Tag Family

Bell Boy Bannack

I’m pretty thrilled to be back in Montana for the weekend for a big Roberts’ family reunion. The family booked 22 rooms here at Fairmont Hot Springs, that includes one tipi.  We’re off with a bang and a ROAR. (Roberts’ Outstandingly Awesome Reunion.)

But best of all is getting to see Bannack grown up and more capable of antics than ever.  Here he is at around ten o’clock last night playing bell boy.

Thinking of My Nephew

From My Ma:
Bannack loves to mow! Only pretend. When Mike starts the mower engine Bannack is frightened!

I’m missing my little guy.

My sister, Chris and Bannack are staying up at my parent’s house so they can get their place rented before the big move to New York in August. So when I called home recently I got to talk to everyone, including little Bannack.

My mom wanted him to show off his newest word to me and put him on the line. I could only imagine what he looked like, but the little tyke growled something that sounded an awful lot like “garage” into the telephone and it made my day.

Chicago Stone Grease

I must have been twelve or so. I was rummaging around in the storage space formed by the roof and the hip wall, behind the chimney in our old house on Billings Avenue.

Maybe I was going through an old suitcase, but I came across a threadbare black athletic shirt. Was it made out of jersey netting? On its front was a big graphic in white ink: a wicked looking dagger, impossibly jabbed through a pair of over-sized dice. Their may or may not have been a mean looking snake on there, and in a big arc over the graphic, the initials P. I. T. A. in big block letters.

P. I. T. A.

This strange piece of clothing was my dad’s. I asked him about it and got a great batch of stories of his high school days. As I remember it, he and a group of dudes that made mischief together dubbed themselves the Pain In The Asses. (Or Pains in the Ass?) I really wanted him to have stories of rumbles with rival gangs or at least a drag race or something. I think he told me all they did was organize tag football games. I really wanted that jersey to be a gang shirt.

Anyway, I got to thinking about all this because I came across this great site full of old greaser gang names and compliments cards. A real treasure trove.

These guys were the closest to where I’m living now:

The Coal Yard Gang was at Lakewood and Wolfram, near Southport and Lincoln Avenue. Just a local white gang originating in the early 60’s. Mostly just taking care of local business. Our colors were Black and White. I was mostly a partier. I was too small, and often found myself in over my head way too many times. I remember Lennies across from Lane Tech. I can still taste that greasy bag of fries, ten cent pin-ball games. It was neat place. Everyone was safe there. Even girlfriends could meet you there. (Via Reddit)

Digging a little more, I found this little documentary on the Gaylords. Finding out that my dad wasn’t really a gangster was bad, but it’s even more disappointing to find out how hung up on race these dudes are.

My Uncle Dan gives a little background

P.I.T.A. well…. NOT a group of ‘gangbangers’ ! More like neighborhood guys in desperate need of a name for their floor hockey team. We used to all hang at da park. Every group (grade level) or age had a bench to sit on and to ease the tensions between us older, younger, really older (High School) kids. The Phs Ed. Instructor for the Park District created a hockey league for us to beat the shit out of each other in a organized way. It was fantastic! It had rules, and penalties, just like the BlackHawk games we loved to listen to on the radio. Because none of us could afford a game ticket or play on REAL ice cuz we were city kids. Middle class families living from paycheck to paycheck….and yah they were a real pain in the ass!


Crazy Ralph • Zofo • Demon • Tex • PW Lake • Lucifer • Pope • Dopey •  Bee • Fish • Knight • Ears • Angus • Oscar • Lil Rich • Lil Worm • Capone • Shorty • Chaino • Hoss • Tiny • Ceasar • Lil Cisco • Cocolo • Nino • Lil Drago • Chaco • Coco • Shadow • Lil Man •  Dobe • Boxer • Puttet • Indio • Duke • Pappo • Chanco • Junior • Pro • China • Froggie • Chet • Rican • Vida • Smuckers • Unicorn • Bubbles • Giggles • Sweet Pea • Chaser • Rebel • Skippy • Sir Lazy • Maggs • Lil Boz • Crazy Tom • Lil Freak • Satan • Lil Rich • Skull • Monk • Deuce • Dragon • Warlock • Lil Spike • Sahama • Hitman • Groucho • Big Jim • Butcher • Lil Dago • Fro • Lil Capone

Easter in Helena

I extended my stay in Montana so I could have a little more time with my family and friends before really diving into life in Chicago. I was glad I did.

Chris hard boiled some Easter eggs and dyed them Martha Stuart style in red cabbage and turmeric. He and I took Bannack a little way up Mount Helena to collect some grass for his basket and I made a little Easter nest.

It was great to get to fill an Easter basket with little Bannack.

The Hunt!

This was the first year Bannack was able to attempt an Easter egg hunt and he did very well! We took him to the one hosted by the Hibernians at Memorial Park. Bannack was raring to go at the starting gate and held his own against the six year olds towering above him.

Congratulations Chris!

Well, color me thrilled.

Chris got the fat envelope from The Cooper Union.