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Life & Events > Boring > Early Memories

Early Memories

When I got to highschool, age 13, in 1944, the first thing I did was to join the riding club. My sister had joined the year before. Every Friday, school closed at 1:00 and we were allowed to pursue one of a number of extra-curricular activities. For me and my sister, it was no contest. Horses were it.

The school had a contract with Elston Stables, near Morton Grove, Illinois We would take the Central Avenue bus, just west of the school (also the dividing line between Chicago and Oak Park) and ride it to the end of the line and there we bought another bus ticket that took us to our destination, a little market, where we bought carrots, a treat for “our” horses and then wait for George Jayne, the owner of the stables, or one of his teen-aged hired hands, to come pick us up with the truck. George was, some 25 years later, to be murdered by his brother, the culmination of a long-standing feud. It couldn’t be proved, so the brother, Si, got off. So, obviously, the police thought that the gun shot aimed at George through the window while he was playing cards with his family on his birthday, was just a random killing. The guy was in the neighborhood kind of thing and there was George, so why not?

I should mention that George was a mean-spirited s.o.b. who took great delight in tormenting me, for some twisted reason, telling off-color jokes to a 13-year-old, laughing at me for my clumsiness. But murder shouldn’t be a “home free” kind of thing. There was also an incident where one of George’s groupies, a young girl who hung around, and helped out, for the occasional compliment, went to start his car for him and was blown up.

Back to the 40’s -- We would pile on to the back of the truck for the ride to the barn. The cost of a ride was $1. We all had our favorites. Most often, I chose Darlax or Gayboy (in the days when that didn’t mean anything at all). My sister often got Lady Esther, so named because she would pick her way around puddles instead of walking through them. We would ride into the woods, with one of the hands, or George himself, in the lead. There were walks and trots and canters. Galloping wasn’t allowed.

George also gave weekend breakfast rides on Sundays. These were a full two hours and were scheduled for 8 a.m. They were $2 (a lot of money in those days). On Sundays, we would start out from our flat in Chicago’s inner city at 4 a.m. it was further away than going from the school, so we had to start really early. Like DARK. I should mention we both had gotten permits to attend this school instead of the one in our district, not only because it was better academically, but because it was in a better neighborhood attended by middle class kids. I know for a fact that if I had attended my district school, I would have continued to be harassed by some of my class mates who hated me because I was smart and got good grades. Also, there was a racial thing gong on. I wasn’t then, and am not now, a racist. I protected myself in ways that I could (like running faster and ducking into an alley entrance of a church I was familiar with), but I didn’t hold any grudges because I kinda understood why they were angry. And this translated into, I can’t solve it, so I must get away from it.

I loved the breakfast rides – and afterwards, we would all hang out around the barn, and groom the horses, and at dusk, they would be let out to pasture to roll in the manure piles and neigh, one of the only times they did that – neigh, I mean. And we would all try to imitate them. I have a pretty good neigh. Starts high, goes low-w-w.

On our laborious way home, three buses and whatnot, no one would sit near us. I think I know why.

Xx, Teal

posted on July 10, 2017 3:13 PM ()


So the brother was involved in the shooting. What an amazing mix of grim and nice memories.
comment by drmaus on July 11, 2017 9:51 AM ()

I was already in NY when George was shot. My sis told me about it. This was before the internet made it easy to find stuff. I had to go to the library and look at microfilm of Chicago papers. Thanks for the link. I never thought of George as interesting, only that he seemed to have some charisma for his followers. I was not one of the groupies who had a crush on him. And, as mentioned, for some reason he thought he had to put me down. Also, he wouldn't let me jump in the horse show. Said I was too small. I only rode in the horsemanship competition, but my sis got to jump. That hurt.

8 was already in ny when George was shot. My sis told me about it and i reseaerhed it but this was before the internet,so i never got the details.
comment by tealstar on July 10, 2017 8:03 PM ()
I googled it - http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1992-02-07/news/9201120139_1_show-horses-murder-conspiracy-two-other-killings

The police eventually did solve it, and prison time was served, and George Jayne's murderer was in turn murdered upon his release from prison in a dispute over a dog.
comment by troutbend on July 10, 2017 6:25 PM ()
George's death and attempted death: he must have been an interesting character.
comment by troutbend on July 10, 2017 6:21 PM ()
my reply at top of page.
reply by tealstar on July 13, 2017 8:16 PM ()

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