Page 80 - Pat's Tavern
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Pat’s Tavern by Thomas J. CraneA New HorizonMy father continued roofing as well as his gambling, and by this time my parents had divorced. Still, neither my mother or my father relinquished their responsibilities in raising my sister and myself. It was something of a balancing act in order to maintain contact with my father while both my sister and myself lived at home with my mother. There was no scheduling of visitation as my father had free access to both of us as it required. This meant that I was able to spend more time with my father as his moon- lighting job appeared to be lessening. He still required his clean shirts whenever he was not roofing as my mother no longer supplied them.I still remember his going to the Chinese hand laundry located on Drexel Avenue near 63rd Street. He would carry in a pile of shirts and the China man immediately recognized him. I still remember that little man scurrying around and nodding his head and saying, “Yes, yes, yes” but always with a smile on his face. My father would always give his directives, “Wash and iron and light on the starch.” As the China man took in the dirty shirts, he would reach up on the shelf and pull down a bunch of boxes of clean shirts and tie them together with string. My own last act was to reach in his little bowl and take out some Chinese candy. It was always a delight visiting that little shop. It seemed as if my father had more time to spend with me and especially on weekends as we started to make the rounds of all of Chicago’s museums such as The Museum of Natural History, The Museum of Science and Industry, and The Art Institute. We also visited the International Amphitheater and took-in outdoor shows and the Circus when it came to town. We would finish the day by going to various restaurants. The irony was that when I even got older we started to go to the very restaurant/cafeteria that the Monster of 63rd Street once haunted. Now instead of looking in, I was looking out and there were no more monsters looking at me.It was many years before that time that my father had constructed what he called a shack, which to me was the work of an artist, on property that he rented on the Kankakee River. He even made room to take my cousin Tom and Jack along with us. Later on, I would also include my friends instead. One of those friends, John, later became a Sargent on the Chicago Police Force. In later years while I was talking about my father with him, he described my father as “A Prince.” Coming from John who was Irish, I told him that that was the highest compliment that he could have given my father. Now they are both dead. In talking to John’s widow, she told me that whenever80

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