|Our Lady of the Angels (OLA) School Fire, December 1, 1958|
|Our Lady of the Angels Individual Memorial Page|
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|Robert H. Anglim|
|Memories of Robert|
Any time of year, Bobby would try to get the kids to play a game of football. He really loved that game. I remember one time when we were playing football at the park and Bobby made this incredible tackle in the open field, one on one. I will always remember Bobby and the fun we had playing together. He was my best friend.
-- (George, Friend)
My name is Bob McMorrow. I grew up on the West Side of Chicago and went to St. Thomas Aquinas School on Washington Blvd. I lived in the 300 block of Lockwood. That is where I got to know Bobby. I got to know him when he would come over and visit his grandparents who lived down the block. When he would come over to visit, he would come to my house to let me know that he was there. We were great friends. We would play catch and just goof around like any young boys do. There was always some kind of adventure to be found.
There was a little store on the corner of Lockwood and Lake. It was Arlene’s or something like that. It was the 1950’s version of 7–11, only a lot smaller (it was in the basement of the large apartment building). If I remember right that is the building Bobby’s grandparents lived in.(?) We would get a couple nickels from my parents or Bobby’s grandparents, and head for the “penny candy store” (you could really get a lot of candy for a nickel). If that didn’t work we would look around the block for empty pop bottles. One could get 2 cents each for them.
We were always trying to figure out a way that one of us could move closer to the other's house so we could play together all the time.
I guess I never thought about it but Bobby was the only one (no other brothers or sisters) that came over to see the grandparents. Nancy, I don’t remember from your note if your parents are still alive. If they are, I doubt that they would remember me.
I had another friend, Margaret Chambers, who died in the same fire. I went to school with Margaret at St Thomas Aquinas. I am not sure what grade she moved to OLA, but it had to be probably 3rd. She lived a little further down the block so we would walk to and from school together.
When I heard that my two friends died it was very hard on me. It was the first time death had ever touched me. I was almost 10 years old. I always prayed for them during the first few years after Bobby and Margaret died. When I got a little older I started praying “to” them as I realized that they were already in heaven and maybe their prayers could help me get there some day.
I hope that in some way I have helped you know Bobby a little better. I still think of him and say a prayer “to” him to help me.
I am not sure exactly how I came to this page today. I have never seen it or heard of it before. I was searching for on a priest that I knew in Chicago.
This message is for the gentleman named "George"...I would like to thank you for sharing the memory of my brother. I never knew he liked football so much! I never met my brother, although I grew up with pictures of Bobby all over our home. My parents always spoke about him with the greatest amount of love in their eyes....shortly followed by a very saddened silence. Every December 1st we attended OLA's mass for the fire. We grew up knowing of Bobby and hearing few funny stories of him. My parents still mourn his death. They do not speak of the fire or the details of that day. December 1st has and always will be a day of sorrow in our family. My parents could not concieve anymore children after Bobby. He was their only "natural" child. Myself and my two brothers were adopted in the years that followed. I thank GOD every day for my parents, and George, I thank you for the memory of my brother.
To answer your question, yes, both my parents are still alive. My Dad just had his 80th birthday this year. They both are doing well. I have tried to get them to visit this site, or even go to any gatherings that the survivors have, but it is still way too painful. I don't think that they will ever get past their (our) loss.
I again thank you Bob, for sharing the time and memories you have of my brother.
I never knew my Uncle Robert, but from the stories that I have heard I know he was a great person. I am proud to be named after him.
-- (Robert Anglim, Nephew)
This is Bobby's friend George writing again. I have struggled with my experiences of the fire and still have not talked about some of my memories. I have wanted to share them with the families but hesitate for fear of making their burden worse. I know something about this since I have experienced losing a son and a grandson.
I was with Bobby in his room and wish to tell you now about that day and appoligize if it brings you more sorrow. Bobby sat at the front of the class near the windows and I sat at the rear near the back door. It was nearly time to go home when we noticed smoke coming into the room through the doors. When the doors were opened to see what was happening, the smoke started pouring into the room. We immediately opened the windows and started calling for help. I moved toward the windows but before I could get across the room the thick black smoke blocked my vision. I took a deep breath and held it for as long as I could as I felt my way to the other side of the room. When I reached the window I immediately climbed out onto the ledge and jumped. I truly believed I was jumping to my death. The next thing I remember is laying on the ground, my leg broken.
I struggled to crawl away from the building because I was afraid that the building would fall on me. The lady across the alley from the store, saw me and helped drag me away. I sat against the building on the opposite side of the alley. People were running and screaming everywhere. I saw many of my classmates and others still in the rooms at the windows. That is when I saw Bobby. He had climbed out of the window and was sitting on the ledge. I called to him again and again. The fire department had not arrived yet. Bobby saw me and I told him to jump. But, he shook his head, no. It seem like only a brief moment, I was distracted by something. When I looked back to see Bobby, he was falling back into the room. I never saw him again. I was in the hospital for weeks. My parents did not let me find out about my cousin, classmates and Bobby until later. I miss them all and hope that my telling you this does not hurt you.
Bobby and I were cousins who were born in 1948. We were both in the fifth grade at the time of the fire. Bobby was a natural athlete. We would spend hours in my back yard "kicking off" to each other and attempting to break tackles to score touchdowns. I can remember going to one of his Little League games and watching him shine. Bobby was a leader. He was one of those people you just wanted to be around. When visiting my grandparents at Lake and Lockwood, other kids would follow his lead. He would have done great things...
-- (Tom Anglim, Cousin)
Nancy and James, I am grateful for this past Saturday. I appreciate the time I spent with you. Your parents raised a wonderful family; I know they struggle with Robert's death, but I wish they could know what a fine job they have done as parents. This weekend's dedication calls me to do something more. As I told you, I only attended OLA as a CCD kid--a Public, but I have ever been touched by the fire, and it has greatly affected my teaching life. I hope to rearrange my life so I can help the OLA Mission. I am honored to have met such fine people, and I pray for Robert; more so, I will remember your parents forever since they have experienced a loss that no parent should know. You are a blessed family. Contact me if you please. I left my address on the site.
-- (Janice Jenkins, Other)
I lived in the same building as Bobby. He, myself, Tommy Ouimet and Billy Bonthron, or any combination, used to play together up and down Central Park Ave. Bobby and his parents lived on the third floor in the back of the building (844 N. Central Park) and my mother, sister and myself lived on the first floor in the front of the building (846 N. Central Park). My father died in 1951 and my mother had just gotten re-married in October, 1958. We had moved to a two flat on Monroe, just west of Cicero. On December 1, 1958, I was a freshman at St. Mel High School. I remember I had gone to the National Tea Store on Cicero to pick up some milk after school. That is where I heard about the fire. I went to the wake for Bobby and that was the toughest thing I had had to do. I still think about Bobby occasionally.
-- (Jim (Jimmy) Bouchard, Friend)
Bobby was the best, and football was the sport we loved. We all used to talk about when we would get our chance once we were 8th graders, and how good we would be. I remember a bunch of us going to Humboldt Park to watch the 8th graders play their homecoming game -- we could not wait for our turn. Yes, George [from above], Bobby was that leader, and I know you were never the same after the fire, and really kept to yourself. I understand, though.
When we played football in grade 8, we never forgot Bobby, George Cannella and John Mele. Before each game we would pray a Hail Mary and our battle cry was 'remember the ninety five'. I always thought of Bobby and the others and I really felt from the beginning of the season that we would go all the way -- and we did. I know Bobby was there when we won the city championship -- I just know he and the others were there -- I could feel their presence. But I cried for them that night when I was alone. Always, John Raymond.
I do not know much about Robert, but I do know that he was my uncle. Sadly, he died in the fire at a young age so I was not able to meet him. I have a few uncles but I'm not sure the correct amount, but I painfully know that I would have one more uncle if it wasn't for that fire. I have been searching information about my uncle for a long time but have been just coming up with different people, now I can share things and learn more about him. If only I could have at least met him and said the goodbyes he needed before he died. I am only 10 years old and again do not know things about Robert, and the thing that hurts me the most is that I could have enjoyed him as a family member and know more about him. Robert (Bobby) did not deserve this way to die. I LOVE YOU ROBERT AND SO DOES ... your brother Mike, your nephew Jacob, my mom Cheryl and me Katie. i luv u!!!
-- (Katie, Niece)
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