Reminiscing on the South Side of Chicago

Reminiscing on the South Side of Chicago
If only our city was as beautiful as the post card

Oh how I used to love the South Side of Chicago on a Sunday! It was a menagerie of happy people, the smell of good barbecue, clean cars, good music, and family love. Once everyone got home from church, you could play in the streets all day and night. You could walk up to your neighborhood park and play any kind of game you could think up, and you could jump double Dutch until the wee hours of the night. Chicago is my home and the South side is where I'm from. I used to be proud of that. Now, I just shake my head in amazement at the things I see when I drive through my beloved hometown.

First and foremost, out of all the unbelievable things I see, I must first say that although I miss both my grandmothers tremendously, who also lived on the South Side in historic Chatham, I am so glad that they did not live to see these days. My grandmothers would not have been able to stop themselves from showing their disdain for the way young women dress now. And the way the curse now. And the way they beat their children all up and down the streets. This generation would have depressed them for sure, or made them have a year of praying and fasting or something. And they've only been gone for a little over twenty years! It's really something to consider that in just such a short span of time, the entire world has changed, and especially the culture of the community and family life on the South Side.

We used to love one another. And enjoy one another's company. And we used to play together and go to church together and have block clubs and stores with penny candy. Now I just find myself wanting to leave my house, in which I still live on the South Side, get to where I'm going, and once I'm home, get back into my house. If I shop in my community, most often the stores aren't Black owned.  If I do want to support Black owned businesses, the prices are two and three times higher than others in the area, and it's just a plain shame.

It's absolutely nothing to go outside and see a woman's butt cheeks hanging out because her shorts are so short. Or her breasts are exposed because she has on the sheerest shirt with nipples showing and everything. And this is supposed to be provocative and enticing, except the obesity epidemic that plagues the world, and especially this city, has hit them too, and so need I say more? It's just not a pretty picture. Then add all the cursing, swearing, fake hair, nails, fake designer clothes, and overpriced shoes, it's like watching modern day minstrels. I am truly grieved.

I remember the times of being proud of Black products like Afro Sheen and not just using the products but exuding that power as well. African American had a pride-like "sheen" that made our community gleam with pride. Now it's just yellow tape and potholes.

I haven't even gotten into the sagging pants, drug deals I watch as I drive to the expressway, and loose cigarette sales on every corner. Try Googling South Side of Chicago and see what images pop up.  My city looks like Sodom and Gomorrah. It looks as if it's going straight to hell.

I miss the laughter. I miss the joy. I miss the spontaneity of just going to Evergreen Plaza or the Loop skating rink or "the show" on 95th and Ashland. What happened to us? I know Operation Push still comes on Saturday mornings on the radio, but I can only guess that no one is listening. My father would not even allow me to speak when Jesse Jackson spoke. We rode along in silence to Izola's on 79th Street for our weekly Saturday morning breakfast. If I didn't know anything else, I knew, I was somebody.

Those were the good old days...

****************************************************************************************************************************About Me: I'm a wife and mother of six daughters whose ages range from  from pre-K to beautiful adult women. My passions are loving God, my family, and my career as a fitness instructor and spokesperson. I am also a proud promoter of the Project 10 Challenge which rewards a child with nutritious meals for ever 10 pounds a person loses or builds in lean muscle.  You can learn more information about The Challenge by visiting my website or sending me an email to

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    Elana Anthony

    I am a wife and mother blessed to have six daughters who fill my home with love and laughter. My passion is writing and teaching, but most especially inspiring people to live healthy lives in my faith-filled fitness classes. My dream is to have my own faith and fitness TV show where people from all the world collectively join together on our "temple" building project of enjoying optimal health. I am a certified group fitness instructor by the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), and earned graduate degrees in Writing from DePaul University, in addition to a degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion from the California University of Pennsylvania. I have seen and experienced the hand of God work and move in my life, and consider it an honor and blessing to be saved to serve.

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