Riverview Park, the perfect setting for their young dreams
Growing up in Chicago, Illinois, in the 1950s,
I spent many days and nights at the nowdefunct Riverview Park on the city’s north side. My teenage memories of that era involve me, my wife and our friends.
To celebrate my birthday, for a couple of years my Grandmother Vivian took me and a group of my friends on an outing to the amusement park. We took a streetcar, known to us as the Red Rattler, north to the park. There we’d eat a picnic lunch in the grove and spend the day on rides and playing carnival games. After we’d gone through all our money, we’d head back home on the streetcar.
During those years, I had an after-school job, and when I earned
$5, I thought I was rich. My favorite ride was the Bobs, a renowned wooden roller coaster famous for its speed and its 85-foot drop.
When I turned 16, I met Pat Hansen, a girl two years younger than me. A neighbor who went to Visitation High School, the all-girl Catholic school Pat attended, brought her over to meet me and my friends. We fell in love at first sight.
After that we spent many dates going to Riverview, and even had our picture taken there. We always ended the night watching fireworks and taking the Red Rattler home.
Pat and I married in 1959 and spent 55 happy years together until she died in 2014.
I still keep in touch with many of the people who went on those Riverview outings. We get together a few times a year and mostly talk about the days gone by. We grew up in the ideal era to be a teenager.
THIS SOUVENIRphoto taken in 1955 showsDon and Pat riding the moon at Riverview.