A Conversation about “The Loop” and its “L” Tracks

I have always considered Patrick Reardon to be a great Chicago writer. He writes about the city with knowledge and insight, as well as having an intense passion and concern for it. He has a new book coming out soon, entitled “The Loop: The “L” Tracks That Shaped and Saved Chicago.” His first interview about the book will be on the radio show Playtime with Bill Turck and Kerri Kendall this coming Sunday afternoon at 1:15.
You can tune in online on Facebook at WCGO radio and streaming at WCGO.com. It can also be heard by anyone in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin at AM 1590.
According to Mr. Reardon “this is the first book to tell the rich story about the impact of the elevated Loop on Chicago and on the city’s development, on the city as a physical place and as an idea. Indeed, it’s the single most important structure in the city’s history.”
I have been asked to join the conversation that day, talking about the social and cultural aspects of the passengers riding the “L” into the Loop, which I highlighted in my book “1001 Train Rides in Chicago.”
I hope that you can tune into what promises to be an informative and lively conversation.

Wrigley Field-7/19/20 (A Poem)

Slick pick-up, Javy!
Nice smash, Timmy!

An aura of eeriness pervades this hallowed baseball ground as the game is played.
I wonder what Gabby or Ernie would say if they were still around?

Missing are the beckoning calls of the beer vendors and the wafting aroma of hot dogs,
absent are the special cheers and jeers that only exit the mouths of baseball’s true believers.

The thud of the ball landing securely in the mitt is louder than usual,
the batter and catcher can even hear the umpire’s broom as it whisks the plate.

Empty boxes. Empty grandstands. Empty bleachers.

Wrigley Field has never seen the likes of this before.

The Never Ending Journey of Dorothy Parker’s Ashes

When Dorothy Parker died in 1967, her modest estate (about $40,000) was willed to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for the cause of civil rights in America. When Dr. King was assassinated the following year, the estate was transferred to the NAACP. Ms. Parker’s cremains remained in the Manhattan apartment of Lillian Hellman, the executor of her estate, for seventeen years, until she died in 1984. Then, Hellman’s lawyer, Paul O’Dwyer, kept Ms. Parker’s cremains for three years in a file cabinet in his Manhattan office. Finally, the cremains were claimed by the NAACP in 1987, who buried them in a garden outside of a business park in Baltimore where its national headquarters was located.
A plaque was placed over her burial plot the next year. It read: “Here lie the Ashes of Dorothy Parker (1893-1967), Humorist, Writer, Critic, Defender of Human and Civil Rights. For her epitaph she suggested ‘excuse my dust.’ This memorial garden is dedicated to her noble spirit which celebrated the oneness of humankind, and to the bonds of everlasting friendship between Black and Jewish People.”
Now we learn that the NAACP is moving its national headquarters to Washington, D. C. Will the cremains be exhumed and moved to Washington as well, or stay in Baltimore? Or perhaps be moved somewhere else? At this moment, nobody seems to know.

Phero Thomas

In researching the works of Isaac Bashevis Singer online, I came across the name of Phero Thomas. Mr. Thomas (1922-1984) was a woodcut artist from Chicago who created a series of woodblock illustrations for Singer’s Gimpel the Fool and Other Stories in The Franklin Library 1980 edition. I am not sure of the copyright status of these particular illustrations, and that is why I decided to not to post any of them. However, you will be able to find at least one of them online if you google the names Isaac Bashevis Singer and Phero Thomas together.
I wish that I were able to find more information on the Phero Thomas on the internet. I did learn that he was an illustrator for many books published by Chicago publishers Follett and Science Research Associates. His illustrations can be found in biographies of Franz Kafka, Amelia Earhart and Harriet Tubman. He collaborated frequently with the author Julian May, who was based in Chicago for many years.
I would like to know more about the life of Phero Thomas and see more of his work. Perhaps there are some readers of this post who can help me out on this.