Sheryl Smith

June 5, 2005

Post #1832 – 20050605

Dear Mr. Pinkwater,

These internet connections are neat!–because they sometimes let you reach people whose work has given you pleasure, and drop little appreciations and thanks on them. Wah-da-da. I’ve read and reread you with continuing delight for decades as an adult. I couldn’t read you as a child because it appears we were growing up in Chicago at about the same time. I lived in Gage Park, where the CTA shut down at midnight like Cinderella, so if you snuck out, you walked: I became more mobile at night after I grew up and moved to Rogers Park. But I recognize from your descriptions many favorite places in the city, which also seemed to have been favorites of yours. Some places are gone now (those old bookstores on North Clark that carried 1940s stock into the ’60s), and others gentrified–but I walked along Lower Wacker Drive the last time I was there and its ambience remains. Still a couple of raunchy press hangouts down there, but no chicken hangouts and no chickens. But I didn! ‘t see chickens there as a kid either. Probably you see more chickens than other people.

I didn’t mean this to be a nostalgia-fest, but did want to mention the one detail of the incomparable Clark Theater that should’ve made it into your books, but didn’t. And that was the wonderful scuzzy twilltone monthly schedules, where each mind-warping daily double feature was described in a hand-crafted and equally mind-warping rhyming couplet. My memory has wisely failed to preserve any of them, but in recollection they were stupendous!! I was going to Chicago Circle, and was just beginning to develop an interest in classic films, so I went there fairly often. But I never saw a repertoire like that anywhere else. A few films, like _Shakespeare Wallah_, seem never to have existed anywhere except the Clark.

After all that, I do have a question. Are you ever going to finish _The Dada Boys in Collitch_? I’ve been reading Walter Hogan, and he seems not to like them, but they’re favorites of mine. And any sequel to _Young Adult Novel_ would have to make you the Eminem of kid litt. 😉

Thanks again for giving me so much pleasure.

Sheryl Smith

P.S. Jean Shepherd is cool, but Bob & Ray are cooler.

Daniel replies:

So we were probably in the Clark, watching Abbot and Costello meet Dracula, or some other remarkable double-bill at the same time! I not only remember the schedules with the couplets, but I have a few that someone had saved, and sent to me. I used to get them mailed to me when I was away at college--I don't remember if the Clark would mail them out, or if I had a confederate forward them--and I would pin the current one to my closet door, so I could keep track of what I was missing. You don't mention The Education of Robert Nifkin in your highly complimentary and welcome email. If you haven't seen that one, you really should--it's the undisguised Chicago.