Thursday, January 01, 2009

Chicago, Chicago, I Toddled That Town!

I remember Obama making a comment about how he hoped he and his family would be able to return to Chicago often because it's home; where their friends are. Then I reflected on how many times the Chicago Sun Times has picked up one of my posts and thought I might share my own Chicago connection. I was born there. To a mother who I believe was Polish. At least she had a Polish sounding name, you know, one with 10,000 letters!

It was during the war so I'm assuming that may have something to do with why I ended up at the Cradle, an adoption agency in Evanston. The folks first adopted my brother (not my blood brother) from the same agency then a couple of years later, me. We both were so fortunate!

Dad was with Westinghouse. One of those situations common to the times where he went with the company straight from college and spent his entire career with them. Job firmly in hand Dad and Mom married and spent their early years on Fargo.

My first recollections, however, were of Greenview Avenue close to where it intersects with Howard. 7512. I have no idea why that number remains so vivid to me, but 7512 it was!

From there we moved to our very first house, in Barrington. Home of the Jewel Tea Company. You could see it from the neighborhood. There was a pond at the foot of the street and a pasture behind us. I remember when the cows broke through the fence and swarmed through the yard and running into the house because they were so big!

All that in the first four years of my life. Then Dad was transferred to Pittsburgh.

That wasn't the end of my time in Chicago however. Dad often had business there and it was a wonderful train ride away. That really dates me, doesn't it? I learned to love trains. The overnights in the Pullman cars with the beds that pulled down. And dinner in the dining cars! What an adventure. And Chicago. We always managed to visit during the holiday season so we could have lunch at Marshall Fields and look at the magnificent Christmas Tree. It was a magical time for a kid.

The years passed and the family trips came to an end but Chicago remained a part of my life. Hub had lots of business there and I often went along. Refreshing the memories. Funny. I grew up in Pittsburgh, but to this day when asked where I'm from the answer is always "Chicago".

Ah, Chicago. It's wonderful museums and zoos and lake shore. It's architecture and public art. The Lyric and the Symphony. The restaurants. It's politics and personalities from Capone to Daley to Obama. It even has Oprah! You can't get much more colorful than that!

I've had some pretty auspicious company in loving Chicago. It's my home town after all. Sinatra toddled it his way and I - mine!


Rinkly Rimes said...

I visited Chicago a few years ago and several things impressed me:
The height of the Big Wheel (I gritted my teeth with fear)
The Stock Exchange, which, at that time was buzzing with optimism
The 'sea' which was just a lake
The poorer area (which we reached by catching local buses.... a habit of ours in a strange place....).
We flew straight from there to the Deep South! What a difference!

TropiGal said...

I love the photos and memories. Good stuff, Sylvia.

Dogwalkmusings said...

Glad you like the post, Trop, but this is not Sylvia's blog!