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Tag Archives: chicago

where my thought’s escaping

Since moving back to Chicago, on nearly every Sunday, I take the CTA to the old neighborhood to see my parents for Mass and lunch. I ride rails and buses that I’ve known since childhood. I pass both tourist landmarks and landmarks of my life. I remark at the changes that have taken place since I was away and embrace the reassuring constancy of what has remained. But most of all, there’s a part of me that’s still in a measure of disbelief that I’m actually home again. The excuse of my birthday got me to reflect (more so than usual) on just where I’ve been in these few decades and wonder just what I thought, during those times, I would be doing with my life. I’m not exactly sure that I had any concrete thoughts about where I’d end up, honestly, but at the very least, that certainly means I never thought I’d be back home. I mean, when it was time for me to go to college, moving Very Far Away From Home was no insignificant motivation; and it seems to me that a lot of my decisions subsequent to that were driven by the desire to establish Clear Separations between me and the life I left behind.

But all that seems somewhat silly now. My parents aren’t getting younger, and someone needs to watch over them…and maybe there’s some feeling of a need to make up for lost time. And, as much as I love and miss New York, and as much as I learned to love Wisconsin (and PA, too, I guess…), there’s no denying that there’s really only one place I consider to be truly Home, and it’s not a bad thing to come back to it. And if I consider that this all started with an invitation to interview received well after I had considered my application cycle as complete and had already begun planning for another four years in Wisconsin…I think I was incredibly fortunate. Weird, how these things work out sometimes.

everybody has to be someplace

(9/365)

On an expedition through the old neighborhood after Mass with Mom and Dad, I tried to resist going into Unabridged Bookstore, thinking of the books on my shelves that have sat, neglected; but I failed, driven perhaps by nostalgia for days past in New York spent browsing the many miles of books at The Strand.

Inside, the simple cover of No One Belongs Here More Than You beckoned me closer, testified to by a staff member’s positive, handwritten review posted on the shelf. The title, too, held a promise all its own, hinting that within its pages might be found a resolution to, or at least some brief sanctuary from, my own unshakable feeling of I Belong Somewhere Else: when I lived in New York; I belonged in Chicago; in Pittsburgh, I belonged in New York; and now, in Wisconsin, I belong… anywhere else.

Six years is a long time to be someplace you don’t belong. But–and I’m reminded of a performance of one-acts I did in college–everybody has to be someplace.