Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Chicago Neighbor and His Monkey

Photo Copyright: Scienceblogs

After the unbelievable chimpanzee attack in Connecticut I recalled my Chicago neighbor and his monkey.

Yep, I once had a next door neighbor who kept a monkey in his house and yard, that was one block north of Wrigley Field. I could not find any of my own monkey photos (this was pre-digital and those negatives are in storage) but for the people of Wrigleyville if I said, "I live next to the guy with the monkey" they knew exactly what I was talking about. My neighbor bought his Capuchin monkey from a Chicago pet store, in the '60s. The monkey had his own room in the basement and the room's window led to an outdoor cage, he once lived in the former carriage house until drunk people started going in there late at night and occasionally letting him out. My neighbor moved him inside after the police found him at 3:00 AM in a tree about a half mile away at Newport and Broadway, the heart of what was known as "Boys Town." I am not making that up.

Well the monkey was an interesting neighbor, he pretty much ran the show in that yard, among the five dogs and a dozen cats and he could be pretty nasty. One time a guy showed up whom I later learned was a vet, well that monkey gave meaning to the term "ape shit", he went nuts. He raced back and forth from his cage into the basement and then flung himself onto the cage and screeched at my neighbor and his friend, the vet. When my neighbor and the vet got close enough the monkey defecated in his hand and flung it at the vet.

On the plus side kids were entertained for hours by the fact that there was a monkey in a cage next door and the monkey loved the attention.

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