Growing Up In The Inter City Of Chicago

This Article On Growing Up In The Inter City Of Chicago Was Written By Jesse Smith

Escaping  And Growing Up In The Inter City

I grew up on the inter city of west side of Chicago, a place where most people would consider the ghetto. We lived in a section called K-town, so named because most of the street names for the next ten blocks started with a K and today known as the Austin area. Growing up in the inter city of Chicago is what made me stronger and my everyday goal was to escape growing up in the inter City of Chicago and move to the suburbs and eventually own a home.

Growing Up In The Inter City Of Chicago: My Background

My parents bought their first home in the ghetto when they moved up to Chicago from Mississippi and my mother stayed in that home for the next fifty-seven years. My brothers and I tried to get her to move after my father died but more on that later. We didn’t think we were poor because after all even though my parents never earned over $11.00 per hour their whole lives they would come to own the home we lived in and each of the homes on each side of it. But we were poor, I would learn later in life all three homes cost my parents a total of a little over $20,000.

Growing Up In The Inter City Of Chicago: The Dangers And Fears

Living on the west side of Chicago was pretty rough I remember before we got a car, we would walk to church with my mom. One night on our way home from church my father didn’t go with us, some guys started to hassle my mom, at this point I wasn’t yet ten years old and my middle brother was maybe 5 and my younger brother was still an arm baby. Thank God for some reason they let us go. The next day my parents went out and bought a car. Another memory of how tough it was living on the west-side was in 1968 when Martin Luther King was killed. I was ten years old, I remember sometime during the day my teacher told us we had to leave early from school. She said go straight home and do not stop for anything. Once I got home we spent the next week in the house not leaving once, while the west side of Chicago burned. One scene that’s burned into my memory is my father let us go out on the porch and as we look over the trees ahead of us into the next block we saw the whole block of Pulaski from 15th street to 14th street in flames and some 45 years later most of the block has not been built back. But that was our norm growing up. I had to walk about 6 blocks to school it was nothing to see either drunks lying down on the street or dead bodies on the street. You just got use to it.

Growing Up In The Inter City Of Chicago: Leaving Home

As I got older we didn’t know anything about going to college, the only people I knew that went to college was athletes. We were taught you finished high school and got a job and got married so that’s what I did. I got married four days after I turned nineteen. Our first apartment was so bad at night we could hear mice running across the floor playing while we tried to sleep. If we got up to go to the bathroom we could see them scatter. We could only take it for about six months and then we found and better place. About two years later my parents bought the two flat buildings on either side of them and my wife and I moved into one building and my brother and his wife moved into the other. By this time both of my children were starting to get older and we decided to by our first home. The American Dream Of Home Ownership I soon realized is that it was not owning a home, but the community and location where the home was located. This was what drove me to work harder and my ultimate goal was to escape the ghettos of Chicago and not have my children go through what I have went through, living in fear and constantly watching your back.

Next up our first home.

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