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I’m glad Halloween is over. My wife went to work and said I was in charge of the trick-or-treaters. She left me a box of granola bars for the trick or treaters. I was supposed to hand out granola bars. So the children would have a healthy diet and good teeth. When the first few kids come ring the doorbell, I give them each a granola bar. Oh! The look of disappointment on their faces! They told the other kids, “Don’t go to that house! They’re giving out granola bars!” So, I didn’t get any more trick or treaters. And just to make sure no one else rang my doorbell, I put the box of granola bars on the porch with a sign that said, “Take One!” The doorbell didn’t ring again. In fact, the first kids came back and returned the granola bars!



Beverly Arts Center Playbill

I really love Chicago and I love theater. So if there’s a play about Chicago, I will go see it. And that’s why I went to see Hizzoner, Daley the First at the Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St, Chicago, IL 60655. Yes, gentle reader, there are theaters on the south side! I was lucky enough to get tickets because they sold fast and all the dates were sold out almost immediately.

Hizzoner was written by Neil Giuntoli who also stars as Richard the First very convincingly. Neil is a talented writer and actor who captures the persona of Daley very accurately. So much so, that some of the audience members began speaking to him at times as if he were the actual Mayor Daley. Of Neil responded as if he were the actual Mayor Daley. And he was quite witty, too.

Growing up, Mayor Richard J. Daley was the only Chicago Mayor that I knew. Da Mare would show up to some of our park district events and we got to see him in person occasionally. So when he died, I was a bit shocked.

As an added bonus to seeing the play on the south side, I met some of my previous acquaintances. For example, I had gone to the birthday party of a Chicago police officer the night before and I met a couple the play who was also at the party. I also met my former 18th Ward Alderman Thomas Murphy who is now a judge. I was pleasantly surprised that he remembered me because I only met him a few times. For Halloween, I would take my sons to Trick or Treat at his ward office, which was right next door to his law office. Once he told me, “Go next door. They have better candy there.” And when we went next door, he was there, too, passing out candy.

My Halloween “costume”

Great America, Gurnee, Illinois

Okay, despite the fact that I really love Halloween, I really hate to put on a costume. I enjoy watching others wear costumes and I love going to Halloween parties. But I don’t like to pretend to be someone I’m not.

I went to my cousin’s Halloween party even though I didn’t want to dress up. She always insists that everyone wear a costume, so I didn’t want to disappoint her.  I also decided not to buy a costume even though I couldn’t think of one to make. My girlfriend offered many helpful suggestions, but I didn’t like any. Finally, an idea struck me, like a pumpkin striking my head. I took a white plastic garbage bag that I would wear over my body and I taped some children’s artwork on it, I put a grocery list on it too, and put some of the magnets from my refrigerator on it. I must admit that all that thinking and taping for a whole five minutes totally exhausted me! When I got to the Halloween party, everyone kept asking me what I was supposed to be. Would you believe that not one person guessed that I was supposed to be a refrigerator? However, I believe that I was asked the more questions than anyone else about my costume was supposed to be.

Needless to say, I didn’t win the costume contest!


Great America, Gurnee, Illinois

I have had a few memorable Spanish students since I began teaching, but some are more unforgetable than others. Some I vaguely remember. For example, one female student, I don’t even remember her name. Or anything else about her. I only remember that she was petite, had black hair, caramel-colored skin, and she always sat in the front row, right in front of me. Well, I actually remember two things about her that were quite memorable. Once after class, she told me the Spanish word for muslim, “musulmán,” was the same as in her language. However, I don’t even remember what language she told me she spoke. But I remember our conversation quite vividly.

The other incident that I remember occurred on Halloween. I usually bring chocolate for my students on Valentine’s Day and candy on Halloween. I started passing out candy when I noticed that UIC students sometimes wore costumes for Halloween. I enjoy giving them candy. I’m not sure why, but I do. Anyway, on Halloween, I passed out candy at the beginning of class and put the rest on my desk in case the students wanted more. Everyone was on time, except for the student I’ve been describing. She came about ten minutes late and was about to sit down at her desk right in front of me. Suddenly, she noticed the candy on my desk and stopped to take some–without even asking! She didn’t even greet me and she was taking my candy! “Buenos días,” I told her. But she still didn’t greet me. Her back was to the class so I noticed that she was wearing the red and yellow uniform shirt with a big “R” for Robin, Batman’s crime-fighting partner. Finally, I said, “It’s okay for you to take some candy since you came in costume.” She gave a puzzled look.  “It’s Halloween and you’re wearing a costume,” I said. “This isn’t a costume. I just like wearing this shirt,” she said. Well, the class and I laughed at this. She just stared at me blankly and sat down. And sure enough, she wore her Robin shirt several more times during the rest of the semester.