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East St. Louis

October 06, 1986

It was with nostalgia that I read the article (Sept. 15) on East St. Louis, Ill.

The town never had a chance. It was always overshadowed by St. Louis, Mo., where I was born and raised.

East St. Louis was only a place you had to travel through to get to some place else.

As a teen-ager in the '30s I was warned by my parents to "stay away from that side of the river." East St. Louis had a reputation for gangsters, prostitutes and ex-bootleggers. But on a few occasions, my friends and I ventured forth to view the forbidden.

Our destination was an area called The Valley where prostitution flourished. I remember the streets being filled with deep potholes to slow the cars down. But when the women, who were there to hail the cars as they passed, saw that our car contained both girls and fellows they'd scream obscenities at us. At this point, we curious girls would try to hide, and our brave male friends would decide it was time to leave! And, back we'd go via Eads Bridge, west to St. Louis, safety and home.

PATRICIA PROFFITT

La Mirada

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