Wobbly, the Rough-And-Tumble Story of an American Radical

By Ralph Chaplin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 25. A TASTE OF FREEDOM. ONE
JUMP AHEAD OF A LYNCH MOB. COMMUNIST
PARTY ORGANIZED

JACKSON PARK never looked as beautiful to anyone as it did to me that autumn. Just being free to mingle with other free people—to go where and when I pleased without supervision or regimentation—what more could one ask for than that! Every evening after work Edith, Vonnie, and I would follow well-remembered walks to Wooded Island, then back to the boathouse in the cool of the evening for a row on the lagoon. Lake Michigan with its far horizons and bright colors was a source of never ending wonder. How had I managed to live without all this, and for so long?

Just to be with Edith and Vonnie again seemed the rarest of privileges. I saw them with new eyes. In prison they had been with me as dreams. But here they were real, in flesh and spirit, the most precious of all realities. Vonnie, big for his nine years, full of his mother's pride and sensitivity, was no longer the moody little fellow I had left. He still listened curiously to the long discussions between Haywood and our other friends, but sometimes his brown eyes were full of questions that were hard to answer. Edith had performed miracles of hard work and careful planning in keeping Vonnie in school. She had kept our home unbroken while I was away. Sometimes there were questions in her eyes also that I hesitated to try to answer at the moment. We were happiest walking in the park, many times just holding hands and saying nothing.

One evening I discovered that our enjoyment of Jackson Park was shared by none other than Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Edith, Vonnie, and I were returning from a stroll when we saw

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