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7/25/2008

Yesterday's backstory

I thought it might be appropriate to give you a little insight into the background of the Eastland Disaster - and why I know anything about it.

You see, I grew up a block and a half west of Pulaski Road (the former Crawford Avenue - named for the Crawford's who had a farm whose buildings bordered the road) just off of Cermak Road (It used to be 22nd Street but was renamed for the assassinated Mayor of Chicago, Anton Cermak). Pulaski is one mile east of Cicero Avenue, and the northwest corner of the Western Electric, Hawthorne Works campus was located at Cicero and Cermak. Hawthorne Works employed THOUSANDS of people, many of whom lived in my neighborhood. They were the manufacturing arm of AT&T and they made EVERYTHING there that you can imagine, related to phones.

Every family in my neck of the woods was touched, in one way or another, when the Eastland went down. So it was a word I had heard - it was something that was stuck in the back of my consciousness my whole life. So, when I saw a reference to the 'Eastland' in a magazine article in 1976, it rang a bell in my memory and I was prompted to find out as much as I could about what happened. After many, many hours in libraries and newpaper microfiche files I finally had what I consider to be a fairly comprehensive picture of what happened - before, during and after that fatal day. Given that I was in the mdst of my 'poetic' period (and let me tell you, I wrote some of the WORST, most ANGUISHED crap you never wanted to read during that period) I felt it, and I wrote it. I think it is one of the finest things I've ever written. Except that now my character, Yacob Vobescu, and his story, just might have slipped past the Eastland piece as my best.

On another note ....

There are (and I counted them yesterday, so I know) 68 blogs I check, every day, for new content. There are two blogs where I lurk. Everywhere else, I comment. I have been noticing what seems to be an epidemic of ennui out there, if not outright depression.

This breaks my heart. Truly. Given that there's only 4 'man' blogs I read, I see a lot of stuff from a decidedly feminine point of view EVERY DAY. And some of you guys are having a REAL TOUGH TIME.

You all have one thing in common - besides me. You cannot and should not try to get through these tough times you're going through ALONE!! Talk to someone. A Doctor. A Mom. A priest or a rabbi. Your best friend. Hell, if you have to, talk to ME. But DON'T DO IT ALONE. You don't have to and there's no reason you should. Please? PLEASE???

For your kids. For your sanity. For me. Talk to someone.

I love you guys.

22 comments:

maggie's mind said...

I'm reading the backstory before the post I came here to read, but that's cool. I grew up further south, but very, very near Crawford and Cicero (I'm creeped out about being too specific publicly, even if I no longer live there - odd, that, but I'd tell you privately). It's always funny to me to see familiar place names here.

Off to read the Eastland post.

Elizabeth said...

Lou, what a thoughtful thing to say! I hope everyone takes your advice. (Hell--even me! I might even meet the mailman in a nightie!) ;)

ElaineB said...

Wow! I actually have the opposite problem. See I work in the design field and all the blogs are male. I have however picked up on the collective melancholies and I rather remain cheery me. Thank you however for opening yourself so someone who may need to talk.

Myst_72 said...

You are truly lovely Lou,

G
xx

Rebecca said...

Yes, there is no reason to suffer alone. I hope those who need it get help...

And thanks for the back story to your post from yesterday.

Tash said...

You truly are too sweet Lou. Thanks!

Employee No. 3699 said...

Lou, I love coming here each day. You are truly a wonderful person. Thank you.

Toodles~

Alice said...

: )

We love you too Lou.

And it looks like I missed a ton of stuff this week. I'm going to look up info on the Eastland. I had never heard of that disaster before you wrote about it. Strange.

neutron said...

Lou, you're a kind soul.

Holly said...

I don't think I'm one of the depressed ones you're talking about, but I appreciate your words of encouragement. :) Have a great weekend.

Queen Goob said...

I’m not one of the depressed ones, I’m one of the “I don’t have enough time to get everything I need to get done, let alone what to get done” girls. I guess I’m going to have to cave and finally get internet at home, huh?

That was one of the kindest things I’ve read lately. You’re a generous and kind man, Lou, and there are many of us that care for you deeply.

Thank you.

p.s. I have a LOT of reading to catch up on this weekend.

Donna said...

Lou, we seem to lurk and post at many of the same blogs... I just have to say (as I come out of lurkdom on your blog) that you are a real sweetie. I've read your responses to several and now on here... I just want to say thank you for caring.

Christy said...

Lou, I just took my head out of the oven to READ YOUR BLOG!!!

LOL

Kidding, but am I???

Seriously, you've been a big help to me--I probably am one of the depressed ones, and lonely too.

I can't afford a shrink, I alienated my rabbi, my best friend is out of town.......

Thanks for conversing with me.

Tara R. said...

You're right to say talk with someone if you are depressed and you are a good friend to offer your own shoulder to cry on. Nicely done.

Anglophile Football Fanatic said...

I'm not really depressed. Just frustrated and feeling like I'm stuck with life going by. Thanks for the moral support.

Allison said...

Thanks for always being there, even if you are avoiding me now on Gmail Chat ;-)

Anyhow...why is it that everyone else gets blue once I get sunny again? I've got my off days, but I'm working hard to stay out of it.

Sandy C. said...

I had no idea you lived so close to this event. I'm sure this will stay with you forever.

On the other stuff....You really are the sweetest. Truly. You are the kindest, most thoughtful blogger I know. Thank you for always offering your support and honesty :)

warriorwoman said...

Lou, you get a little more under my skin every day - and not in a bad way.

I always talk to God, he listens good and don't give me rubbish advice in exchange.

Between us, we sort it all out. What can't be handled gets thrown to the wind. Because who need that much crap in their lives?

Eve Grey said...

and I love you too. (:
I really cannot imagine why so many were feeling the same sorts of things in the middle of a sunny summer. It's a mystery.
(I do feel better now though and thanks always for your visits)

Mike said...

You're right Lou. Times are tough. No one can do it alone.

Hyphen Mama said...

Will you be posting more of you anguished filled 1970's poetry? You know we'd eat it up.

You are so kind. So sweet. It's funny how we become attached with people we've never met, yet bond with so deeply. What a good friend you are.

Eric S. said...

Lou, you are obviously a compassionate man. I have never met you, but can feel your caring through this post. Well done, and kudos for offering help.

Warriorwoman, you said "What can't be handled gets thrown to the wind. Because who need that much crap in their lives?"

I think you hit the nail on the head!