December 1, 2008


The grass in our front yard always had a bare path worn through it from people and animals cutting across, so my neighbor and I decided to build a brick walkway. That was my first summer here. We did our online homework, purchased the bricks, shale and sand that were delivered. It all had to be stored in his garage until we dug the trench.

It’s sometimes eerie how history carries on and leaves little clues for the next generations. While we were piling bricks in 2003 I noticed writing on the garage wall. It was fancy old-fashioned writing and it was just a pencil signature of a mans name. At the time I said ‘This was written by a woman in love’.

One summer evening I googled the man’s name on the garage wall and found a match in a nearby suburb. I mulled over making the call knowing it was a long shot but finally decided to try. A young woman answered the phone and I told her who I was, where I lived and why I was calling. Thankfully she didn’t think I was a loose nut. Instead, she simply said that Mr. S. was ‘old’. I asked if my call would disturb him and if so I wouldn’t continue but she asked me to hold.

A few minutes later, a soft-spoken gentleman listened to my story about my discovery in the garage here. His namesake, Michael S. written on the garage wall was his fathers’ brother. Uncle Michael’s sweetheart, Mary Lou lived somewhere on Bosworth though he couldn’t remember the exact address. Uncle Michael served in the armed forces in Europe during WWII and came home to Chicago and married his sweetheart Mary Lou.

The gentleman said the newlyweds opened up a photography shop around Belmont and Clark in the 1940’s. We had a wonderful conversation about the history of the neighborhood and his family. Mary Lou’s fancy writing is tiny piece of Rogers Park history. Hopefully another 5 years won't sneak by without researching the early owners of this building. It's long overdue as is a photograph of the writing by a woman in love.

1 comment:

bojo said...

What a sweet story, and discovery. Thank you for sharing!