“Chicago I’ll Show You Around”


This project in Chicago is torn down now, but it was the site of my next visit to assess a Follow Through program. I hadn’t been in Chicago since 1968 when I was under a curfew in a neighborhood in flames after Reverend King had been murdered. (That will be a post in the future.) Cabrini Green housing project was a forbidding structure packed with children who would have to take an elevator to get to any green space. It was depressing even to visit there, much less live there. I was unable to get a taxi to pick me up after my site visit, so someone gave me a ride to the train.

Since I was in Chicago, I stayed with my grandmother. Now a widow, she  lived in Chicago in something called “The Old People’s Home,” a gross misnomer. It was a lovely old building on the North Shore where she had an individual apartment and shared meals on the first floor. She was delighted to see me and offered me the routine sherry she always served.

The Watergate scandal with President Nixon was in full gear and Grannie and I talked about it. She assured me that it was nothing compared to the Tea Pot Dome scandal she remembered under President Harding. Her perspective always stayed with me reminding me that every generation has its scoundrels. She was remarkably up on current events because she said it was important to be able to participate in discussions at meal times. She thought, and I agree, that her mind stayed sharp after Grandpa died because she had to “get dressed every morning and go down to eat breakfast and talk about the newspaper.” When she died in 1978 she left me her big screen color television so I would always be up to date on the news!

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