Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Things I Will Miss About Our Neighborhood

The Blommer Chocolate Company is about a mile from our place and the cocoa powder frequently makes the neighborhood smell like baking brownies. Some people--lunatics all of them--don't like the smell, but it's one of my favorite things about living in West Town.

Bloomer Chocolate: the reason West Town is the best smelling neighborhood in the city
Police Officers
This might seem like an odd thing to list, but I really will miss walking the dog past clumps of cops hanging out on the street corner outside of Nini's Deli next store before they go in for sandwiches (this happened earlier today), or passing Oggi Cafe on the corner and seeing a table full of police officers eating spaghetti. They're always smiling and sweet to Roo (or, in the past, Henry), and there's just something about police being all prosaic that makes me happy.

Henry was only six months old when we moved to this loft in 2005, and he was just three months shy of his seventh birthday when he passed away in March, 2012. He explored every inch of this neighborhood in that time, and we have a lot of memories of him here. About three years ago, Trevor and Henry were on a walk and they passed a square of wet sidewalk cement. And Henry couldn't resist signing his name. He'll always be a part of West Town.
Roo having a moment of silence in honor of the older brother she never met

You'd think I'd get enough of teenagers and young adults during the day at school. Day in, day out. Every day for weeks, months at a time. Lots and lots of kids. But I actually enjoy seeing all the kids in our neighborhood. It's different when they're a part of the scene and I know I don't have to stand in front of them in a classroom.

We live next to Rauner College Prep and the kids from the school--dressed in their navy blue polo shirts and khaki slacks--wander the neighborhood in the morning on their way to school, at lunchtime when they're filing in and out of Candy's corner shop with bags of Cheetos and giant cans of energy drinks (god bless their own teachers and another silent prayer that I'm not one of them), and in the afternoons when they're going from school to football practice, or home from band practice, waiting at the bus stop, using their instrument cases as seats. And the band room is actually right on Ohio, just off the street, so I hear them practicing on my walks with Roo. They're not usually that great, but there's something so wonderful about listening to a high school band practice. 

We have seven (or more; I'm probably forgetting one or two) sandwich places within a four block radius of our place. And, well, you see, I love sandwiches. I love them. I love bread. I love cheese. I love other things that accompany bread and cheese, like tomatoes, a nice crispy leaf of lettuce, and a blob of mustard. And maybe even more cheese. Who knows? So this abundance of sandwich shops is something I will miss. Tremendously. Like, probably a lot more than a normal person would miss sandwiches.

A delicious sandwich from D'Amato's on Grand, a mere four block walk from our front door
There are approximately 1 million other things that I will miss about living in my neighborhood, and in Chicago generally: the transportation, the culture, the fact that my entire nuclear family lives within a 6 mile radius--a radius of which Trevor, Roo, and I are the geographical center. It takes me twenty minutes on the CTA to get to the corner of Michigan & Adams, or another twenty to go north and get to Lakeview. And what's in either of these locations? More of anything I would ever want.

Except, that is, quiet. And a yard next to a little cottage off the lake. And the smell of flowers on the breeze through our open windows. That's what we're gaining, and it's going to be worth it. But I will  really, really miss those sandwiches.


Cathy McCann said...

Lovely. Thanks for sharing.

Cathy McCann said...
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