well today jess is hosting a 'see my city' linkup where you talk about 5 things about your hometown. as you know, i live in chicago. which i talk about fairly often. and the 5 things i'd have to say and show off about it would probably be on every 'must see in chicago' list. plus, it's my throwback thursday day and i do so hate to get off schedule. but i still wanted to participate so instead, i'm going to tell you about my 5 favorite things about growing up where i did - the very tiny, first suburb north of chicago: lincolnwood.
lincolnwood is it's own quirky, weird little world. population 12,600, 2.7 square miles. which is small for the chicago area, trust me. most people don't know it exists despite it's proximity to chicago because it's so, so small and surrounded by much larger suburbs. but we do have a mall, a library, schools (pre-k through 8th grade at least), a grocery store, a community park and pool, and our own fire and police departments. and our own starbucks. before it became all that, it was long known as a place for gambling and getting drunk. fun history, right?
i liked growing up in lincolnwood. my parents still live there, in our same house. with the same 5 surrounding neighbors. it feels very much like a small town but it's so near everything else chicago has to offer.
so my top 5 things i would have bragged about from my childhood and actually still do:
the purple hotel. this place is literally the stuff of legend. it wasn't even always called this, it used to be a radisson. but it's always been that color so everyone has always called it the purple hotel. eventually the owner just embraced it. it's closed down now because it's an asbestos and hooker filled dirty craphole. and it kind of always was. (read the part about it on the wikipedia.) even my mom admits it was a totally dirty place when i was a kid but i (and everyone else) had so many birthday parties there at the indoor pool. i don't know why. it wasn't exactly a lack of options, there was the outdoor pool and a chuck e cheese. us kids just loved the damn purple hotel, in all it's sketchy glory.
the original lou malnatis. indeed. the famous chicago style deep dish pizza place started in good old lincolnwood. i don't think a lincolnwood kid could even count how many times they've eaten lou's pizza. and no one will ever convince me another deep dish place is better. it's not. lou's for life.
the house with the christmas tree through the roof. really, that's what people call it. you can even check in there on foursquare, look it up. trust me, this family (i guess i could use their names cause you can google it but oh well) has a lot of kids so if you were even remotely around my age, you could say 'yeah my friend lives there' and feel really cool. the towers, as that area of homes is called, is actually visited by out of towners all christmas season long so the traffic stinks. but it's the place to drive around and look at lights, these people go all out. my personal favorite house as a merry go round on the lawn.
the pool. and i suppose that goes hand in hand with the safety, but i could ride my bike anywhere as a kid. back in the day before cell phones existed, we could walk or ride our bikes anywhere inside the town borders without my mom worrying about us. lincolnwood is really safe. mostly this meant going to the pool (which i continued to do after my friends got jobs there and started driving.) meredith and i had a babysitter when we were little, actually. a teenager who suntanned while mere and i played in the water or took the quizzes in teenbeat magazine. it was safe, my mom just didn't trust us not to drown and spend all our money on ring pops and airheads, i guess.
the mall. ok, i don't brag about this one so much anymore. except for the olive garden. it is definitely not as nice as it was when i was a kid. but when i was young, it was glorious. it also seemed much bigger. i mean, they had a limited too, what more could you ask for?! they also had whatever that kids clothes store is that has a slide inside and a spencer's gifts. and a huge candy store with the giant bulk bins and color coded candy which i loved so much. my friends and i used to play mall hide and seek. which is an awesome game - you split into pairs and one pair seeks while everyone else hides in their selected store. but you can't leave the store once you're in it, until you're found. i always picked the disney store. you could sit and watch movies and they couldn't see your head if they peeked in from the windows, duh.
lincolnwood is pretty resistant to change. all of these things are still there, though the hotel is abandoned. it's pretty comforting to return home and realize the town is just the way you left it.
oh right, obligatory adorable throwback thursday photo of stephanie. we probably drove around looking at christmas lights after my mom snapped this photo of me casually reading to my dog in front of the fireplace. (actually, this is a professionally done photo shoot. i wish i was kidding. parents. but it is our house and that is my real dog, crystal. why we weren't a paid modelling duo, i'll never know.)