West Side Story | Essay | Chicago Reader
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In May of '43, Vince was transferred from downstate to an air base in Orlando, Florida. He was to teach celestial navigation, so fliers would be able to navigate by the stars.

He called me and said he was going, and I went into Mr. Hanna's office and told him Vince was shipping out, so I'm going to meet him. I asked to borrow five bucks. He hands me the money, and I go. I couldn't have done that at Sears.

I met him in Kankakee. I took the IC, and he said he would meet me at the station. When I got off he was nowhere to be found. So I went to the cashier and asked if there was anyone around looking for me, and he said no. But, he said, "There's another Kankakee station, and he might be at the other station." Just then, I see Vince walking up the path. He had been at the other station.

Then we got on a bus, and we went to Rantoul, where Chanute air base was. So we had a great day together, and he introduced me to all his friends. They were all so happy that they were going to Florida instead of to Europe or some other such place.

We went to the PX, and we had supper. Then he walked me over to the bus, and I took the bus home. I remember it was real late when I got downtown, and I took a cab home from there.

Now some people think it's just recently that people are afraid to be out on the street. But I think it's always been that way, more or less, at night if you were alone. If you had somebody with you, you always felt better. And if you were with a man it was no problem.

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