Page 12 - Pat's Tavern
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Pat’s Tavern by Thomas J. CraneLife In Woodlawn In A Different Day And AgeAs I mentioned previously, most of the living that took place in Woodlawn occurred in the alleys. It offered a continuous panorama of life as reflected from the rear of the many apartment buildings as the back porches teemed with life as the occupants bore witness to the activities that took place beneath their lofty perches. During the hot summer nights they slept on their back porches and rarely locked their screen doors. Some women hung the wash on the roofs of garages that were connected from the porches by a catwalk while others hung them in the basement or backyard.Many of the houses had ice chests on the back porch and the amount requested was indicated by a four-sided sign that was posted in the window The ice man could read either 25, 50, 75 or 100 pounds. The ice trucks were motor driven and the ice man used an ice pick to chop the ice and he slung it over his leather padded shoulder with an ice hook. A piece of ice taken from the back of the truck was a delight to suck on during the hot summer months. One time as I reached for a piece of ice, not one, but two drivers grabbed me and threw me on the front seat of the truck. I was afraid as did not know what was going to happen to me. They drove to the end of the alley and let me out with the admonishment, “Don’t ever do that again!”Horse drawn milk wagons were a common sight along with horse droppings that not only presented a smell, but flies. Some of the horses were so smart that they even knew the route. The horse would stop and start without the driver pulling or slapping the reigns.Groups of kids from adjoining neighborhoods roamed the alleys and threatened to beat another kid up but rarely did it happen as it was just a form of intimation. A Tomboy would often come through the alley carrying a BB gun with her little entourage of small boys following behind. She often exhibited her toughness by spitting out the side of her mouth. When she approached me, I did not back down, but instead asked her for a shot. Amazingly, she cocked the rife and handed it to me and said, “Just one, you get one shot.” While her little muscle men stood by in awe, I carefully too aim at the whiskey bottle on a garbage can and missed. It was not so much that I missed as it was that I stood up to this little female hellion and won her respect before all of the others. I often wondered what happened to her and if she ever married and what type of life her husband might have led. That was the first time that I ever came across a liberated12

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