Revision Street: Dan Terkell (III)

November 4, 2010

We lived in this apartment because that was what we could afford at the time. We had what I guess some folks might have considered at the time a blue collar income, even though my folks didn’t have blue collar jobs. I think it was a very healthy way to grow up. There was quite a lot of economic diversity within the area too. We were just a couple blocks off the lake—really one long block, if you’re familiar with the area between Lake Shore Drive and Broadway, just north of Belmont. Right along Lake Shore Drive and maybe half a block inland. There were a lot of families who were fairly well to do. Some kids sort of had a sense of entitlement and some a false sense of entitlement. They felt as if their shit was ice cream.

 

So there was a little bit of a divide, in that sense. I didn’t participate socially with them. They didn’t particularly like me, but I didn’t like them either so you might say it was a symbiotic relationship. But I had plenty of friends who were, more or less, in my own economic—I don’t like to use that word class—but economic milieu maybe. No that sounds too pretentious . . . . Economic area. I like that. Why use a more pretentious word, when you can just use a very straightforward word?

By high school, we were living in a different apartment but in the same area, so it was basically the same situation. My father had hired on with WFMT in the meantime and stayed there for 45 years. For the first ten years or so the station was operating on a shoe-string budget so nobody got rich. But he found a situation, a job that he really, really enjoyed, so over time as the station began to catch on, so did he…

I don’t really have any vivid memories of there having been a lot of communication around the dinner table. I guess part of the problem was, well, my father was very focused on his work, so that made him in many respects unfocused on everything else.

Like a lot of kids, I guess I had a fair amount of mishegas*—anxieties I guess is the best translation for that word—but even then I was focused on politics, from a very young age. This was during the embryonic days of the Civil Rights Movement, and I used to make some of my friends get a little heavy-lidded sometimes when I started discussing it.

Most of them really didn’t have a consciousness of it one way or another. Although I do remember some kids who used certain— had certain attitudes and used certain terms which were very offensive then and wouldn’t even be used in public now, except perhaps by describing it as the N-word or the F-word or something of that nature. They used such terms very freely because that’s, I suspect, what they learned from their parents, so I’d get into arguments about that once in a while…

I was always a reader even when I was a kid. I read the papers and usually watched the evening news before I hit the sack. I guess to a certain extent it was because my parents were intensely political, for one thing, but also simply because of the effect that these events had on our being. So politics has always been a passion of mine and it probably always will be, even after I retire. Especially after I retire, whenever that happens. That won’t be for a few years yet…

*My transcriber adds, “Yiddish word for craziness, kind of like mishugena.” Thanks, Rebecca!

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