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 Club. This 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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