Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Know Not What Misfortune - My Dad's Elysian Fields

My Dad loved his childhood home at 7535 S. Marshield in the Gresham neighborhood ( Little Flower Parish) in Chicago.

He lived there with his sister Helen, the eleven brothers and sisters ( Mary, Bud, Mike, Nora, Kathleen, Marquerite, Jack, Joan, Donald, Bart and Sylvester) who have preceded him to Christ's mantel.

My grandmother Nora and grandfather Laurence bought this home before the Great Depression and maintained it throughout as well as thirteen children, a huge garden, goats and chickens - before the advent of nanny-state ordinances.

From 7535 S. Marshfield Patrick Eugene Hickey went to Little Flower Church and very briefly to the Grammar School, where in the cryptic folklore of Irish family proprieties the Hickey's willful middle child is said to have proved to be an incorrigible - My Uncle Bart, who followed my Dad into the Marines and unrepentant Diogenes who would tell an adolescent nephew that Eileen O'Connor had a 'great set of pins on her,' revelealed, "Your Old Man Decked a Nun -that's why he went to Clara Barton.

Clara Barton Elementary is closer to the ancestral manse than Little Flower and it was there that Dad made pals for life with Catholics and Non-Catholics, Bob Nelson,Dave McMillian, Marsh Anderson, and Russ Haberle. The middle child was ecumenically inclined Catholic as far back as the 1930's. He played ball at Foster Park and Billy Smith Field. Together with the traditional Catholic Crowd who attended Little Flower ( Jimmy Arneberg, Dick Prendergast, Jimmy McNicholas, Tony Kelly and others) they soaked thick rope in gasoline, streched it across 79th Street, lit it afire and stopped streetcars, just to do it. They danced and roller skated with the girls at St. Sabina's Dances and worked hauling ashes at Fleishman's Standard Brands, hauled mail sacks on Polk Street, and coal at Grogans on 76h & Ashland.

These streets of Gresham and prairies and alleys of Little Flower Parish were his Elysian Fields. Patrick Eugene Hickey is there again.

Click my post title for the map of the neighborhood and then click on the address in blue for a photo of his home. It was the home of my massive extended Hickey Family. It remains so.

EcclesiastesChapter 11

Cast your bread upon the waters; after a long time you may find it again.

Make seven or eight portions; you know not what misfortune may come upon the earth.

When the clouds are full, they pour out rain upon the earth. Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, wherever it falls, there shall it lie.

One who pays heed to the wind will not sow, and one who watches the clouds will never reap.

Just as you know not how the breath of life fashions the human frame in the mother's womb, So you know not the work of God which he is accomplishing in the universe.

In the morning sow your seed, and at evening let not your hand be idle: For you know not which of the two will be successful, or whether both alike will turn out well.

Light is sweet! and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun.

However many years a man may live, let him, as he enjoys them all, remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that is to come is vanity.

Rejoice, O young man, while you are young and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart, the vision of your eyes; Yet understand that as regards all this God will bring you to judgment.

Ward off grief from your heart and put away trouble from your presence, though the dawn of youth is fleeting.

1 comment:

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Patrick Eugene Hickey's son is a very talented writer -- and clearly a very good man. I will show this to my friend Christine O'Donnell -- "I'm a Catholic girl, Steve." She'll love it. God bless you and your loved ones.

-- steve