Dedicated, with fond memories, to my brother, John, who shared most of this tale, and to my three daughters, Marcia, Lynne, and Laura, who, of course, couldn't.

I want to explain why I have taken the time to write this brief memoir of my youth in the then small town of Naperville, Illinois.

The first reason I suppose is simply that having been born in 1934, thus no longer a spring chicken, I want to recapitulate those times for myself, taking this nostalgic trip alone. The picture is still remarkably vivid to me though I suppose my id has redacted some unpleasant things in order that I may more thoroughly enjoy the journey, not completely unlike the way an adolescent boy quickly learns to skim a long novel looking for the “good parts.” 

Another reason is my regret since my parents’ deaths at having known so little about their youth. Both were born and raised in Naperville, and yet spoke little of what it was like for them. And, since I was very young and otherwise occupied at the time, focused usually on what I was doing at that very moment, I didn’t care very much then. So, like some few other things in life, this curiosity about the past seems somehow to be most compelling only after it is too late. But perhaps it is a good thing in the end; life is fundamentally an endeavor for the future.

And the last reason is because my three children were raised largely in Pittsburgh, an urban setting, and without an extended family; I’d like them to know what childhood was like for me in a time and place so different from their own. I know they will understand from what I write that my memory is somewhat selective, but in a strange way it may be this romanticized picture that may be most interesting simply because it filters out the things that were unimportant to me.

Finally, I should say here in the beginning that this little story is not especially self revelatory, just a collection of anecdotes. My focus is on the period, but I suppose that to some extent one becomes the period one grew up in.

aaaaaaaaaaaaiii