Meet some Regular Fellas


The Regular Fellas, photographed  in 1958 or ’59, at the Deborah Boys Club,  3401 W. Ainslie in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood.

“My club, the ‘Regular Fellas,’ which spanned three schools (Von, Roosevelt & Amundsen), had a reputation, to be kind, of being a little ‘rough around the edges.’  While we were about 90% Jewish, we had several non-Jews in the club…but, to be honest, I don’t think anyone even realized it, and, certainly, nobody cared.

We were just good friends, meeting each week at Deborah Boys Club, played a lot of basketball, played 16″ softball at Hollywood Park and River Park, and, we attended “mixers” which, for those of you who don’t remember the term, were parties that a girl’s club held at one of their homes, and invited a boy’s club to “mix” with them.

The Regular Fellas jackets were gold and royal blue, and, were reversible. A “RF” logo was on the front left side, and the reverse side had the club’s name spelled out in Old English lettering.” — Howard Sims

I’ve already written about girls’ clubs, now it’s the boys’ turn.  Social athletic clubs like the Regular Fellas had all but disappeared by the time I started my freshman year at Von Steuben High School in the fall  of 1970. Many of us, especially if you were the oldest child in the family like I was, had no idea these clubs had once made up a vast and vibrant social network.

Who’s who in the Regular Fellas

Top row, left to right:

1). “counselor?” name unknown

2). Sam Harlib (Amundsen)

3). Mike Burack (Amundsen)

4). Neil Leavitt (Amundsen)

5). Johnny Condos (Amundsen)

6). Norm Morse (Roosevelt)

7). Rich Akers (Amundsen)

2nd to top row, left to right:

Paul Freedenberg (Roosevelt)

Wayne Lowy (Amundsen)

Larry Jacobs (Roosevelt)

Marv Shear (Von Steuben)

Lyle Cook (Lane Tech)

Ron Schlossberg (Roosevelt)

Third row from the top, left to right:

Denny Wortman (Von Steuben)

Elliot Newman (Amundsen)

Bob (Buzzy) Buslik (Amundsen)

Bob Sorkin (Amundsen)

Norm Ripes (Roosevelt)

Gil Korito (Amundsen)

Bottom row, left to right:

Howie Sims (Von Steuben)

Denny Tilden (Roosevelt)

Dickie Romer (Von Steuben)

Jerry Glassman (Roosevelt)

Mike Miller (nor sure of school)

Mike Victor (Von Steuben)

Sitting on floor:

Dave Garlovsky (Roosevelt)

Next post I’m going to look a little deeper into the history of the Deborah Boys Club. Like so many of the institutions in the combined Albany Park, North Park and Hollywood Park areas, the club moved from the West Side to the North Side in the wake of Jewish migration. And I’ll be staying in Albany Park the following week as well, when I share some fabulous old photographs taken by a Von alum. Become a subscriber so you don’t miss a post and feel free to send in your memories.

Photo credit: Thanks to Howard Sims for use of his photograph.

Related posts:  They wore jackets

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53 Responses to Meet some Regular Fellas

  1. Jerry Pritikin July 18, 2011 at 7:50 pm #

    My brother was in the Regular Fellas in the early 50’s. I remember The Epsilons, The Little Gents… and the Opening of Deborah Boys Club. Like the songs say’s… “Those were the days I thought would never end!” They played their softball games on the Hibbard Campus, and every so often a fight would break out.

  2. Frances Archer July 18, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

    Jerry, I thought I remembered you said your brother was in the Regular Fellas. The Epsilons was, I think, the last boys club around in 1970, and it made it 1971. There were junior Epsilons at Peterson when I was in seventh grade. I’ll have to ask you about the opening of Deborah. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Ferne Slotky Berman July 18, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    As usual love love love reading your blog, even though it was a little before my time;l keep it coming

  4. John Erickson July 18, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

    At Peterson School in ’40 the “Lucky Sixes” had their club sweaters they wore proudly. Tom Somlo, Joe Weiner, Don Elesh, Art Rogoff, Marshal Orloff, Leigh Rosenbloom, and Ron Gilford were, I believe, members. Are any still around?

  5. Frances Archer July 19, 2011 at 7:12 am #

    Thanks for visiting. Did the Lucky Sixes have regular meetings? Where did they meet? What other clubs were around at the time?

  6. Frances Archer July 19, 2011 at 7:13 am #

    Ferne, nice to hear from you as always. Thanks.

  7. John Erickson July 19, 2011 at 7:25 am #

    You’d have to ask one of them, Frances

  8. Chris Hancock July 19, 2011 at 7:56 am #

    I always love reading your blogs Frances, even though I did not know of the Deborah’ Boys Club, I still feel taken back in time.

  9. Frances Archer July 19, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    Thanks Chris. Today the Deborah Boys Club building is home to Albany Park Community Center, so the building continues to serve young people and families.

  10. Marv Stern July 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    I believe that during the 60s Von had a club with a large membership called The Top Hats. They were often found at Hollywood Pk during summer evenings.

  11. Frances Archer July 19, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    Yes, I’ve definitely heard of the Top Hats before. It’s funny because until recently I never realized that Hollywood Park had a longish history as a teen hangout. I suppose I thought we were the first, but as it turned out, we were the last generation.

  12. Morrie Farbman July 22, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    I was in the Anacondas and began spending every summer day at Hollywood Park from 1962 until 1969. Before I could drive I would hitch hike from the corner of Kedzie and Argyle to the park. As Jerry said those were the days. Hanging at the park playing line ball, soft ball, and basketball, then lunch at McDonalds.

  13. Frances Archer July 23, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    Morrie, we overlapped at the park by a couple years. Lots of kids back then, huh?

  14. Dick Lazer July 29, 2011 at 10:01 pm #

    Actually the Regular Fellas started sometime shortly after WW2…Deborah Boys Club came North from Division St apprx spring 1950…..THe Regular Fellas were an outstanding athletic club in the 1950-53 period.. The 50-51 group won the city 16″ softball championship
    led by guys with the last names of Lovi, Faso, Goldberg,Simon …..three guys from Roosevelt the rest from Von Steuben out of a membership of 25 that was the makeup of the group.Totaly socially inept only five guys could dance.Eleven of us still get together for a monthly card game….Our corner was Argyle and Kedzie in front of Docs Drug Store.

  15. Frances Archer July 30, 2011 at 8:52 am #

    Thanks for stopping by and adding to the record. Interesting that the club kept going through the relocation of Deborah from Division to Kimball. And a city title! very cool.

  16. Dr. Larry J. Powitz August 18, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

    So where is my commentary——8/16 0r 8/17——-thanks, charlene gelber’s brother

  17. Frances Archer August 18, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    It’s on the page called Nighthawks in Old Albany Park. The comment appears on the page you were looking at when you click on add comment. On that page, the comments are listed by date, so you are the next to the last one, and my reply is last. Thanks.

  18. ED SONKIN September 1, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

    Graduated Von in June 1951. senior basketball team finished 2nd in city.
    Sovereigns were a boys club from Peterson. one of the girls clubs was the EMS; worn across their chest. i laughed because those are my initials.

    I belonged to the Anacondas. Kalmin, Block, Pinkus, Goldstein, Bloom, Lippa, Garland, Weiss, to name a few. Once a month we get together for dinner. Last month we met at Marie’s Pizza on Lawrence Ave. Still great pizza. This month at Tongs corner of Sanders and Dundee at 6. Join us if you wish and we’ll bring you up to date on how Von was in it’s haydays. 3rd Wednesday.

    Rudd, Hewitt, Russel, Goldstein, Smith, Mageda, Radlove, etc. Attended the dedication of the Auditorium. 1st time I rode the elevator. whistled in the lunchroom at the 75th birthday. Nothing happened. Did it once before……….1949 or 50. Rudd kicked me out of the lunchroom for a week. ate at Cooper and Coopers. good hamburgers.

  19. Frances Archer September 1, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

    Thanks for writing, Ed. Would love to join you guys. I’ll send an email to you, so you can send me the details for next month. So, were you in the same class as Marty Marcus, and his friends from Peterson who I wrote
    about earlier? And I’m guessing Howie Rosenblum was playing for Von at that time, right?

  20. Frances Archer September 1, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    Ed, send me an email using the contact form on the blog. I tried to respond to you via email, but it wouldn’t go through to the address you used to leave a comment


  21. Jared Sorkin September 8, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

    My Dad was in the Regular Fellas, he is actually in that picture. Bob Sorkin. Very cool blog. Heard many stories about most of those guys from my dad. Glad you posted this!

  22. Frances Archer September 8, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

    Very cool. Thanks for stopping by.

  23. Liz Gerber Spero September 10, 2011 at 12:49 am #

    I attended Von from 1957 to 1961, my friends and I went to the Deborah Boys Club all the time, I met many of my club sisters from Amundsen there, we were the SIG’S. It’s great seeing picture’s of Howie Sims, Mike Victor Marv Shear still very good friends of mine. Love hearing about all the wonderful memories, we were so lucky to have had so much fun and to have met so many great kids.

  24. Frances Archer September 10, 2011 at 7:57 am #

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your memories. I am still surprised to hear that kids from Amundsen and Von hung out together. That connection was gone by 1970. Any SIGS photos to share …

  25. Howard Glantz September 17, 2011 at 7:55 am #

    My nephew Danny sent me your blog, it’s most interesting. I was and still am in the Lil Gents. We were the second of two groups and started in 1949, had our meetings at Eugene Field Park and Debora Doys Club until 1955. Most went to Von but two from Amundson and two from Roosevelt. The older group was from three to nine years older and, as most of us, were weightlifters that worked out at Eugene Field Park. At 1955 there were thirty two of us, six have past but most of those still around get together for one weekend each year when we have two dinners, one breakfast and an all day picnic with children and grandchildren. In 1954 we tried to pass our name to a junior club but the Police, and principals from Von, Rooseveld, Hibbard, Peterson and others met with the parents of the proposed Juniors and decided the name should end with us. They were afraid the kids would try to live up to our reputation. They were wrong, most of us graduated collage , we had one doctor, many Lawyers, Cpa’s,Educators Law Enforcement officers at the highest levels and businessmen. We were tough but not bullies. We just never backed off when someone else brought trouble. We were involved mostly in sports with many on high school basketball, soccor and tack teams. We all enjoyed soft ball and sand lot games of football. Von had no football team but we did and had some very large men. Those were good times and we can look back with great memories.

  26. Frances Archer September 17, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    Howard, thanks for writing. You’ve filled in a lot of the blanks for me.Very interesting how involved the community was in terms of regulating the clubs; I think the parental involvement was somewhat diminished by the late 60s and 70s, as the neighborhood started to chnge. I would love to interview you sometime. I’ll send an email to see if you’re interested. I think I am going to add a post to the blog with a list of all the clubs. Thanks again.

  27. Howard Glantz September 17, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    There’s a multitude of stories from that era, which goes back to early 1940’s thru 1960’s when only a few of our group still lived in Albany Park. I’m open for an interview at any time. In 1950 my family moved to Bryn Mawr and Francisco and I know ythings about that area as well. A friend of mine has written two books of fiction that includes names and places in Albany Park.

  28. Howard Glantz September 17, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    I would also like to reply to Jared Sorkin. I knew your Dad from Von and from the 324th. ASA. We served together in 1961-2 when President Kennedy recalled our Army unit after the Russians built the wall in Berlin. Your Mom & Dad and my wife and I traveled together in Canada and Cape Cod. Your Dad was one of the best men I’ve ever known.
    Last week we had a 50th reunion of that unit being recalled 28 men showed up.

  29. leroy kaplan October 3, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    wow great memories i too lived on whipple street in albany park,i lived at 4913 whipple until i got married, in fact i worked at several stores on lawrence ave in the 50’s our club,the li’l gentlemen were 1 of the first clubs meeting at deborah boys club when they 1st opened in our back lot,as we lived by the river we planted victory gardens during and after the 2nd world war oh it was also a great line ball softball field hmm i got so many stories about the old neighborhood,but your stories combined with other comments bring back greatmemories dr l kaplan

  30. Frances Archer October 3, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    Thanks for visiting and sharing your memories. I’ve heard from several people about the victory garden on whipple by the river. I haven’t had a chance to create a list of all the neighborhood ones, but I’m working on it. Also one on Deborah coming up soon.

  31. Nick (Dominic S Maduri) Maduri November 14, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    I was one of those uppergrade kids at Von.
    My tour started in 1960 and ended in 1966.

    I was also an Esplison, the best club at Von
    and the boys club. I was injured at the boys,
    Hit in my left eye with a snow ball thrown by
    Max Castle. I later a recieved a college scholarship as
    a result of that injury. Also, I got my first accounting
    job by afirm that had something to do with our old boys club.

    Many of my good memories and events in life all seem to
    Be related to my roots in Albany Park, Von, and Deborah’s Boys club

    We had the best club in the day. Not bad for an Italian out of water
    In the old days. They all were nice, pizza pusher and all

  32. Frances Archer November 14, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    Hi, Nick. Thanks for stopping by. Great story about how Deborah impacted your life. Funny comment about being an Italian out of water in Albany Park.

  33. Ben Shipin February 24, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

    Hi Frances,

    Just discovered this web site. I was the athletic director at Deborah Boys Club from the mid 50’s to about mid 60’s. am currently living in California. Of course the Regular Fellas and many of the others named on this site bring back many fond memories. Deborah was a fun and exciting place to be at. I know that many of the kids were very special. Thanks for doing such a great job on memories and anecdotes about growing up in Albany Park.

  34. Frances Archer February 25, 2012 at 8:01 am #

    Thanks Ben. Great to hear from you. I’ve got some more information on Deborah that I’ll posting soon.

  35. Ben Shipin February 25, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    Thanks Frances,
    Look forward to your Deborah posts.

  36. Donny March 1, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    My god, Ben Shipin. I love you, man! Many fond memories at Deborah — soccer, archery, and summer day camp trips mostly to River Park. I used to hang at Deborah from about 1953 – 60 and was a member of the “Lil Devils” — . That’s what is needed now, I think, more community centers to help us all come together. You still have red hair? What’s happenin?

  37. Ben Shipin March 1, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

    Donny ! I am deeply touched and flattered by your remarks about me and Deborah. I am 76 years old now and live in Southern California. Of course in the those days I was in my 20’s. I remember that you loved participating in sports. Can you name some of the “LiL Devils”? What is your last name and tell me more about yourself and perhaps your friends or family. Yes, we had great times in those days at Deborah, sports was king and most of the kids wanted to play basketball all of the time, however, we did introduce them to other activities such as soccer, archery, softball, badminton, volleyball, gymnastics, wrestling to name a few. There was a very special bond between the gym staff and Deborah members as I remember. Believe it or not I have been playing basketball, half court, 3 on 3 on a weekly basis with guys in their 30’s , 40’s and 50’s up until the end of last year. Looking forward to your reply. You are right about the red hair which was quite bright in those days, it’s faded quite a bit but still there with a tinge of grey. All the best, Ben

    PS: Frances, you are doing a wonderful job with this program Many thanks and keep it going.

  38. Donny March 3, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    Ben, I’m not just saying this to be nice not my style) but Deborah, you, and Mr. Merwin (SP?) made a huge impression upon my life. Yes, sports was #1 for us. #2 was the game room (pool, ping pong, and shuffle board). #3 was the outside maypole game (I forget the name). Was it Charlotte somebody who ran the game room. She was such a sweet young lady. I think many peeps had a crush on her. Also hot summer day hard ball excursions to River Park is still a bright memory.

    That is a good question. What were the names of the other “Lil Devils”? I think Mike Hoffberg was one. A rather wild guy named Jason. Howard Cole? I have to think more on that. I think that we were a difficult bunch 🙂

    For some reason I preferred Eugene Field Park for basketball. Half court would be more than enough for me today (and I am not quite 70). It must keep you in shape! Unfortunately, I had some severe astigmatism, so my “eye” is now unreliable. That skill and my quickness made up for being short, so I am not much use in a pick up game anymore..I have to get out more often. I just work out around the basket with hook shots, short jump shots, and slowly build up some cardio-strength when the court is open.

    Been living in Northern California since 1965, generally. Now in San Rafael. My personal opinion is that Community Centers are needed now than ever, not just as a crime preventative measure, but also in order to tie the community together including seniors, day care, education, counseling, gardening, sports, and social functions. Hope to talk more. Thanks!!!
    Donny Simon .

  39. Ben Shipin March 7, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    Hi Donny,
    Thanks again for the kind words about me and the Deborah staff. It’s heartwarming to know that we made a favorable impression on you and hopefully other members of Deborah. Merwin Reisler was my mentor when I joined the gym staff. He was a very fair minded person who believed that diversification in sports was the right thing to introduce to all of the club members. But most of all to be good sports and respect others regardless of their skill level. Merwin resigned from Deborah in the mid to late 50’s after which I became the Athletic Director. He passed away at the very young age of 50 in 1976.

    I do remember that Mike Hoffberg loved sports, especially Basketball.

    Your comments about the value and importance of community centers like Deborah are correct. However, I don’t think that it will ever be like it was in the good old days at Deborah in the 50’s and 60’s. The world has changed, communities like Albany Park was in those days disappeared a long time ago.

    I look forward to continuing this dialogue of memories with you. All the best, Ben

  40. Everett Melnick March 22, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

    Norm Ripes and Ron Schlossberg were in my graduating class of 1957 at Hibbard. Ron, Al Lanutti and I were the only ones from the class that went to Lane Tech. Al got tossed out for fighting the first day and Ron transferred to Roosevelt. I stayed at Lane and graduated in 1961. I played basketball at the Deborah Boys Club and worked in their woodworking shop.
    I’d run into my former classmates from Hibbard on rare occasions, on dates or driving around but going to Lane pretty much ended my Albany Park connection. My parents still had friends where we used to live on Whipple St. They would get together once a month to play Gin. My brother and I would go along and play at River Park or Pinners on the front stoop or at the curb. Every kid in the neighborhood would come together at dusk to play hide and seek.

  41. Donny March 26, 2012 at 11:48 pm #

    Boys clubs such as Deborah and Max Strauss Center did have an influence, just as much as parks did during the summer. Today it might have to be modified, but I think that a community center is needed now more than ever. Like something that would bring the whole neighborhood together under a common self-help purpose. Here is a PBS article dated March 26, 2012 that a friend sent to me today about a new theater group in Albany Park. Now there’s just one example.

  42. Frances Archer March 30, 2012 at 7:21 am #

    Donny, I’ve also heard about that group. Sounds like a good thing for the kids and the community. I agree about the need for community centers.

  43. don dorman April 30, 2012 at 12:32 am #

    Great stuff-I represent the jr regular fellas. i remember the funny fellas, top hats,tau gamma-just to name a few. what about the girls clubs-the seregas-the alpha amedas-
    we did most of our hanging out at the corner of peterson and kimball at de mars and lawrence and kimball at mitches red hots. anybody out there????????????

  44. Frances Archer April 30, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    Don, thanks for providing all these new clubs for my listing of SAC’s. Not sure if you are a Von or Roosevelt alum, and what year?

  45. don dorman April 30, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

    We graduated von in 63 a little after you guys.
    de mars at kimball and peterson
    kiddyland and the batting cages at lincoln and devon
    the terminbal theater at lawrence and spaulding
    the cigar store on kimball and lawrence
    what about cooper and cooper (the best fries ever) on kimball 1/4 blk south of lawrence
    the purity deli on lawrence
    i can’t think of the name but the place on peterson and kedzie that was a swimming pool in summer and a ice skating rink in winter……………………
    just to name a few……………………………….

  46. Frances Archer April 30, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

    Don, it was the Tower Cabana. Do you rememeber when the McDonald’s opened? We’ve been debating what year it was: ’57 or ’58 and was it the second McDonald’s after the first opened in Des Plaines, or was the one is Skokie opened first?

  47. don dorman May 1, 2012 at 2:04 am #

    not sure-sorry

  48. Howard Sims February 8, 2013 at 11:21 am #

    Hi, Jared…just spoke with your dad two weeks ago for the first time in over 50 years. He was in the Regular Fellas with me. Wish he could have come in for our 50th anniversary party in 2011. I understand that he’s thinking of coming in for California sometime this summer, and, if he does, I’m going to gather a group from our old “gang,” and we’ll get together for lots of laughs and good memories. Don’t know if you heard, but one of our club brothers, Elliott Newman (Amundsen), passed away in January.

    Reading items posted by other north side alums from all the different clubs is fun…we all have the same memories of what were definitely “the good old days.”

  49. Howard Glantz May 13, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    I love the fact that this part of Frances’ blog has a life of it’s own for several years. The down side of these social clubs was some people were excluded, but here is the up side. One of my dear friends from the Lil Gents , 1948 until today, is extremely ill. Severial times a day I receive email and phone calls from most of the other members inquiring as to his health. I bring him the emails and we laugh and cry as they show their love for him, they call him direct and visit as much as posible. 21 men have responded and do when one of us is in need. We bonded in the late forties and fifties and even though many are not near by, the love is still there. Our wives and children are involved and my grandsons asked yesterday if I had any extra Lil Gent Tee shirts they can have, I do.

    This summer we will have our annual Lil Gent week end reunion, with two dinners, a breakfast and an all day picnic. We include other friends and family members, the picnic draws over 100 people. After 65 years we are still The Little Gentlemen and I’m sure some groups have similar stories. I’m not sure the kids today will have such a large group to connect to for such a long period of time.

  50. Howard Sims May 13, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    Hi, Frances…and all of you other Von, Roosevelt & Amundsen alum. Just to bring you up to date, my club, the Regular Fellas (’57-’61) is having another reunion on June 28th at Lou Malnati’s in Lincolnwood (the old Novak’s Chicken in the Basket). I’ve got guys coming in from Florida, California, New Mexico, Texas, New York, etc., so it’s looking like another terrific turnout. Some of the guys coming in haven’t been with us in over 50 years, making this get together very special. Some of the guys attending include Bob Sorkin, Neil Leavitt, Jerry Wishes, Dickie Romer, Bob (Buzzy) Buslik, Mike Burack, Larry Jacobs, Marv Shear, Mike Victor, Richie Akers, Wayne Lowey, myself, plus a few surprises. like they say…you can pick your friends but not your family…but in the case of the Regular Fellas, we’re all still “Family.” I’m having trouble reaching Norm Ripes, Ron Schlossberg, Johnny Condos, Mike Miller, Jerry Glassman, Sam Gottlieb and Bob Simon. If any of you have their contact info I’d sure appreciate if you could get it to me ASAP.

  51. Frances Archer May 18, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    Howard, my best wishes for good health to your friend. I’ve so enjoyed hearing about the clubs and the lifelong friendships they fostered. We learn from the past — some things we got right, others we’ve learned to do better. Creating community — in whatever form — is always good.

  52. Frances Archer May 18, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    Howard, good to hear from you. I’ll send you a direct message — I’d love to stop by and say hello at your reunion.

  53. Howard Sims May 19, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

    Hi, Frances…I’d love for you to stop by. We’re schedule to arrive at Lou’s at 7:00 on June 28th. There will be a few others joining us there, too…several friends who “hung out” with our club, but, for some unexplained reason, never officially joined. It’s going to be a fun evening…nothing fancy…pizza, soft drinks and lots of laughs.

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