Chicagoan: Mostly True Stories
by Josie Garrett
Josie Garrett's hilarious collection of essays about her experiences growing up in a Polish-Catholic family on Chicago's southwest side will thoroughly explain why native Chicagoans take a protective step back when it's learned that Josie is a "Brighton Park Girl."

From the circumstances of her conception all the way through public school and her career in professional theatre, Josie takes you on a no-holds-barred ride through a childhood and young adulthood spent in a neighborhood that left its children tough and resilient. Josie's tales are rich with the absurd recollections of a time when Baby Boomers ruled the Earth and kids were expected to play outside
until the street lights came on.

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Jury Duty: Josie recounts her mother's experience on a Federal Grand Jury trying to decide if charges should be brought against a mafia hit man. Twenty-five years later, Josie and her son, stuck by a train on his way to jury duty, barely survive what seems to be the beginning of a zombie apocalypse.
  
Conceived After Marriage: The origin story of the rivalry between Josie and her older cousin, Angela.
   
Chicken Hand: Josie nearly dies from an anxiety attack during a barbaric "exposure therapy" incident run by well-meaning neighbors.
   
The Cottage: Summers at the family cottage on the lake are perfect, except for the fact that the cottage is located in a haunted, demon-infested tiny town in Indiana.
   
Elementary School: Josie started kindergarten at a suburban Catholic School and when they couldn't handle her precocious intellect, Josie's family moved back to Chicago with the hope that they could do something with her.
   
Drink Drank Drunk: Josie's second grade Parents' Night essay.
   
The Birds: Josie's father says that Josie and her brother Benny cannot watch Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds." What happens when they disobey him and then need his help in the middle of the night when something is moving under their bunk beds?
   
The Window in the Wall Gang: Josie organizes a shoplifting gang made up of fellow Sunday school classmates who skip out on required church services by jumping out of their classroom windows.
   
Wigilia: Josie's memories of the traditional Polish-Catholic Christmas Eve Dinner that her great-grandmother held every year... and the staging of the yearly family farce, The Christmas Runs, a one-act play about something so foul that it could only be told after the matriarch of the family was soundly asleep in her bed.
   
Brighton Theater: The Legacy of the Murdered Baby Brother, The Kid With Demon Eyes and The Canaryville Invasions. Josie recounts the childhood antics of her friends during the hundreds of hours they spent at the iconic Brighton Movie Theater on Archer Avenue.
   
They Didn't Even Read Me My Rights: Josie is sent by her mother to make sure her dad doesn't kill Josie's brother after he gets arrested for breaking into a train car and has to be picked up at the police station.
   
Miss Titty: Miss Titty was a legend in Brighton Park. No one knew where she lived until Josie's family happened to move into an apartment across the street from this Dolly Parton look-a-like. Josie's dad, in order to prove this good fortune, throws a "viewing" party for family and friends.
   
Tales From a Chicago High School: Josie recaps the highlights of her high school years including getting her period for the first time, "dating" the captain of the football team, naked swim class, the epic math class brawl, and being accused of murder for killing a bumble bee.
   
Lemon Squares and Jimmy Hoffa: Josie's Uncle Tommy and Aunt Julia totally humiliate her cousin Jeff when he wants to know why they keep the ironing board in their bedroom.
   
Election Day: When her youngest son Elliott decides to be an election judge in Chicago, Josie tells her kids about her experiences as an election judge on the night she met their father.
   
Happy Halloween: After a horrible first Halloween together, Josie takes her very uptight and naive husband Greg to a Halloween party filled with very liberal Chicagoans that are visiting from the North Side.
   
Area 51: A collection of essays about Josie's time working in professional theatre:
_____The Third Floor: Josie is offered the opportunity to stay at a television star's Hollywood home... on the  _____condition that she never goes up to the third floor.
_____Pickle Juice: Josie takes a movie star to McDonalds with disastrous results.
_____The Apparent Price For Virginity: A Hollywood legend offers Josie money for sex and then ups the _____price  when she declines, citing her virginity.
_____Snap, Crackle, Pop: A body lice breakout hits backstage on opening night.
_____The Dress: A Hollywood diva insists that Josie fly to New York City overnight just to get her dress
_____dry-cleaned.
   
Sex Toy Party: Josie invites ten women to a sex toy party and eighty-two women show up. Now she has to spend a $700 hostess gift certificate at the company's flagship store... with her sexually repressed husband in tow.
   
Christmas Eve From Hell: Josie's alcoholic father falls off the wagon a few hours before he hosts Christmas Eve dinner for Josie's prim and proper in-laws.
   
Dog Shit Lotto: Josie's dad and brother mastermind a way to cheat the Illinois State Lottery out of money.
Chicagoan Chapter Summaries

__In many ways my mother was a typical stay-at-home mom teleported directly from the 1950’s. She cooked and cleaned for our family, sold her handmade crafts at local art festivals and, when needed, she helped my dad run his restaurants.

___An occasional Bunco gathering or a Tupperware party at a friend’s home was about as exciting as her life got, so one day, when the mailman delivered a notice for jury duty, you would have thought that she had won a new car on The Price is Right. Continue reading "Jury Duty"

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