A very early commute for families (dads too) to school and work

Yesterday I wanted to get to work about a half hour earlier than usual, so I got to my “L” stop a little bit before 7 am.

Right away I noticed three different dads escorting their kids to school, something I had never seen when I usually ride 30 minutes later.

One dad had three kids, another was with two and
one had a lone boy. Then when I got on a train I saw a big sister high school student who was doting on
her little 7-year-old brother. She gave him a book by Roald Dahl, a big
hug and a kiss on his hatted head.

The dad with three kids of course had his hands full the most. First
he was settling a playful kicking “fight” on the platform between sisters, then trying to tame
the tangly locks of the older girl’s hair.

It was all rather sweet.

On the same rail car I also saw at least three more moms with their kids.

But I wonder what it is about 7 am that I saw so many families — and lots of men!  — going to school and work?


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  • This sounds like the old days, before cities paid for school buses. Also, the working class usually started work at 8:00 a.m. or earlier. School hours usually start sometime around 8:00. In fact, it is like the old days in that city children actually had fathers.

  • For many in Chicago, particularly the many chicagoans who are carless like myself and rely exclusively on CTA, the service cuts are going to make their commute times longer, and their time with their families smaller.

    Now, it's clearly a favorite pastime on this blog to resort to facile scapegoating narratives that place all of the blame on the unionized CTA workers. This is preposterous.

    I'm all for collective sacrifice in the face of a crisis. I'm all for having everyone shouldering the burden on hard times in order to keep important things -like the CTA- running at full capacity.

    But if you believe in shared sacrifice, if you believe in *everyone* chipping in... it's not clear why we should focus all of our ire on two relatively powerless groups: CTA workers and seniors.

    Behind the scenes, Daley can spend millions of taxpayer dollars on a rehab of Willis Tower, subsidies for for-profit, privately-run hospitals and Fortune 500 corporations, and other pet projects that aren't included in the official city budget since they're TIFs. Moreover, our State and Federal Governments can continue to give billions to massive financial institutions, to the Pentagon, etc.

    All of this, these seniors/union-bashers would tell us, is acceptable. "Sure", they'll say, "let Obama, Quinn, and Daley spend untold sums bailing out reckless financial institutions, fattening the Pentagon's budget for unpopular wars, and so on". But when ordinary Chicagoans wonder why their means of transport is being sliced and diced... these people have only one thing to say: "It's all that greedy union's fault".

    Suppose the union did forgo its 3.5% wage increase. This does not obscure the fact that there *would still be service cuts*, and there *would still be layoffs*. Are these cuts inevitable? No way. The funds exist to fix the CTA and prevent any and all service cuts. The CTA issue is one of spending priorities.

    If Obama's anemic stimulus plan actually had some bite, the CTA wouldn't be making cuts. If Obama and the Democrats weren't entertaining a Hoover-style spending freeze (exempting, of course, Pentagon spending), perhaps funds for transit would be more forthcoming. If IL had a *progressive* means of collecting state taxes, this would enable *every* person in Illinois to contribute to essential services according to their means. If Daley would forgo privatizations, pet projects, corporate subsidies and slush funds.... Chicago could contribute more to the things that matter, like schools and transport.

    This isn't about union contracts and seniors. This is about how our social institutions collect funds and how these funds are spent.

  • In reply to CH1CAGOANforL1FE:

    Chicagoan, you're way off base here saying that this blog is scapegoating the unions. I don't recall your name, so I think this is the first time you've visited here. If so, you don't know how much I have criticized the politicians for many of the same reasons you state here.

    And I absolutely pointed out that giving up the pay raise would not solve the whole problem, but it would solve a good piece of it. Take some time to know what you're talking about before shooting off your mouth.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    I kinda doubt Chicagoan actually wrote all that anyways.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    I'm normally just lurk here, but have been lurking since the beginning when the Tattler was just funny/scary stuff seen on the CTA (I do miss those by the way) and I back up Kevin's defense here, he's always shared the blame equally...(and praised the good stuff he sees) Chicagoan must be a newbie. Keep up the good work Kevin !

  • In reply to sophie:

    Thanks for the good word and support Sophie! I am trying to do a little more of the funny/scary stuff too.

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