Bridgeport, Chicago, Illinois

When I first moved to Bridgeport in 1986, I never thought of Bridgeport as a friendly neighborhood. In fact, as soon as I moved in, the Chicago White Sox announced that they were moving out. Bridgeport is the home to five Chicago mayors. When I moved there I found out why. When I went to change my address on my voter’s registration card, I found out I was voting since my date of birth. I had been living on an empty lot. In Bridgeport, if you didn’t vote a certain way, they did things to you. I didn’t vote the straight Democratic ticket, so they put a parking meter in front of my house. So I had three-hundred tickets. But I didn’t pay them. They put a Denver Boot on my car. It increased the value of my car. There was a bar around the corner that had an icon of the late Mayor Richard J. Daley. Richard Dah First. Every mayoral election, the icon sheds tears.

Cicada summer

Beverly, Chicago, Illinois

Hear that whirring in the air. The cicadas are here! I’ve seen their exoskeletons, their dead carcasses, and live cicadas in flight. I love Chicago, but I especially love my new neighborhood. I live on the south side in Beverly. (Some politically incorrect acquaintances tell me that I live in a black neighborhood, when in reality the neighborhood is actually integrated quite well. In fact, this is the best and safest neighborhood in which I have ever lived after a lifetime of living in Chicago.) So I get to experience the cicadas in full force for the first time in my life. When they surfaced 17 years ago, I merely read about the cicadas in the newspaper, but I didn’t actually see any. I lived in the famous south side neighborhood of Bridgeport where I didn’t see a single cicada because, in Bridgeport, they don’t want nobody nobody sent. So that meant no cicadas were welcome since they already have enough skeletons in their closet.

In Beverly, I’ve been seeing cicadas for the last month or so. And I’ve seen them in some compromising positions! I’ve seen them undressing by crawling out of their exoskeletons and I’ve seen them mating by backing up into each other, which looks very painful if I look at their mating from the human point of view. (The last time I backed up into a female, she slapped me.) I’ve stepped on a few cicadas while running, but not on purpose. Well, I’ll enjoy the cicadas while I can because I won’t see them again for another 17 years.

My kind of tonw [sic], Chicago is

Chi-Town on a Kansas license plate

Chicago, our fair city, has many nicknames. Such as the Windy City, the City of Big Shoulders, Chi-Town, and the City That Works. But now, Chicago now has a new nickname thanks to tattoo artist Sam Hacker who inadvertently misspelled Chi-Town as Chi-Tonw, as reported in the Chicago Sun-Times, March 13, 2007. Hacker showed the final imprint to the customer, who approved the design, before he started the actual tattoo. However, neither one noticed the spelling error. End result: a tattoo that said “CHI-TONW” and a lawsuit against the tattoo artist.

But, wait! The story only gets better! And this could only happen in Chicago. As a show of support, a fellow tattoo artist is now sporting a CHI-TONW tattoo on the front of his neck! Bridgeport Tattoo is offering free tattoos of CHI-TONW and about 20 people have gotten them already. Before you know it, thousands will have this new tattoo and Chicago will have a new nickname! I love Chicago! I envision signs at our airports that say, “Mayor Richard M. Daley Welcomes You to CHI-TONW!”

You misspelled Chi-Town!

My Chicago neighborhoods

West 110th Street, Beverly, Chicago, Illinois

Chicago is the greatest city on earth! It’s a microcosm of the world. Many of world’s languages are spoken in Chicago. My greatest regret in life is that I wasn’t born in Chicago. Unfortunately, I was born in a place far, far away, called Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Where my parents led, I followed. To be honest, I wasn’t in on the pre-natal decision-making process. I was conceived in Mexico, but I was born in the U.S.

I have lived in several neighborhoods in Chicago. My grandparents came to Chicago in the 1950s and lived in Pilsen. So, naturally, when my parents moved to Pilsen, so did I. We also lived in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. When my parents divorced, my mother, my brothers, my sister, and I moved to the Marquette Park area. My father moved back to his father’s house in Pilsen. I bought my first house in Bridgeport and lived there until I started my own family and moved to Ashburn on the southwest side. When I divorced, I bought my present house in Beverly. Some people have told me that I live in a black neighborhood, but that’s not true at all. This is one of the few Chicago neighborhoods that is truly integrated! This is the best neighborhood in which I have ever lived.

We are the city with big shoulders. Boy are my arms tired!