Moving to the suburbs did not prove to be as difficult as I’d feared. In fact, I have to admit, it’s been quite nice. Of course, I’ve had twenty-five years to get used to it. When my older sister (from whom I’ve learned most of the important things in life) moved out to the boonies, she’d had a completely different experience. She had moved from an apartment above a pharmacy (a really nice apartment, though) to a beautiful home in a very desirable western suburb. It seemed a dream come true. But, it didn’t come without reservations. The biggest being, what’s the water going to be like? That was always the question. That was the question from our parents and five brothers left behind. Because, we knew that outside the city limits, existed the wild frontier, unknown, unchartered and definitely without Chicago water.
Monthly Archives: April 2012
It’s a dilemma as old as time.
You have a date that you want to impress. You want that date to think you are a smart, well-educated, person with a vast cultural appetite. So what do you do on a date? Your usual evening of eating hot wings and watching procedural crime shows is not going to cut it. You need a night of culture, one that will impress your would-be mate enough to at least get that second date.
You have it planned out perfectly. A nice dinner followed by a dessert at a local gelato stand, then off to a local art gallery.
There is just one problem: art galleries are scary! There are all those paintings of demons and people with neatly groomed goatees. People talk about a twisted pile of metal like it is art when it is, in fact, a twisted pile of metal. How…
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With St. Patrick’s Day upon us, my thoughts naturally turn to my favorite South Side Irishmen. While the day, and in this case, the weekend, is filled with the usual nod to our Irish ancestry, celebrating with parades, rebel songs, beer and plenty of corned beef, a part of me always feels a bit wistful, as memories turn to my parents, no longer here to join in the festivities. And so, to them I raise a parting glass in salute.
My dad, John Casey Toner, better known as Jack to his friends, died a couple of months shy of my twenty-fifth birthday. Though I was married with a toddler, I was still a daddy’s girl. It wasn’t really fair, I know. My sister is eight years older than me and had been surrounded by boys until my arrival. In fact, one of her favorite memories was when she and my brothers were sent off to stay with my cousins as they eagerly awaited the newest arrival in the family (me, coming in at number six). She asked my dad to please let her be the first to know if she had a new sister (for which she had been fervently praying) or another brother (to which she’d resigned herself). Upon my entrance into the world, my dad telephoned with the news. When my aunt excitedly answered the phone and asked the obvious question, he told her that he needed to speak with Mary Beth first. That was the kind of man he was. The simple, innocent promise made to an eight year old girl took precedence over all else. When you’re the baby girl in a family, it’s hard not to be spoiled. So, while my sister was relegated to the role of second mother to us all, including yet another little brother bringing up the rear, I happily assumed the role of the baby girl.