I have started a new project – drawing all the places I’ve lived. It would have been a great idea, had I started this when I was 24. But I’m going to give it a go, starting with the house my parents lived in when I was born.
I have no memories of this house, so I can’t provide you with any amusing anecdotes of my life there. All I know is that we lived in the basement of this house. I had to Google the picture, and after 65 years, I was surprised that it was still standing! I’m pretty sure there was a wooden – not concrete – front porch, with a wooden railing. And there probably was no glass block in the basement window.
Here is 1759 W. 71st Street. I drew the house twice – once for practice, and again in a 5×7 accordion-fold sketchbook – using pencil, ink and watercolor.
I lived there for about six months. When I was five months old, my grandmother died. My father’s oldest sister, Aunt Sis, suggested that we move out of the basement to live in my grandmother’s apartment at 8051 S. Green Street – along with two uncles and two aunts. Aunt Sis, Uncle Walter and my five cousins lived in the upstairs apartment. I don’t remember too much about living there, either. I seem to remember playing in the back yard with a boy named Tommy – but he could be a figment of my imagination. I was also told that my Uncle Fay would peel grapes for me. (I may have been a wee bit spoiled, living with all those relatives!) Fay was short for Fabian – his full name was Edwin Fabian. A few of my dad’s siblings, as well as my dad, were called by their middle names. We don’t know why.
My husband and I drove down to Green Street a few years ago so I could take some photos – it is still beautiful. A typical Chicago two-flat – beautiful red brick with limestone accents. I drew this picture by referencing old, as well as more recent, photos. The front door has changed (I drew the old one from family photos), but other than that, it looks exactly the same!
8051 S. Green Street, drawn with graphite pencil and colored pencil. I definitely need a better scanner – there is a yellow cast to the picture, the red bricks are not that bright and neither is my drawing!
Next stop, 91st and Ashland.