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Chicago streets

I was born in Chicago, though in infancy was moved to Detroit, then Ft. Benning Georgia and then in a long list, on to foreign shores, and other cities and towns.    Given a choice of 3 colleges to go to at the age of 17, I chose IIT, solely because it was in Chicago, and some homing sense provoked me to wish to know a bit of the city I had been born in.  The choice clearly served as a marker, a kind of  “destiny.”  Had I chosen instead the University of Pennsylvania, or Providence’s RISD, I am sure I likely would have had an entirely different life.    So Chicago, where I lived for only 3 years, but highly formative ones, is a place ripe with reverberations in my own life.   Its prosaic simplicity and rough edged nature both appeals to me and repels me.  It is full of memories lingering in the names of streets, buildings, people and important events in my life, all enriched by a handful of surviving friends dating back to 1964.

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This visit was a quick one, a rushed stay with long ago friends, a talk at Columbia College, screenings and a workshop at Chicago Filmmaker’s, the original of which I’d helped found in 1967.   A fast visit through parts of the city reminded of personal events:  the Federal building where I was sentenced to prison in 1965, and outside of which I was almost arrested 3 years later.  Other places which invoked other memories,  such as the Convention of 1968.   All of it far too fast and weighted with too much personal history for me to begin to put in some perspective.  I hope next time around to be going slowly, with time to tape with friends, and to absorb to the city, and find a small toe-hold for grasping this part of my life,  of the nation, and my small place in it.

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Frank Lloyd Wright’s Oak Park Studio

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