A series I simply call Places.
Sometimes I can really be a nostalgist, I chock it up to being a writer…and as such, we tend to live in different places. For me, I remember places I’ve visited growing up, places that just were. We occupied them, and shared a moment with people, some maybe mundane and others more special even though they are less thought of nowadays. In our busy lives, and a culture of immediacy and preoccupation with distraction we forget about the places that once were…special, unique, pivotal, that we can hardly imagine our lives without the moments had.
Some for me were easy enough, and they form a kind of road map of my early timeline.
This was my library growing up, and I spent many hours here doing research, reading about everything under the sun, and especially the sci-fi & fantasy section (later of course art, graphic design, and other subjects). I’d come here after school and do my homework with some girls I’d had crushes on in elementary school. Yet mostly I came here just to get my read on, write a bunch and do more of both, an escape into another beautiful reality for me.
Before it became an overly trendy hood, I’d frequent German town and especially some of the charming cafes that lined the street, as I practically lived in the library down the street. I somehow sensed that one day this would eventually be a very posh hood, albeit a great deal of time in the future. I loved it because it made me feel as if I were actually in Europe before ever having visited Europe.
My dad used to take me here growing up, so did my older sister. Both of who liked to meditate and just be outdoors basking in the calm soothing effect of the lake waters. My sister usually smoked and just hung out, often times compelled to go do random things out of sheer boredom. She was the one who had taught me how to code, and she’d write pages worth of code on our C64 personal computer. Yeah we had one of those awesome antiques.
My dad looked so dignified, he was always a snazzy dressed man, with pimp looking shades. He really enjoyed just taking a stroll, being outside, enjoying life in all its magnificent splendors yet despite being so successful, I marveled that he was still very frugal, very humble unlike many people who when they get even a modicum of success it swells their heads to epic proportion. He’s such an enigma to me back then, like some kind of super spy whose life I couldn’t really touch much less fully comprehend with my child mind. Nothing got him down, nothing seemed to be able to pierce his demeanor (nor did it ever). Still we were so entirely, dramatically different in many ways.
I had my first official ‘date’ here, and I’ve seen way too many movies here not to mention this place. Every Thanksgiving my sisters and I would go catch a show, it was a bit of a tradition. Anyway everybody has their own favorite theater and I’d say this one would be mine.
Once on Oak Street, yet another theater that I was very fond of. You came here when you wanted to be downtown and just got through a day of power shopping.
Century Shopping Center
This place was a staple in everyone’s vocabulary. Le’Chateau was one of the bestest places to procure clothes from (cheap and high end quality at the time). I’d come here every weekend at least once and also bought a ton of stuff from Gamer’s Paradise as well (Ad&d stuff, chess boards, you name it). There was once an arcade in the lower level my sister would take me to and she became a master of astroids and fooseball there, while I’d play galaga or space invaders until I got the highest score that I could.
My dad’s ‘regal beagle’ he’d take me to on weekends (my mom made him take me hehe) where some of the prettiest asian ladies worked behind the bar, and the owner a sweet Chinese lady named Jade gifted me with cute tiny records…mostly albums by Prince and other music that was popular. My dad would order me ‘kiddy cocktails’ and I’d play Galaga until I ran out of quarters.
Water Tower Place
I came here quite often back in the day, it was definitely a hang place where you could go shop and people watch. I had a crush on a girl named Claire who had worked at Z-Cavarichi (lol), who was half Thai + German.
I used to come here allot lot back in the heyday, it served as a excellent spot to just escape to and forget about your own life for awhile. I’d always been an artiste so this place was quite inspiring to myself (and many others I’m sure).
3rd Coast Cafe
My best friend at the time got me hooked on these trendy downtown cafes, where we spent so much time playing rounds of chess and sat around waxing philosophical. I spent copious amounts of time here writing during undergrad and hanging with old friends. I really did write a great deal herein and usually my social life was spent here in this easily overlooked cafe.
My neighborhood was a peculiar section in the city, nobody could rightly describe it it was far too eclectic for that. It sported many beautiful and rustic buildings full of old school Chicago architecture. It was also home to many crazies and immigrants.
Belmont & Clark street
Everybody whose ever had to grow up in Chicago has back in the old New Waver era flocked to the corner of Belmont & Clark, where Medusa’s once used to be. It was the epicenter of every teenybopper & 20 something’s social existence well before social media enslaved humanity.
My escapist cafe when I needed to go somewhere and have some coffee with friends and was too lazy to travel downtown to 3rd coast, write or draw and whatever else. I never liked this one all too much, for a neighborhood cafe it was far too pretentious. Yet I used to make so many cute drawings that the staff pinned up on the wall that I started liking the attention 🙂 They used to have this one particular barista whose attitude was so bad that she actually managed to annoy my sister, which made me laugh for whatever reason. Women can be so petty sometimes it’s hysterical.