18th Amendment Roundly Unpopular During the Depression Era in Chicago

Illinois man describes ways that people ignored the 18th Amendment in Chicago during the depression era

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During the depression era, my father ran some poker games in our house. My father was a "meat carver," that is, he sliced the meat at a steam table in front of the customers. The slices of meat were so thin there was only one side to it! At least that was what was said, but the slices would hang over the side of the bread to such an extent it made the sandwich look larger than it really was. The bosses loved him because he was able to get his 200 sandwiches out of a round of beef. Most of the poker players were cronies he worked with; cooks, pastry cooks, chefs, bartenders, etc.

Dad would insist I go with him to his "bootlegger" to get the wine for his card players. During the Prohibition era, the Chicago Police Department was highly visible in its efforts to prevent crimes related to any of the violations of the 18th Amendment to wit: the Volsted Act. Automobiles in those days were still considered a "rich man's toy" to some extent. Laws were passed to detain any autos that had their shades lowered (takin' some guy for a ride) or, on the street after dark and suspicious looking. Therefore, an inconspicuous small car with a little boy in the front seat was definitely not very conspicuous. That was my dad's answer and we were never caught!

Bill Friar Glen 
Ellyn, Illinois

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