Sunday, February 27, 2011


Late Friday. We continue to eat our way through the evening...


...and we catch up.

But it becomes late for me, even as it is still so very early for her. On week-ends, the overlap in the waking hours of my daughters and myself is actually quite limited.

Indeed, I wake up Sunday morning at my usual six, force myself to stay sleepy until seven and then settle in to do work after that. By ten, I think surely my family will want to get going. No, not yet. And so I set out for a long walk alone.

I take the El downtown and I do what I most love to do Sundays – I go to a public park.


In these morning hours, the sky is brilliant (it does not last)! Truly stunning.

I walk over to the Art Institute, toy with the idea of paying their hefty entrance fee, and decide against it today. I just want to walk. The city is spinning a little in my head. It’s reminding me of years when I lived here.

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Across the river, down Michigan Avenue, but then I hesitate. I don’t need to go to Chicago's retail heart. Let me head back to my daughter’s neighborhood. I cut across one street, then another and as I back away from the downtown, I crisscross blocks and communities that seem almost forgotten.

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When I moved to this city in the early seventies, I thought the place was ... difficult. Now, I’m a tad more optimistic. Much has changed. To a degree.


I keep walking. Up Grand, north on Milwaukee.

I pass the Polish Museum. I’d spend some time there thirty-five years ago, when I thought I’d be writing a dissertation on the transformations within the Polish community. Today the place looks sadly neglected. Not surprised. The Polish community is dispersed. Even as, within minutes, I hear Polish from the one passerby who is, as I am, walking the streets of West Chicago.

There isn’t a concentration of Poles here anymore. The one sign of a Polish presence is probably imported from elsewhere in Chicago. Funny to see a Polish film festival here on this day of America's big movie awards.


Evening comes. Oscar night. We open boxes of Thai take-out and settle in for the show.