When I saw him this morning he'd been on a salvaging trek, and he was carrying a pair of petite wooden crutches, possibly from before the turn of the century. They'll likely become the balusters of his staircase or a detail over one of the dining room windows, which once resided in the Chicago Historical Society.
Dennis was also carrying a small china gravy boat and two cream pitchers, spied in a box behind the Oddfellows Hall, one of the most strange and coveted buildings in our neighborhood.
When John and I first moved in, the Oddfellows still ran the place, meeting in their long maroon robes or throwing occasional pancake breakfasts. Since then the building has changed hands a few times. For a short time it was home to the Iglesia de los Santos Muertes. The founder drove a repurposed ice-cream truck with a skeleton in a long blond wig in the passenger seat. Their tenure in the building was short.
It's now in the hands of one of our neighbors, who's planning a major green renovation that will preserve the integrity of the front facade but actually make the interior liveable. On Dennis's tip, I now have my own piece of Oddfellows history, the sweet ephemera pictured here. I picked up five more sets for my neighbors, who also prize the building--and Dennis--as neighborhood wonders.