Saturday, October 10, 2009

Harrison Ford's Fault

I was born in 1962 on the Southeast Side of Chicago. It was a melting pot of a neighborhood. Serbian, German, Italian, Polish, Hispanic, (help me out here Peggy), every nationality you can imagine. My father and mother moved to that area from the South for my dad to work at the steel mills. It was an incredibly industrial area. Two blocks from Lake Michigan, surrounded by steel mills and ship yards. I have fond memories of growing up on Ewing Ave. Running with a pack of kids. Outside from dawn to dusk, only home to eat and sometimes pee. I usually peed in the alley. There it is. Another soul cleansing fact. Mrs. Buttersworth, and now this.

I lived in the same apartment building, the basement flat my entire childhood. My parents bought the building when I was 12 years old. My mom moved me upstairs when I was 18 and started developing film in the kitchen sink. When Glen and I married, we lived in that little apartment for five years. Then, then I saw Witness.

Behold the reason I moved to the country. The name is Book, John Book. In 1985 I saw the movie Witness. I still swoon when I think of Harrison Ford drinking that lemonade. Holy moly. I fell in love with the Amish lifestyle. I started taking trips to Shipshewana Indiana. I bought anything that had a buggy wheel on it. It was an obsession. I started quilting, canning, baking, and frying chickens. I wanted to wear a bonnet, but even I realized that was pushing the envelope. When you are living on the Southeast Side of Chicago, you won't get too far dressed like an Amish gal.

I was working as a secretary in Chicago, commuting on the train daily. I started sewing Amish dolls and Glen made little wooden benches for them (oh, I know how silly this sounds now, but trust me....they sold like hotcakes!) I actually started a little line of crafts. I walked into the Chicago Merchandise Mart with my Amish dolls and benches and a representative took them, and sold them all over the country. We were in business! Ended up quitting my job as a secretary, and Glen quit his job a year later, and we worked doing 'crafts' for six years. By that time, we'd been renting out the middle apartment from my parents as well, to run the business.

In 1988 my mom told me that they were putting the apartment building up for sale. It needed to be done. The area had declined. My mom was mugged. We all needed to get out of there. Where to go? I kid you not, I got a Home Magazine from the corner store, opened it up, and there it was, the first house I layed my eyes on...this one. The ad read '100 year old farmhouse on 8 acres, needs everything you can think of to fix it up, once in a lifetime opportunity'. I called the thing I know, we are driving out to see it. All I can remember from that drive is thinking 'This could be the way to my house". It was so pretty! So country! I was so used to city life.

We pulled into the driveway. There was a sign in the yard that said 'Pitbull's for Sale'. The place was a hellhole. As soon as I put my foot on the ground, I knew it was mine. I wish I had a picture of Glen's face!

I thought out of courtesy, I would tap on the door and let whoever living here know that I was going to to have a look around. When he opened the door.....flies flew OUT.

To be continued.....


  1. That is NO fair!!!!

    Don't leave us hanging like that. I have never seen Witness. I will tell Mark to put in our Netflix que.

    Can't wait to read the rest!

  2. You are a wonderful storyteller! I just reread your post to my hubby and he enjoyed it, too! Can't wait to read the next installment. And now I want to go and watch Witness again! Waiting on pins and needles ...

  3. I loved that movie when I was young. Remember the song they played during the barn raising. Good stuff.

  4. this is sooooo better than a chicken story, I hear you laughing at me. Do you know what a great kids story this could be turned into about moving day? It's so cute. Especially the part about the flies flew out, I could see it illustrated. Ya know about a city kid moving to the country. anywho. can't wait for the next blog. (ok, so that was me as a kid) still a cute story. hugs, Ra

  5. Oh! I'm enjoying this. I can't wait for the next installment. And I am so watching Witness this week.

  6. Don't leave us hanging like that! I have a picture of Billy Bob Hayseed coming out the door with his shotgun across his arm, his lip full of tobacco, and a mouth full of rotten teeth saying something like, "What ch'all want? We don't take kindly to strangers around these here parts."

  7. jayme aka The Coop KeeperOctober 10, 2009 at 8:54 PM

    Oh girls, I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying your comments! Hmmmm.....shall I drag this

    Mama Hen...I'm telling you, Harrison Ford will rustle your feathers. Make sure you have cool beverages to drink whilst watching it. Sigh.

    Jennifer! So glad you like the bathroom, and so glad you like the story so far. :-)

    mamatronic...welcome! I loved the barn raising scene!!

    Raundalee, your getting a chicken story next baby.

    Jen, yes watch it watch it! I'm wanting to see it again now too!

    debbyrose...oh, it's worse than you imagine!!

  8. I am so delighted that I found your blog! I look forward to spending more time reading your stories! I am so jealous that you have chickens! I had 3 'girls' quite a few years ago that my friend gave me for my birthday..Tillie, Tessie & Trudy all decked out with satin bows! My husband thought i was nuts as we live in a neighborhood in suburbia. They were so much fun..and I had to laugh when I read about 'potty training' 'em, as I have said the same thing! My girls would peck on the french door windows wanting to come in..they were so cute....I really miss them! I've moved since then into 'city limits'...not sure if I could get away with it here...I could always try!! Hummmmmm.
    Have a great day,

  9. You're a great storyteller! I can't wait for the next chapter in your story. It's been a long time since I've watched witness, might have to keep my eyes peeled for it next time we want to rent a movie.

  10. Hi Jayme!
    I've been trying & trying to figure out how moving to Crown Point, Indiana was moving to the country for you, but I think I understand a little bit better now.
    My favorite scene in that movie is when he dances with Kelly McGillis' character round the old blue car & "Don't know much about history...." is playing." The epitome of a romantic scene for me!
    So....please,please,PLEASE post your next installment!
    Hugs, Leslie

  11. Jayme aka The Coop KeeperOctober 11, 2009 at 8:48 PM

    Hi Susie! Welcome! Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read my blatherings! Your girls sound so sweet, I bet you miss them. Try sneaking some in town. I won't tell a soul.

    Hi Anke! I'm glad you like my house story. I'll try not to bore you guys to death with it...and I'll have to drag it out some!

    Leslie...I love that scene too! I just love that movie so much. I have so many sayings that I picked up from it. I'm always telling Glen to 'Be careful out among the English' when he goes to Yep, moving to Crown Point was THE COUNTRY for us. It's changed alot now. We're still semi-rural, but it sure isn't like it used to be. I miss it.

  12. I remember when my cousin Lori and I used to dress like Amish and go to the prarie (vacant lot) on 130th St to gather wild flowers (weeds) to make dye (pretend). And we would say things to each other like "Throw the cow, over the fence, some hay" like we were talking Amish. Got beat up a few times so then we just stayed in the yard. lol

  13. Anon...are you talking about 130th in Chicago or Indiana? What a nice little memory you have there.

  14. Can't wait to hear more of this story...don't make us wait tooooooooo ya!!


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