September 30, 2011, Washington, DC: I’m heading back to Chicago today, back to one of my former hometowns. Like the photo taken in my old Chicago apartment pictured above, my recollections of this city are bright and welcoming and familiar and textured. The Chicago I know includes that one-of-a-kind second story apartment off Armitage St. in the neighborhood of Lincoln Park, where lived in a red brick rowhouse just above its owners from mid-2004 to mid-2005. I loved pretty much everything about that place. What’s not to love about exposed brick and a shadow like that one bursting through the front window off the street?
But that wall full of sunlight is indeed just the surface. There’s far more to love about hometown Chicago.
Sure, there was the rest of that apartment – the yellow walls and countertops (my favorite), a tiny kitchenette with a black and white checkered floor and a huge window overlooking the street, a stained glass window in the main room, a fireplace. There’s no doubt this place felt like home, like somewhere I lived much longer than I actually did. I can’t wait for a visit to the old neighborhood.
But the real reason Chicago felt (and still feels) so familiar is family. Living in Chicago was the closest I’d ever lived to aunts and uncles and grandparents and cousins, and my time in the city was made richer and fuller by their proximity. Chicago is a world-class city, for sure, but in my case, it’s also home to world-class relatives. I’m off to see them today. Sweet home Chicago, here I come!