"I was born in Cook County Hospital on the West Side of Chicago in 1922. My parents were living on the South Side at 4801 South Evans at that time. My mother worked as a domestic and my father worked as a chef on the Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad. They called my Dad "Bad Foot" Donegan. He had real bad feet but he could bake his buns off.
Captain Dyett was an excellent musician and a hard taskmaster. He would always say, "When you're right, you can afford to keep quiet." But he also made you very conscious of being a good musician. He could hear a mosquito urinate on a bale of cotton. His musical ear was that sensitive. Sometimes we could make Captain Dyett so mad, that he would call us all kinds of S.O.B.'s and M.F.'s, and he would say to me, "Hit it! It's a B-flat chord." And I would say, "Oh, it's still a B-flat chord." He would, retort, "You've got to hit that B-flat, C-7th and F-7th." And sometimes I would cuss back at him and Dyett never liked it. He had such a terrific ear. Out of a 150 piece concert band, he could tell exactly which instrument had made the mistake, and you would know it because he would stare at you with that one good eye and make you feel smaller than a snail. On the other hand, he had a good band and he always produced an excellent Hi Jinks show from the student talent at DuSable.
Dyett had to use the proceeds from the annual Hi Jinks affair to buy instruments for the band because the Board of Education would never furnish instruments for the students. Dyett gave each member of the booster orchestra one dollar per night for the four nights that we played the Hi Jinks....."