I have a recurring dream that I’m back on Madison Street. I walk west from the Marbro Theater to my old home. Every building holds a memory for me—Madigan Brothers, where my Mom shopped for our holiday outfits, Red Goose shoes, where I x-rayed my feet under the fluoroscope, Ebert’s Studio, where my parents had my baby pictures taken, Pendola’s drugstore and soda fountain, where my Mom first heard the news that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. In my dream, the neighborhood is renewed and the street is busy with shoppers and traffic. Nostalgically, I stop by my old home, investors have purchased the building. They have restored the restaurant to its original beauty and replaced the stained glass windows. It is open for business. I talk to the owners about my family and about the years they operated the restaurant. I think they have done a beautiful job restoring the restaurant.
I go upstairs to the apartment where I grew up. The investors are turning the apartments into condos. They give me a tour. The empty rooms remind me of the day we moved from Madison Street and never returned. The fixtures and wood cabinets are long gone, but the wood floors have been refinished and the large bathroom is remodeled. I remember birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, childhood illnesses, and parties—everything important in my first fourteen years was associated with this apartment. I am happy that my old home has been renovated in such a loving way. I wish I could move back there. I want to buy one of the condos and I think of asking my sisters to buy in with me.
I wake up from my dream. Urban renewal never came to West Madison Street.
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