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

By Ralph Chaplin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 34. "MAYBE THE ONLY TIME A
MAN LEARNS TO LOVE HIS COUNTRY IS WHEN
SOMEONE TRIES TO TAKE IT AWAY FROM HIM"

BACK in Chicago we moved into a small furnished apartment opposite St. Vincent's Church on Deming Place. Abe Linder, that most patient of employers, made a place for me at the studio, not as studio foreman—just "one of the bunch." That suited me fine. Everything was just as it had been the day I last walked out. The same artists were bending over portraits of assorted Filipino, East Indian, and Latin-American dignitaries. My easel still bore crusts of airbrush color some of which dated back to that day sixteen years ago when I resumed work at my trade after a sojourn in Leavenworth. Looking out the window across Washington Boulevard, I noticed that the front of the old Clinton Street fire station had been given a new coat of red paint, but in the studio nothing had changed. It was just as though I had never left the job.

Our little apartment continued to be a rendezvous for our many friends. Albert Wehde had finished his book Since Leaving Home. He was bitterly hostile to the Hitler regime and always eager to discuss the war situation. Unlike myself, he had few reservations about the expediency of American entanglement in European affairs. Wehde even predicted that war with both Germany and Japan would be ultimately unavoidable. The old adventurer's health was failing rapidly, but his faculties and craftsmanship were unimpaired.

Our old friend Dessai Shunka Rao died that summer. I was asked to pay him final tribute at the funeral. Essie, with great misgivings, begged me to say the Lord's Prayer and the Twenty‐ third Psalm at the graveside. I was ashamed to admit that I had

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