Barbara and I tried to make the best of it by continuing our rituals, dropping in at all our old hangouts, but it wasn’t nearly as much fun without someone to share it with. It was closing on summer and school would be out soon. Who would we play with? Then, one day after school we saw movement at old Mrs. Leyden’s house. Someone was moving in. We had to investigate. I prodded Barbara to hurry up and change and out the back door we tumbled over to Monroe Street. Standing in the middle of the block in front of the ramshackle frame house was a young girl. She looked older than me, maybe ten years old. In fact, she looked like a middle-aged Irish washerwoman. She had shoulder length hair, a fair complexion and thick glasses; her dress was a good one that looked like it had been through the washing machine a thousand times.
I greeted her. “Hi, do you live here now? What’s your name?”
With a hint of an English accent, the girl responded, “We’re just moving in. My parents bought the house from Mrs. Leyden. My name is Mary Lennon.”
Pressing her for more detail, I learned that she had moved from Ireland by way of Liverpool, that her dad had worked on the Canadian railroad and lost his eye in an accident, and that he had moved the family to Chicago and bought a bar and the house with the settlement. This all sounded promising to me.
Then she added, “I have two sisters, Katherine and Patricia, and two brothers, John and James.” Barbara and I smiled knowingly at each other—we’d hit pay dirt!
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