Posted by: suek2001 | May 5, 2010

Chicago-Some Thoughts

It’s weird how random memories creep into my mind at times. I’ve been thinking about Chicago for some reason lately.

Maybe it’s the fact that I’m reading Mike Royko or reading the headlines of all the murder in that town that made me think of it. Maybe it was thinking about the fact that Bonnie Hunt’s show was ending this week. I’m not sure.

 Still, my brain flashed back to 25 years ago this summer. My Aunt Betsy and Grandma drove down from, Minneapolis to Fort Myers to see me. They were on one of their see America trips. On the way back, we drove through some interesting scenery. The Smoky Mountains…Kentucky and parts of Georgia. Still, one of the big things was seeing Chicago. I had been there once before and I knew I would love it.

For the entire decade of the 1980’s, I lived in Fort Myers, Florida. At the time, that city was really a small town with no real charm to it. Now, it’s basically southern sprawl and golf courses galore.

Back then, I was fascinated by big cities. So, Chicago was like New York to me. I have always been geek for buildings with a unique flair and the John Hancock building was a magnet to me. It had a really cool vibe to it that the Sears Tower lacked. The Sears Tower looked to me like someone got carried away with their Lego’s.

After a visit to the John Hancock tower, we noticed some kids out on the plaza just a few feet away. It was the first glimpse of break dancing I had seen. I knew I wanted to try it and later that year , I would for a school competition. I still have the trophy.

Other memories of Chicago are all the touristy ones but it is a great tourist town. Our hotel had a great view of the city and a nearby skyscraper under construction. Betsy and I were enraptured in watching them build it. It also helped the guys working on the building were cute. We also got to see a marathon of some sort from our hotel window.

Chicago was a town that fascinated all of us. From the deep dish pizza served in some eatery that reminded me of brick oven, to the best children s museum I have ever set foot in. I can’t begin to describe all the cool, hands on exhibits they had. I think we spent about five hours there one day.

 Then, there was the play we saw at McCormick Place on Lake Shore Drive. It was he musical “Oklahoma!” starring John Davidson as Curly. I knew Davidson from his daily talk show so it was cool to see him on stage even if he was a bit too old to play Curly at the time. I also loved the music from that play and it will always be a cherished memory.

If Betsy were writing this, she would mention the shopping at Water Tower Place. That was her highlight. I must say that I loved the structure itself but I felt way under-classed in that place. I’m sure Betsy would also mention how she and I lived on Egg Mcmuffins for a week when we visited. It took us both years to want to set foot in a Mickey D’s after that.

I think of all the memories and good times I had there and am sad that the city has reached an apex of darkness. There will always be the general thuggery of the politics of that city. There will always be corruption there but there needs to be a serious spiritual change to curb that city’s murder rate.

To be fair, maybe this is Chicago’s year to be bloody. Every great city has it’s off years of darkness and blood. New Orleans had it rough for a couple of years after Katrina. New York City had a rough one last year. Minneapolis had a couple of really violent years in the late 90’s. Maybe once Chicago gets through this year, things will settle down. I just hope it doesn’t tarnish the tourism in Chicago as it really is a great city.

It was at least 25 years ago. Maybe it can be again.

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