Friday, December 24, 2010

Unkown Chicago: Christmas Eve 1985

This is a different Magnificient Mile than exists today!
A little of what happened 25 years ago in Chicago on Christmas Eve:
As always, some shoppers had waited to the last moment.  Marshall Field's, Carson's, Ward's, and the other State Street stores were busy.  VCRs and the new digital compact disc players were selling briskly.  The one surprise gift of the season was the telescope.

Halley's Comet was coming back for the first time in 76 years.  Binoculars could be used to examine the heavenly marvel, but why not get something special for that special someone?  So now telescope manufacturers were running triple shifts--and still couldn't keep up with the demand.  Comet junkies were shelling out as much as $2,500 for a high-end model.

Out in Lincolnwood, they were getting ready for heavy traffic.  The homes there were known for their elaborate Christmas displays.  Most had gone dark during the hard times of the Carter years.  But now the economy was roaring, Lincolnwood was again bright, and all the thousands of drive-by gapers were returning.

Hmmm that seemed like a nice shot at Jimmy Carter. :P

Let's continue:
The spirit was carried forth in acts of charity.  On the South Side, 63 needy seniors received reconditioned fur coats at a free church raffle, courtesy of Mysel Furs.  In Little Village, a thousand chicken dinners were given away to poor families.  The Salvation Army again received an anonymous donation of gold coins in one of its street kettles.  This year the gift was five Canadian maple leaves, worth $1650.
Well I'm sure someone would consider this very selfish. Not unexpected in Chicago of course:
And this being Chicago, politics was in the news.  Mayor Harold Washington and the city council had been feuding for over two years.  But in the spirit of the season, mayor and council had come together, and found something to agree on.  They gave themselves pay raises.
This was doing the era of Ronald Reagan. During the time of President Barack Obama, there's a good chance of an outcry if the mayor and city council attempted that today. Well I would hope so.

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