Page 14 - Pat's Tavern
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Pat’s Tavern by Thomas J. Cranethrow the change down and take a paper. In some cases where the amount of money built up, the customer would make their own change. It was an honor system. During the winter months, the newsmen would build a fire in a 55 gallon drum to keep warm. If someone was out shopping, it was a nice place to stop in order to get relief from the cold. One time a friend of mine came up with an idea to make some extra money. Since the stand was deserted he had me help him to tip the stand on its side and low and behold, the ground was covered with loose change. The money had slipped through the cracks at the rear of the news stand. Off we went to buy candy and gum or whatever.As I had written before, 63rd Street was a mecca for shopping in Woodlawn. It had many attractions. One time I was walking my dog Rusty down the street and we went past an RCA Victor Radio Store. A large white dog was the store’s trademark as the sound of music or people talking came out of its mouth. Rusty reacted by barking and trying to attack the RCA dog. The salesman laughed and laughed until I dragged Rusty away.During the Christmas Season, trees were sold on the various corners. Once again, the tree sellers would burn the broken limbs in a 55 gallon drum to warm themselves. The whole area was filled with the aroma of burning pine.I had a friend by the name of Woody and that was a derivation of his last name. Woody liked to smoke cigarettes as I did. Because we were both young, the cigarettes were hidden from our folks. Woody lived in an apartment above the stores on 63rd Street. The stairway up to his apartment were covered with carpeting and Woody would hide his cigarettes behind the carpet that was not stepped on; in other words against the back. Whenever Woody went into his apartment he would slip the cigarettes in and when he left, he would slip them out. One day he reached behind the carpet and instead of cigarettes, he began to pull out packets of neatly wrapped ten dollar bills. All toll he came up with 10 thousand dollars. He told his father who in turn took the money to the police.The money turned out to be counterfeit. Woody had stumbled across a drop off point for a counterfeit gang. The end result was the FBI put a watch on the apartment and eventually the carpet was torn up and replaced with rubber matting. In the meantime some poor gangster probably lost his life over a missing 10 thousand dollars because of Woody’s cigarettes.When walking on the sidewalks through the side streets of Woodlawn during the winter, there was no salt to melt the ice. In stead ashes were used from the coal-fired furnaces along the way. During the war years, we often watched soldiers perform close order drill on the Midway. They ran through an obstacle course at 61St and Drexel Avenue. The soldiers and their spouses lived in prefabricated plywood houses at 59th and Drexel.14

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