The vague and mythical family tale of the Great Chicago Fire

Once upon a time, the city of Chicago caught on fire. They blamed a cow, but a century and some years later, the city did exonerate the cow of all charges. True story. My grandmother’s mother’s people came over a year or so before the fire. I always knew this because she would say how…

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Our Italian Immigrants

A century ago, Carmine Rizzuto left Italy for the United States. A time later, his wife Rose and two children followed. Eventually, they had six more children, the youngest being my grandfather. I was an eager listener to all my grandfather’s stories. It was hard not to be fascinated – he told tales that were…

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You shouldn’t buy a white puppy in the middle of a blizzard

The year was 1979. I know, because it was also the year of the Blizzard of ’79 that hit Chicago. Snow was everywhere, and people were literally shooting others over parking spots that they had spent hours digging out and then were “holding” with lawn chairs. Chicago – always keeping it classy. We were in…

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