Sometimes I get nostalgic and dreamy about "the region" and Chi-town, but I usually stop myself.
Why be nostalgic? What is the damn point? I left. I'm gone. That's it. There was a time where I felt a ton of pride at being from Chicago. I still do. Yet while I grew up in the rust belt and had experiences that were certainly unique and definitely defined by place, I always desired to leave the area in search of adventure and perhaps something more.
Home will always be home I guess. I can't change that and would not. All of my close friends that I grew up with left to find their own way. Jason and Tim ran off to Cali, while Jake married Tim's ex and moved to Valpo. Jimmy D is a master electrician at this point and owns the house he grew up in.
All that said, I could have gone back. I could have returned to a life of WTF, where the seasons of the year are as much hockey and baseball as they are spring, summer, fall, and winter.
Occasionally I ruminate about what it would have been like to purchase a bungalow, fix it up, go to Sunday mass in a handful of regional Churches that look like an old school cathedral. To forget about what's happening in the world and follow the Hawks' every game, hitting up the best pizza known to man at my very whim, and being around lots of people who think in the same "regional" way.
The good news is I am not totally deprived, to my way of thinking. Good pizza exists east of Chicago, although it's taken me years to discover it (it's authentic Chicago style, of course), and the mountains and valleys make up for lack of Blackhawks' and White Sox coverage.
At the end of the day, I would rather be on a couch in front of a fire place in a country cabin (or the proximation of) with a cup of tea than chillin' in a Lincoln Park flat with my Intelligensia. To be sure, I've had my taste of city life excitement--in Georgetown in Washington, DC--and realized during that time that I'd rather be in the mountains in front of the hearth.
Now that I am here, I can honestly say that I am satisified with my decision and that my desires were not unfounded.
Still, sometimes the homesick nostalgia lunges for my throat. At this point I beat it down with ease and it's my choice to think about home. But really, while home is a place, it's also in your heart. It's also where you choose to rest your head for the night. Many people have passed through Munster and Chicago since I've lived there and rode my bike to Route 30 to visit 10th planet. It's a changed place since then, as all places change, but the memory and the nostalgic factor in the earth underneath it all remain. And there's more Schoop's too.
Regarding returning for a visit, it's mixed bag, hit or miss. Sometimes people are on their A-game and life is good. At others, people are dwelling in darkness and the shadow of death. I guess I'm glad they're real, but in the end it's all a toss up, and that's just family I'm talking about.
It's cool to be from some place. It also can be cool to venture out to go some place and live there as well. If there's one thing I've learned, however, it's that regardless of whether or not you're playing bocce and drinking a Corona on your 1/10 acre plot in Munster, the grass has an odd way of seeming greener on either side of the fence.
But really it's greener in the mountains. Really.
Over & Out,