They call Chicago a city-of-neighborhoods. True enough. Sad, though, when European tour agencies label some of them “off limits” for the safety of their clients.
I didn’t want to believe such cynicism when I took an out-of-town friend on a drive through my old neighborhood. Grew up there and happily lived there through the Thirties, Forties and Fifties. So when I parked in front of my old bungalow, I began to reminisce with him, a fellow nostalgic.
That was when I heard the thump on my car roof. Some teens demanded to know what the hell I was doing in their neighborhood. I tried to explain it was mine before it was there’s.
But just as it was turning ugly, the homeowner came out and rescued me with some wise urban advice. “Sir, this is my home now, but you’re welcome to step inside and remember with me.” What a noble gesture!
The teens backed off as my friend and I stepped in.
I think all of us remembered something in that moment. It wasn’t MY neighborhood, it wan’t THEIR neighborhood, it was part of OUR city.
Just in time for all the Fourth of July celebrations about us being “the last best hope of mankind.”
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