Parish the Thought Too picks up where author John Ruane's best-selling memoir of growing up in the 1960s, Parish the Thought, left off. The 32 chapters provide a nostalgic look back at a blue-collar neighborhood on the southwest side of Chicago, where the author takes readers through the stories of his life, universal experiences, which will seem very familiar to readers across America.
You’ll read the story of the snowstorm that shut down Chicago, closed schools, but opened the door for kids to have fun in a winter wonderland; the tornado that devastated the southwest side but somehow missed his parish, St. Bede’s; people-watching from the front porch on hot summer nights; walking in the white fox behind the Mosquito truck; standing up to bullies and fighting back; the excitement of school dances; playing youth sports; competing in the Chicago Speech Contest; chasing young love; the gift of camaraderie and good close friends; the Good Humor Man and his Wahoo Bars; playing hockey on make-shift park district ice rinks; high school and college experiences in the classroom and the athletic field.
Those were times we will never see again and this book gives readers a chance to relive those days which were so much simpler and so much better than the world we all live in today.
Parish the Thought Too: The Lost & Untold Stories continues the coming-of-age tales begun in John Ruane's memoir Parish the Thought. It follows his life in Chicago in the 1960s and '70s and the pivot points that affected not only his growth, but his community and neighborhood as a whole.
From snowstorms and even a tornado that struck the city to the ice cream truck's neighborhood attraction, high school dances, and cultivating friendships, Ruane's memoir carries readers through sports, family interactions, and the flavor and feel of years which are gone, but not forgotten thanks to this memoir's personal reflections:
"I had promised my dad I would be safe, so I made sure that as I crawled onto and across the snow- and ice-filled roof with a forty-mile-an-hour wind whipping against me, I did it very safely. Then, this brilliant ten-year-old stood and walked to the edge of the roof, looking down at that beautiful drift. Wow, I thought. I'll bet every kid in the neighborhood would love to be in my position, standing on the edge of their snow-covered roof, ready to jump forty feet down into the snow."
The "you are here" feel can't be beat. Ruane carries readers into the sights, smells, and thoughts of the times, neatly recreating an atmosphere where athletics took center stage and brought together families and players in a team effort.
Blue-collar experiences in Chicago come to life in a play-by-play series of memories that are supplemented by black and white photos. From absorbing hockey skills in high school and translating them to college-bound efforts to jobs that tapped sports experiences, Ruane's story melds the personal with bigger-picture thinking about career, life, and managing new encounters in different aspects of life:
"The pretty wild child took my hand and walked me out on the floor... She was energetic and a very good dancer. I really didn't belong on the same floor with her. She had dance moves which probably would have received an "R" rating back then. The adult chaperones started to send concerned looks in our direction."
Libraries and readers new to Ruane's story as well as fans of his prior book will find Parish the Thought Too: The Lost & Untold Stories an excellent slice-of-life memoir that brings the 1960s and student sports efforts to vivid life.
-- Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
5 out of 5 Stars
Parish the Thought Too is a book by John Ruane, a memoir of his childhood growing up in the 1960s in a blue-collar neighborhood on the southwest side of Chicago. The book is a sequel to Ruane's first memoir, Parish the Thought.
In Parish the Thought Too, Ruane picks up where he left off in the first book, telling more stories about his family, friends, and experiences growing up in a Catholic parish. He writes about the snowstorm that shut down Chicago, the tornado that devastated the southwest side, and the many other challenges and joys of childhood.
I enjoyed reading about how close his family was. He had a family that should be the aspiration of everyone in society today. I also liked reading about how his father introduced him to baseball. I found it refreshing that his father was available and didn't leave the burden of raising the children to the mother. I found no errors in the book, which indicates that it was well-edited. I found no negative aspects of the book. I give this book a rating of 5 out of 5 stars. The book was captivating, and I couldn't resist.
Ruane's writing is witty and moving, and he captures the essence of what it was like to grow up in a Catholic parish in the 1960s. He writes about the importance of faith, family, and community, and he shows how these things helped him navigate the challenges of his childhood.
Parish the Thought Too is a heartwarming and nostalgic book that will appeal to anyone who grew up in in the 1960s and 1970s. It is a story about faith, family, and community, and it is a reminder of the importance of these things in our lives. I recommend this book to readers who love books filled with mystery, adventure, and drama. I also recommend it to those who enjoy reading memoirs.
-- Nate Mosson, Online Book Club
For Reviews of first book, Parish the Thought, go to Books