The summer after 7th grade, we moved into a different school zone, near Haugan Elementary School and Jensen Park. I ran, everyday, all the way back to my old school, Patrick Henry, for 8th grade and graduated there. So I didn't make any friends in the Haugan/Jensen area until the summer after 8th grade when I lost touch with my Patrick Henry friends. I would run everywhere. A few blocks from my house was Jensen Park. I ran in a square down the streets that surrounded the park, the field house, the basketball courts, the baseball fields and the tennis courts, probably about 1 mile each time around.
We had a basketball court, we played 16" softball in the baseball field, tennis in the tennis courts. The field house is where we played sports in the winter like ping pong and floor hockey. To the left of the field house were the swings, slides, teeter tauter, etc. To the right of the field house was the sprinkler, baseball field and tennis court. In the winter Jerry would freeze up the baseball field and we could even ice skate. We would go to other parks around the city to compete. I loved it. That's how I met most of the kids that hung around Jensen Park, including my future husband and how I became an athlete.
We all thank Jerry Pistone for being a genuine good guy that kept all of us teenagers out of trouble. He got us all into sports and wouldn't allow gangs to take over our park, rare in Chicago. He probably saved lives. We had a 30 year reunion last year, Jerry came. He STILL runs Jensen Park to this day, 30 years later! What a great role model & asset to the Chicago Park District. Wish there were more Jerry Pistone's in the world.
We've lost Rene, Fuki & Heno, just to name a few. May they R.I.P.
After that party, Heno's good friend Lorens and I started dating.
Heno was a guest at our wedding the next year.
Heno will always have a special place in our hearts.
I'm in the bottom row, second from left.
Then we started high school. There were tons of sports to join. I loved everything I had been doing at Jensen all summer. When I started high school, I wanted to be all "Rah Rah" and go to the Friday night skating parties, pep rallies, the plays, the dances, the football games. I even tried out for Cheer-leading (fail).
Then I was nominated for Homecoming Queen! My best friends from Jensen just laughed, they definitely weren't into the "H.S. Rah, Rah" pep rallies. They hated that I liked all of it, like these high school dances and teams. Some of them informed me it would be uncool for me to attend. Further, it was my best friend from Jensen's 16th birthday, on the same weekend as the dance. She said if I went to the Homecoming dance, we wouldn't be friends anymore. So I was actually considering not going.
put his head down on a desk and passed out.
My boyfriend is passed out drunk in study hall.
I ran out of the dance, all the way home in my queen sash and beautiful dress.When I got home, I threw my dress in the hamper, changed into jeans and a Led Zeppelin T-Shirt and ran to Jensen to find my friends. I figured screw it, I'll make my own good time. The dance wasn't even 1/2 over, and here's the queen, at the park, 5 blocks away, on the park bench drinking a beer.
Michelle from Jensen remained my best friend and was the maid of honor at my wedding to Lorens, one of the Jensen Park Boys, 8 years later in 1989. We lost touch after Lorens & I had kids and we moved out of the Chicago area.
My surprise 23rd birthday party Lorens threw me at his parents home.
(I know, nice spiral perm Bev, what can I say, it was the 80's)
Juan, me & Lorens, 2010