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Whiskey BreakfastMy Swedish Family, My American Life$
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Richard C. Lindberg

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816646845

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816646845.001.0001

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Slam Books and Second Chances

Slam Books and Second Chances

(p.197) 13 Slam Books and Second Chances
Whiskey Breakfast

Richard C. Lindberg

University of Minnesota Press

In this chapter, the author, a first-generation Swedish American, talks about the time he longed for an escape from his childhood and dreamed of a second chance. For much of his life, the author has dwelled in old memories of childhood in a Swedish household in Norwood Park in Chicago, questioning why certain things happened to him, attempting to reconcile the past, and harboring a desire to walk down an alternate path once forsaken. He desperately tried to conceal the shame of his parents’ failed marriage in the stratified, rigidly conservative Catholic neighborhood where he and his family lived at a time when divorce raised eyebrows and provoked gossip. In the grammar school that he attended, William J. Onahan School, class hatreds were manifest in “slam books,” which took the form of crudely drawn caricatures and a list of fifty reasons why the creators of the book hated someone. The author embraced his precious moments of solitude in his room by reading Classics Illustrated, which presents the world’s greatest adventure stories in comic book form.

Keywords:   childhood, Norwood Park, Chicago, William J. Onahan School, Classics Illustrated, slam books

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