Thursday, June 15, 2006
Well, No. She was Not Saint Jane Adams
Oleg engraved tombstones, entire lives settled in simple runs of numbers 1840-1893; 1856-1893; 1886-1893. He had been a scientist in the Ukraine but moved to Chicago to give his daughters a better life. He engraved tombstones for Irish, Polish, Russians, Germans, Jews until he suffered a massive heart attack and died. His wife, Myra, and his daughters, Eva and Adelle, started pedaling food door-to-door then worked in a sweatshop on south State Street, a mile away from Marshall Fields, a high-end store where they could never afford to shop. One June evening, at the Maxwell Street market, Eva’s dark eyes seduced a local ward politician. He would make her his wife after she attended lots of funerals with him where she used those eyes. Those eyes! Eyes that spoke rhymes: crave engrave grave grave wave save never shave. She mesmerize lots of the city’s voters, especially the bearded and the beastly. While saying her matrimonial vows, Eva whispered a silent prayer giving thanks that she didn’t end up in the cribs smoking opium with her younger sister.