This story was told to WBEZ’s Patrick Smith and is based on reporting by Andy Grimm of the Chicago Sun-Times, who spent months talking with West Garfield Park residents who have stayed in the neighborhood despite the nearly constant gunfire. Read the Sun-Times’s entire West Garfield Park series here.
My name is Marie Henderson and I own Out of the Past record shop here on the West Side, 4407 W. Madison St. We call it “Out of the Past Dusty,” it’s an old shop. I haven’t changed it since we moved in here, and it’s cluttered full of records from the front to the back.
We consider the record shop like people’s home because over the period of years, since people have been coming in, you always meet your cousins, or your sister, an old aunt you haven’t seen. And then you meet friends [you] went to school with. They come in, they get a chance to see each other. So it’s a friendly record shop and you’re always welcome to come in.
Most of the people come in looking for blues and jazz. Me personally, I’m down for dusties because I’m old school. And so I go back as far as the 1960s and 1970s, when the Temptations [were popular]. But I really like all music and I don’t discriminate. If it’s new music and it’s good, I appreciate it.
It’s really a passion for me, and I have to tell [customers], “I’m so sorry. I don’t have it organized the way most people want it.” But most of my old-time customers love it because they come in, they dig. And when you dig, you find treasures.
I came [to Chicago] from Jackson, Miss. when I was 14 years old.
So I didn’t grow up in this neighborhood, but I moved over here in 1963 and I raised all my five kids over there. I had a very, very good husband. He was an entrepreneur. His name was Charlie Joe Henderson. His nickname was Joe, and everybody knew Mr. Joe, because all the young boys in the neighborhood, when they were growing up, and we had the stores, we would always manage to give them something to do. And so a lot of young boys admired him for that.
We had 10 stores [at our peak]. I started my first record shop in 1966, on Pulaski and Madison. When I first came here this neighborhood was gorgeous. Madison and Pulaski was sort of like downtown State Street. Anything that you wanted in a store was in our area. But over the period of years, you know everything changed.
I just have one store now. My husband and I were down to two stores, and I closed the other one when my husband got sick. He passed away in January 2022.
I still live on Monroe Street. My block is infiltrated with drugs and it’s kind of hard to get around. I had an aunt over there that got shot in the foot. Then they shot out all her car windows. I don’t socialize with people on the block now, mainly because I live there and I don’t want to be criticized for what I’m saying. I have to come in and out every day. I always tell people you can’t blame the policemen if they don’t even want to come on the block because they have families and their lives are at stake just like ours.
I’m proud that I’m still here on Madison Street because it’s home. This is where I’ve always been … and I don’t intend on moving.