Elizabeth Rajer

At fourteen in Yugoslavia,
she hoisted bricks on her head,
four at a time,
and scaled a ladder
to waiting bricklayers.
Sometimes "doggone bricks" fell, cut her
eye,
caught her unprotected cheeks
with their corners,
provoking slight streams of blood,
sometimes
mixed with tears,
on her already ruddy cheeks. She still
bore scars.
At sixteen, she suffered the grueling trip
in confidence it would be
better in America.
And found there
a world of truck gardens, onion patches.
Now she knelt, new daughter across her
calves,
weeding slender rows half mile long,
to give onion bulbs
space to grow. What she needed.
Legs cramped at row's end,
she passed off the baby
to her mother's calves,
and knelt again to rip the alien plantain
from the thin green line.
It made for a long hot day in the sun,
but it was better than Yugoslavia.
When Johnnie was born,
it was better still.
She no longer had to work in the fields.
"What a life! It was beautiful."
Bray & Kates/Creamery Package

Without Creamery Package,
there would hardly have been
a town.
The Monday after they graduated,
so many youngsters carted their lunchpails
across North Western tracks
to the square unadorned factory at Ridge
that Creamery Package was dubbed
"Creamery College."
There was no ivy,
but there was tradition.
And history.
William Dunton founded the town.
A man of multiple enterprise,
he had a store at 8 North Dunton.
Benjamin Kinder and John Bray bought it
in 1869.
Bray's nephew Richard, a tinsmith,
made milkcans in the rear of his uncle's store
with partner Anton Kates.
They milked the local dairy trade.
LIke Topsy, their business just growed
from back room
to three stories at 11 West Davis in 1891,
a factory at Ridge and the tracks in 1897,
and purchase by Creamery Package
when Uncle Richard died in 1921.
Milkcans built
commodious dwellings
for Richard Bray and Anton Kates
on the block
they owned at Dunton and Euclid.
One day the houses would bow down to make
place for the Arlington Heights Memorial Library.
In their prime those homes were
as close as the town came
to elegance.

to elegance.