Friday, April 20, 2007

Sweet Home Chicago

I've had many travels on this trip we call life. I've seen many states and towns and known many people. Though sometimes it seems that the more you see, the less you know. On the other hand, people who never see anything, don't seem to know anything either. How can that be? Yesterday I stopped off at the Sears Tower and looked at Alexander Calder’s Universe, the huge mobile located in the lobby. I pass this building almost every day on my way to work. It was one of the first places I visited when I came to Chicago. We moved to Chicago in December 1983 when my mom married my step dad. We first visited the city I now call home that Thanksgiving. I had never been in a city so large, but I think I knew right away that I was home. We came downtown and visited lots of different places. My step dad took us to see many of the wonderful pieces of sculpture that are tucked away in the loop - the Flamingo (also by Calder), the Picasso, The Standing Beast outside the Thompson Center (Then the State of Illinois Building - which is what I still call it), the Miro sculpture. Most notably he showed us the Bertoia Sounding Sculpture in front of the (then) Standard Oil Building. It's notable because (a) my mom was standing on the edge of the platform that surrounds the pool that surrounds the sculpture with a large stick (that I think we brought with us for this purpose) to hit the metal rods with to make them sound (as is the idea of the sculpture) and she fell in the water and (b) because my mom and step dad got married outside (in December) by the sculpture. Thinking of that sculpture always makes me a little nostalgic for beginning days of my love affair with Chicago. Before I became complacent about visiting new neighborhoods and seeing new things. It also makes me sad because they have totally redesigned the front courtyard of the (now) Aon building, and it no longer holds that magic it once used to for me (plus, my mom and step dad are no longer married - so it probably no longer holds the magic it used to for them either). But even though the city evolves, and things that I loved when I was 13 are no longer here, or have changed dramatically, I still love this city. When I visit other large cities, I am reminded of why I love Chicago. Not because they pale in comparison, but because many of them, seen through the tourists eyes, remind me of that awe we have when we are first getting to know a place, and before we are mired down with the day-to-day routine of living in it. So I stopped by the sculpture to remember that just because I live here, doesn't mean I can't stop and be a tourist too.

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