September 20, 2011: Jill Schacter

September 20, 2011: Jill Schacter

It’s one of those last, precious, sunny, warm days before the chill sets in to stay. Out in the backyard this morning there were leaves down on the ground that were not here yesterday. It’s hard to get used to the way it looks out here now.  In July, a five-minute windstorm took down 81 trees here in Evanston and we were without power for five days. We get a lot more sun now that my next door neighbor’s huge tree is gone. Sun is good, but I miss the big forest canopy I had.

My friend Betsy ran by, training for the Chicago Marathon; everyday she’s training.

I was reminded then that I didn’t send her an invitation for a chili party I’m having in October. I live in a very tight little community in Evanston where everyone knows everyone. It can make it tough when you throw a party. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, yet I’m long past the phase of enjoying my house crammed with people. It’s important to have parties as we head into the COLD PERIOD. Keeps us connected. We are already planning our 14th annual Progressive Dinner party for later this winter.

Natalie slept through her alarm so I drove her to Evanston Township High School instead of her taking the crowded 202 bus. The high school is HUGE, diverse and competitive; I like to think the way she navigates it is a window into how she’ll navigate the world: she’s responsible, tries new things, and doesn’t give up.  The guy who directs traffic outside the school intrigues me; I’ve never seen anyone direct a mass of cars so ably. I want to wave at him or shout out my window to tell him he’s an inspiration, but I’d feel like a weird middle-aged stalker, so I just think it to myself instead.

Last stop of the day before greeting my kids after school is The Mighty Twig, where I’m part of the all-volunteer staff. After one of Evanston’s public library branches was closed due to budget cuts (after serving the community for 92 years), a group of citizens started an experimental library where you don’t even need a library card and you’ll never pay a late fee. We distribute free books all over Evanston.  Today some Evanston high school students showed up to volunteer. After their tour, we drove around to the YWCA and to Potbelly to stock their shelves with good FREE books. I love Evanston because people here really care about what goes on in the community and they try to make a difference. They connect.


About the author: Jill Schacter blogs about using writing as a tool to transcend loss at The Heartbreak Diary. She works at The Mighty Twig, an experimental library in Evanston, IL. She is returning to writing a novel set aside 10 years ago when her husband became ill with cancer.

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