Fond Memories and a Clearer Perspective
W here were you 50 years ago? OK, I’ll help you with the math, because if your were alive back then, like me, you can probably use the help. The year was 1969. I was in grade school at the time. And since it is October, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say I was still in mourning. After being in first place for almost the whole season, my beloved Cubs — seemingly a shoe-in for the playoffs —lost 17 of their last 25 games and were passed in the standings by the New York Mets. As a kid, I didn’t know that season would be long remembered as one of the worst collapses by any professional sports team in history. And I certainly couldn’t have imagined that I would have to wait almost another 50 years before the Cubs would actually win the World Series. I just knew that the Cub’s most promising season in my young life was over.
The Cubs remained competitive for a few years but didn’t make the playoffs, so like many kids of that generation, it is the ‘69 team that I will always remember best. “Santo, Kessinger, Beckert and Banks, the infield third to first,” as broadcaster Jack Brickhouse liked to say when introducing the line-up. Hard to believe I remember those kinds of details, but with every game on WGN TV and radio back in the day, I suppose it’s not all that surprising. I have much vaguer memories of the societal unrest that was going on at the time, most notably the protests related to civil rights and the Vietnam War. I guess I was still young enough that the seriousness of those issues didn’t fully register. In fact, my world was so small back then that I didn’t even really notice many of the changes that were going on in my own backyard of the western suburbs.
That’s why I found Jay Copp’s article on “The Way We Were” (page 40) regarding the profound changes that were happening in the western suburbs 50 years ago so interesting. There were a few benchmark events that resonated in my memory, like the opening of Yorktown Mall — being able to shop indoors during the winter for the first time, how cool was that? But since many of the changes happened gradually, the article provides helpful historical hindsight, which offers the opportunity to see the evolution of the western suburbs with a broader and clearer perspective. If you are a longtime resident of the area, I’m sure you’ll find the article to be a fun and interesting read. And if you are a relative newcomer, it will give you some helpful historical insights into how the area came to be the way it is — mostly for the better, but certainly not completely.
This issue also contains the second installment of our two-part feature on the “State of the Arts” in the western suburbs. The focus is primarily on the increasing diversity of live music offerings. Along with the growth in theater, dance and the visual arts, it appears the western suburbs are in the midst of a cultural renaissance of sorts.
We hope you find the article helpful in broadening your own artistic horizons and, as always, thanks for being a reader.Edit Module