Category: Uncategorized

The Chicago Reader recently celebrated its 50th annivesary--and some of those years were the best years of my life

The Chicago Reader recently celebrated its 50th annivesary--and some of those years were the best years of my life
The last piece I wrote for the Chicago Reader was in July, 2008. I’d run into Reverend Al Sharpton getting a shoe shine on Chicago Avenue. I think I complimented him regarding a wisecrack he’d recently made on MSNBC, when he was asked why dejected Blacks didn’t just become Republicans; and he said, “If you... Read more »

Chris Hedges' recent talk in Chicago brought back memories of my days in jail

Chris Hedges' recent talk in Chicago brought back memories of my days in jail
Yes, the above is clickbait. But I did spend years visiting all the prisons in Illinois and all the divisions of the Cook County Jail, all the children’s prisons and the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center. With the John Howard Association, a local not-for-profit prison watchdog group. I was a JHA board member for a... Read more »

Dateline: 1963, Me and my aunt in Venezuela, Curacao, Aruba, Jamaica...and Haiti....

Dateline: 1963, Me and my aunt in Venezuela, Curacao, Aruba, Jamaica...and Haiti....
For my 12th birthday, Christmas, 1962, my aunt Dorothy decided to take me on a Caribbean cruise during my school vacation. We departed for New York on a train to meet a very fancy ship called the Santa Rosa. It was built in 1958, had a twin sister ship called the Santa Paula and they... Read more »
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My September 11, 2001 Timeline

My September 11, 2001               Timeline
It was early on a Tuesday morning, and my routine was to get up early on Tuesday mornings to put the finishing touches on my weekly column in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin before emailing it to my editor. He needed time to look it over before it was time to print and deliver the... Read more »

My great-grandmother died in 1918, a victim of the infamous flu pandemic; here's part of the story in real time

My great-grandmother died in 1918, a victim of the infamous flu pandemic; here's part of the story in real time
My great-grandmother, Cecelia Hecht died on Christmas Eve, 1918 of the flu. The big one. She was born in Germany in 1864. She married Mayer Jacob Hecht, who was born in 1848, also in Germany. They met in America and settled in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, where they ran a general store. They had 10 children.... Read more »

My Stone Mountain story, and how I became the most objective person Rita ever knew

My Stone Mountain story,  and how I became the most objective person Rita ever knew
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, who is black, told a story recently about a trip he made as a young man to Lookout Mountain, which straddles three southern states: Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. Speaking to members of the Chicago Bar Association via zoom, he explained that while he was visiting the famous site, he... Read more »
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One little story of what it was like to be a woman reporter 40 years ago (a pregnant one)

One little story of what it was like to be a woman reporter 40 years ago (a pregnant one)
A couple of years ago when my good friend–writer, editor and publisher Pat Colander died, I wrote a memoir about our friendship. Pat’s–and my–good friend Dave Hoekstra read the piece and invited me–and Pat’s sister, Marian O’Quinn and Pat’s best childhood friend, Marilyn Lenti Joyce and Pat’s one time Chicago Reader editor, Mike Lenehan to... Read more »

Lori Lightfoot, take a page out of your predecessor Jane Byrne's political playbook and move to where the bullets are flying

Lori Lightfoot, take a page out of your predecessor Jane Byrne's political playbook and move to where the bullets are flying
Last weekend: 55 shootings. 11 dead. That was the score the weekend before this Memorial Day weekend.  Few pay any attention. It’s just a number happening somewhere else. Unless a bullet goes though your window.  Or though a loved one’s heart. Or…. Lori Lightfoot, you must do something. And I have an idea.   You... Read more »

April, 1945: Ahlem concentration camp outside Hanover, Germany was liberated--and among the liberators were Vernon Tott, Henry Kissinger and my dad

April, 1945:  Ahlem concentration camp outside Hanover, Germany was liberated--and among the liberators were Vernon Tott, Henry Kissinger and my dad
On April 10, 1945, Ahlem, a concentration camp near Hanover, Germany was liberated by the US 84th Infantry Division–nicknamed “The Railsplitters” because its roots went back to Abraham Lincoln. The 84th entered France in 1944, following in the bootprints of the Normandy Invasion and fought the Battle of the Bulge. They soldiered on into Germany... Read more »
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Everyone's looking forward to "getting back to normal" but me

I just got an email from a woman who runs one of the book clubs I belong to. She says she’s decided since “we all had our vaccine,” it’s time to start meeting in person again in each other’s homes. I clutched. My heart stood still. She wants to go back to normal? Now? Just... Read more »