I just heard U2’s "Pride (In the Name of Love)," the band's 1984 song about the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Whenever I hear the lyrics ...
Early morning, April four
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride
… I can’t help but remember that April 4 in 1968.
When I was a kid growing up on the Northwest Side of Milwaukee, whenever I had a little extra spending money beyond my consistent forays to buy candy or baseball cards, I couldn’t wait to get Downtown. And it seemed that aside from unloading my snow shoveling income for a pair of Bucks tickets in the winter, the only time I was flush with cash was right after my birthday on April 3rd. Those trips were also pretty consistent.
With my $10 or $15 secured deep within my off brand jeans, I would – with semi-full knowledge of my parents – take the #64 bus east on Capitol Drive, remaining diligent on the lookout for Fond du Lac Avenue where I knew I would have to transfer. There were probably times I was so nervous about losing my transfer ticket that I ran the risk of rubbing off the ink.
Sometimes with a friend or occasionally with my younger brother (not my neighbor Gino Salomone; his parents wouldn’t let him go with me), we would wait for that next bus in a manner unfathomable to the current existence of a ride within minutes available to today’s adolescents with a phone and Uber app.
I had very little comprehension of where Downtown started and ended, but I sure knew Wisconsin Avenue was what to look for. I pretty much knew it by seeing statutes of old guys on horses. Same statues I probably drive by a hundred times a week now without even noticing.
First stop was always The Moon Fun Shop, where I risked spending all my money on the necessities that only they had – such as fake cigarettes, tricks, counter-culture items such as political pins and other harmless clutter. I loved that place.
Next, we would usually wander …Read more...