What do you get when you have a book written by two guys named James T. Joyce? An entertaining story about growing up in an Irish Catholic neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side in the 1960s.
James T. Joyce, of Chicago’s Beverly community, the former Chicago Fire Commissioner who grew up on Carpenter Street, teamed with James T. Joyce, who grew up on Ada Street, to write “The Guys in the Gang (and other stories),” published by iUniverse in Bloomington, Ind.
The two Joyces, friends 57 years since their days attending St. Sabina School and Leo High School, will sign copies of their book during a wine tasting at Town Liquors, 10000 S. Western Ave. in Chicago, from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, and at the Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St., Chicago, from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday.
“It was a good experience, being able to put our thoughts together on something other than city business,” the Carpenter Street-raised Joyce said Tuesday.
Ada Street Joyce now lives in Waynesville, N.C., where “the locals are eating it up,” he said.
“Although it’s about the big city, they can relate to the stories about growing up. Everybody did crazy things,” he said.
The book idea originated over — big surprise — a few beers.
“We’d start telling funny stories and said, ‘We should write that down,’ ” Carpenter Street Joyce said. “The scoresheet is how many books you’ve sold. We’re not so concerned about that. But the buzz has been interesting. A lot of old St. Sabina people have been calling or emailing or commenting about the book. Eventually, we’ll figure out a way to get a website going so people can post their own memories or old photos.”
When recording their memories in print, they contacted people to make sure the stories were accurate.
“Bill Nelligan was the toughest guy in our gang and still is. I called him ‘ugly’ and said he had zero personality. So he wouldn’t beat the crap out of me, I asked if that was OK. He had no problem with either. He still thinks he’s handsome,” Ada Street Joyce said with a laugh.