Editors Note 1

I’ve lived in the western suburbs a long time — pretty much all my life except for my college years. It was a great place to grow up — when I get together with old friends, we inevitably talk about how lucky we were to grow up where we did . . . and when we did. It was — as my parents said before us and my grandparents said before them — a simpler time. And the western suburbs provided a wonderful backdrop to revel in those simple pleasures. Like being outdoors almost all the time. Like having the whole neighborhood — and sometimes beyond — as a playground. And like being blissfully unaware of most of the craziness in the world — partly because there was less craziness back then, and partly because we didn’t have cell phones and digital news sources constantly reminding us about it.

It’s funny, when you live in a place for a long time, you don’t always notice how much things are changing around you. It sometimes takes someone who used to live in the area, moved away and comes back to visit to point out the changes. I know this because when old friends come in town they are inevitably shocked at the increased traffic and, in recent years, all the looming, oversized apartment buildings that have sprung up around all the downtowns. I’m a believer that change is generally good, but not in all things, and especially not when it affects traditions, memories and my sense of place.

To get a sense of just how much has changed in the area where we live and how

quickly, sometimes you have to do a little more than reminisce — you need to dig a little. That’s just what our writer Jay Copp did for our article, “A Look Back in Time,” on page 29. Jay goes back even a bit further than my tenure in the area, to the days when Native Americans — Potawatomi, to be specific — owned the lands where we now live. It was interesting to learn about some of the things the Native Americans and early settlers did that influenced the later growth and evolution of the western suburbs. And it was fun to read about more recent events, the opening of Oakbrook Centre, the development of the I-88 corridor, and other happenings that occurred during my youth.

There’s a different kind of change that has been going on the last few years — fast rising home prices. For homeowners, that’s generally a good thing — except for property taxes. To get a sense of just how much home prices in your town and neighboring communities have risen, check out our article “What’s Your Home Worth?” on page 25.

We hope you enjoy these and the many other articles in this issue and as always, thanks for being a reader!