Saturday Evening, I stopped over at my friends Allison and Eric’s house. They live in the neighborhood, and it’s the second time I’ve dropped by after having been on Chicago gathering stories. The first time was in early January; that night, Eric told me that he’d received an email from Alayne, an actor working on Pillsbury House’s Breaking Ice neighborhood/Gentrification project. This Saturday, he told me that a man and a woman had knocked on their door asking if they’d be interested in hosting some glow-in-the-dark art with their motion-sensor lights. Aahhh! That would be Drew and Andrea from the Eye Site project, I say. Yeah? Yeah! he says.
So, Eric’s been contacted by, and is contributing to three out of the twenty Arts On Chicago projects.
I think he deserves a prize!
When Allison and Eric bought their home a few years ago in Powderhorn, I figured it was because, as long as Allison’s been in Minneapolis, she’s always lived near the Park. But in these evening visits, I’ve learned more about Eric’s connection with the neighborhood:
That night back in January, Eric told me about the reasons he’d wanted to settle down here. He’d grown up in a town in West-Central Minnesota, but his Dad grew up on Bloomington Avenue, and always had stories to tell whenever they’d stop by Powderhorn. For example, when his Dad was a boy, his Grandpa lived with them for a bit of time. He remembers going to Powderhorn Park with his Grandpa, who would talk with the other older folks there in Norwegian. Eric told me he wanted his daughter to be able to walk around her neighborhood with her Grandpa and hear his stories about growing up in the same place.
This past evening, Allison told me a couple more things about Eric’s Dad – that as a boy, he’d come to the neighborhood when his Mom had moved to the city on her own with her kids. It wasn’t always easy and money was tight. Eric’s Dad tells stories of how he and his friends used to go to Lake St. to make extra cash as shoe shine boys; Allison says he’s got a story around every corner here.
postscript-Eric’s Dad is visiting this week. We met a few years back at Allison and Eric’s wedding; she connected us by email over the weekend and I might stop by to hear some of these stories straight from the horse’s mouth…