Member number one of the Albany Park Deborah Boys Club


A guest blogpost by Dr. Earl Jann

I was born in 1939 and raised in Albany Park at the corner of Troy and Lawrence. In those days,  Kedzie and Lawrence was certainly the focal point of Albany Park. We celebrated VE DAY (Victory In Europe) and VJ DAY (Victory in Japan) on that street corner with bands playing, people kissing and dancing in the streets and street cars clanging.

In that same corridor, there was the ALBA, METRO and TERMINAL theatres that provided us with many hours of enjoyment and smooching in the balcony. I attended Hibbard Elementary and Roosevelt High (which by the way, since I lived in the Von Steuben district I had to get a permit to go to Roosevelt……not exactly sure why I did that).

While attending Hibbard, I met Phil Brin who was the first Director of the Albany Park Deborah Boys ClubThis was before there was any structure built. We used to meet at a “D” (which was an alcove at each entrance to the Hibbard school). Phil would have us do all kinds of projects as we created a foundation for the organization that was yet to come. I remember that after a few meetings of the new Deborah Boy’s Club, Phil gave out membership cards to each of us. I think there may have been ten or twelve of us in the beginning. My card had #1 on it !!! In view of all of the great things this organization has done during its existence, I have always been very proud to have been Member #1.

During my high school years, I was a member of the Aristocrats which was one of several “clubs” that were part of high school life in Albany Park. Also during those years the Max Strauss Jewish Community Center on Lawndale Avenue was one of the most vibrant social and athletic venues in Albany Park (and I might add the number one “boy meets girl” spot in the area).

I hope that maybe these recollections might jostle the memories of anyone who also lived through this wonderful time and also help to fill in a few of the blanks for some of the younger ones who were part of “THE GREATEST NEIGHBORHOOD”.

Photo credit:  Photograph of the Deborah Boys Club from the Epstein website.  A. Epstein& Sons was the architectural firm that designed and constructed the building in 1949.

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19 Responses to Member number one of the Albany Park Deborah Boys Club

  1. Jerry Pritikin May 11, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    Greetings Dr. Jann,

    Any chance you might of shorten your last name? If so, I remember you. You used to live in the yellow brick building on the West side of 4800 N.Troy St. and there was an ice cream parlor on the corner owned by Hymie and his wife.(Herman’s Grocery Store was kitty corner) I believe your dad worked for Vogel Chevrolet. There was also a kid name Myron in that same complex. There was Shultz Tavern directly across the street and in the back near the alley, there was a black mechanic name Abe. What you probably do not recall, is that you once asked a little girl name Natlie… (who was the granddaughter of Harry the shoemaker around the corner on Lawrence) to hit me, and she did with a toy metal snow shovel and it split my lip. Your mother took me over to a Dr.Ricewater just past Kimball,to have a couple of stitches. I had a nickname then… Omie. I was a couple of years older then you. This happened about 1945. I lived down the block at 4839 N.Troy Street.

  2. Hope owens May 12, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    I was raised just west of Deborah Boys Club on St. Louis Ave., and I recall attending various activities there over the summer and at other times. The concession machine and I became good friends and then shortly thereafter our dentist. I believe I have a faint recollection of its construction.

  3. Robert Faber June 18, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

    Dear Hope:

    If you dont mind me asking what building on St.louis did you grow up in?

  4. Barbara Tahir July 4, 2012 at 12:56 am #

    I grew up across the alley from Deborah’s on Bernard. My mom was really active volunteering there in the 70’s. She was the one who started the bingo games which made quite a bit of money for the club even though the games were not really “approved” of by some of the directors. Our house is now the very first house on Bernard since the bank bought all the other houses for their parking lot!

  5. Frances Archer July 4, 2012 at 8:49 am #

    Hi, Barbara. Thanks for stopping by and providing the interesting bit of background. I’m wondering what years you’re talking about — were you living there when the bank built the lot?

  6. Barbara Tahir July 4, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    Oh yes, we were there when the bank took the houses down and put in the parking lot.
    Many, many neighborhood meetings back in those days. That was in the 70’s — mid 70’s.

  7. Howard Glantz August 26, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    Omie, great memory. Myron is my cousin, lives in Forida. He and Earl were good friends.

    For a short time the Lil Gents had meeting at Deborah. They even had an adult to supervise but we didn’t like that idea and got him to go away, played in a basketball league sponsored by Ned Singer, danced on the second floor with the girls and generally had great fun there.

  8. Frances Archer August 26, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    Howard, I didn’t realize you knew Jerry. Well, I shouldn’t be surprised at this point. One of the major discoveries I’ve made through this blog is, a lot of people were cousins across Albany Park north to Peterson Park.

  9. Merle March 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    Earl, I’m a a little younger than you and I went to Von. But my sister was your age, born in 1939 and she went to Bateman and then Roosevelt. At that time, we lived at 4301 N. Troy. She was in the Vakitas. Her name was Judy Tarnoff. She was in touch with many of her “club sisters”, until she passed away in 2003. I am still in touch with some of her good friends from Roosevelt.

  10. Frances Archer March 17, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    Sorry for the delay in posting these comments — hope you can continue the conversation. And Merle, I didn’t have Vakitas on my list of SACs!

  11. Mark Magel April 3, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

    Our club the Jr. Characters had a Saturday night sleepover at Deborah in November of 1962.. I remember that because my dad took me to East Lansing to see a Northwestern-Michigan State football game that Saturday. My uncle was a Big Ten ref and got us tickets. We drove back and my dad dropped me off and I can remember playing poker and basketball all night long. Our adult supervisor was Jerry Shapiro who was a great guy. Deborah was our hangout back in the day. It was quite a thing to have run of the entire facility and i wasn’t going to miss that. On Sunday AM we left, walked to Cooper and Cooper on Kimball, just south of Lawrence for breakfast than walked home and I slept all day and missed the Bears-49ers game on TV as I slept til 6PM. Have no idea how I functioned that week at school.

  12. Len April 4, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    I believe the 1962 NU v MSU game was in Evanston. I remember attending.

  13. Mark Magel April 4, 2013 at 11:20 am #

    Len, You are correct. It was 1961. My mistake. Must be getting old.

  14. Len April 4, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    Mark, if we were at either game the old part would certainly be correct.

  15. Sandra N Elbaum September 26, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

    My club, the junior Vees, used to meet at Deborah in the mid to late 50s.

  16. Frances Archer September 27, 2013 at 9:13 am #

    Hi, Sandy. Thanks for stopping by. I’m so glad we’ve met and you’re sharing your recollections and photos with us. I will soon be posting a link to the Hibbard Group on facebook that you told me about as well as additional nuggets you’ve shared.

  17. Sandra N Elbaum September 27, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    In addition to our club’s meeting there starting about 1957, I organized volleyball competitions with other clubs there. Can only remember the name of one other girls’ club: the Cytanas.

  18. Lon Axelrod November 21, 2016 at 10:16 pm #

    I can’t believe I just ran across this it’s incredible what’s on the internet. My name is Lond Axelrod and I used to live 4904 North St Louis I also was one of the first members I’mean also an original member of the Deborah Boys Club.
    Boy does this bring back memories how about
    Mitch’s Red Hots and flooky’s BBQ how about the newspaper stand and Lawrence and Kimball
    Joel Fry and Marvin Schwartzburger we’re friends and I was the original starter of the woodworking shop at Deborah Boys Club and I also remember Ned singer sporting goods store and how about the Chinese restaurant upstairs of the Metro Theater and terminal Bakery Alba bowling alley 2 turned into a skating rink or I could go on and on and on love to hear from some of my old friends

  19. Frances Archer November 21, 2016 at 10:35 pm #

    Welcome Lon. Glad you found us and I hope you find some old friends here.

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