Around 1960, we moved to Cicero and lived on 25th Place right down the block from the Laramie Bridge and less than a block away from a large railroad yard on 26th Street. When people used to come over they would wonder how we slept at night with all those trains crashing and squealing all night, but I don't remember having any trouble sleeping at all. This picture is of me and my brother Johnny along with a few of our friends, Cheryl and Charles Hauppa by a giant pumpkin that my dad bought and carved for us. If I remember right, this was probably the pumpkin that we all piled on the table with and broke the table in half. We all crashed to the floor in a pile of laughter and maybe a few tears. I don't think my dad got too mad at us for it. He just laughed right along. That was a fun Halloween.


This is the only picture I could find showing our kitchen at 5128 25th Place in Cicero. It was an old house, but we enjoyed living there. My dad was very strict about us all being home for dinner at 5:00 PM sharp. This picture looks more like a breakfast. My mom seems a bit tired. I'll bet my dad made breakfast and called us all there, then took this picture. I'm the one peaking out from the left side. It seems like that's exactly where I remember sitting all the time too.

It's funny noticing the chairs, table, plates and all and looking at the refrigerator and freezer right next to each other. That house is a lot smaller than I remember it. I guess as a little kid, things seem a lot bigger.


After a number of years living in that big old house, my dad decided to build a brand new house. He had enough space right next door as we had a big back yard lot and there was just enough room to do it. So he had a new house built right to our specifications. It was a real treat to move into a brand new home and all we had to do was to move right next door.

There are a lot of good memories from that new home. We had so many friends and relatives that used to come and visit us there and that used to sit around that little kitchen table drinking coffee or playing cards. These pictures of my mom and dad are so typical of those times.


We also had my grandfather living with us from time to time so he was around a lot and added to the fun. He was active and could interact well so he was just as much a part of our lives as anyone. I think these pictures were taken on the same day. We always had lots of spaghetti and lots of wine. We were all smoking all the time. It seemed like we had no idea of how we were killing ouselves with all that smoke. Only Jimmy and Johnny didn't smoke. We had a lot of friends coming over all the time and we had big parties in that long basement.


During those times, my dad did two types of work. For the first bunch of years, he ran the Humboldt News Agency on Grand and Hamlin Avenues, up on the north side of Chicago. I spent many Saturday mornings getting up at 3:00 AM with him and going up there to drop off bundles of newspapers for kids to deliver. This place was a blast for a kid. There were plenty of other kids to hang around with and personalities to watch. There were mostly Italian, Polish, and Puerto Rican kids. We were a hell of a mix of personalities and all got along great with the common purpose of getting those papers out and having a lot of fun doing it. All of us kids smoked like crazy and our parents didn't usually know (most of them smoked too).

My dad used to let me sell Sunday papers in front of the office and keep the profits. I used to make $40 or $50 each Sunday. I worked and learned a lot about selling too. My dad taught me to be agressive and loud and to offer every car a newspaper.



After a while, Casper got a little tired of the newspaper business. Things weren't going all that well there any more so he decided to change careers and started to work at North Central Airlines. They eventually became Republic Airlines and then Northwest. I always respected his ability to adapt and make a drastic career change at the age he did. He basically started all over again and built a new and successful career.

I think my dad had just begun working at the Airlines too and he loved that job. He started out as a Janitor, then a Skycap for Republic Airlines, and eventually became a Ticket Agent and retired from there. He loved flying at the discounted rates and took full advantage of his low fares right until just before he got sick.

I'm not sure who's wedding this was, but to me, this was when our family (and my mom and dad) was in it's prime. Danny was a tough high school senior. I was a freshman. I think this was the year I went to Italy with my mom. My dad was cool (actually too cool). All of our friends loved him and he would hang out with us and even party with us. These were fun years as a family. My mom and dad had just helped Gaspare and Maria in coming from Italy.




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