I lived in the Bridgeport neighborhood during the early 1980s, in the primarily Italian section on the east side. The neighborhood was inhabited by cops, firefighters, city workers, and members of a noted Italian American business organization. To the north were Croatians.
My landlord was another police officer. He and his wife lived in one apartment and his mother-in-law in another.
The landlord found a stray Irish Setter wandering around the neighborhood. The dog was malnourished, and its fur was matted. He took the dog in, had it checked by a vet, and brought it back to health.
There was one strange problem. The dog was a roamer. He would get out of the yard and follow people to the bus stop, store, or wherever they went. Then he would return. If the dog followed you to the bus stop, he sat and waited until you got on the bus. He walked alongside the mailman on his rounds. Everyone in the neighborhood knew Sammy’s dog.
One day a substitute mail carrier was working the route. The dog came out of the yard. The mailman was terrified. He grabbed a brick from the vacant lot next door and tried to hit the dog.
This part of the neighborhood had people who sat home, looking out their windows. Several people charged out of their homes, chasing the mailman.
The mailman ran to 31st Street, a major artery in the neighborhood. A police car was passing. He threw himself on the hood of the vehicle as the crowd approached. The cops got out of the car as the mob tried to pull the carrier off.
After the cops calmed everyone down, one of the neighbors told the cops, “The mailman tried to hit Sammy’s dog with a brick.”
One cop looked with disgust at the shaking carrier. “You tried to hit Sammy’s dog? I’m sorry we saved your ass.” The cops dispersed the crowd and drove the mail carrier back to his cart.
We never saw that substitute carrier in the neighborhood again.
The Horn Player
My apartment was a few blocks from the former Comiskey Park, where the Chicago White Sox played. Sometimes the night games would go late if there were more than one or two extra innings.
One night the game went later, ending around eleven. The weather was mild. I had gone to bed and left the windows open to let in the cool breezes.
Just as I was nodding off to sleep, I heard the noise of fans walking through the neighborhood and going home or retrieving their cars parked on the side streets. The Sox won, so there was a lot of loud excitement. After several minutes, it died down.
Then, someone started to play bugle or a trumpet. He was playing “Revile” loud. The sound came from the alley. One of the neighbors yelled out, demanding he, “Stop playing that “fucking horn.”
He kept on playing. Again, the gruff voice yelled at him to stop. The guy kept playing, “Revile.” One last time, a gruff voice shouted louder, including a string of obscenities.
The guy started playing “Taps.” The next thing I heard was gunshots. The bugle or trumpet went silent. I never found out what happened to the horn player. No cops showed that I know of. There were no reports of anyone wounded or killed.
I didn’t ask or care. I slept like a baby.