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December 06, 2006

Chicagoland

My mother and brother were born there. As I kid, and like other Procter & Gamble children growing up in the 1960s, I lived there twice before we moved to Cincinnati, the Promised Land for our corporate cult. Until I was about 18, I thought that moving around like that--my birthplace D.C., then Chevy Chase and Aberdeen, Maryland, Chicago (brother David), Grand Rapids, and Detroit (sister Becky)--was perfectly "normal". So, after Detroit, where Becky was born, the five of us moved back to Chicago again and lived, this time, on the North Shore, on Lake Michigan, near Ravinia, in a suburb called Highland Park, a child's perfect wonderland of woods, ravines and beach. That neighborhood is the setting for the movies Ferris Bueller's Day Off (note Cameron's yard, where the ravine swallows his dad's classic car), and Risky Business.

It was a fine and sometimes moving early lesson, thanks to my mother who pushed my Dad to move us there, in multi-culturalism. As two of the only local Gentile kids at our public school, my brother David and I would love the High Holy Days (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) because they were ours to play dodgeball all day long with about 10 other non-Jewish kids, or kids from "mixed" families, at Braeside Elementary, at 150 Pierce Road. All our friends had those days off. We did miss them, but enjoyed our all-day recess-at-school. Still, I remember feeling left out and jealous we weren't Jewish. To this day, my frame of reference for looking at the world is broader, richer and better due to my family's Chicago episodes. It stretched us and me.

In the next four weeks I'll be working in Los Angeles, D.C., and Pittsburgh, and maybe NYC--with detours for Christmas in Ohio, and New Years in South Carolina. And back to San Diego, then Nashville. But Chicago will be first, starting later next week. I am going back for a week to work downtown--and excited about being again in the most vibrant American city between the coasts, hands down, and amongst lawyers who get it.

Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight
Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:
They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I
have seen your painted women under the gas lamps
luring the farm boys...

Chicago, Carl Sandburg, Poetry magazine, 1914.

Posted by JD Hull at December 6, 2006 11:15 PM

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