of Bishop McNamara on Friday. Clyde can steal and handle the ball, but can not shoot to save his life and neither can his team mates. They'll get there.
I take the grey van from the lot on Sangamom each morning and drive north on Halsted to 74th Street, make a right to south bound Stewart, a left on 75th Street and quick left at Normal. I am at Clyde's in less than six minutes. His Mom is a nurse raising two boys in Englewood and paying Catholic school tuition. She is a valiant young woman. Clyde's brother attends a Chicago public grade school. He too will attend Leo High School.
Clyde emerges from the warmth of this home promptly at 6:30AM, climbs in to the passenger seat next to me with genuine, " Good Morning, Mr. Hickey!" Morning Clyde! We begin the morning dialog.
We then talk all manner of things from stray dogs in the neighborhood, to Josh McCown's rightful place as Bears QB, to basketball practice, to the glorious Chicago architecture between 63rd and 35th Street along Dr. King Drive. We pick up Chris A##$%^^ in the project homes still called South Park at 66th. Chris is a classmate of Clyde's and a profoundly serious guy who keeps his own counsel. For the last couple of weeks, construction projects on King Drive required us to detour through Washington Park to 55th Street. This was grist for the Columbian Exposition narratives mill and Burnham's far-sighted development of the south side from the Lake west to State Street.
As I mentioned, we take in the beautiful homes and apartment buildings on Dr. King Drive. My favorite is on the north east corner of 43rd Street.
Clyde prefers the Chicken and Waffle House at 39th & King Drive for more than just the aesthetic but culinary graces bestowed beyond its portals.
We pass the Victory Monument of the Fighting 8th Illinois Regiment and arrive at 35th & and Dr. King Drive, take a right and quick left into the strip mall for the Dunkin Donuts Munchkins that will tide over the seven to eight gents who will join my two passengers for the journey to another day in Catholic education. Clyde's appearance in the door is cause for excitement among the early morning Coffee Anne crowd, Roy the mall maintenance manager and Miss Marie get greeted by the young man and then query Clyde's doings as he places the order for his fellow travellers. This fourteen year old gentleman is one of the best examples of what Leo High School is all about.
I look forward to my drives with Clyde.