I love Chicago. There are so many reasons why. I didn’t know when we moved to Richmond Street that our house, Gramma’s building and Grampa O’Neill’s home are all really part of the same place. But they are. Knowing that makes them all connected, like Chicago’s one giant house, and when I’ve gone from Garfield Boulevard to Birchwood Avenue to Richmond Street, I haven’t gone away so much as moved from one room to another.
I love that Chicago goes on and on and on, block after block after block. I think about how fine our little block is. We go along, Daddy driving Kaisery, our pink Kaiser, Daddy’s favorite brand of car. Most days Kaisery is busy speeding Daddy to work or off to a far-away place called Hinsdale where he and Unc are building us a new house. But on just about every Sunday, Kaisery carries us all to Gramma’s. There and back again we’ll go on forever down wide streets, full of traffic lights, and buses, and cars, and trucks honking their horns, and people rushing along the sidewalks. This is exciting. But then Daddy turns Kaisery onto Richmond Street. It’s like a different world, so quiet and peaceful and pretty, like a butterfly on a branch. It’s got to be the best block there is.
Sometimes I think of all the other blocks as Kaisery zooms along, and I get so amazed thinking that each one is full of people, people I don’t know, but people like us opening their doors each morning and going out and maybe thinking their block is the best block in the world too. And the thought of that keeps me happy for quite a long time. In Chicago I’m part of something, something big, like a box of corn flakes. And the box is grand, but each little flake is yummy all by itself.
We’re heading to visit our new house now. It takes a long, long time to get there and back again. One of these days we’ll go there and not come back. We’re leaving Chicago for good, and my beautiful Richmond Street. That makes me sad.
You can’t help but notice the trees on Richmond Street when you round the corner, the way the two rows arch over the street. I spend a good part of each day on the sidewalk under those trees. Sometimes I play with Kathy and Mary Ruth. But I play more often with Charlie. He lives three doors down, and he never bosses me around like they do. Each day, if I’m not outside already, he comes to the door. If I’m done with my buttermilk, I get to go right out and meet him. But if I’m not done yet, he has to wait on the porch until I’ve chugged the slimy stuff down.
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