Haunting My Childhood

St. Thomas of Canterbury
Lawrence House

Open House Chicago happened this past weekend. All of these old opulent historic buildings of architectural significance are open for two days only to the general public. Some of them are private residences. Others were saved from the wrecking ball to be repurposed for another use.

Usually, I head downtown Chicago to see some of the ‘biggest and best’, but this year, I decided to hit the neighborhood locations instead. And I found myself wandering about my childhood.

I went to McCutheon grammar school until 3rd grade and then my parents put me in St. Thomas. I remember learning the Lord’s prayer, services during school, kneeling, standing, praying, lining up against the walls to change classes, lockers, uniforms and finally going through puberty in 8th grade.

During my childhood, Lawrence House was a place to avoid, even though it was literally around the corner. There was always several ‘scary’ looking adults hanging outside the doors. Lawrence House, A Retirement Hotel plaque seemed like a joke. Hotel…more like asylum.

Preston Bradley Center
Preston Bradley Center Stage

I continued walking down Lawrence avenue to the Preston Bradley Center. As a kid, I knew it as the People’s Church. The outside looked quite small, but once you entered the main hall, it was as grand as anything I’d seen downtown. This was the first place I ever sang in public. I was ten years old. I sang “The Sun will Come Out Tomorrow” from the movie, Annie, for a kids talent show. I was so nervous that I never made it to the center of the stage. I sang from stage left. The acoustics were so perfect that you didn’t even need a microphone. You just opened your mouth. They let me get on the stage again. This time I sang “Hello” by Adele. You know how some things get smaller as you get older? This wasn’t one of those things. The hall is still has perfect acoustics. I sang from the middle of the stage. No one but me and three volunteers were there.

Hello from the other side, indeed.

Like what you read? Give JB a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.