When I first signed up for this exciting project I was the old guy in Wicker Park, sitting on the porch, drinking either a large glass of gin or equal amount of scotch, watching the hip “kids” stroll by endlessly on their way to some place cool I would never see nor understand.
And I was OK with that since I had this incredible little baby girl who melted my heart every time she got a surprised expression on her face and ran up the sidewalk yelling “Dada!” when I came home from work. I also have this beautiful wife who supports my whimsical moments in writing and took my daughter to the grocery to let me sit at home and come up with the most amazing freaking six words ever tied together in the history of literate man. Therefore, I never minded sitting and watching the cool kids wander by, making their statement through expression and clothing.
Often, still, I sit here and wonder what my life would be like still tucked away on that porch on the north side of Chicago, and how happy I would have told myself I was there. I think of my friends and family members still there, darting off at 10 p.m. some week night for a beer I never heard of at a bar I always picture when I think of my old hometown.
The one thing about the city I couldn’t get away from was seeing the negative outlooks on life in the eyes of everyone who passed by on the sidewalk in front of my apartment. This was it for them. These young men and women are the ones who can’t tell you what the American dream is. The ones who know claim the dream is dead – that it’s not possible to attain. I had to get away from that. I had to get away from them. I had to escape the endless brick walls of the city.
Now, under my sycamore tree in the backyard I now own, I think how my belief in the American dream never wavered and how that belief has landed me directly in the middle of the American dream.
About the Author: Larry Andersen is the lead copywriter for the online content team at Sears Holdings. His first fiction novel is in editing with hopes of being published within the next year. He lives with his wife, Liz, and daughter, "Birdy," in Batavia