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West Side Stories

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Uncle Jim, now that's quite a story. He never married. I think he had a live-in lady at one time. But anyway, he was an elevator installer. He worked for Otis Elevator. He was living in a rooming house by himself, and he would keep in touch with Aunt Anna, call her up occasionally.

Anyway, one day in 1944 she realized that she hadn't heard from him for a long time. So she called my mother and asked her if she would go with her to this rooming house, to see if he was OK. So they went. They knew the number of the house, but they didn't know who owned it. They knocked on the door, and a woman answered. They asked for Jim Ryan.

"Oh, Jim Ryan," the woman said. "He died several months ago." She said they didn't know he had any relatives.

They called our friend Smith, the undertaker, and he looked into it and found that he'd been buried in a potter's field in Oak Forest. And that was my Uncle Jim.

I had just moved to Florida in March. This must have been April. During Easter I worked at this florist. I got a letter about Uncle Jim--how they'd found him in a potter's field, and they'd dug him up, and he was going to be buried on Good Friday. They were bringing him out to the Sag. I remember going to the church across the street from the florist on Orange Avenue at the time of the funeral and saying a prayer for him.

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