"Please do not put head or arms out of window."
Being of that young and scatological age, I took particular delight in the handiwork of some clever individual(s) who had scratched away strategic portions of some of those decals, resulting in the admonition:
"Please do not p out of window."
I also remember the gawdawful screeching of wheel upon rail as the cars rounded the curves, especially the big curve surrounding the Howard St. yard; that sound was piercing and could be heard for blocks. Just northwest of the Howard yard (on the other side of the "L" and C&NW tracks) was a park where I used to play. There I was often treated to the CTA Steel Symphony.
One Sunday, when I was about 9, I somehow got separated from my parents during a visit to the Museum of Science and Industry (probably due to a refusal on my part to come when called ;-). After searching for them for a while, I gave up and started back towards home on my own. Having no real concept of the distance involved (some 22 miles), my first bright idea was to walk; I knew that all I needed to do was follow Lake Shore Drive and I would eventually get back to Evanston. Simple, right? It wasn't long before I had a better idea. I managed to find an "L" station (don't ask me which one!), paid the fare, and took the train home. I don't remember if my parents were angry at me or not...
In January, 1975, halfway through my 5th grade year, our home was damaged by fire and was subsequently torn down. This naturally forced us to move, and I began commuting to Miller School on the "L", initially between Dempster and Foster, and the following year (after another move) between Central and Main. I seem to recall the fare being around 35 cents; there may have been a student discount. I remember the spiffy new "bicentennial" cars - those were my favorites.
My most memorable experience happened a couple years later. As my friend and I were riding a northbound "L" train in Chicago, we had the misfortune to be stuck - alone - in the last car with a couple of members of the Gaylords street gang. They were busily drawing some graffiti inside the motorman's cab with magic markers when they noticed us. A few tense moments ensued: they demanded to know "what you lookin' at?" and generally tried to provoke a fight. Cream-puff suburban boys that we were, we didn't try to duke it out with them; when the train stopped at Howard, we ran out of the still-opening blinker doors and disappeared down the stairs like bats outta hell. I don't think they tried to follow us; perhaps they were laughing too hard to give effective chase.
It has been some 15 years since I lived in Evanston and rode an "L" train, but I still have (mostly ;-) fond memories.