[NOTE: I wrote this this morning on my break, but only had a moment to post it now.]
I was working on some course materials for a professor, and the abbreviation "JVL" jumped out at me from the page. JVL is Jeff Vander Lou, a neighborhood very near mine on the Near North Side. Excitedly, I read the page to see what it was about. The article told a little bit about JVL community activism in the 1970s, and it made me go "Ohhh, so that's why those buildings on those blocks are rehabbed in that certain way! I wondered!" This is one of my favorite kinds of moments to have while reading local history.
And then I thought, I should ask this professor if he knows of any more material specifically about JVL. I bet he does. I want to learn all about the history of the Near North Side. Man, this is right by where I went to middle school!
But then, out of the blue, my mind filled up with the inky, angry thought: Why bother? It's not your neighborhood--it belongs to Blairmont now, and they will do with it as they please. Blairmont can, if they want, decide the future of those blocks and your block and the place where you went to school and some of the landscape of your father's childhood, and their opinion of it is clear from their actions. Their opinion of you is clear. Their opinion of the worth of your history is clear.
I have to say, it's hard not to have thoughts like these when you live in Blairmontland (Sheridan Place? Is that where I live? ), but man, they never stop hurting. I was happy this morning, until now.
And the song stuck in my head this morning is terribly, terribly appropriate, which doesn't help. In my mind, I keep hearing Regina Spektor singing: "And the history books forgot about us, and the Bible didn't mention us. Not even once."