Whenever someone asks me what suburb of Chicago I grew up in, I can almost see the look of consternation break thru on their face when I answer, "I'm from the south side of Chicago."
Thanks to the nightly news and too many rappers preaching the same litany of woes that they may not have even experienced themselves, visions of trips to the "inner city" of large places like Chicago or daring adventures of New Orleans Tours become synonymous with a trip into a danger zone.
Okay, so yeah, there was the time my mom got her purse snatched. And I do caution people hot-footing it over to my "sweet home Chicago" to not flash their jewelry and be aware of their handbags, but more than that, Chicago holds so many more precious memories to me than of bad stuff.
- Like the guy above from the vantage point of my childhood home, whom we snapped a photo of as he peddled his old-time ice-delivering, milk-delivering or knife-sharpening services -- whatever it was, it was so foreign to us in the 1970s or 80s, we grabbed a camera.
- Or me as a 5-year-old Kindergarten graduate (or was that nursery school?) standing in my backyard. I can still remember standing back there as my mom snapped away, and I wondered what the big deal was...
- Or the time I got to act like a tourist, and took a friend on a boat tour of Chicago, but ours wasn't one of the pricier dinner cruises and such that I still want to take some day. We went from the gorgeous Lake Michigan lakefront thru a channel that closed one door and opened another as the water rose or fell as we went back to the Chicago River. (Think Julia Roberts in My Best Friend's Wedding as they floated underneath that bridge as she said she'd have to check her PowerBook.)
Nothing can replace what Chicago means to me in my heart.