With a sense of dread I followed Jo and Randy up the block to a beat-up old car parked beside stinking garbage bags. I prayed we weren’t being taken to some dire fate—murder, or slavery. But no. We drove eight blocks south and…
The walls were as thin as the saltines on which I spread Potted Meat Food Product for dinner. I was privy to every sound of one neighbor’s bed squeaking and creaking in response to his nocturnal movements. His incoherent mumblings almost made sense to me some nights. Another neighbor was an opera singer. He was a horrible opera singer.
A man came running up to us screaming, “Did you see the person who just drove off in that station wagon? My car was just stolen!” This was an eye-opening experience, and as I started to pay more attention to my new neighborhood, I realized that ten blocks made a big difference in 1976, and I was not in “Kansas” anymore.
I was about 22 years old when I finally left my parents’ home and rented my first apartment with a friend I’d known in parochial school. It wasn’t easy to leave. Even though it was the Sixties, nice Catholic girls didn’t move out of their parent’s homes unless they were married.