Saturday, February 15, 2014

Leo HS Morning 2/11/2014 -I Ride With Pride and Clyde By My Side!

 I am blessed with a great life and the opportunity to work for Leo High School.  I get to Leo at about 4:45 most days and start the boilers, do some paper work and get one of the vans ready to pick up between seven and nine guys participating in early morning activities. My crew is usually Cyde, Chris, TJ, Mick, Joe, Latrell, Caleb, Gaylon, and Sydney.  I begin in Englewood at 74th & Normal, go to Grand Crossing at 66th & King Drive, take that beautiful, historic and inspiring Boulevard north to 35th and Dunkin Donuts!

At 5:45 AM I defrost and chip ice from Old # 7 and get the heat up -somewhat and at 6:10 head to pick up my co-pilot and fifteen year old mentor Clyde at 74th & Normal 
 The man emerges and runs to the van.  Hoists himself and a twenty pound book bag in to the van and greets me with a genuine "Good morning Mr. Hickey! My Mom says hi!  Let's Roll!"Route #66   Nelson Riddle   Nelson Riddle Collection

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 Roll we do north toward Hamilton Park . . .

and then east to Wentworth, north again to 67th and then east to grab Chris - on the way Chris's Mom calls to say that he has the flu. Like Clyde, Chris never misses a day and commands a 3.8 GPA.
We pass Chris's home in the Park Homes and head north
 Under the 63rd Street L Platform
 and past Wahsington Park at 59th Street.  Past the 55th Street Garfield Boulevard the real charms of Chicago Architecture from the days of Burnham become evident.
 East and west we see scores of the very best examples of Chicago Architecture.
 We come to heart of Bronveville the birthplace of Chicago Blues and Jazz and the Harold Washington Library on the east side King Drive.
 At 45th we pass a beautiful old building boarded up and aching for a rehab.
 The Sax Man agrees!
 On the east side of 43rd and MLK drive stands my very favorite Chicago building.
 Just before 35th Street we come to the wonderful WWI Memorial to the Men of Bronze - the all African American Illinois Guard Regiment from Chicago that twisted the Kaiser's mustache until he gave up.   We make a right at 35th Street and a left at the strip mall that is home to our Dunkin Donuts

I explain that we are 'showing the flag,' like a 1920's Yankee gun-boat on the Yangtzee River - representing Leo High School in words and deeds and the lads have stepped up magnificently. For two years now, we are warmly greeted by the Dunkin Donuts regulars, headed by the Mall Manager Roy and the working the men who begin their day here.
Not a day goes by without a full report from Clyde

and fleshed out by Joe, Mick, Caleb, TJ, Latrell & etc.

The Dunkin Donuts He-Bull . . .

and the Dream Team serve us with coffee, OJ and a box of Munchkins ( chocolate glazed only).

These are my pals!  Missing is eighty year old Miss Marie and the famous BB Ref.

Back to the van and west on 35th Street, we pass Catholic League rival D.

 and approach the Dan Ryan.

 We pass Sox Park and merge with a near miss which upsets sissy-britches Mick

 Now, I pay great attention to rush hour south!
 We exit at 79th Street head west and arrive at Leo High School at 7:15 AM.

The guys polish off the Munchkins and get a hot breakfast at Leo.  The guys head to their activities, or tutoring sessions.  They put in a very long day of academics and sports and most do not get home until well after 7PM.

I am a very blessed man - Facta Non Verba.

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