Re: University of Chicago Prefabs
Date: June 21, 2012 01:09AM
To get a 1-bedroom prefab you just had to be a married couple and at least one of you had to be a student at the University of Chicago. To get a 2-bedroom prefab you had to have at least one child or a pregnancy confirmed beyond the 3rd month. I am laughing about the posts claiming that the prefabs were full of partying hippies---what they were full of was married graduate students, either on the GI Bill or some kind of university fellowship, and everybody was working their behinds off and was very serious of purpose. The huge population of older married students was because of World War II, which had ended just a few years before. Most of the men were veterans. All of us were dirt-poor---my husband had a $2000 fellowship from which the University subtracted $1200 for tuition and fees and gave us the other $800 to live on. Along with taking care of our children,to make a little money I took care of little kids whose mothers were working; my husband juggled his courses, his research, ran another research program for salary, and worked as janitor in a church. Our neighbor had a night job in a cereal factory---that cereal that was "shot from guns", he threw the switch that shot it from guns. In those days it was almost universally the husband who was in school. They spent their days and nights in classes and seminars, libraries and labs, and burned up the books at home. By about 1955 the city had started condemning the prefabs as substandard housing (which God knows they were) and was buying up apartment buildings. It was not an easy life, by a long shot---definitely not party time. We were in the prefabs from June 1953 until November 1956 then in a student apartment until June 1960. By then most of the prefabs had been torn down, if not all of them. These hard-working married students came out of this with PhDs, MDs, JDs, DDs. Not party time.