Well, you lived the high life. I used to take the bus to Hammond when I was 11-13 and go shopping in downtown Hammond. We'd spend all day walking around -- Weibolts, Carsons, the little candy shops...Tads was a chain downtown,,,i think there were 4-5 scattered around...Kinda early Ponderosa or Bonanza....i started working at 12...i could make $60 on one Saturday morning, only limited by how much gas i could carry....Geez, we missed the Library...i do recall a store that sold tricks and pranks, called Shopper's Corner, where these rough guys were very leary of kids like us..."Are you lookin, or buying?"...they would say, shuffling us along and eventually out the door...lol...IC yeah, wonder where i was where it was the "L" for elevated?
Then they built River Oaks in Calumet City and we went there. Back when it didn't have a roof. And you could actually walk around safely before your movie. Saw Star Wars in River Oaks 1.
Do you remember Hangman's Bridge? I think that was Crete.
Maybe you went over to Indiana or Hegewisch and caught the South Shore.