From The Storyteller
June 18, 2018, YMCA
Tossing that ball of dough so that it fits a flat round pan is magic. Extra cheese, sausage, pepperonis and mushrooms please and in 20 minutes there is the original “Chicago Pizza.” After the softball game, bragging rights, laughs, a beer, and a hand-made, “Chicago Pizza” (cut in squares) happened.
In the early 60’s the likes of Pizza Hut did not exist on Chicago’s Southside. Pizza was made in little “hole in the wall” places found in almost every neighborhood. “Neighborhood” is the key word. As a high school kid with limited transportation, the need to be selective was important. Why? Because God did not make all pizza places the same. Fortunately, by age 14, I had discovered the best pizza place of the Southside, and this is why the YMCA was so important.
Friday nights from 6-9 the “Y” had “Canteen”. It was rock and roll music with kids from all over. It was the perfect place to meet new girls, dance with your present sweetheart, talk your trash with the guys, try to look cool, and listen to what and where cool stuff was happening.
There was also one other REALLY important fact about our YMCA. The city’s best pizza was made 30 feet away, in a “hole in the wall” place, with no seating. Options included delivery or carry out – your call. Back then with no wheels, Friday Canteen meant one of our parents would drive.
I am sitting in the back seat with two of my buddies. The pizza box is open in our laps. Our hands are thick with pizza sauce and we are laughing out loud as we devour the greatest pizza in the world. I can smell and taste it even now.
Moral – Memories often include great smells and tastes.