Chicago World's Fair

In 1932, when I was six years old, my family planned a trip to the Chicago World’s Fair from our home in Brooklyn, New York. The itinerary included a stop in Louisville, Kentucky, to leave two Dominican nuns, our parish school teachers, at their Motherhouse. One of my father’s big problems was the amount of luggage he had to tie on the back of our car. There was a rack and some rope, and that was it – bungee cords were far in the future. I recall a few mishaps on prior trips to the Catskills when suitcases bounced on the road behind us. So the decision was made to call Uncle Frankie who was a longshoreman. He arrived with just the right rope and instructed my accountant father how to do an expert job of securing the luggage.

So we were off – Mom and Dad in the front seat, my sister, Anne, and the two nuns in the backseat. I, the youngest, sat on a child-size wooden chair which faced sideways at their feet. There seemed to be plenty of space [probably because the car had no trunk], and I have no recollection of being uncomfortable – only very excited! Guess six year olds are hardy.

I have only one vivid memory from that trip. The exhibit at the Fair that I remember so clearly was the “Midget Village”. It was a construction of a tiny town with houses and tiny people living in them. Viewers could see them through the windows. I was mesmerized – here were very small versions of older people going about their daily lives! One gentleman was sitting in an easy chair by the window reading the paper and smoking a pipe. I stood there a long time staring at him. I was “awakened” when someone touched the little man, and he snarled angrily at the intruder. I then realized that I was alone as my family had moved on, not realizing I wasn’t tailing behind. I wailed loudly and was soon found – with a warning to stay close.

Veronica Berrill,
©2011
Southbury, CT

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